Every New Year presents new opportunities and the same holds true for Search Engine Optimization. An industry that is constantly evolving makes it difficult for people to stay up-to-date, however, implementing the following best practices can help you reach your digital marketing objectives.

As the first month of 2016 ended, we thought it would be a good idea to remind you to keep these ideas in mind when producing content. It’s never too late to implement changes to improve your ranking on search engines.

The 2016 On-Page Checklist for SEO

1. Create Content for People, Not Spiders

As Google’s algorithm continues to grow and develop, it recognizes the content of your pages and ranks more heavily than the past. Traditional SEO techniques still matter, but you shouldn’t write for robots. Customers are the most important visitors to your site, so be sure to tailor your content to them. Google’s algorithm keeps the user experience in mind when crawling your site. If you write for people, you will inevitably write for the machines, too.

2. On-Page Copy Should Contain 300 Words. Minimum.

The spiders need enough content to understand the intent of your page and people need enough to be interested in your page. Having, say, 50 words on it does not allow a page to rank well for computers or people. 300 words is the accepted minimum for on-page copy to rank, but it is highly recommended that your pages contain around 1,000 words of meaningful content.

3. One Keyword Phrase per Page

Each page on your site should focus on one keyword phrase. When you try to tailor one page for many keywords, the spiders get confused how to categorize it. Your efforts cause the page to rank poorly for several phrases as opposed to ranking well for one. Less is more.

4. Use Your Keyword Phrase in the Right Places

In addition to on-page content, strategic keyword placement is important. By including keywords in the title tag, meta description, h1 tag, and alt text, you can help your page rank higher in search engine results (SERPs).

5. Keep Titles and Metas under Certain Lengths

These rules are not ranking factors, but a best practice to help your click through rate when people find your pages through organic search. If title tags or meta descriptions are too long, the search engines will truncate the copy with an ellipsis to allow them to fit. Keeping titles under 55 characters and meta descriptions below 115 characters allows them to appear in full on both desktop and mobile platforms, improving the user experience and increasing the likelihood that a searcher will click through.

6. Write Well and Check for Spelling and Grammar

When writing for people, you need to engage them, or they’ll leave. Not only should your content be interesting to your target audience, but it should be written properly. People are turned off by misspellings and improper grammar which can cause them to leave as well as make your company appear unprofessional. It’s a ranking factor, too!

7. Guide Users through the Buying or Lead Generation Process with Calls-to-Action

Your goal as a company is to get users to come to your website and fulfill an action, whether it’s a micro-conversion like downloading an ebook, or a larger transactional purchase. Your audience won’t know to do that unless you point it out. If you want them to tweet a line of your blog, or request more information, tell them to with a call-to-action (CTA)! Better yet, add buttons that bring them to your ebook’s landing page or auto-populates the tweet’s message.

8. Use Internal and External Links

Linking helps both search engine rankings and the user experience. When visitors find your content engaging or full of useful information, they are more likely to interact with your site. If they cannot find the content they desire or become lost or frustrated, they will leave your site. Internal links help keep people on your site and push them further down the funnel. External links may send people off your page, but it lowers bounce rate and shows that you perform research. People find your site more credible that way.

9. Add Media

People are visual learners. By adding pictures or videos you can capture attention more readily. People are either attracted by visual media or stay on page for longer because of it. Pictures and videos are important from a technical SEO standpoint as well. Alt tags aid in ranking by giving you another option to include page-appropriate keywords.

10. Keep in Mind Digital Marketing’s Variability

There is no sure-fire way of attracting and retaining customers. Different approaches work for different people and businesses alike, that’s why digital marketing practices like SEO, PPC, social media, and online advertising exist. You need to take into account that your content will be shared in a variety of ways. Follow these tips to start, but analyze, experiment, and find what works best for your company and audience.

4 Bonus SEO Tips

Here are 4 additional SEO tips to help optimize your site.

1. Focus on User Experience

Like our first tip above, focusing on the user is more important than ever. If you keep user experience in mind, they’ll be sure to stay for your great content. If user experience is sacrificed, you run the risk of a potential customer exiting and doing business with a competitor. Take the necessary measures to ensure this does not happen: optimize your site for mobile, make content easy to read and scannable, and add on-page CTAs to help convert visitors into customers.

2. Track Data and Changes

Your SEO strategy is unique to your business and what you want to achieve. Your target audience is going to be unique, like the data you collect. Analyze that information to see what types of content appeals to your users. You can use this going forward to market to them better.

3. Set Goals

Setting digital marketing goals helps maximize success. With set goals, your company has a benchmark by which to judge whether plans are working or need tweaking. You can tailor your campaign strategies to fill gaps or continue methods that are going above and beyond expectations.

4. Promote Your Content

As a marketer, you create great content for your company that your target audience will love. However, your job is not done. You need to ensure that they see it. Sharing content through social media gets eyes on your site and gives users a method to talk about it. Other avenues include using PPC to direct people to certain pages and leveraging display and remarketing campaigns to attract people visually.

Those are just a few SEO tips that can help boost your on-page content, and overall digital marketing efforts. Whether you need tips to help you redesign a website or increase conversions, or want someone to help you market your company digitally, Wakefly is your answer. Let us know how we can improve your business!