There’s no doubt that SEO is key to getting your website ranked highly by search engines. The problem is, SEO is always evolving, and with Google’s latest algorithm updates, pinning down the “key” to getting ranked is harder than ever; however, there are many solid SEO tips that have been proven over time to be effective. Check out these three hot SEO strategies to watch in 2016!

1. Write Valuable, Unique Content

A big reason Google redid their algorithms was to help users who were searching for websites with valuable content and were looking to get to the top searches. Before the algorithm changes, sites that had “keyword stuffed” content were ranking highly, but their bounce rates were high — meaning that those sites didn’t contain the information that users were looking for and only ranked because of their strategic use of keywords. Now, Google is rewarding sites with great content more than ever. The new algorithms are better able to sense what a user is looking for when they type in a certain search term, and delivers the highest quality content possible to those users. Focus on writing great content, and your pages will naturally climb in rank.

2. Know Where to Sneak in Those Keywords

Even though search engines are focusing more on well-written content, that doesn’t mean you have to give up putting keywords in your pages altogether. Know where to sneak them in — namely, in the URL and the ALT tags. (If you don’t have images on your pages, it’s time to get some, stat!) If your site’s URL ends in /id=12934&color=5&size=1&session=983174, you’re not doing yourself any favors when it comes to getting found on the search engines. Use your keywords in your URL and make sure that your URL is dynamic. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about dog walking tips, your URL should look something like this: www.best-dog-advice.com/dog-walking/dog-walking-tips.

Also, tuck your keywords in your image’s ALT tags. Users can’t see these keywords, but search engines can. Rename the file on your computer to include your keyword, and then change your ALT tag to include the keyword as well. Search engines and human visitors love to see blog posts and pages with images, and the ALT tags will help you get found by users who are looking for your type of content.

3. Get Involved in Social Media

If you haven’t already made a presence for your blog or website on social media, now is the time to do so. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are musts. Not only will being present on social media get your blog posts shared, but it will boost your website’s traffic, and it will help link back to your site and let search engines know that your site is a credible site that users want to see. Develop relationships on social media to get more “likes” and “retweets,” and promote your pages every time you put a new one up. Promoting your blog or website on social media is something that takes only a few minutes, but will have a big impact on your overall SEO strategy.

The biggest thing to remember when optimizing your website for search engines is that search engine algorithms are always changing. But they’re changing in order to deliver the best possible content to users who are looking for that content. When you aim to please your audience and work hard to put valuable, high-quality content in front of them, search engines will naturally see your website as credible and your search engine rankings will go up over time.

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