Almost anyone that has performed some basic work on a website will have a general understanding of SEO.
For this reason, most will be able to state you need to build links, optimise your title to contain your key term and ensure your keywords are included within the content, however there are so many more tactics you can adopt in order to enhance your rankings. Have a read through my list of recommendations for 2016 below.
Google has previously announced speed is a minor ranking factor, at approximately 1%, however speed is continuing to grow in importance, while it is even more key on mobile devices where we are becoming ever more impatient. Advances such Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) may be setting the future for mobile speed, however it is currently at the early days.
I would recommend running your site through both http://www.webpagetest.org/ and https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. Web Page Test is amazing at breaking down your page speed so you can identify which parts are slowing down your site. Google’s page speed test is a lot more basic, with some pretty poor suggestions, but it does also have a very useful mobile friendly test alongside which has added benefits.
The link building tactics are constantly changing over time, however people are finally starting to target much bigger publications. As many SEO’s aren’t from a PR background, it can feel like a completely new area, therefore some have struggled to get into the newspapers. Beyond using journalist databases like Gorkana, you should use stats and survey results in articles to explain your reasoning. Journalists love stats, they are a great way to get a high quality link.
I regularly find sites writing blog posts with absolutely no relevance, no social sharing and no keyword focus. They produce the content just so they are ticking a box of producing fresh, unique content. I would drop this strategy and build out a complete content strategy for the year. Use a tool such as SEMRush or SearchMetrics to look at the terms your competitors are ranking for. You can specifically target the blog sections of their site and what you will likely find is that 80% of their blog traffic is just on a small minority of pages. You can then write an article on the same topic, but improve upon what is already available.
So many businesses focus on building links pointing in to their site, but regularly forget to focus on their own internal link structure. If you build an internal link breakdown report, you can analyse the number of internal links each page has, as well as the anchor text used on the internal links. This is a great way to identify pages that aren’t being optimised properly and could be enhanced by some further linking or optimising the anchor text.
Whether it’s recipe markup on a cooking site or review schema markup on a product website, there are so many ways you can enhance your appearance on search, as well as enhancing your space on the search landscape.
I can honestly tell you that going through https://schema.org/ will make you extremely dizzy, however I previously came across the guide https://builtvisible.com/micro-data-schema-org-guide-generating-rich-snippets/ which was life changing (well, it felt like changing at the time). The extent of the data never ceases to amaze me. For example, did you know recipe markup will also allow the data to be pulled on Pinterest to show the entire cooking process alongside the picture.
You should create regular benchmarks on your site, to analyse its performance. This can be completed using a number of tools such as Screaming Frog, Webmaster Tools and Microsoft IIS SEO ToolKit. This can help you to increase crawlability, optimise page keyword focus and to find any broken pages on the site.