Are you looking for valuable information on how to rank higher on Google? Then, you first need to understand that the rules for effective search engine optimization (SEO) have considerably changed over the past few months.
Top 7 Tips on How to Rank Higher on Google in 2016
In the following piece, I will offer you great tips that you can use to understand SEO as it stands today, optimize your content appropriately, and rank higher than your competitors on Google and on other search engines.
1. Content is King
If you own a local website, you are probably going to target local customers. The first step would be to invest in high-quality content to engage your target market. You should also take some time to learn the new SEO rules adopted by Google. It shows how Google algorithms keep changing, and why you need to implement new strategies to rank higher on Google.
Historically, SEO recommendations focused on keywords. However, Google and other search engines are smarter today than they were last year. As a content creator, you have less control over how your pages show up on search engines and the words they are showing up for.
According to SEO and Google Analytics experts, important factors to consider this year include mobile friendliness, usage data (such as dwell time), and the design and readability of your online content.
2. Intention is Everything
Intention will matter this year. You no longer really need exact keywords to start getting relevant search results. Whereas website owners previously concentrated on getting more clicks, search engines are now looking at how people interact with your site. They are checking to see if your visitors are going back to Google and clicking on other websites, or if they are finding the answers they were looking for on your website. The focus is now on post-click activity. Therefore, as you learn how to rank higher on Google, ensure that you first satisfy your user intentions.
3. Keywords Are Not Everything
This year, it is becoming less important to include keywords and scatter them all over your website. Google has become smarter when it comes to interpreting meaning. Some time back, website owners who wished to rank for “best resort” had to include that specific keyword 3 or 4 times within their content.
Although it is still useful to mention such keywords, you should focus more on the semantic meaning. For instance, by simply talking about amazing holiday accommodation experiences, you can still get the search engine to understand your meaning and rank your website highly.
Historically, you also needed to include your chosen keywords in the Meta description and in the body copy. However, as Google smartens up, it is starting to think about a variety of other phrases and words that would be expected to appear in an article. These extra phrases and words will signal the article’s authority.
For instance, if you were writing a blog post about the Apple Watch, smart words to add to your content would include “time”, “apps”, “Watch”, “iPhone”, and “Apple”. Having these extra words within the body copy will send signals to Google (and other search engines) that your article has higher relevance for the people using the search engine.
4. User Experience Counts
Original content is more important today than it was, say, 6 months ago. Remember, the more original your content, the higher your website will rank on Google. This rule applies for all types of content (diagrams, videos, images and written works) that people will want to read and/or share.
To this end, although content with the “top 6” list format is often clickable, you should use it sparingly. Nowadays, people are going for articles that are easily digestible – even if they don’t hold much with search.
Therefore, you should ensure that your content makes sense to the end user (the local customer you are actually targeting). It should also be useful and help them solve their problems. You can also improve the user experience on your local website by creating an editorial calendar that will appeal to and draw your customers’ interest. Overall, so long as your content is original and highly targeted at the audience, you will start ranking higher on Google.
5. Size Matters
The size of your content will also have an impact on how well your website is optimized for search engines. On average, articles and blog posts with 1200 to 1500 words tend to perform better in search. This might be surprising since 300-word articles were considered too long a couple of years ago.
Google Analytics shows that longer articles receive more traffic and rank higher in terms of SEO. This is especially so for more competitive search terms and keywords. Google has been making changes to ensure it is sending more traffic to pages that are delightful to users.
A simple trick to keep readers interested in such long pieces would be to break down the content using images, bullet points and subheadings. Doing so will give users an easier time scanning and digesting your information.
6. Optimize for Mobile
More people access the internet on their smartphones than on personal computers. This is why it makes sense that Google lists mobile-friendly websites higher for given search terms.
To rank higher on Google, therefore, ensure that your content can easily be searched for, accessed and read on a mobile device. By making your website more mobile friendly, you will start getting more traffic. After all, smart devices are increasingly important and the number of people conducting Google searches on their smartphones is definitely on the rise.
7. Be Unique
Placing unique content (especially unique images) on your web pages will give you a higher rank. Although the same image will show up in different places around the web, you can set yourself as uniquely different by adding unique content around your images. This strategy will make your website stand out from the rest of the crowd. Your efforts to create custom content and use unique images will also pay off in the long run in the form of higher ranks on Google.