The year of 2016 is drawing to a close and so is another year of trying to game the system to give our websites a higher SERP position.
This is the time of the year in which we weigh in on what we’ve done and what we’re going to do next, so we thought this would be a stellar opportunity to do a mash-up of all we’ve learned about SEO and how it changed in 2016.
Below you'll find 9 factors that are proved to work in 2016, so they are what you should be focused on right now and at the start of 2017.
Page Age Matters a Lot
Ahrefs did some interesting research on the various SEO signals Google supposedly takes into consideration, and the results were very interesting.
The biggest correlation between these signals and high results happened with the domain and page’s age.
What this means is that the older the page is, the higher it will rank, and that’s why you shouldn’t spend your life scrapping projects and beginning new ones if you’re still looking for your spot in the competitive industry of Internet Marketing.
However, what we recommend you to do with this information is stopping producing fresh content so much and focusing on old pages that already rank, making them better and adding some fresh keywords – preferably long tail – to the mix.
Shorter URLs Rank Better
This one was a surprise since many people thought it simply didn’t matter, but according to research, shorter URLs do indeed rank batter than longer URLs.
This information is pretty useful for those of you who use various subfolders when they’re landing page, as they tend to create longer URLs and this may be hindering your chances at a higher ranking, so if you haven’t considered shortening your URLs, this may be the right time to do so.
Exact Matching Isn’t That Important
Once upon a time there was this simple notion that with exact match domains and titles, as well as some meta tags, you could even rank a blank page.
To be honest, that was actually true back in 2000, but we’re not there anymore.
In today’s SEO world, exact matching, being in domain names, meta tags, titles or even image alt-tabs, isn't that important.
In fact, research showed no correlation between EMDs and higher rankings, and neither did it find any correlation with EMTs (Exact Match Titles).
So, sticking your keyword in every field of your Yoast SEO plugin may not be as effective after all.
Sprinkle LSI Keywords and Bucket Brigades
This tip is related to copywriting and how you write your blog posts.
Brian Dean from Backlinko really likes the idea to write just a few articles to spend all of his time promoting them, and that’s why he wants to produce the best pieces he can as to give said content the best chances to rank organically.
Recently we got access to a research post he did that points out how you can increase your ranking chances as well as reading time, and it was thanks to two variables:
- LSI Keywords: (Search Latent Semantic Indexing) Which is the use of keywords closely related to the topic you are writing about.
- Bucket Brigades: Using powerful kickers to keep readers engaged and interested.
Using these two techniques, which Brian shared on his original post we’re linking to, can yield you ranking improvements in two distinct ways.
The first way is that it increases your rankings organically thanks to the expanded keyword pool (especially the long tail ones you'll score along the way), and the second way is thanks to the decreased bounce time, which we'll talk about later in the article.
Backlinks are Still Vital
We all know the picture of the Internet Marketer screaming “SEO IS DEAD” when he saw his site had plummeted after he blasted it with millions of Senuke links.
The truth is that for that guy, backlinks were indeed dead because they were low quality.
However, backlinks are still an extremely powerful piece of the puzzle, but they need to come in quality and not quantity, something that old marketers were getting.
So, instead of spamming thousands of small sites requesting for a backlink, take time to do some e-mail outreaches to big site developers.
Getting one powerful link is worth infinitely more than thousands of crappy ones.
HTTPs Ranks Better
This variable is easy to fix, albeit it can be expensive to some, but according to research HTTPs domains do rank better.
If this comes as a surprise for you, then it shouldn’t, as Google had already publicly declared that HTTPs was a ranking signal.
Regardless, there are plenty of ordinary HTTP domains ranking well, so don’t fret too much if you can’t afford it.
Optimize for High Site Speed and Low Bounce Rate
There are two things you can do to show your site is a high-quality portal, and that is making sure that Google knows it is both technically and personally capable.
First of all, you can prove your site is technically sound if you have a low site speed, and second of all you can show your content is really great and in-depth because the bounce rate is low – showing Google that your readers found what they needed.
The good thing about this combo is that if you optimize Page Loading Speed, you also decrease your Bounce Rates as people won't leave after waiting forever for a page that fails to load.
Long-Form Content is King
Finally, that research from Brian Dean on content also showed that Long-Form content ranks the best and those longer articles have much more chances to rank highly than shorter ones.
This is something to consider whenever you’re thinking about publishing that 300 words blog post.
Be Present In Multiple Platforms
Neil Patel recommends website owners to be present on various platforms, which include not only several sites but social media as well, in order to prove they are real and that they mean business.
If you haven’t gone social already, you’ve been missing out!
So, we hope you enjoyed this SEO mash-up, and we wish you success for the upcoming year of 2017.
Don’t take the path of least resistance and struggle for excellence – you’ll reach it!