08/26/2016 03:38 EDT | Updated 08/26/2016 03:59 EDT

SEO In 2016 Has Evolved Beyond Simple Keywords

Search button on virtual screen pressed with finger
NicoElNino via Getty Images
Search button on virtual screen pressed with finger

Over the past two decades, SEO has evolved... explosively. Search engines, how we use them and how we use the Internet in general have all changed in massive ways. All of that change impacts the way SEO works. To be successful in SEO, we must be prepared to adapt, constantly.

Which brings us to now. What works today? What's important in 2016? How can marketers, entrepreneurs and SEO practitioners adapt to the changing technology, habits, social signals, behaviour, content, etc.

This article will explore how professionals can (and should) adapt their businesses to the new DNA of SEO.

Whereas SEO could once be summed up with "keywords analysis, meta-tags and backlinks," in 2016 SEO consists of:


1. Competitive analysis

  • What are your competitors ranking for?
  • What backlinks do they have?
  • What is their paid search strategy?
  • Who is your competition?
  • How saturated is your market?

2. Keyword research

  • Determining your most relevant keywords
  • Ensuring these keyword have considerable volume
  • Ensuring you are not targeting overly competitive keywords with little chance of ranking
  • Mapping keywords to specific pages, posts, sections, and categories of your site
  • Implementing keywords in an organized manner, across all on-page tags

3. Reputation management

  • Monitoring mentions and links in comment sections, blogs, social channels, news sites and forums
  • Responding accordingly to ensure your brand is upheld and issues are appropriately addressed

4. Site crawlability

  • Ensuring your site is indexed and crawlable
  • Ensuring private pages, personal information and any other non-public information is effectively blocked from search engines

5. Link building

  • Pursuing quality backlinks
  • Guest blogging or writing for related and relevant sites
  • Avoiding black-hat or questionable techniques
  • Creating content that attracts quality backlinks

6. Community management

  • Monitoring and participating on social media channels
  • Managing Facebook and Twitter environments
  • Providing relevant content that generates shares and likes
  • Moderating and responding to concerns, inquiries and comments
  • Ensuring social channel details, bios and info are SEO friendly

7. Content marketing

  • Creating an editorial calendar
  • Recommending on-page SEO content changes when necessary or beneficial
  • Recommending content for new pages
  • Identifying content creation opportunities
  • Ensuring current, past and future content on web properties is aligned with your brand identity, business interests and conversions

8. Image optimization

  • Properly naming images
  • Adding relevant tags to all images (Title, ALT and Description)
  • Ensuring images are properly structured and you have a clean image sitemap submitted to search engines

9. Schema optimization (Schema markup helps search engines provide useful results by telling them where data is, what it stands for and how it can be used.)

  • Using the right rich snippets on the right properties
  • Adding the necessary microdata tags to the right sections of your site

10. Video optimization

  • Providing recommendations to creative teams on trending or in-demand topics
  • Optimizing videos on YouTube and Vimeo by providing relevant and SEO friendly meta-tags, titles and descriptions
  • Hosting on-site videos and ensuring they are structured, organized and a video sitemap is submitted to search engines

11. Local SEO optimization

  • Creating an optimized, well rounded, complete and verified Google My Business page
  • Creating the right schema data associated with your local content and pages
  • Utilizing local content in page tags (Titles, Headers and Alt Tags)

12. eCommerce search optimization

  • Ensuring pages are perfectly canonicalized
  • Ensuring there are no broken links
  • Structure, structure, structure
  • Controlling site indexing and crawling, especially for dynamic pages and auto-generated content
  • Blocking all admin, customer or other private content
  • Capitalizing on reviews
  • Utilizing schema markup for reviews, products and services
  • Generating mobile friendly content and design

As you can see, SEO in 2016 goes far beyond simple keywords.

A sufficient SEO strategy today not only ensures your website ranks well for relevant, high-volume keywords, it must also account for brand integrity, customer support, conversions and data security. If you want to be successful, you need to be ready to address the full DNA of SEO in 2016.

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