Regardless of whether you’re new to SEO or have been following the modern marketing technique since it first came about with the launch of various search engines in the early 90s, one constant remains firm: SEO is an adaptive industry.
Yup, things are always changing, and if you’re not willing to become more dynamic along with the industry, both you and your links are going to be worthless in no time at all. So, how does one remain relevant heading into 2016 as a master of SEO? Well, as far as link dominance is concerned, the following are going to be extremely important:
1) Editorial Prowess
Sure, this one is a bit of a judgement call, but it’s one worth making. Though the conversation about which of all news websites is sufficiently reputable is bound to drone on for ages, there’s a reason for this—it’s still important.
More than likely, Google will use machine or deep learning tactics to determine how a site’s content is being consumed and how people are responding to it. By so doing, believe it or not, a filtration system for the ever-elusive “quality content” is put in place. Many SEO specialists will look the other way on this one. Simply put, don’t be one of them.
2) Domain Authority
Programs like Moz have the ability to quantify the value of a domain’s authority, but that’s not even necessarily the most important issue at hand. Moreover, at least as far as Rand Fishkin is concerned, the “Moz Man” himself, the real value of domain authority comes from its concept. Basically, the more top-tier, industry-specific information a domain provides a relevant niche, the more valuable Google will consider your link.
Says the aforementioned Fishkin, “I want to go after the highest domain authority targets that I can, as long as I think they’re equally easy to get, and work my way down in terms of authority of the site. That’s just going to be one of the best predictors of how a link will perform for you.”
Additionally, when your links are housed on the best sites the Internet has to offer your target audience, content—along with the links found therein—are bound to be engaged upon, further amplifying the need for dominant domain strategies. Needless to say, domain authority should very much be present in the mind of the experienced SEO wizard not only currently, but throughout the coming year.
3) The Quality of Surrounding Links
Rightfully so, many parents look at a child’s circle of friends to try and better determine the social or ethical direction in which their son or daughter is headed. Similarly, the quality of a page’s other links will be important for a search engine when it comes time to figuring out how much strength your link should have.
While there’s no real way to do this on a page-by-page level, many SEO software programs come with spam score capabilities to help you and your team filter through the digital filth en route to more quality backlinking. Generally speaking, a basic eyeball test can help with this when all else fails:
- Unprofessional user interface
- No editorial process whatsoever
- An open publication policy
Unfortunately, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If everyone were able to implement the best of SEO-driven backlinking tactics, there wouldn’t be much need for SEO expertise, now would there? Instead of wasting time, simply move on and continue the search elsewhere.
4) User Engagement (UX Experience)
This one is super important. Not only does user engagement have a reputation for producing highly predictable ranking, but it also helps with determining proper rank influence.
Why? Think about it—the more a page is visited, generates conversation in the comments section and receives widespread social interaction, the more likely your links are to also get in on the action by way of a few ever-coveted clicks.
This can be difficult to measure, but should you choose to make user engagement a cornerstone of your SEO blueprint, consider using SimilarWeb, Google Analytics or Omniture to see if a particular page or domain is sending traffic your way. If it is, continue to build rapport with said site so that it can soon become an impenetrable SEO stronghold.
Yes, SEO can be tricky. Countless are the how-to or listicle-type articles online that claim to provide upwards of 20, 30 or even 40 attributes that contribute to a link’s value. Use them, but make sure you’re devoting the majority of your time and energy to the things that really matter: editorial integrity, domain and page authority, embedded link quality and mass user engagements.