SEO strategy cannot be consistent or the same every year. There has been a lot of changes happening in the search engine industry in the last three years, so the SEO strategy cannot be the same as in the previous year. There has been a significant change in search engine ranking in the past year which is to be adopted in 2016 to get success. Our study has given due consideration to Google’s one million search results analyzed by Backlinko and Eric Van Buskir. Google makes use of more than 200 factors to rank a website and all these factors may not be equally important. Therefore we recommend a few important search engine ranking factors to be included in your 2016 SEO strategies.

SEO Ranking Factors 2016

SEO Ranking Factors 2016

  1. Keyword in Your Page’s Title Tag – Including your important keywords in the title tag may help you in ranking. The impact may not be that as good as in earlier years as Google is moving away from exact keyword usage to Semantic Search.
  2. Site Speed – It is true that fast loading websites rank better than low speed sites. There is a direct correlation between your site speed and Google site ranking. Check and improve the loading speed of your website on all devices especially mobile.  Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can be used to check the speed of your website.
  3. The number of Referring Domains – Backlinko’s study has confirmed the number of referring domains has a direct link with ranking. Domain diversity in backlink profiles has a substantial impact on rankings. Better to get more links for diverse groups of domains. As Example, it is better to get 5 links from 5 domains rather than 5 links from one domain. You Must have an organic link building strategy.
  4. Authoritative DomainsAuthority link domain rank better in Google search results as per backlinko study. Here the question is not of page authority but of the overall authority of the domain. Try to get more good backlinks from relevant authority sites of your niche to improve your domain authority.
  5. In-Depth Topical Content – Google gives preference to comprehensive in-depth topical content now. With the help of the Hummingbird Algorithm, Google now understands the topic written on each page.  Google shows a preference for longer, more comprehensive content. Therefore just write topical, researched comprehensive in-depth topical content.  Google is showing us that semantic relevance & semantic optimization with the latest  Hummingbird and RankBrain algorithm, is here to stay.
  6. Longer Content – Longer content ranks better than shorter content. Long content ranks better because of more social sharing and improved page’s topical relevancy. As per backlinko study, the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.
  7. Mobile Friendly – Google mobile-friendly update known as Mobilegeddon confirmed that mobile-friendliness is a significant factor in search engine ranking. Therefore you must ensure the mobile responsiveness of  your website.
  8. HTTPS A Ranking Signal – Google confirmed on their webmaster blog that a secure https connection is a ranking signal. It is not a strong signal as it affects only 1% of global search queries. Therefore big sites can decide to go on HTTPS.
  9. Schema Markup – Latest study shows there is no correlation between schema markup and ranking. Google hints it may decide to use structured data in its ranking algorithm someday. Well, there is no harm in using Schema Markup. Use structured data for your website as Schema helps with your click-through on a page and more traffic.
  10. Long URL vs Short URL – Shorter URL tends to perform better in search engine ranking than long keywords stuffed URLs. Use short URLs as much as possible.
  11. Number of Images in Content – Web Page with an image rank better than a page with no image. The reason is more social sharing and more views. It does not mean that having too many images in your content will boost your ranking. Just have at least one.
  12. No of Backlinks – All SEO community says that having too many backlinks can hurt your ranking but backlinko study shows that websites with the higher number of backlinks are still ranking better. Although I am not sure about this.
  13. Exact Match Anchor – All we know is that Google penguin in 2012 affected all sites with exact match anchor text in backlinks. The study still shows that there is a ranking correlation with exact match anchor text.  Maybe it helps Google understand a page’s topic better.  We will advise having a diversity of keywords in anchor text.
  14. Low Bounce Rates – There seems to be a correlation between users’ experience and website ranking although Google denied it. Try to create good, unique, and topical content so that users can stay for more time on your website.  It’s probably highly contextual and tied in with other quality signals.
  15. Social Signals And Rankings – Social signals may not be a direct ranking factor but you get your content popularised and get more backlinks. Therefore social sharing or social media marketing is always to be added.
  16. Guest Blogging – In 2016 Guest blogging will remain the favorite strategy of building links and reaching a new, targeted audience.
  17. Infographics – Obtaining backlinks via Infographic is a strategy that has been around for years. We know the in last year results started to diminish but still in 2016 we consider it as a valuable link-building tactic.

We hope that you can use our findings and recommendations while formulating your SEO strategy for 2016 by creating in-depth content, providing the best possible user experience, gaining increased traction and rankings for your website.

Happy Search Engine Optimization and Rankings