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Big Google Update for 2016. SEO Tips for Survival

For those businesses that have seen ranking fluctuations over the past week or so, we finally have an accurate answer (and this has been confirmed by Google) that there was a core algorithmic update. This was not some minor tampering with the algorithm, this was a huge change and it’s based on websites that are thin on content. We would say that it’s fine tuning it’s Panda update. So which animal do we call this one…..the Google elephant update?

Whilst many SEO companies are still fumbling around trying to figure out exactly what happened we want to take a more proactive approach and let our readers know what we feel just went on and what they can do to survive these types of seismic Google updates. Taking a reactive approach never works. To stay up to date with Google you need to follow these tips in 2016.

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As Sydney’s a leading digital marketing and SEO agency, we already predicted many of these changes well over 6 months ago. We are so well ahead of the curve that all our clients survived these changes. How did your business fare? Did you suddenly drop 2 or 3 pages? If that’s the case then these tips WILL help you overcome this latest round of elephant size updates.

Content creation is soooo important!

The Panda algorithm made certain that if your website has no copy then it will fall on the chopping block. This latest Panda enhancement has solidified businesses need to publish quality content regularly. For those businesses out there (even small ones) there are now no more excuses relating to a sit back and wait approach to their website. Thinking that just designing & building a new website is all that it takes to stay competitive, is misguided. Simply put, it no longer cuts the mustard and you will pay the price with the latest updates. Panda and Elephants will take no prisoners.

I often speak to people that tell me that they like a minimal design with no content but still want to rank on Google OR they tell me that they haven’t touched their website in years and wonder what’s going on with their rankings. They really can’t comprehend: a) why they can’t seem to get to page 1 OR b) why they are now sliding backwards.

It’s all related to their content and their pages with less than 250 words. That’s right! If all pages on your current site are less than 250-300 words expect no mercy from Google. I’m warning you right here, right now! Also, Google is punishing those sites that have tried to over optimise their pages with keyword stuffing for SEO purposes. These old tricks and out dated methods are so passé. Google is doing a fine job of weeding out these perpetrators without impunity.

An effective content marketing strategy for 2016 means that you have to think about not only writing brand new copy with zest but going back over old blogs and web pages and giving them a refresh. A huge task I know but this is reality of the SEO space in 2016; content is now the master of SEO. Having said that, you need to read on because you still need an effective linking strategy. Simply publishing awesome copy will not be enough unfortunately for some.

Social Media Rules

Is there are direct relationship between SEO and social media? In the past this hasn’t been too clear but in 2016 we feel that the way you engage with your customers via tweets, shares and likes on social media platforms will have an impact on the way Google feels your website has authority. This is not 100% confirmed, but as users rely on social media for their purchasing decisions, Google is definitely not going to be left out of this. The jury is still out on this but at SEO Sydney Experts our prediction for 2016 is that social media activity are a good rankings signal for Google. I recommend being seriously committed to being active on Facebook and LinkedIn. It cannot do you any harm and you never know where your next lead is going to come from. So please, do not disregard social media and place it in the too hard basket. I am also going to add YouTube in the mix here. We have a client for example, that sells surf charters in the Mentawai’s Islands, Indonesia and relies heavily on YouTube for their market share. To date in combination with SEO, YouTube drives 40% of their sales inquiries

Make sure your ‘on page SEO is flawless’.

Google is going to smash sites and this is apparent in their latest update that are not compliant. Basic SEO 101’s like URL structures, titles, descriptions and H1 headers are a no brainer. If you do not get in their and do some house work and cleaning up of your site then others that are compliant will rank above you. The user interface, the customers journey, user experience and website architecture are all in the mix here and need TLC. Knowing this is only half the battle. Working out a solution is something that you need to analyse (through Google analytics) and come up with a workable solution. This is where the services of a digital agency are really important. If you business lives and dies by Google then make sure you work with an agency that has both SEO & web experience. That is US!

Also ask yourself an honest question; did you plagiarise any copy from another website? If the answer is yes then you must delete this copy. Duplicate copy in 2016 will harm you more than ever.

Make sure you get reviews from customers.

Proper back linking is a must to get to page 1, but if you are able to get real reviews from actual clients to post them on Google reviews this will have an impact. I know there are many companies out there that have been subjected to fake and malicious reviews by competitors but if you are able to get honest, realistic feedback / evaluation from your customers and have them post this, then for 2016, this is going to help your online profile. Not to mention, blot out any fake reviews. Satisfied customers in our opinion are always happy to leave a review.

When was the last time your checked analytics?

Google gives you the necessary tools to check the performance of your website. Now I know that for most businesses getting in and rummaging through your analytics is probably like taking your car apart and trying to put it back again. Impossibly hard and out of the scope for most people. But, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean that you can sweep it under the carpet. Speak to us about this important tool. It will help you understand your websites bounce rates, consumer engagement, time spent on the website, which pages were viewed and the over all customer journey. Armed with this knowledge, SEO agencies like ours, can make minor on page tweaks to improve the overall experience which in turn will have a flow on effect to better SEO rankings. Basically, in 2016 the more time spend on your site with more click throughs, the higher your rankings.

In 2016, for Gods sake don’t fall for the same old SEO scams!

I won’t go too much into this as I have made my point very clear in past blogs BUT if you are still going to believe the lies that are told to you by SEO agencies that they: CAN GUARANTEE your ranking then YOU DESERVE WHAT’S COMING NEXT…..a penalty!

Seriously, 50% of the calls I still get want some kind of SEO guarantee because they were told by another agency that they could get this. 2016 is the year businesses grow up and start to realise that an SEO GUARANTEE is impossible ( as you are dealing with a 3rd party, Google). If business still cannot accept this fact after all the literature out there, then they probably will end up going with a company that offers these promises AND THEY WILL PAY A HEAVY PRICE very soon – Google will make sure of this. The latest algorithm has hit many businesses that payed next to nothing for their SEO, got crappy back links and are now beyond page 10. If you want SEO to work for your business then you need to pay a proper monthly fee and stop believing the BS spun to you.

These above tips should at least prevent your rankings from falling if they already haven’t started. In 2016 do something good for yourself and your business; speak to the experts on 02 9360 8514