SEO: What’s Working Now?

The rules for effective search engine optimization have shifted considerably during the past few years. Most strategies that worked a year ago are no longer effective in 2016. On the other hand, techniques that we didn’t pay much attention at that time have become quite important these days. Most marketers are beefing up their investment in content marketing. But they need to have a good idea about the changes in SEO to take full advantage of their investment.

According to Andrew Riedel, owner and chief SEO strategist at, the days of driving traffic to your website by stuffing your article with keywords are long gone – keyword stuffing hasn’t worked for at least 12 years but some webmasters are still plugging away and wondering why their sites can’t be found in the SERPs!

The new focus on SEO revolves around providing a better user experience to the searcher. Google’s future depends on retaining their customers with them. To do this, they have to provide a good user experience to the searcher to make them coming back to Google. This is why they have changed their algorithms to look for websites that provide a better user experience for their customers. This article provides information on what’s really working in SEO in 2016 and beyond.

Intention Is Important – An exact keyword is not required anymore to offer a relevant search result. It is not all with a click like in the past. In fact, the search engines are watching how the customer is interacting with your website. Are they finding the answers to their question? It is all about post-click activity these days. You not only have to get the click (hint: Google is closely monitoring your click through rate – so stop stuffing keywords into your meta descriptions – they don’t count anyway! – and start writing compelling descriptions) but satisfy the user intent as well. This is how SEO works in 2016 and beyond. It is important that you provide the best user experience possible to the visitor. Proper navigation is important to direct your visitor to other resources on your site. It will help retain him or her for a longer period on your website. This is what Google is looking for from the webmaster in 2016.

Keywords Aren’t Everything – You need not include the keyword in the headline since Google has become better at interpreting the meaning of your website. In the past, if you wanted to rank for “the best SEO service,” you had to mention the phrase in your title, H1 tag, and three to four times within the article. This is not that important anymore. It is still helpful if you mention “the best SEO service” in your article, but Google has become better at comprehending the semantic meaning of your page. Note: There’s a nice explanation of semantic web optimization on the Streamshare website here.

LSI keywords (latent semantic indexing) are very important these days. You don’t need to stuff your main keyword in the article these days. Use LSI keywords and Google is smart enough to interpret the meaning of your content. In other words, write naturally about your subject- after all, you are the expert in your industry – and you’ll find that you will naturally insert industry related terms or LSI words into your content.

Article Size Matters – Longer articles perform better in search these days. Your article should be between 1,250 to 1,500 words long if you are to derive the maximum benefits today. This was not the case a few years ago. You could have dominated the search engines with a 300-word article and thousands of spammy links during that time. Longer articles are getting more traffic and ranking better in the SERPs these days. Google wants to improve user experience through this exercise. They want your article to solve the problem of your visitor. You need to break down the longer articles with relevant subheadings and bullet points where necessary. Here’s a great article on writing compelling content;

Mobile Optimization – This is another big one in 2016. Mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches in 2015. The gap is widening even further in 2016. You need to use a responsive theme on your website to provide the best experience to mobile users. Make sure that Google can understand the content that is found within a mobile app. This is important to take full advantage of the changes in SEO in 2016 and beyond.

Unique Images – Having unique images on your website is important in 2016. Although images are not the big referral source it used to be in the past, using unique images on your website is valuable in the long run. This will help provide the visitor to your website with a better user experience after all. This is why you need to include unique images on your website in 2016 and beyond.

User Experience – As I mentioned earlier, this is the biggest SEO change in 2016. You need to focus your attention on increasing the user experience on your website. Original content is important than ever because of this reason. The more original and engaging content you add to the website, the more visitors are going to share your content with their friends and family. The content on your website needs to be targeted to your audience. This is the best way to attract more and more visitors to your website. Other factors you’ll want to think about here are site load speed, 404 errors; that sort of thing. Anything that’s going to annoy your website visitor need to be fixed. Often, it’s a matter of testing, trial and error, more testing etc.