Search engine marketing has seen a lot of changes in 2014 and 2015 – Google has clamped down on a lot of the websites that did SEO “the easy way”, i.e. getting a lot of backlinks from every resource possible and increasing their rankings sky high even though the content may have been pure garbage.
This year, we’ve been told what to expect and how to behave if we want our pages at the top of Google and Bing’s SERPs – no more black hat techniques, no more link spamming or paying for posts on other blogs. That’s a tough one for a lot of SEO experts and Internet marketers, but the good news is that if you’re doing everything the right way, you can expect your site to continue rising through the ranks without trouble.
2015 isn’t over yet, but you need to prepare for 2016 already – here are a few things to consider and remember when preparing your SEM campaigns and your website for the future.
Diversify your content
Content quality is a must, but content diversity is also important, even more so in 2016. Images, video and podcasts are taking over the Internet by storm, and most of the time people actually prefer them to the plain old written word. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use text articles – you definitely need to do it, but at the same time it’s a good idea to create audiovisual content that can be posted on social networks, as well as your own blogs to drive traffic and conversions.
You can read more here, but suffice to say that Imgur, Pinterest, Instagram, and almost half of Reddit are picture sharing websites and they’re extremely popular with users, while YouTube is quickly becoming the first go-to website (instead of Google) for the majority of topics – this is why you have to be there, as well.
Focus on mobile
Mobile users are basically exploding in numbers – these days, it’s more likely to see traffic coming from a mobile device than from a desktop, and that is not something you should take lightly. You need to have a mobile-ready website and optimize the content for mobile consumption. That means optimized (compressed or smaller) images, fewer fancy effects and popups, a clearly defined navigation that works flawlessly, and more. You can visit this site for more information – keep in mind that Google has separate SERPs for mobile and desktop, and they consider every little thing when it comes to ranking on the former.
For marketers, mobile SEM is a gold mine – it’s relatively easier to rank on the front pages of Google and Bing with a well optimized website, and traffic from mobile ad platforms is dirt cheap even for traditionally expensive topics, so make your landing pages mobile friendly and run the traffic through test funnels to find what works best – rest assured you will be rewarded for that in 2016.
Only get natural backlinks
Backlinks may not be as important as they once were, since Google is now paying more attention to other factors, but it’s still the bread and butter for marketers who want to rank on the first page. The key thing to remember is that if you’re doing SEO for the long term, you need to get only natural backlinks.
This means posting original and quality content that can be shared on social networks and other websites, as well as guest posting on other blogs – these are the two techniques that are guaranteed to work today and in the future, everything else is quite risky. Click here to read more about backlinks and remember to study the best techniques for getting links that will stick and which will not negatively affect your site.
You may know already that Google has become very strict when it comes to using keywords as the anchor text, and they know how to detect them. You need to get backlinks the way they are naturally made – usually it’s a simple full link or general keywords like “click here”, “check it out”, “see it here”, “here it is” and others. Sure, you can include one or two anchor text keywords, but overall they'll need to be very diluted.
Participate in social media
By now, everyone agrees that social media websites play an important role in getting to rank in the SERPs, the main question is how to use those sites for the best results. I can tell you one thing that will work for sure – keep active accounts on all popular websites, comment often and with quality content, and post links sparsely. With time, accounts become old and trusted, and you can avoid the various filters they have in place, as well as get more upvotes for what you post.
Buying traffic directly from these sites is also a great idea – compared to PPC traffic on Google and Bing, ads on Facebook, Reddit and other sites are practically dirt cheap, and they often convert very well if you’ve got the right landing pages. Read more about it here.
Learn to use Google Analytics
Google Analytics has become a powerhouse of analytics – you can now track a whole lot more than just the traffic to your site, its origins and the bounce rate. If you’re doing SEM long term, it is vital to learn to use the power of this free tool to your advantage. Learn how to use the various filters, conversion trackers, demographics of your visitors, and everything else – the data you can gather can be invaluable. In fact, Google is already using it for their services and for deciding the rankings of various pages, so why shouldn’t you?
This is only a part of what to prepare for in 2016, but it’s the most important part. “Mobile, Social, Natural” – this is what your websites must be, so get busy right now and you can expect a nice payoff in the future.