3 Principles that will make your life as an SEO Expert in 2016 easier

SEO is a field of online marketing that is always changing, and techniques that were applicable just a couple of years ago are obsolete today. With search engines working harder to provide value to searchers by improving their algorithms continuously, it’s important for budding SEO experts to stay abreast of any changes that will affect the trade, and hence provide true and lasting value to clients. The following are some of these changes:

  1. Intention-based search

Search engines today have become much better at deciphering user intent than before. Therefore, simply using keywords to mark out your content is not enough anymore. In addition to understanding intent, they are able to collect data on click-throughs and session durations, which is used to inform future ranking.

Therefore, in future, you should focus on addressing specific needs/questions in your target audience. Provide accurate, timely and detailed information about each question, without necessarily concentrating on any keyword/phrase. Providing more details increases the likelihood of being ranked when users ask questions on that subject.

  1. No more short-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords are more or less moving down the path to complete obsolescence, unlike past days when they ruled the world of search. While keywords are still useful, stuffing content with a particular keyword today doesn’t necessarily tell search engines that you’re an expert on the matter.

Instead, for every subject, the search engine comes up with a list of words expected in a discussion about that subject, and will consider your content satisfactory if these words are present. In a question about podiatry, for instance, the search engine might expect to see words like podiatrist, feet, foot diseases etc. as opposed to meaningless phrases like ‘best podiatrist {location}’. Simply focus on providing real and meaningful answers to your audience, instead of optimizing certain words for the search engine’s benefit.

  1. User experience is king

Anything Google does to its algorithm has its foundation in trying to improve user experience by providing the best answers on the first page of each query. Optimizing for your users is, therefore, the best way to ensure that Google will rank you at the top. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Ensure that your site is fast, easily accessible and easily navigable for users
  • Address every subject you create content on exhaustively, including details like links, images and video, which will enhance the user’s understanding of the subject
  • Creating original, catchy and digestible content as often as possible to cement your place as a thought/opinion leader in your field

Rather than approach SEO with the mindset of optimizing for Google, consider how you can add value to your audience. That way, your audience will always leave your site happy and sated, and Google will in turn reward you for it.