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The New Year is the perfect time to refresh your digital strategy and make some improvements that could overhaul your SEO for 2016.

The key to success in digital marketing 2016 is to set achievable and measurable goals for yourself and your business. Setting targets will make it more likely that you will see an improvement over time.

Much like the traditional new year’s resolution, setting yourself too much of a challenge is a bad idea, create a plan with smaller measurable chunks. For example, instead of “increase social media users by 100%” try something like “attract 40 new social media follows a month, for six months”. This helps focus the task and yields a better return at the end of six months, as well as the chance to review as each month passes.

Top areas to refresh SEO in 2016

1. Developing online brand – this is an area you should dedicate plenty of time to. Strengthening your online brand and exposing your users to it repeatedly is crucial.

This can be achieved through various methods with social media being one of the first touch points any digital marketer must look at to reach their audience. Added to this should be remarketing and advertising, to increase traffic and keep your brand visible to your audience.

Key tools for this are:

  • Remarketing advertising
  • Adwords advertising
  • Local search presence
  • Google Customer Match
  • Social Media
  • Content marketing

2. Content – this is one of the most important elements when it comes to your SEO. Your content is crucial and you should consider factors such as:

  • Content difficulty (how hard it is to read)
  • How often content is updated and refreshed
  • What kind of language and keywords are contained in the content

These factors all contribute to your site’s ranking. Don’t underestimate the power content has, shoddy badly written or overly brief content is a no no in 2016.

3. Mobile – if you’re not there already (and you should be) make 2016 the year to go responsive. Since Google updated its algorithms in 2015, so called ‘Mobilegeddon’, mobile search results will favour mobile friendly websites.

With the increasing use of mobile (this includes tablet), and our predictions that Google will begin to take user signals into account as major ranking factors, your customer’s user experiences now really matter, not only to the user but to Google.

If you simply cannot go mobile just yet, some areas to tweak are:

  • Try to use your own site on mobile, how does it fare for user experience? Test your own site on mobile and fix some simple issues like text size and layout.
  • Site speed, a faster website will rank better, check your image sizes too, larger images impact on a site’s loading speed! Use the Google PageSpeed Insights testing tool to check up on your website.
  • Tap targets (are your buttons too small to be used on mobile?) and make sure links aren’t too close together.

4. Update and improve your local search – since the introduction of the 3 pack (the amount of local results listed on one search results page), local search has become both more advanced and more competitive. Keep your local profile updated and user friendly so Google and your customers can find you easily.

Top tasks for local:

  • Check name, address and place match across the board. Make sure there are no rogue business names or phone numbers as a result of a legacy lurking out there.
  • Get some reviews, preferably good, but a balanced review profile will build trust with your users.
  • Check your local schema is up to date on your website, this will help Google sort your website into relevant search results.

5. Be prepared for 2016 – training, updates, and staying in touch. One of the best, and above all free ways to prepare yourself and your business for unexpected industry changes or sudden algorithm shifts is to stay in touch with the industry.

As one of the newest and quickest evolving sectors at present digital marketing techniques and methods can be outdated in a matter of months. By connecting yourself to the hub you can ensure early warning and the latest news from the digital community.

Some of the best ways to stay connected:

  • Read blogs – follow industry leaders for the latest info
  • Twitter – follow industry leaders such as Google and Moz, use these to find articles on the latest from the digital community.
  • Webinars – sign up to some great talks you can be a part of in the office or at home, this is a great way to learn about current topics.
  • Youtube – use Youtube, vlogs and instructional videos to find out about or learn new tools and techniques.