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Modern SEO Strategies for 2016

SEO strategies have changed dramatically over the last few years. So, what modern SEO Strategies can you employ for 2016?

Google is constantly changing the formula it uses to work out which websites it should return in its search results. Over the last year in particular we have seen three massive changes in the google algorithm which have been labelled by Google as ‘Panda’, ‘Penguin’ and ‘Hummingbird’. Changes to Googles algorithm are expected to increase over 2015.

It is important to understand the motivation for all these changes. Google has become aware that companies have been ‘gaming’ their system. Google is determined to deliver appropriate websites in it’s search results and has stated that it will stamp out these ‘black hat’ SEO practises. Google has all the motivation it needs to get this right. Their business model is dependant on appropriate websites being returned in Google searches.

If Google detects that your website is employing any of these black hat techniques they will penalise your website.

So what is an appropriate SEO Strategy for 2015 and beyond?

Google have introduced the acronym EAT which stands for EXPERTISE, AUTHORITY and TRUSTWORTHY. In general terms, these are the characteristics that Google is looking for when recommending companies via the results in its search engine.

It is therefore essential that you position yourself as an Expert and an Authority.

Great, I hear you say, but what does this mean in practice. Can you give me some specific details on how I can do this?

The short answer is that you should be consistently publishing quality content on your website (through a blog), and on social media platforms like Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. While Google is not directly using Facebook shares or likes in it’s algorithm, there is a strong correlation between Facebook / Google+ engagement and Google Search results.

It is important to note that Facebook business pages and posts can be crawled by Google if they are public. The Google+ social platform is of course owned by Google and they can therefore easily measure activity. There is no way of telling the exact weighting Google gives social media activity when returning search results however, almost every expert agrees it does play some part and its influence on search results is likely to grow over 2015.

Another important distinction to make in this discussion relates to the concept of Authorship. As part of it’s focus on EAT (EXPERTISE/AUTHORITY/TRUSTWORTHY), Google expects to be able to access the profile of the Author of the website it is returning in the search results.

How can Google get this Author information? The answer is through the Google+ social platform. It is essential the you have a Google+ personal page, that you connect this personal page to a Google+ company page, and that you then connect the Google+ company page to your website. It is through these connections that Google can access the profile of the website author. It also explains how the activity on a Google+ personal page can influence the search results of a website.

There is a lot more to say on this topic and we will go into it in more detail in future posts.

Takeaways:

Some SEO techniques that were effective a few years ago can now damage your rankings.

Content Marketing forms the backbone of all modern SEO strategies.

The boundaries between marketing disciplines has blurred dramatically. For example, the difference between an SEO expert and a Content Marketing Expert is less obvious.

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Luke

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