SEO Still Important In 2016 Or Is It Dead?

SEO

It’s the New Year and you want to take advantage and profit from the unstoppable rise of online shopping – but is SEO still the best internet marketing strategy to benefit most from the digital economy?

Paid advertising, Social Media, Email Marketing the options are numerous!

First the facts according to DMR, there are now over 100 billion monthly Google searches (last updated 10/12/15) of which more than 50% are now from mobile devices.
Market researcher IDC predicts that by the end of 2016 almost 3 Billion people worldwide will be online.

According to the Office for National Statistics in quarter 1 2015, 86% of adults (44.7million) in the UK used the internet in the preceding 3 months. Up to 31 million are actively shopping online with over 90% of all online experiences starting with some form of search.

Ofcom the Average Adult in the UK now spends over 20 hours online per week

UK online retail now exceeds £100 billion

Despite continued economic uncertainty spending online continues to grow so how will your business be found in 2016 is SEO still important.

Search Engine Optimisation

If you go to Wikipedia, SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s unpaid results”.

So if you have a product, article, video or blog post you want the search engines to show your result somewhere near the top.

The closer to the top the more likely you will benefit from all that traffic that the search engines will pass on.

The difference between the amount of traffic a site will receive being positioned at the top of page 1 compared to the bottom is huge and confirms the old joke

“if you need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Googles search results”.

It’s certainly true that SEO has come a long way from the dark days when the practice amounted to little other than stuffing webpages with as many keywords as possible, and other questionable tactics, that left many websites a mess and did little other than puzzle visitors.

We can thank the search engines – market leader Google especially – for clearing all that up, with updated algorithms that punish sites for engaging in such strategies and reward those with quality content.

Long Live SEO or is it dead?

Facts…the internet is here to stay, online shopping will continue to grow, Google is a powerhouse, the value of being at the top of page 1 can be huge.

If you want to win the lottery then at least give yourself a chance and buy a ticket!

To the naysayers who have cast doubt on the ongoing effectiveness of SEO and predicted its coming demise, there’s an ocean of evidence in the business world that says otherwise.

In fact, SEO and its swift evolution is proving to be so effective to companies, whether they have an e-commerce site or just looking for brand awareness.

Key Factors to sustain your SEO efforts in 2016

Content: Still King

As we march into 2016 following successive algorithm changes designed to make the internet a far better place, for website owners and the average visitor, content is still a major factor in achieving brand awareness and good site rankings.

SEO is no different than any other skill, the more effort you put in the better the results will be. Long gone are the days when vast swaths of content were produced using article spinning software or at low cost just to stuff keywords into your site.

Delivering quality content has always been a good place to start and will still make you stand out if you are selling into a low competition niche.

Producing great high-quality content which is informative, interesting sometimes amusing is likely to get you noticed and if you audience likes what they read they are more likely to share.

Tip: Consider writing longer articles. In 2012 the suggested ideal length or an article or blog was 500 – 700 words.

SEO Content

Keyword Research

While there is no doubting that businesses need to pay attention to what’s on their sites, and to ensure their content is original, authoritative and frequently updated it largely remains the case that there’s way more to creating new audiences than an article or blog: there’s the active seeking out of people in the first instance. That starts with matching (key) words with (search) interests

Keyword stuffing is an absolute no no, in 2016 as it was in 2015 it is important to think semantically.

According to Google’s own research, deriving meaning from synonyms of keywords accounts for over 70% of searches. In-depth research will often reveal quality long tail phrases that are easier to rank.

Proper keywords are an essential part of an SEO campaign, and there are a variety of ways to go about devising the right ones – all of which an agency can handle for their clients.

For starters, they can look at your business rivals and see what keywords they’re using and determine the success they’re having with them. It’s not a crime to copy anyone’s keywords.

People are still looking for things online the way they always have: by typing the things they’re after into the search engines.

The most effective way to appear in relevant searches is by employing a powerful combination of good content and carefully selected keywords, the fundamental elements of any SEO campaign.

The seek-and-find game is one that’s constantly changing, however, and many firms soon discover that it’s almost impossible to keep up. How do you find the right keywords to match users’ queries?

How do you determine just how effective they are? And how do you go about altering them so they perform better?

A professional online marketing agency can go further and start introducing so-called long-tail keywords that are increasingly being used by companies as they’re often more natural to read than one or two keywords awkwardly placed in text.

Going local

There’s way more to SEO, though, than just keywords – so much more that handling it yourself quickly becomes a full-time job, when you really should be focused on running your business and driving it forward.

All the many elements of a powerful SEO campaign are combined in one package when using a professional agency, and anything that’s not working is quickly tweaked to get real results for the clients.

All kinds of new developments are cropping up with SEO all the time, and one that’s been fast emerging in recent times is SEO targeted to local communities.

Local SEO is proving to be a sure fire winner for companies that are using it, and for good reason: people searching for products and services online generally prefer those that are available in their own areas, not halfway across the country.

That’s why rising numbers of firms are including local SEO in their campaigns because it delivers tangible results and a high return on online marketing investment.

Tips: Ensure your website is responsive, Optimise local keywords, Speak about local matters in your content,Register in local Business Listings,Interact locally using social media

Website Must Be Mobile Friendly

Let’s not forget about mobile, the place where more people than ever are now accessing the internet.

It’s not just about having responsive websites that display and work properly on smartphones and tablet computers; it’s now also a necessity to tailor SEO strategies to take mobile search into account and for the vast ecosystem of apps that many people use instead of the traditional website to get information or buy products and services.

Indeed, the search engines are now using app content as part of their determination of rankings.

Conclusion

As the digital economy steams ahead and becomes ever larger, sustained good quality marketing tactics are only going to become more integral to firms and the way they present themselves to audiences.

Having the right professional online marketing agency to handle it for you is critical in all of this: one that understands what you want to get out of the internet and how to develop and execute a strategy that includes the all-important SEO.

SEO as a marketing strategy is still alive and kicking!

Chris Wright
Chris Wright
Managing Director of Nettonic Ltd a Bedford based digital marketing company specialising in helping businesses to improve their online brand awareness. Linkedin

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