Not much has changed since 2015, but if you look back to 2014, there have been some significant trends. Part 1 of 5 SEO best practices in 2016.
This is the 1st of a 5 part series on SEO best practices in 2016, and how Web It can bring life to your online presence. These are called Google Best Practices. And it’s what Web It does for clients, day in and day out. Are these all new to you? Then shame on you for not following the rules. We do it “by the book”. No overstated promises. No shady backlink buying. No outsourcing overseas. Just hard work and results.
5 SEO Best Practices in 2016
No look at SEO best practices in 2016 would be complete without mentioning the biggest change to SEO in 2015. Back in April 2015, Google released a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that was designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results (Bing quickly followed suit).
In 2016, your website performance in now the most important factor when looking at SEO best practices. Mobile searches have eclipsed desktop, laptop and pad searches combined.
Having a mobile-friendly website is not only a good idea, it’s #1 on our list of best SEO practices for 2016.
Website Performance Factors Strongly Influence Search Engine Rankings
Website performance metrics also play a large role in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) positions, because these performance metrics indicate how well visitors can engage and consume your website content.
In general, these performance metrics include factors such as:
- Mobile responsiveness
- Site speed
- Dwell time (time on page)
- Clean code
- Content delivery speed from server
- Hosting/Server configurations
Every user study confirms that the most important of these metrics is the fact that your website must be “mobile-friendly” per Google.
On April 21, 2015 after a 60 day warning, Google changed their mobile algorithm to use “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking factor, thus promoting mobile responsive sites and demoting traditional desktop sites. Then, the first week of May 2015, Google announced that there are now more mobile searches than desktop/laptop searches. If your site has not adapted to a “responsive website” (Google’s preferred solution), you’re about a couple years behind the curve, and as of Spring 2015, more like behind the proverbial 8-ball.
Responsive Design for all devices
Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to website design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of re-sizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). By utilizing responsive design, you eliminate Google penalties and your website users now see the came content and images, irregardless of the device used.
Responsive Webpages load faster on mobile than traditional unreadable, un-navigable pages
With a Responsive Webpage, your “load time” especially on mobile, decreases. Responsive pages load quicker. That’s important because web users are an impatient lot, and studies have shown that if a site takes too long to load, it won’t appear as favorably in search engine results. Google even maintains a site where they score your website speed. A fast website keeps the attention of site visitors and encourages them to browse the content; a page that loads slowly will often drive users away and toward your competitors. By keeping the site’s responsive CSS code clean and up-to-date, developing a stable site menu architecture, and maintaining excellent file and resource management practices, you can help guarantee quick-loading webpages for your site’s visitors. You can test your sites speed and user friendliness on Google HERE.
Google also measures “Dwell Time” or the amount of time a visitor spends on a page on your site. This is a big SEO factor as well. Is your content up-to-date and engaging? Is it authoritative and trustworthy? Does the URL match the page title? Are the key words in the meta- description accurate? Are they in the page content and the SEO title? All this plays a central role in SEO. (more on this later).
Again…you need to have a mobile responsive website. What else can be said? If your website is not built on a responsive platform, that becomes a serious SEO mistake. You can test your business website HERE to see if Google considers it “Mobile-Friendly”.
Taken together; mobile friendliness, site speed and dwell time make up “Website Performance” and it’s a very big factor in SEO. So much so, it’s #1 on our list of SEO Best Practices in 2016. Don’t believe us? Why else would Google maintain websites for business owners to measure performance and mobile friendliness?
Continue to 5 SEO Best Practices for 2016- Part 2