Here at Prosperity Media it is always great to ask others in the same industry what their top tip for 2015 when it comes to Online Marketing. We asked a range of global and local SEO’s the following question:
What is your TOP SEO or Link Building tip for 2016?
We had 21 Knowledgeable SEO’s share their thoughts below:
Try to obtain some type of competitive advantage. As an agency, the biggest factor (yes, bigger than the amount of money they could throw at us) in determining whether we’d take on a client is if there’s any real reason someone should use them over their competitors. They don’t have to be the best, but they have to be the best for at least some slice of the target population.
You can then use that for a lot of things in all of those areas of marketing. By no means does that advantage in out itself get you the kinds of links, mentions, press etc. that you want, but it makes things a hell of a lot easier.
Biggest tip for 2016 link building is Guestographics. Props to Brian on this one. Having a valuable piece of content that you can share with other websites in return for a link is always going to be a viable link building strategy. We have a basic template we use for outreach show shows them the infographic and asks them if that want a personalized intro. Works like a charm.
Here is a live examples for you of past guestographics – http://www.sellwithwp.com/how-much-wordpress-ecommerce-site-worth/
My biggest SEO tip for 2016 will be to get to grips with your site architecture and trim the dead pages. A lot of people are relying heavily on using various methods to get links to their sites from large content link magnets to more traditional resource page outreach while their on site SEO is a hot mess. If your site architecture is not optimised then the pages that aren’t important are sucking all the authority away from the pages you want to rank you can still get some good organic traffic boosts by fixing a lot of the basics.
My finest SEO tip for 2016 is to focus on high end link acquisition, we have been working very closely with several affiliate businesses in 2015 and the best results have come when we have focused on building a small number of branded VERY high quality links to clients sites. It is also crucial to mix up the context of the linking domains so focus on numerous elements of links such as High End News sites, high end blogs, high end social and do not be afraid to build no follow links into any link profile. As an exmaple here is a small case study of this strategy in play – http://prosperitymedia.com/building-64000-affiliate-business-7-months-using-organic-search/
SEO is not a one-season thing. Actually SEO didn’t changed that much over the last few years. How many marketing techniques have you tried? Most of them provide traffic spikes, but the next day the it always fall to the same low levels. Rather than pursuing the newest “growth hacks” stick to the boring basics and focus on things that DO really work.
1. Do the keyword research (and take your time doing it)
2. Optimize your website
3. Start with low-hanging fruits – try to duplicate your competitors’ links and promote your content in the most popular, industry-related communities
4. Avoid the newest (and soon-to-be-banned) link building methods
5. Set-up and execute a long-term strategy
Approach Link Building With A PR Mindset
If you’re still building links like it’s 2006, you may as well be playing with fire.
…You’re going to get burnt.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but Google will catch you out.
In the words of Eric Ward, you need to ask yourself – “Would I still want this link if Google didn’t exist?”.
Links are about more than the SEO benefit, sure that’s part of it but what really grows businesses is – visibility, branding and authority.
It may help if you think in terms of mentions rather than links.
1 link/mention on a high traffic, authoratitive website that’s relevant to your audience will do far more for your business in the long run than a bunch of links off spammy social bookmarking sites or a handful of splogs publishing spun content.
Try using sites like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and SourceBottle to find real opportunities to leverage your expertise.
You’ll be able to secure some incredible mentions because there are countless journalists that need experts to take contribute to their stories.
For example, HARO sends out several emails a day full of opportunities. In today’s email there were opportunities for:
* Washington Post
* Fox News
* A daytime TV show
Start leveraging the expertise of everyone in your business and you’ll be surprised how well this can work.
A while back I spent 20 minutes putting together several responses and ended up being featured in CIO.com and HuffPost. Not bad right?!
Give. The more you give, the more you receive. Take that mantra into everything you do, and good things will happen. That is the way the world works. Mention and link to other influencers in your content and thank them when you share your content on social media (many of them will respond and share themselves). Help a colleague with a project and you’ll create a better relationship between the two of you, which can help you both down the road. Tell people how great they are when sharing their content on Twitter, and many of them will retweet it. Say yes to charity opportunities for your business and earn links through some of them. Your future growth opportunities are endless if you have a giving mindset.
It is pretty tough to give one specific tip that applies to all businesses. In fact, it’s impossible, so I would like to offer some more general advice, or a philosophy rather that businesses can adopt to be grow their visibility and grow their business in 2016:
Simply put – do things that help people. Create something that makes a difference in the real world. That’s it. Plain and simple. Don’t worry about the latest fad – whether that is is social media, content marketing, viral infographics or anything else that comes along. Just look to understand your audience and potential customers and see how you can help them. Look at their pain and how you can help them gain.
That may indeed end up being a Blog post, a video or even some kind of resources page but start with the mindset of what can we do that will help our target audience? As an example, we helped a company that had their domain name of ten years hijacked by an employee – they lost ten years of good, honest SEO in the blink of an eye so had to get back up quick time. This company provided mobility scooters for folks going on holiday. So, we researched all the hotels and activities that were accessible to users in their location and provided a holiday guide for folks with mobility issues. That allowed us to build traffic to hook into other marketing (retargeting etc) but also provided a solid tool for outreach to build links. Before long they were back at the top on a new domain whilst 12 months later the legal wrangling for the domain still continues.
Ultimately, there is just so much content out there at the moment – it’s a blizzard (or a minefield). There are so many bland, boring social accounts. Literally millions of duff infographics. There are probably more blog posts than people on the planet and most of them are simply ‘me too’ posts or, well, just a bit rubbish. Don’t contribute to that digital scrap heap – do something worth doing.
In a nutshell – find something that does not exist and that is truly useful, create it and tell people about it.
My biggest SEO tip is more of a gamble. I am focusing a lot on “SERP curation” which is the art of making your brands SERP appear more robust. This might include getting a nice looking Knowledge Box, Knowledge Graph answers, site links, hcard, and of course making sure all title tags and metas are in their place.
Right now no one really knows if this signal will translate into better rankings or more traffic because it is still so now. I’ve been testing this a lot over the course of the last year and the numbers are pointing to “yes” particularly for brands that have really been able to establish themselves as entities on the web. There are so many true entities in the real world that are not represented on the web, it is our job to help that translate in the SERPs.
In 2016 I’d suggest to make your site adaptive. Assuming that your site is already mobile-friendly aka responsive this is the next step. It doesn’t suffice to make your site readable on the go.
People on the move have often different needs than at home. For example someone using a smartphone might want to find your next brick and mortar store instead of your online shop. Also, logically,
a person visiting your site using a mobile phone is more likely to be looking for your phone number to call you.
Besides that mobile users prefer short text not “long form content”. A responsive site will just display the same content and navigation elements as the “desktop” site but some of them might be completely unnecessary for mobile use cases.
An adaptive site will adapt to the context of the visitor and show the phone number, physical address, directions and short summary first on mobile instead of the flashy, large and virtual stuff for desktop users.
“Content is clearly something close to our hearts at Zazzle and 2016 is the year that it will truly become a mainstay of most major marketing plans. With such investment, however, comes a requirement for commercial measurement. It needs to prove to be worthy of investment! My ‘top tip’ is therefore not actually a tactical one at all but one around setting expectation and proving value.
“Creating processes that tie content back to measurable revenue is a critical first step in earning real buy in. I have written about a couple of ways in which you can start to do that simply here and here from a search perspective but there are a myriad of ways you can do that in a more general context.
“The most important part of the whole process is to set realistic expectation at the beginning, explaining that not every campaign works and that ‘softer’ metrics such as shares and impressions are truly valuable in a content context. Why? Simply because often those assets you are creating sit at the very top of the ‘funnel’ and it may be 12 months or more before that person ‘converts’. Measuring content over any lesser period will often result only in disappointment and perceived failure.”
I honestly think the best link building today is not only the 1:1 (relationship building) activity, but spending a lot of time qualifying the prospects and developing the perfect asset targeted to your prospects. More and more I notice our standard link building efforts yielding less results, but any time we hit it hard with a “big idea”, that’s when we most often see measurable movement from our link building.
So, our rule of thumb (and my tip) is if it can’t bring good referral traffic, don’t sweat over obtaining it – akin to PR – since there seems to be a correlation there with Google and rankings. I don’t mean user metrics; instead I believe Google has just gotten better at figuring out what is a useful and interesting link to their users. This is a VERY different way of looking at link building, and I was pushing against it for a long time, but I have to go with what our latest experiences have been showing us.
My 2016 tip for link building is to rename it to link relationship building. I think companies will need to build strategic relationships with key sites in their industry and provide quality content in exchange for links.
Companies will need to be selfless in their approach and give out some free information and tips to other providers within the industry to build trust and credibility in the market.
Customer review websites will provide link opportunities, and raving fans will automatically place links to your websites on forums, blogs and general websites if you are able to go above and beyond. Companies will need to build relationships with their customers and key websites in the market place to build the authority to achieve high rankings in competitive niches.
Another good tip would be to have experts journalists interview your business and to create an article promoting your point of difference in the market. Not only will you obtain a link, but another medium to promote your brand and how it differentiates itself in the marketplace.
The responsibility of an SEO in 2016, will be a vast challenge to help their clients to get back to the more difficult challengers at hand and encourage internal resources to be involved.
Link building/SEO – Without a doubt, reverse engineering competing sites. It’s quite possibly one of the most straight forward and most powerful, yet least spoken about link building methods I know of. I use this strategy for all of my clients, regardless of what market they’re in because it works so well. Essentially the process involves gathering a list of competing sites that are performing well in the search engines, reverse engineering their link profiles, compiling the data into a spreadsheet and working through it in an effort to replicate. It’s much like walking through an orchard, shaking every tree in the yard, and gathering up the best apples as they fall.
With the clamp down on Guest Blogging, we all know that quality matters over quantity. Now it’s about quality posts on quality sites. Getting accepted on quality sites, however, requires you to take a customised approach. While a lot of people discuss going through and taking a good read of your target’s posts to get a flavour of their style, tone and their audience, you can take this one step further with a few tools.
If you pop the domain of your target into BuzzSumo.com you’ll get a list of the most shared articles of your target. Go through the top shared content particularly to find out what the audience of the target responded. Make a list of these topics.
BuzzSumo.com will analyse any target for up to a year back. If you want to go further than that, use Screaming Frog or your favourite Crawler Software to gather all the URLs on your target. Upload those URLs to SharedCount.com and you’ll get sharing information on all those URLs.
So now you’ll know exactly which posts and which topics were most popular on your target, and you can use this as a basis for generating content ideas that you can pitch to them.
This way you are aligning your pitch with what their audience has found the greatest value in, which will increase your chances of getting accepted.
With so many factors to consider in the Game of Rankings and with SEO strategies getting closer and closer to the good old PR tactics, business owners will soon realize the need of building a comprehensive online marketing plan that manages to kill several birds with a single stone.
Good social signals, fresh quality content, regular inflow of authority links, establishing key relationships with industry influencers (both potential clients and field experts) – they all boost online visibility – so, instead of trying to work on each of those separately, we should try to appease all of the them with a single project.
Well-planned content creation, proper distribution and promotion is the right way to go. And when referring to content, one should not limit his imagination to textual pieces only – think of videos, gifs, memes, infographics, etc.
Keep in mind that visual content gives more freedom to your peers and here’s why:
While an article strictly represents your thoughts and believes (your readers could simply “quote” your conclusions); visual content is more open to external interpretation. By creating visual content you present your readers with the opportunity to borrow your idea and introduce it to their peers through the prism of their own unique perceptions. The content thus builds up and “evolves”, if you wish, and so does your online presence.
Creating something of value is never easy, but neither is the contemporary quality link earning process. You should change your way of thinking: by focusing on PR you build strong and valuable relationships, as a result your words get heard and you enjoy new quality links, traffic, leads and the so-longed for conversions. If we compare this plan to the past link building process (first create links – then wait for ranking jumps, and finally cheer at the popularity boost, increased traffic and sales) – you’d see that modern way in contrast offers results that are long-lasting and rewarding. It just takes more time and efforts to adapt it to your overall marketing plan, but in the end – it is an investment worth making.
I know a lot of people will suggest content marketing related strategies, especially for 2016.
My contribution for this post would be taking influencer outreach even further and targeting actual mass market bloggers instead of only niche related sites. I would target celebrities or those that are “almost” celebrities, such as Youtube superstars, food bloggers and other sub niche bloggers.
Why? It’s because they are open to being contacted and they go through their pitches daily to see offers to get them more sponsors. You can easily pitch a service to them, like showing them how to get more traffic or other creative ways. With enough experience, this can be scaled up really easily.
To get links, you can do it in a variety of ways. They are usually open to new content (which you can structure to fit their audience and to benefit you) or you could add a blogroll link, one page/sitewide link and so on, but the way I prefer it is to look for older content on their blog that is at least relevant to your niche and ask for a link in those and then promote that URL. They’d be glad to trade that for you in exchange for knowledge, free work, etc.
The best part, you gain a friend that has 100k-1m+ followers across different social media accounts.
Free exposure that will net you new leads and eventually, new links from other bloggers that follow them. If you got a link on a highly visible area of their site, you get enough cold leads that you can at least convert to new subscribers.
Obviously, the relevancy issue will be an issue so this is where your research will come in.
This year (2014) has seen a huge growth in the broken links section, with more and more fresh SEO’s taking on the blog network. I believe that if you’re buying a domain with backlinks and publishing some amazing content, there shouldn’t be any harm in that. It’s the people providing unreadable content with no value, and using the same theme they purchased in 2004 – across all domains – that should be devalued.
Put in the time to find some great writers, developers, designers and buy a camera. Start producing quality websites with content people actually want to read and subscribe to. Think outside the box and seek subjects that are not so common on the web already. Keep those blogs updated regularly and only scale up when you feel you have the time and love to give to a new website. At the end of the day, I’m just preaching quality content and it’s not a new argument, but something I feel strongly about.
UX is something you also need to consider across all your websites. I’ve seen some amazing blogs created on old domains just for link building purposes, but the ones that stick out are the ones where the user experience is well thought out. They’re quality websites, some I’ve even subscribed to simply because the articles are spot on.
To round that up, keep going with finding broken links, make good content and treat it like a money site. Think quality, not quantity.
“My tip for 2016 would be to focus on the user experience. Whilst Google have always maintained their aim is to give a great user experience, I think 2014 was the year they started to show they meant it. Everyone waited for the Penguin update that never came, so those algorithms targeting ad heavy sites, hidden tabbed content and the suggestion that Panda now considers engagement metric went largely unnoticed.
Moving forward, think about the user – consider site speed, mobile, content and mark up. Many SEOs are still licking their wounds over not provided and underwhelming Penguin updates, whilst I think everything you need to know about making your site perform well in search is at your disposal in analytics and webmaster tools.
For me, SEO is not dead, just the E now stands for Experience.”
My best SEO tip for 2016 is a strategic one rather than a tactical one. As Google gets better at semantic search, it will be more and more important to have relevant content to rank and in my opinion general off page metrics (at domain level) will see decreased their weight. This lead me to think that after years of similar keywords split on different pages we’ll see few topical hub pages ranking for an increasing number of terms and as an SEO consultant my advice is focusing on reviewing your site content and re-aggregate pages where it makes sense. You will want to have one landing page for dozen of keyphrases connected to the same topic, and even when not required by a Panda dampening restructuring thin/unfocused/unorganized content will be your best strategy in terms of on-page SEO.
Think personalised, mobile and on-demand. Make sure that you see beyond the search engines and anticipate how your content will be found and consumed. Focus on the user, their behaviour and their journey. Create content that connects with them every step of the way and tells a remarkable story that will get shared.”
Please let us know your top SEO tip for 2016 in the comments below and please be sure to share this post on social channels.