Over the last couple of years, the world of SEO has changed a lot, and we can expect even more changes as we head into 2016. You have probably heard about the RankBrain update – a whole new section of the Google Algorithm which Google uses to help to determine the rankings for search queries that it has never seen before.
Believe it or not, around 15 percent of the queries that Google gets each day are ones that are new to the search engine. With those queries, it has no prior knowledge that it can use to decide how a website should be ranked, so it needs to determine site authority and quality based on factors such as the context of the keywords, and on-site optimization. It can’t look at bounce rate and CTR – things that it uses for more popular queries, because the metrics aren’t there. In addition, it doesn’t have the luxury of having had real humans verify the websites. Google does have a search quality team, but they stick to the most popular queries most of the time, to optimize the quality of the search experience for as many people as possible.
So, given that knowledge, what should you be focusing on for 2016?
Well, RankBrain is a complex, machine learning algorithm. Google has not disclosed what exactly it looks at when trying to figure out rankings, but it is safe to say that things like page loading times, valid HTML, the age of the domain, the freshness of the content, and the keyword density of the content will have an impact on rankings.
Google is getting a lot better at telling the difference between natural keyword inclusion and spam, and things like context matter too. If you write about Jaguars and mention an engine, your website is unlikely to appear in the results for a search for someone looking for jaguars, the animals, for example.
But RankBrain isn’t the only big SEO change these days. There’s also a lot to think about in terms of local SEO. Today, smartphones are the primary means of engaging with the web for a lot of people. If you want to reach a local audience – which a lot of small business owners do – then local ranking factors and mobile friendliness are things that you should pay attention to.
Mobilegeddon was a big story in 2015, and we are likely to see even more refinements to mobile search in 2016, and even more attention paid to local listings and location in rankings.
As a business owner, you really should pay attention to local listings. Having a presence on Google Maps, and Bing Maps, and updating your profile on other directories and sites too, will help you to improve your rankings significantly with users who live in your area, or who are visiting them.
Search has changed a lot since the days when it was all about link volume and keyword density, and as we head into 2015, things like usability, quality, content, and more will become even more important. Social media is coming back to the forefront in terms of importance as a ranking factor too – to the point that Google recently bought back access to Twitter’s firehose. Doubtless other social media profiles will become important over the coming months.
While the world of Edmonton seo is changing, for the most part the rules remain the same – write quality content and design for your users, don’t spam, but market yourself via social media. With that strategy it is hard to go far wrong.
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