Top SEO Insights for 2016

Did you miss our lat­est SEO Now webi­nar? Check out the top SEO insights you need to know for 2016 right now!

Danny Goodwin By Danny Goodwin from Momentology. Join the discussion » 0 comments

With the dawn of a new year and new and unex­pect­ed chal­lenges on the hori­zon – and lots of big ROI goals to hit – now is the per­fect time to think about your SEO efforts for the com­ing year.

Top SEO Insights for 2016 was Lindex’s first SEO Now webi­nar of 2016. I was joined by Daniel Bian­chi­ni, Direc­tor of Ser­vices, White.net, and Chris Hart, Head of Client Devel­op­ment, U.S., Linkdex, who pro­vid­ed an insight­ful overview and lots of ideas for how brands and busi­ness­es can win more traf­fic, cus­tomers, and rev­enue through SEO in 2016.

The webi­nar began with Bian­chi­ni recap­ping a few of the biggest devel­op­ments in SEO over the past sev­er­al months before shar­ing three tac­tics to future proof your SEO in 2016 and beyond, which were:

  1. Become obsessed with user-focused con­tent. Cre­ate con­tent for the moment by tru­ly under­stand­ing your audi­ence and what stage of the user jour­ney they are at. Reuse or repur­pose your great con­tent. Use it to dif­fer­en­ti­ate your brand.
  2. Pro­vide search engines with con­text. This includes mark­ing up your site with schema and fig­ur­ing out ways your con­tent can be fea­tured as rich answers.
  3. Ensure you are equipped for mobile. Under­stand when peo­ple are using dif­fer­ent devices. Make sure your mobile expe­ri­ence is FAST or you’ll lose impa­tient users.

We then took a deep­er dive into these, and oth­er key ele­ments SEOs need to address in 2016 to suc­ceed. Two clear over­ar­ch­ing themes emerged: don’t chase Google, chase your audi­ence; and make sure you pro­vide val­ue to your cus­tomers or audi­ence.

Cus­tomer-cen­tric­i­ty, cre­at­ing amaz­ing user expe­ri­ences, the inevitable con­ver­gence of mobile/apps/desktop into one brand expe­ri­ence, under­stand­ing the entire con­sumer jour­ney, smart usage of data, and tech­ni­cal SEO will all be among the most cru­cial ele­ments to get right in 2016.

Thanks to every­one who joined us live. If you missed it, or want to lis­ten again, you can watch the webi­nar record­ing now:

 

SEO Now Webinar_ Top SEO Insights for 2016 2–10-16, 12.00 PM from Linkdex on Vimeo.


We’ve also embed­ded Dan’s slides from the webi­nar:

 

3 Tac­tics to Future­proof SEO in 2016 & beyond from Daniel Bian­chi­ni

Audience Q&A

We received sev­er­al ques­tions dur­ing the webi­nar. Dan and Chris were kind enough to pro­vide their answers to those here:

Q: Per­son­al assis­tants — is it just rel­e­vant for B2C or also for B2B?

Dan: I think this very much depends on your audi­ence. How­ev­er, unless there is con­sid­er­able cost asso­ci­at­ed to your imple­men­ta­tion why wouldn’t you do it? As more peo­ple use per­son­al assis­tants (it’s grow­ing) and search using mobile, the smarter this appli­ca­tions will become and start to auto­mate what you see. As I men­tioned in the pre­sen­ta­tion, I nev­er actu­al­ly set the app to being in any of the con­tent shown, but it was based on my search pref­er­ences across all my devices. This does require you to be signed into Google, or oth­er but when are you not?

Chris: PAs are good for both B2B and B2C. The rule of sev­en is an old mar­ket­ing adage, which states, “A prospect needs to see / hear your mes­sage at least sev­en times before they remem­ber it.” So why not use PAs to your advan­tage in order to get your lead through the Know –> Trust –> Like cycle.

For exam­ple: A lead may be very busy at work and see mar­ket­ing mes­sages as very intru­sive. But if they are on a train while com­mut­ing home, they may be more open to receiv­ing mes­sag­ing. So why not help them get that mes­sage via PAs?

Q: Is Google clever enough to know my site is respon­sive via a flu­id lay­out (i.e., I don’t have a ded­i­cat­ed mobile site)? Is that OK?

Dan: Yes. There are three ways that Google has indi­cat­ed that they see mobile web­sites, and I would sug­gest that this fits with­in the respon­sive cat­e­go­ry although I am spec­u­lat­ing based on the ques­tion. The three for­mats that Google have pro­vid­ed are shown below:

  • Respon­sive design <— Google rec­om­mend­ed
  • Dynam­ic Serv­ing
  • Sep­a­rate URL (m.)

To help deter­mine whether Google class­es your web­site as mobile-friend­ly, you can check the fol­low­ing tools:

Q: What about key­words, what are the changes around key­word usage and opti­miza­tion? How to look at key­word organ­ic traf­fic in the seman­tic search era? How to opti­mize for seman­tic search?

Dan: You should be opti­miz­ing around top­ics and not just indi­vid­ual key­words. Sim­i­lar to how in AdWords you would build a list of key­words for a par­tic­u­lar ad group. This set of key­words then allow you to cre­ate con­tent around a top­ic that pro­vides your user with more detailed infor­ma­tion. These top­ics should then be used as part of your con­tent strat­e­gy, which will iden­ti­fy which con­tent should be used at each stage of the buy­ing cycle.

Chris: Key­words should be used to help devel­op and struc­ture con­tent around top­ics. It is not the pure use of the key­word that mat­ters. It is the rel­e­vance of that key­word to the top­ic and arti­cle it is part of. Along with all of the oth­er sup­port­ing arti­cles on the site and the con­tex­tu­al ref­er­ences from link­ing sites.

For exam­ple: Intent is an under­stand­ing of what is being looked for. But con­text is the mean­ing of every­thing that sur­rounds a search.

Look for machine learn­ing to have sig­nif­i­cant and con­tin­ued impact on this in the near future (i.e., RankBrain).

Q: Back­links — which are the best prac­tices about link build­ing and using anchor text in 2016?

Dan: You want to increase the num­ber of backinks your web­site gets? Build great con­tent or dig­i­tal assets that are worth link­ing to.

(For a more detailed dis­cus­sion about links, lis­ten to the webi­nar.)

Q: You men­tioned schemas for search engines. Can you explain a lit­tle fur­ther?

Chris: Your best bet is to use them where applic­a­ble so that you can get the most rel­e­vant info to a query in the SERP. Remem­ber users glance through piles of infor­ma­tion, give them some­thing to glace at.

Dan: Search engines read con­tent on the pages, but it doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly give any con­text as what it is. The Hum­ming­bird update and schema has helped search engines to get more clar­i­ty to what is being dis­played. Schemas for search engines can be used in mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent ways HTML5 & JSON-LD just two that I men­tioned, and are snip­pets of code that sur­round spe­cif­ic parts of your web­site con­tent.

A very sim­ple exam­ple would be pric­ing. You’d wrap the price of your prod­uct in schema, which will be picked up by search engines and like­ly dis­played with­in the search engine result pages.

There are many resources on schema, but the two that I always point to are:

If you’re look­ing for infor­ma­tion or test­ing tools on imple­men­ta­tion, then I would rec­om­mend the fol­low­ing:

Q: Does Google use as rank­ing sig­nal – when vis­i­tors keep com­ing back to your web­site?

Chris: To say yes or no to this, would be giv­ing you an answer that I just do not have any way of know­ing. But what I can assume is, that giv­en Google’s vis­i­bil­i­ty and abil­i­ty to tag/track under­stand users, at some point I would think that they can. If they do that is one thing, but also know, under­stand­ing the weight­ed val­ue they put on such a thing is anoth­er. So while they might use it, there is no way to tell the val­ue of that sig­nal alone.

Dan: On an ongo­ing basis? Then I would say no. How­ev­er, if a sud­den surge of peo­ple were search­ing for a spe­cif­ic web­site using a cer­tain query then I’d expect and have seen a short term increase in rank­ings for that web­site.

I have seen some exper­i­ments that Rand over at Moz has con­duct­ed where he has sent a lot of social traf­fic to a cer­tain search phrase and then select a spe­cif­ic web­site. This has then seen an increase in posi­tion for that term, although on a very tem­po­rary basis.

Q: About AMP pages, we have LTE as stan­dard offer so we have fast con­nec­tion in here Vien­na, any­way con­nec­tions are get­ting faster and faster so why do we need AMP? As I under­stand AMP will look like page from ‘90s.

Chris: As talked about on the webi­nar AMP may not be for every­one. So it is impor­tant to know if it is for you and to do that you need to under­stand what it is for. It is Google’s answer to instant arti­cles in Face­book and or Apple news. AMP is designed to accel­er­ate the ren­der­ing of pages for a user’s mobile expe­ri­ence, it is large­ly designed for pub­lish­ers.

Also, it is a counter mea­sure to the accel­er­a­tion of ad block­ers. If many peo­ple are block­ing AdSense ads via an ad block­er then the pub­lish­er and Google do not make mon­ey. Google will use AMP to get around the ad block­ers.

Dan: Google will con­tin­ue to pro­vide resources to improve web­sites as part of their mis­sion to improve the web. This doesn’t how­ev­er mean that it is some­thing that you need to imple­ment if you think that your web­site speed is good enough.

Michael King has writ­ten a very good post on improv­ing site speed by using one piece of code -

Q: Do you have any opti­miza­tion tips for indus­tries that are very com­pet­i­tive, but quite con­ser­v­a­tive and reg­u­lat­ed when it comes to their con­tent?

Chris: Dur­ing the webi­nar we sug­gest­ed that com­pa­nies devel­op sep­a­rate stand­alone sites that are out­side the rules of reg­u­la­tions and are more focused on engage­ment / con­ver­sa­tion with mem­bers of that indus­tries com­mu­ni­ties.

Dan: If you do decide to go down build­ing a con­tent plat­form for your brand, under­stand that it takes time to gain trac­tion. Put every­thing that you have into and you keep going so that it is a suc­cess. It’s easy to get down about the trac­tion you are gain­ing, but just keep going!

This Econ­sul­tan­cy post pro­vides some infor­ma­tion on ideas for the finance indus­try.

Q: One of my clients has a blog post that’s got­ten more traf­fic than oth­ers, and I want to reuse it. Is it accu­rate that Google doesn’t like con­tent that looks like a copy/repeat of some­thing else? So if I make a few changes to update it, does that mean I should delete the pre­vi­ous (orig­i­nal) post so it doesn’t look like a copy?

Dan: Many dif­fer­ent ways that this can be han­dled. I’d sug­gest that you check out the webi­nar for more in-depth respons­es but in short:

  • Repub­lish­ing isn’t an issue if it’s valid and use­ful.
  • If you copy it to anoth­er URL then you’d want to imple­ment canon­i­cal tags.
  • When cre­at­ing con­tent think about whether it can be used again, will it be ever­green. Then you can real­ly think about the URLs that you are using.
  • Check the webi­nar. :)

Thanks to Dan and Chris for these answers!


For more thoughts on where search is head­ing in 2016, be sure to check out SEO Trends: 44 Experts on the Future of Organ­ic Search Suc­cess on Momen­tol­ogy.

What do you want to see in upcom­ing Linkdex webi­na­rs? Sug­gest a top­ic! Tweet us at @linkdex. We look for­ward to hear­ing your sug­ges­tions and bring­ing you the top­ics you want to hear about.

Danny Goodwin

Written by Danny Goodwin

Managing Editor, Momentology

Danny Goodwin is the former Managing Editor of Momentology. Previously, he was the editor of Search Engine Watch, where he was in charge of editing, content strategy, and writing about search industry news.

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