At Online Advantages, we spend a lot of time looking at current trends and zeroing in on how these trends will shape the future for San Jose digital marketing, as well as around the Bay Area. There’s a lot of misinformation, disinformation and outright panic from people who don’t really understand how search engines are looking at site content these days. Google alone changes its algorithms over 500 times each year, or about 1.5 times each day! With this in mind, we’re going to look at how current algorithms Google and other SERPs are using will shape the future of SEO in 2016 for San Jose businesses, and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve! Join our Live Hangout.
Keywords are NOT dead!
You may have heard that keywords are dead, comatose, on life support and so on. As Mark Twain famously quipped, “Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” Keywords are still the heart and soul of your online content, because these are how people find your site! Most search engine queries consist of 3-5 words, and it’s these words that businesses want to target because these combinations are how Google decides what to show first based on relevance. While “long-tail” key phrases and building content specifically around a keyword is no longer desirable, in favor of solid, value-added content, keywords are still the lifeblood of your SEO. This is one point where we differ strongly with the naysayers, because until they find another method of entering search queries, keywords are still the Holy Grail.
Content is still king.
Just like keywords aren’t going anywhere, content very much remains the key focus for SEO in 2016. How the content is presented is shifting from all-text or all-video or all-image to mixed media for optimum results, largely because different people assimilate and assess information differently. However, content and keywords together are still very much the Dynamic Duo of SEO, and so having great content, however you choose to deliver it, gives your site a better chance of getting that coveted first-page ranking. Hail to the King!
It’s all about the user experience
Long-form content that delivers real, actionable and useful information instead of 8,327 iterations of “Buy my stuff!” always performs better in search engine queries. 1,200-1,500 seems to be the sweet spot, but there is always a place for longer or shorter content depending on what you’re trying to get across. This means having your site and its content optimized for maximum page speed and loading, mobile and cross-platform sharing, employing mixed media to get and keep user interest, keeping your site information up to date and your content fresh are all important elements of delivering the best possible user experience. The idea is that people who find information first and foremost are far more likely to convert to active buyers than people who are asked to fish out a credit card on the home page. (If you’re still doing this in 2016, seriously—don’t. This isn’t going to win you friends with users or search engines in the long run.)
Watch your links
Who’s linking to your site, and whose sites are you linking back to? Google has been penalizing websites for having suspicious or improper links for at least three years now, and became far more public about it in late 2014-early 2015 with their overhauls of Panda and Penguin algorithms. Organic, logical links won’t earn you a penalty and will actually boost your reputation, but now of all times, “black-hat” link building schemes that are designed to get you a quick bump will ultimately hurt your site, rankings and traffic a lot more than it will help.
Google Console: Are you using it properly?
Google’s Webmaster Tools suite has changed its name simply to Console, but the purpose and function still remain largely the same. Despite the absolutely essential nature of Console, too many people are ignoring the bonanza of information and opportunities it presents, tending to target just a few KPIs or metrics while ignoring all the other information that Console automatically collects about your site. Do you know where your traffic is coming from? How long visitors are staying and what they’re doing while they’re on your site? Where they go within the site? What your top performing content is?
If you answered any of these questions “No,” then you’re missing out on harnessing Console’s full power and understanding not only user behavior within your site, but how you can turn those behaviors to your own advantage. San Jose businesses are showing a sharp uptick in profit overall from 2014-2015, and there’s no reason to believe that trend won’t continue, but why settle for pennies using what you know right now when you could be making dollars by taking some time to study Console’s visitor tracking information and get better acquainted with what you don’t know?
Don’t forget about the “social” in social marketing
Multimedia offerings that combine written content, video and custom still pictures are all great, and can help you boost your social media marketing. However, what’s really going to count here is interaction between your brand and the people you’re trying to reach. A one-sided conversation isn’t social, and in 2016, keeping connections and lines of communication open appears poised to be THE single most key indicator in how your marketing and outreach will function. Asking questions, offering advice and tips and talking to people will do more for your brand than any other combination of tricks and tactics. That doesn’t mean you can ignore everything else to focus just on pressing the flesh, so to speak, but it does mean that San Jose businesses should be emphasizing social marketing more heavily than ever before in conjunction with the other things we’ve discussed here for 2016. This will help drive your social media presence and search engine rankings by leveraging positive word-of-mouth interactions connected with your brand.
Whatever your San Jose business has planned for 2016, Online Advantages knows the area, the people and the nuances of digital marketing well enough to help you develop a strategy that really delivers the actionable results you need. We’re proud to serve our community and the businesses that call it home, and we’re looking forward to helping you make 2016 your best year ever. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 408-645-7102 today!