On Page SEO Techniques which are important in 2016
SEO is important.
It does not matter what you do. If you are on the web, you need to know about SEO. It is equally important for e-commerce businesses, freelancers, internet marketers, and small businesses with an online presence.
After all, it is SEO that brings you passive organic traffic (completely free of cost!) and keeps your old content in front of your target audience.
But the thing with SEO is that it keeps changing and evolving. Search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, keeps introducing new algorithms and updates that alter the way SEO works. This is why it is very important to keep yourself updated with the knowledge of latest SEO techniques, tips, tricks, and trends.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss the latest on-page SEO techniques for 2016. Excited? Let’s get started.
But let’s start from the top. So, if anyone of you doesn’t know what SEO is and how it works, you can easily understand what we are talking about.
What is SEO?
For anyone who does not know the basics of SEO, here is an excellent definition to get you started.
“SEO, which is also commonly known as Search Engine Optimization, is a process of optimizing your website with certain rules, tricks, and techniques. An optimized website then have a much better search engine ranking than its competitors and, therefore, drives more traffic and potential customers.”
One more thing.
Let me ask you a simple question.
Let’s assume that you want to search for “online marketing companies in Chicago”. Here is what Google shows for that search query.
As you can see, some of the websites are ranked higher than the others. Moreover, there are hundreds of search results pages. But, as online users, we don’t really go there, do we? We usually browse the first couple of pages, and that’s it. This is why search engine optimization is so important.
If you have a business website that is ranked on, say, the 8th page of Google’s search results, nobody will find you. However, if your website is ranked on #1 on the first page, it stands a pretty good chance. According to a research, the top 3 positions in search engine results pages (SERPs) get 61.5% of all traffic visitors.
Now, that we have clarified the basic concepts of SEO, how search engine optimization works, and why it is so important, let’s discuss one more concept before we jump to our main topic.
On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO
SEO techniques are divided into two broad categories: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO includes the techniques that are employed on the front-end of a webpage. For example, keyword optimization, keyword density, H1, H2, H3 tags, keyword inclusion in the title of the page, URL optimization, etc. are some of the prominent on-page SEO techniques.
On the other hand, off-page SEO — as the name suggests — deals with the backend of the webpage. Off-page SEO primarily revolves around backlinks.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss all the latest on-page SEO techniques that are going to be very useful and important in 2016. And remember, if you keep using outdated on-page SEO techniques, you will not see any positive results. Furthermore, some outdated SEO techniques can even get you penalized by search engines, which will result in the loss of search engine rankings and a drop in traffic. So pay a lot of attention.
On-Page SEO Techniques for 2016
Here is a list of different on-page SEO techniques that will work in 2016.
1. Long-Form Content
There was a time when publishing 300-word blog posts used to be enough. There wasn’t much competition in the content marketing world, and 300-400 word blog posts had a good chance of ranking higher in the search engines.
However, that was almost two decades ago. Now, the SEO world is changed, and those 300-word blog posts don’t cut it.
Search engines — especially Google — prefer to see in-depth and information-rich content. If your website has shallow content on generic topics, it is less likely to achieve top search engine rankings. And the efficiency of all the tips and tricks that we will learn in this post depends on this single concept.
Content really is king!
And if you want to compete for the higher search engine positions, make sure that your foundation is perfect.
The bottom line is that do not write 300-word blog posts. They are not going to work in 2016. Instead, create more in-depth, comprehensive, and informative blog posts that are rich in content and total words. As a matter of fact, Google prefers 2000+ word blog posts. Such posts have a much better chance to be ranked on Google’s top 10 positions.
Here is a research that further validates this point.
Recently, SerpIQ analyzed 20,000 different keywords and the top 10 search engine results for those keywords. They found that each web page ranked on Google’s 1st page had at least 2000 words in it.
See the following image.
In other words, any blog post that had less than 2000 words it didn’t make it to Google’s 1st page. And that’s not a fluke. 20,000 keywords are as good a sample as any.
So, here is the tip.
It does not matter how you create your content in 2016. Make your content informative, comprehensive, and rich in content. Don’t just add fluff to hit the 2000-word mark; it won’t help. Instead, add enough value, information, and tips that it automatically becomes lengthier.
2. Keyword Optimization
On September 26, 2013, Google announce a major update for its search engine algorithm, i.e., the Google Hummingbird update. That update drastically changed the keyword-optimization strategies.
Now, the old keyword-optimization techniques do not work. Google is continuously evolving itself to become smarter and a context-based search engine.
Some SEO experts even claimed that keyword optimization would be dead after the Hummingbird update, but that is not the case. Keyword optimization is here to stay. It isn’t dead, but it is certainly changed.
Earlier, the on-page SEO tactic would have been to maintain a 3-5% keyword density. That’s not the case anymore. Instead, your focus should be on creating a natural post — without keyword stuffing or maintaining a certain amount of keyword density.
Google — as well as the other search engines — prefer to show natural, useful, and meaningful contents to their users. That’s what they rank on the top positions. According to Google itself, you should be creating content for your human readers, not for the search engine robots.
Furthermore, for as long as your primary keyword appears once in the text, and the content is genuinely useful and helpful to your audience, it will rank higher in the search engines.
Given said that there are a few keyword optimization tricks that you should learn:
- Make sure that the title of your page has the primary keyword in it.
- It helps if your primary keyword appears in the first 100 words of the text.
- Having your primary keyword wrapped in proper H1 and H2 tags may also greatly boost your search engine rankings.
- Apart from the title tag, the main keyword should also appear in the meta description. You will learn more about it in tip #5.
- Add credibility and context to your main keyword and post with LSI keywords. Let’s discuss it in detail.
3. LSI Keywords
LSI keywords have been gaining more and more popularity. In 2016, they are only going to become more famous and common.
What are LSI keywords? LSI refers to “Latent Semantic Indexing”.
That is too technical, right? Here is a much simpler explanation.
LSI keywords add context and meaning to your post. These are relevant keywords that are supposed to be used along with your main keyword. Search engines like to see LSI keywords in a blog post.
For example, if your main keyword is ‘Apple’, how do you think search engines will identify whether you are talking about Apple Inc. (the creator of iPhones) or the fruit that keeps the doctor away?
The answer is LSI keywords.
If your post is about Apple Inc., you can use the following LSI keywords to add more context and meaning to your post:
- Steve Jobs
- Tim Cook
These LSI keywords add context to your post and help search engines understand what your post is really about. Moreover, you should also use these LSI keywords to avoid using your main keyword too many times. Otherwise, that leads to over-optimization of keywords and a possible search engine penalty.
To find LSI keywords, use the following tools:
4. Long-Tail Keywords
As I mentioned earlier, the competition is getting tougher in the content marketing world. It is not easy to rank higher in the SERPs.
This is why you are going to need lots of long-tail keywords in 2016.
Basically, we divide keywords into two broad categories:
- Head keywords
- Long-tail keywords
For instance, “shoes” is a head keyword. On the other hand, “red Reebok shoes for men” is a long-tail keyword. It is much more targeted and specific. Generally speaking, long-tail keywords have 3, 4, or more words in them.
Head keywords show a lot of search volume, but you shouldn’t go after them. Why? Honestly speaking, because it is useless. It does not matter what you do and how you do it, you can’t rank for a popular head keyword.
However, you can rank for targeted long-tail keywords. Relatively speaking, that is much, much easier. Furthermore, long-tail keywords have their own benefits. The biggest of those benefits is that long-tail keywords have a much better conversion rates.
When compared with head keywords, long-tail keywords will show a low search volume. But it is always recommended to pursue those long-tail keywords, as you will not only get very targeted traffic, but you will also receive high-quality leads and a much better conversion rate.
5. Meta Description
This is another very important on-page SEO technique that will have a noticeable impact in 2016 and beyond.
Let’s see why it is important before we jump into the nitty-gritty details of how to optimize it.
As search engines are getting smarter, they are focusing more on user-experience. In order to do that, they are now looking on factors such as search engine click-through rates (CTRs) and exit-rate.
For instance, suppose if you have a webpage ranked on the 3rd position on Google’s 1st page. Now, for example, if 10 out of 100 users who see that webpage clicks on it, it gets a 10% CTR. At the same time, if a webpage that is ranked on the 8th position on Google’s 1st page gets a CTR of 80%, Google is going to notice that.
It might mean to Google that the webpage ranked on #8 is offering much better value to its searchers. As a result, eventually, that webpage will get a promotion. And because the webpage at #3 was constantly getting the lowest CTR, it might get demoted in the search engine rankings.
Got the concept?
The same rule applies if traffic visitors instantly quit a webpage after opening it. Search engines notice that, too. If most users instantly quit a website after landing it through search engines, it sends a negative signal that the site isn’t very useful to them.
The on-page SEO technique for it is to create meaningful and relevant meta descriptions and meta titles.
Ideally, the meta description should have your primary keywords. It should also be meaningful, descriptive, and very engaging. Here is an example.
Good meta descriptions ensure that search engine users already know what they will be getting on the other side. This is also why well-crafted titles are so important. They lure the readers in (resulting in higher CTR) and keep them engaged (ensuring that they do not quit right away). All these factors lead to higher search engine rankings.
Moreover, you can also use LSI keywords in the meta descriptions of your blog posts. Here is an example of that.
The world of search engine optimization changes at a rapid pace. If you are to remain competitive, you will have to adapt to the latest SEO techniques.
In this post, we discussed the latest on-page SEO techniques for 2016. Make sure that you implement these on-page SEO techniques in 2016 and beyond, and we will keep you updated if any new techniques, tips, or tricks become important.