Why use SEO in 2016? What would SEO be like in 2016?
Up until now, SEO was all about Rankings and increase of Organic Traffic. These were the 2 main KPIs we were measuring and presenting to our clients. We had some main factors so as to achieve a good SEO optimization (On-Page & Off-Page) as Keywords Density, meta titles, meta descriptions, the amount of backlinks, etc. It was pretty easy to do spammy work back then… and succeed.
Then the UX metrics came along. In the new era, generating traffic in our website with good UX metrics is very important so as to improve our rankings and SEO.
By working over the last few years with the new updates of Google I have concluded this:
• Directory submissions increase backlinks but NOT the traffic on my website. (with the exception of some premium Directories).
• PR submissions increase backlinks but NOT the traffic on my website. (Except from some really good and premium Directories).
• On-Page SEO will only increase the traffic of my website up to a certain point depending on the competition and of course the Google updates.
• Bookmarks that are used well could generate some traffic towards my website and also increase the amount of links. Although if I just use them to add a link without having an active account they will not work.
• Comments left on sites of third parties are useful but will NOT increase the traffic on my website significantly.
So I have a question.
Without traffic on my website how is it possible to achieve good UX metrics?
In my opinion, it is not possible. This is what I believe:
Before: Good SEO Result –> Increase of Website Traffic.
Now : Increase of Website Traffic & good UX metrics –> Good SEO.
So, it is quite clear that a few years ago SEO was the way, but now SEO is the result!
But wait a minute… result of what?
Well, the result of a good and successful website / Brand.
Find below some factors that are very important nowadays:
- CTR on the results on the SERPs (that is why meta description is very important)
- Brand Searches
- Brand Searches combined with keyword (Example: NIKE shoes)
- UX metrics (Pages per Session, Avg. Session Duration, Bounce Rate)
So how could I improve these factors (SEO for 2016)?
• Increase Brand Awareness so as to achieve better CTR
• Use Social Media (Paid & Organic) so as to increase Brand Awareness. Use high standard Digital Magazines & Blogs to write articles for your Brand so as to achieve better exposure in new target groups.
• Have a really strong and good “communicating message” promoting the advantages of your Brand/services and the reason why you are different from the others so as to lead users search for your Brand with the keyword you want.
• Add a quality video on your website. This way the users will stay more on your website to watch the video (Increase of Avg. Duration Session).
• Have a really good internal linking structure so as to allow the user to easily move from one page to the other increasing the “Avg. Duration Session” & the “Pages per Session”.
(Image credits: moz.com)
• Optimize your website for Mobile Devices so as to improve UX metrics.
• Create a successful blog so as to increase the pages of your website and also the UX metrics as the user will stay more on your website to read your posts (focusing on long-tail keywords you increase also your landing pages).
• Creating personalized experiences will improve the User Experience metrics of your website.
• Run A/B tests and improve the design and structure of your website so as to improve UX metrics.
• Paid & Organic Social Media will help you increase the traffic on your website.
• Communicating with journalists and writing articles about your Brand on Blogs & Magazines on the locations you are targeting.
• Creating Adwords campaigns will increase the traffic on your website.
• Local results (Pack 3) using Google my Business will help you increase your traffic and Brand Awareness.
• Offline advertisement will increase your Brand Awareness and Searches.
Please find below a path that I have in my mind and I use when I am creating a Digital Plan for a website:
Generate Traffic on my website
–> Good UX metrics
–> Satisfied Users (& customers, although at this point there are also other important factor such as: the price, the offers, etc.)
–> Increase Brand Awareness (Direct & Organic Traffic)
–> Achieve Better CTR on the SERPs
–> Better SEO
–> More Traffic
–> Good UX Metrics
–> Increase Brand Awareness (Direct & Organic Traffic)
You get the point!
So what about the KPIs / metrics we should watch and present to our clients?
Here are some ideas (depending on the actions):
KPIs for Brand Awareness
- Increase of Brand Searches (organic searches)
- Increase of CTR (in WebMasterTools)
- Increase Brand Searches from targeted locations
- Increase Direct Traffic (Here are some nice articles for you to read: https://goo.gl/Rjc86l, http://goo.gl/6jz0nJ ).
KPIs for Blog/Content Creation
- Likes, Shares & Comments of the posts.
- Rankings for long-tail keywords for each post.
- Improvement of UX metrics (Avg. Session Duration, Pages per Session) on the blog and as a
result on the website.
- Conversions for session with page views of the blog VS Conversions for session without page views of the blog.
KPIs for Link Building
- Increase of Brand Searches
- Increase of referral traffic (from the websites we are mentioned in)
- Increase of the amount of links
- Pages Likes, Shares & Comments of the articles we are mentioned in(even if there is no link)
KPIs for A/B tests (in general UX improvements)
- Improvement of CTR on “Buy Buttons” & “Contact Forms”
- Improvement of UX metrics such as Pages per Session, Avg. Session Duration
- Improvement of CTR on “Social Share & Like Buttons”
- Increase of Soft & Hard conversions.
(Image credits: positionly.com)
As you can understand from the above, I believe that you should set your Goals/KPIs depending on the actions and budget you have agreed on the contract with your client and that you should not set general SEO Goals such as:
- Organic Growth
- Better Rankings
only in the case that you have a “multiple actions – services contract” (You are responsible for many services. Example: Blog & Link Building & Brand Awareness).I would suggest to set the above 2 goals as the main goals.
Tip: Be careful because you could run a successful “Link Building” campaign and because of non-efficient UX experience or Brand undervalue you may not achieve Organic Traffic or improve your Rankings.
SEO will assist you in the bigger marketing picture of your Website – Brand – Service – Product.
I have the feeling that many clients (and some marketers) think of SEO as the cheapest and easiest way to generate traffic on their website. Maybe it used to be, but now this is not the case.
SEO is a long – term strategy that should be continuous and thus an important amount of money (budget) should be spent so as to be able to develop it and improve it.
Get an idea:
- Link Building (we need a good budget and time to achieve publication of good articles)
- UX improvements (we need a good budget and a lot of time and analysis so as to be able to use the relative tools,we need to gather & analyze the results and plan new actions/improvements)
- Video (we need a good budget to create a quality video for our brand)
- Blog (we need a great amount of time and budget for continuous content creation and sharing our content to the right
All these thoughts are driving me to this conclusion:
If you focus your efforts and strategy so as to Build Fans and not just an Audience for your website/Brand, then sooner or later you will have a successful website and Brand.
If you have any additional tip for SEO 2016, don’t hesitate to share it with me in the comments below.