Did you know that 93% of online experiences start with a search engine? In 2016, you can't afford to leave SEO (Search Engine Optimization) out of your marketing strategy. So when it comes time to sit down and get to optimizing, where should you start?
Ring in the New Year by making these 5 realistic SEO resolutions for 2016.
- Upgrade your website
Google, and all other search engines, exist to serve the user. That means user experience is a huge determining factor for where a website will be positioned in search results. If you have an outdated, non-mobile friendly website, this will directly impact your ranking within mobile search results.
So why not start fresh? The New Year is a great time to start thinking about redesigning your website. A redesign will allow you to start from square one and make plans for additional features or functionality which will help improve the experiences your users have with your website.
Be it through mobile friendliness, a simplified navigation, improved page and URL structure, loading speed or providing a more secure environment so users can feel safe about any transactions they make with you, Google will see that you are making UX (user experience) a priority and will eventually take bias toward your new, user-friendly website.
- Create Fresh Content
Fresh content can do wonders for SEO. So start some content initiatives this year! Be it through press releases, blogging, videos, etc., the possibilities are endless. Put a content strategy to work for your website and keep it up-to-date by adding quality content on a regular basis. Show search engines, and users alike, that they have reason to frequent your website.
- Complete and Optimize Title Tags & Meta Data
Are your window titles optimized? Does your meta description include a call to action? Do you have a different heading tag for each webpage? Meta data is one of the simplest ways to optimize a website, yet most people disregard this step. There is always more you can do to improve and optimize your meta data. Start by prioritizing and completing the meta description, the window title, and H1 tags for the most important pages of your website.
- Don’t Forget Off-Site Optimization
Off-site factors are playing an ever-increasing role in determining rankings. Take advantage of this by promoting your website across the various listing, review and social media platforms available. These platforms will not only help to strengthen your presence for branded searches, but they are also useful in building reputable inbound links to your website. Not to mention, completing these online profiles will help to ensure the accuracy of your online information across the board.
- Measure Your Progress
It’s hard to know the progress you’ve made if you don’t have benchmarks in place. Setting goals and monitoring your performance will allow you to adjust and improve your SEO strategy accordingly. Google Analytics is a great place to start. Compare past data to evaluate the progress you have made, and analyze current data to set new goals for your website moving forward. In 2016, make sure you set aside time to delve in, understand, and draw insights from your website analytics.
- Title Tags: Title tags or window titles are the main text describing an online document and generally display at the top of the browser tab. Aside from overall content, title tags are the most important on-page element of SEO. They should contain relevant keywords, location information and should contain no more than 70 characters.
- Meta Descriptions: Description tags provide a concise explanation of a web page’s content and are commonly displayed by search engines on search engine results pages. While not used by search engines in ranking algorithms, description tags inform searchers what a given page is about and are a key part of your online marketing strategy. They should contain relevant keywords, a call to action, and should contain between 150 - 160 characters.
- Heading Tags: H1 tags (and H2, H3, and so on) are generally used to display page headings and other prominent text on a page. They are one of the many ranking factors used by search engines to determine the topic area and hierarchy of a given page. They should contain relevant keywords and accurately describe the page content.