SEO: 5 Strategies That Lead In 2016

    For the entire first part of 2015, both optimizers and content marketers seemed to forget about everything except links, keywords and conversions.

    If you continue to work hard (and wisely) on search engine optimization, it would be nice to use the following five strategies to maintain your pace next year : social signals, mobile devices, https, guest blogging, contextual search.

    1. Send social signals

    Many digital marketers complain about the low rates of incoming traffic from social networks in relation to the efforts spent on these platforms, but a ray of hope has finally appeared.
    Backlinks act as votes for the site, increasing the credibility and ranking of the domain, but popular content that you share on social media also works.
    After years of hesitation and unclear statements about the importance of social media for ratings, Google finally recognized that they are a useful factor in site visibility , although it works in a very cunning form.

    At the end of 2014, Google loosened its grip and took the first steps towards non-Google social media platforms when generating search results.
    Social networks based on anything other than Google+ have entered the Google Knowledge Graph.
    After the disappearance of Google’s authorship, it is also possible to expect from social media snippets that signals from social platforms will become increasingly important in the coming years.

    2. Be friendly to mobile devices.

    In the past few years, many have predicted the advent of the era of mobile Internet. When the share of smartphones became equal to 65% in the Russian mobile phone market, these predictions became true.
    Moreover, mobile Internet activity now accounts for more than 30% of all Internet traffic.
    Given these changes in site browsing patterns, Google took a serious step: tagging sites on the search results page as “mobile-friendly” , as a pointer to users.
    Obviously, the number of clicks and user activity on sites marked as compatible with mobile devices will be higher than for the rest.

    So, for beginners: hurry up and switch to responsive design if you have not already done so. Pay attention to the parameters that Google uses to assign this tag and make the necessary changes to your site immediately, including the following:
    • Buttons large enough to easily click on them on a small device;
    • Abundant empty space to avoid the "thick finger syndrome";
    • Texts - large enough to be read without zoom;
    • Links are located at a sufficient distance to avoid errors in the transitions.

    Take advantageBy checking the ease of viewing on Google’s mobile devices , to make sure that your site easily passes it.

    3. Switch to HTTPS

    Due to recent large-scale data leaks, the main subject has appeared in digital security discussions. The days have gone by simply of online sales, financial sites and the need to spend time and energy on creating airtight sites with SSL encryption.
    In the move towards safe browsing for all users in August 2014, Google announced that it would like to use HTTPS for accurate ranking.
    Given the dire web security situation, coupled with Google declaring HTTPS a ranking factor, it’s really worth investing in getting an SSL certificate for your site.This is even more important if your site requires authentication by login or uses other personal data of users.

    4. Do not abuse guest blogging.

    As soon as the content began to be perceived as a way of linking and increasing credibility, in 2012-2013 there was a big surge in guest blogging for the purpose of linking without much interest in how irrelevant or unimportant the site was. Thousands of low-quality websites have requested guest posting and offer backlinks in return.

    It is not surprising that the distribution of sites with guest posts did not go unnoticed, and already at the beginning of 2014, Google emphasized that guest blogging is one of the most undesirable methods for earning SEO points.
    According to Google: “If you used guest blogging in 2014 to get links, you probably should stop.”
    But this does not mean that you just have to close the door for guest blogging this and next years, it just means that accessing guest spam posts and questionable sites is a really terrible idea.
    To avoid the anger of search engines, prefer quality over quantity. Try to get really high-quality links from reputable and readable sites, instead of those who simply agreed to publish your content.

    However, talking about this is easier than implementing. A guest post on a quality website includes two essential components:
    • Undoubtedly, amazing content
    • Building a long-term relationship with the right site from your niche, instead of searching for sites with one-time links

    5. Focus on search by context

    Semantic search attracted the attention of Google Hummingbird (search algorithm) in 2013. Specialists of all stripes rushed to optimize their content not only for certain words, but also for their synonyms, phrases associated with the product or brand, various content formats, and so what?
    In 2014, the capabilities of search engine bots for semantic processing became more sophisticated. A well - thought - out SEO strategy when searching for keywords will be based on the prospects of the search goals themselves. Therefore, now you should think as a user and come up with as many combinations as possible for queries related to your product or brand.
    Instead of using only keywords, use colloquial queries that convey the natural language structure. If you focus on keywords, use universal “transactional” words, such as: sale, buy, cheap, discount, and so on, to match more likely queries for your brand.

    From the data on correlation of links and ratings, the following conclusion can be drawn: even a quote from your site without a back link to it will raise you in the ranking of results. It works over time while your brand is mentioned in a relevant context.
    Even if your brand is listed with competing companies, the search engine raises your rating based on the fact that we are talking about your product category. If someone from the neighboring brands was lucky enough to have a star rating, some of it will be transferred to you through associations.

    Search engines continue to keep SEO professionals busy. The good news is that SEO now is how user-friendly your site is , and not how good you are at tuning search bots.

    New challenge? It is a difficult task to be really useful for today's well-informed and quick-witted users. But much more interesting.

    Based on Rohan Ayyar materials.

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