10 Ways to Improve your Site’s SEO in 2016
Search Engine Optimization. SEO. Everyone seems to have their secret sauce for defeating Google and making your website climb to the top of the search results. You can read countless articles, which are then rewritten when Google changes its algorithm for ranking sites.
What’s a content manager to do?
Luckily, there are several things that will always remain true no matter what Google does to its algorithm.
It always boils down to good content, doesn’t it? If you have compelling, easy-to-understand content with keywords and relevant terms that match what users are looking for (yes, Google is starting to recognize terms similar to keywords that users search for), it will go a long way toward improving your ranking.
Longer content is better.
I say this with caution, since government agencies tend to get long-winded with their content. But research shows that content with 1,800 to 2,200 words outperforms shorter articles. Longer pages rank better, since they give you more of a chance to put the subject of your content in context and insert more keywords and relevant terms. This doesn’t mean that you should bore your visitors with meaningless content, but give them enough information so they leave with the answers they need.
Page load speed.
Lucky for you, we’ve been working on this, optimizing our themes to make them load as quickly as possible. But here’s another reason to get rid of those rotators; each photo in your rotator increases the page load time, resulting in lower search results rankings.
Images, videos, and audio will go a long way toward helping your site’s SEO. Videos and images will also show up on specialized searches for specific content. Use unique images; stock photos will not rank high in image searches.
Google is paying more attention to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest posts, and they are showing up more and more in search results. Use your social media accounts to post relevant content, which will also drive traffic to your site and improve your SEO.
Get rid of broken links.
It’s a sign of an unkempt website, and Google notices that. Luckily, we have a tool called SiteImprove that keeps track of all your broken links and gives it to you in a report. If you’re interested in getting SiteImprove for your site, send us a ticket.
Google penalizes sites that don’t have a good mobile experience. You’re in luck again; we’ve covered this for you. All of our sites are responsive, which means that users will get the same experience no matter what device they are accessing your site from.
Backlinks still matter.
The number of sites that link to your content, not the number of links to your content, is what matters the most. Try to mention URLs to reporters, bloggers and other writers who contact you for information about your agency. They may put it in their article, which will help with SEO.
Simply put, bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit one page on your site and leave. We tend to overlook bounce rate because our users don’t want to stick around government websites; they want to find what they’re looking for quickly, and then leave. But if you have content related to a page that users are looking for, link to it. Use the Related Links feature, or embed them within the page itself. By clicking on those links, users will stick around your website longer and help your SEO.
Good information architecture.
Ensuring that you have easy-to-understand menu items means that people will find your content more easily and possibly visit more pages on your site, decreasing the bounce rate and keeping your users engaged.
That’s it for this part of 2016. Google will tweak the algorithms again, and we’ll have plenty more to talk about. But following these best practices ensures that your pages will have a better chance of ranking high in Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Just remember (I’ll say it again): Nothing trumps good content!