The SEO industry is constantly changing. These constant fluctuations are due in large part to the fact that Google has a firm grip on how and when changes occur. This means you need to reevaluate your SEO efforts every few months. And with 2016 recently underway, now is as good a time as any to get started. Let’s review some of this year’s top on-page SEO tips to see what needs to be done to remain competitive.
1. Invest in Long Form Content
The number one thing you can do in 2016 is invest in long form content. We’re talking about blog posts that are a minimum of 700-1000 words. In fact, it would benefit you to even shoot for 1500-2000 words per post. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s really quite simple.
Google loves valuable content and is becoming better at spotting it. As best SEO experts can tell, valuable content refers to content that thoroughly discusses relevant concepts, provides actionable advice, and is semantically structured in a format that’s easily searchable. The simple fact of the matter is that you can’t do this with a 300 or 400 word blog post.
Here’s a good example from Curata.com on what long form content looks like in practice. If you’re looking for more of the science, data, and research behind the prominence of long form content, you can learn more by checking out this guide by SEO expert John E. Lincoln. It does a nice job of summarizing the science behind the evolution of content length.
2. Optimize Your Images
The second tip is to heavily optimize your images in order to maximize their efficacy. What does this look like in practice? Well, it means helping Google bots and crawlers understand what your images are.
Since search engines can’t read images, they rely on things like image URLs, titles, ALT text, and descriptions to get a read on what images represent. You need to make it a priority to fill out all of this information every time you add an image. Furthermore, you should compress images to reduce page loading time, since long loading times are directly correlated with high bounce rates.
Here’s a good example from Wood-Furnaces.net on what good image optimization looks like. Each of their images is properly sized, compressed, and optimized so that search engines can extract meaning and value from them.
3. Allow for Comments on Blog Posts
If you aren’t allowing comments on your blog posts, you’re missing out. The reason is that Google bots and crawlers actually read comments. In other words, the SEO value of a blog post doesn’t stop with the post itself.
By allowing comments on your posts, you can attract valuable keywords and traction that otherwise would be missing. These comments help Google understand the context of the post and it’s been shown that bloggers are rewarded for their inclusion of comments. Here’s a good example of how allowing comments can enhance a blog post’s SEO.
Put on the White Hat
When it comes to SEO, there will always be easy fixes and time-intensive solutions. While it may be enticing to go after the so-called “easy fixes,” the reality is that these are typically not constructive in the long run. Easy fixes generally consist of spammy practices that ultimately do more harm than good.
What you really need to do is put on the White Hat and focus your efforts on the time-intensive solutions. While they’ll certainly require more work, they’ll ultimately allow you to build an SEO presence that’s based on strong foundational principles, not fleeting quick fixes. Keep in mind the tips mentioned above and make sure you’re pursuing the right SEO strategies in 2016.