SEO Rules for 2016 – How to rank high in Google in 2016

by Maximilian Claessens
1.6k views 4 minutes read
The rules for effective SEO have shifted notably over the past few years. 6 valuable SEO Rules for 2016 in the following.

The rules for effective SEO have shifted notably over the past few years. Therefore we offer you tips on the current state of SEO and how you can optimize your content to rank high in Google in 2016. Find 6 valuable SEO Rules for 2016 in the following.

If you have a website, you know how crucial it is to invest in good content. But you’ll also have to put some time and effort into learning the new SEO rules for 2016 to stay up to date. The days of driving traffic to your site by packing headlines with keywords are long gone. Google algorithms constantly change, which is why you should implement the new SEO Rules for 2016 directly to maintain a good ranking for your website.

Historically, the recommendations around SEO have been to focus on keywords. But the reality is that search engines are getting much smarter. The content creator nowadays has much less control over how pages are showing up and what words they’re showing up for.

According to an August 2015 study on the future of SEO by Moz Inc., a Seattle-based SEO consulting company, the most important factors for SEO impact next year will be mobile-friendliness, which will increase in impact by 88%; analysis of a page’s perceived value (up 81%); usage data such as dwell time (up 67%); and readability and design (up 67%). SEO factors that the study reported will decrease in impact are the effectiveness of paid links (down 55%) and the influence of anchor text (down 49%).

The 6 SEO rules for 2016 serve as a guideline to meet these factors.

  1. Intention is everything – SEO Rules for 2016

The first rule out of the SEO rules for 2016 is all about intention.You no longer need an exact keyword to offer a relevant search result, says Cyrus Shepard, director of audience development at Moz. Previously, it was about getting the click. Now, it is much more than that: search engines see how people are interacting with your website: Are they going back and clicking on results, or are they finding the answers they’re looking for when they’re on your site? Today it’s about the post-click activity. The click is not the most important thing; you have to satisfy user intent as well.

  1. Keywords aren’t everything – SEO Rules for 2016

Including keywords in headlines is becoming less important, as the second one of the SEO rules for 2016 indicates. Google gets better at interpreting meaning. It used to be that if you wanted to rank for ‘best restaurants,’ you had to say ‘best restaurants’ three or four times. It’s still helpful to mention ‘best restaurants,’ but the semantic meaning is becoming much more important. Now you can just talk about great dining experiences, and the search engines will understand.

Historically, the keyword needed to be in the body copy or in the meta description. But as search engines get smarter, they start to think about other words that you expect to be in that article, what will signal that this is an authoritative article on the topic. If you were writing an article about the Apple Watch, you might have the words ‘Apple,’ ‘iPhone,’ ‘Watch,’ ‘apps’ and ‘time.’ If those are in the body copy, it sends signals to the search engines that this article has high relevance for the user of the search engine.

  1. Focus on the user experience – SEO Rules for 2016

Original content is becoming more important than ever. The more original content you can produce, the better, whether it’s an image or a video, diagrams, anything you can put together that’s going to justify someone wanting to read it or share it.

Although articles with a “top five” list format often are clickable, they should be used sparingly. People like things they can quickly digest, but it doesn’t necessarily have much weight with search. Just make sure that whatever comes after the number makes sense and is useful.

A part of the user experience is also to create an editorial calendar to appeal to your customers’ interests. Your content needs to be original and targeted to your audience.

  1. Size matters – SEO Rules for 2016

Another one of the SEO rules for 2016 is the size. 1,200 to 1,500 words perform better in search, on average. That is significantly different than it was two or three years ago, when 300 words was a pretty long page. Longer articles are getting more traffic, and they’re ranking higher in SEO, especially for competitive terms. The changes that Google is making, and the reason they’re making these changes, is to make sure they’re sending traffic to pages that delight humans. To keep these long texts easily readable, you should break up the content with subheadings, bullet points and images, allowing scanning and digesting the information.

  1. Optimize for mobile – SEO Rules for 2016

More people are reading news on their smartphones, so it’s important to ensure that your content is searchable there. As smartphones become more and more important and the share of people searching Google with their smartphone increases rapidly, you should be aware of how to make your website mobile friendly. This may be one of the most important SEO rules for 2016, so focus on the steps described here on the Google Developers’ page.

  1. Use unique images – SEO Rules for 2016

The last one of the SEO rules for 2016 is about using unique images. While images aren’t anymore as much of a referral source in Google as they used to be, having unique images on your site is highly valuable. The same image can show up in hundreds of places around the Web, but having unique content around those images is what makes it stand out. Any time you can create something that’s custom or use unique photography, that will pay off!

To sum it all up, the 6 SEO rules for 2016 should guide you to prepare your website for a successful year 2016. The most important SEO tip for 2016 is to focus on your audience. Do not try to promote what you want people to see. Instead, aim to deliver what people actually want to see. That will give you an SEO ranking boost.

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