We always say, “what is the point of having a website if you can’t be found?”

While there are ways to argue that point, its an intriguing point that should have you thinking about how your website ranks on search engines. Every year Google changes its search algorithm 500-600 times or twice a day. Many of these updates are minor, but about once a year there are major changes. Luckily we have some SEO tips for you.

1. Clicks are overrated.

The old theory was that your ranking improved by the amount of traffic or clicks your website received. Search engines are now smart enough to analyze “intent”. Basically, if someone clicks on your URL from the search results, are they going back to the search results or are they staying on your website because they found what they were looking for. Content is king. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing pride themselves in giving you the most relevant search result to your what you are search for.

Click through rate (CTR) is not as important in 2016 as a low bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate means that a visitor is landing on your site and leaving because they haven’t found what they are looking for or aren’t intrigued – or a combination of both.

Another way to gauge the intent of the visitor is average number of pages visited and average time spent of the site. All of these analytics are a product of each other and can be seen in your Google Analytics dashboard.

2. Keywords are important, but NOT everything!

Keywords have always been the most basic way that search engines search. That being said, using keywords in the content of your website has always been the most logical way to help your website come up higher in rankings for those keywords. This is still true, but Google is getting smarter.

If you were optimizing a Thai restaurant, one would use the keyword ‘best thai restaurant’ in the headline and stuff the text with ‘best thai restaurant’ three or four times. While it is still helpful to use this keyword, Google is now smart enough to understand why it is the best restaurant. So our tip is use the keyword but also talk about why is it the best restaurant and how it is the best restaurant!

3. Video, Video, Video.

One of the biggest SEO changes in 2016 is that video is now weighed heavily. Youtube is owned by Google and it is also a great way platform to boost your search ranking. In short, create a Youtube channel and fill out all of the fields and descriptions. You should view your Youtube channel like your social media platforms. It is an extension of website and brand so make it full of content. Have a video production team, ahem :), create a series of short videos for your channel and upload in high definition and full resolution. Also, use keywords and link your website in the description. Lastly, post your videos on social media and embed them on your website.

4. Original content is king.

This is simple. Populate your website is original text, original photos, original videos and original posts. Of course the quality of your content is important and content that is targeted specifically to your audience is important, but original content is paramount.

More people today are viewing websites on their smartphones and tablets. Having a website that is responsive to all devices and screen sizes is very important to your search ranking.

5. Mobile.

More people today are viewing websites on their smartphones and tablets. Having a website that is responsive to all devices and screen sizes is very important to your search ranking. Now that we got that out of the way, it is just as important that your responsive website is designed correctly. Another 2016 SEO change is make sure your responsive website has a search function that works correctly.

Responsive websites are relatively new so make sure you hire a web developer that is experienced and well schooled in today’s web skills. Be leery of hire a web developer that has been creating websites for 20 or 30 years. It is hard to teach a dog new tricks, and not many of them have been willing to change and evolve.

Of course there are many more search engine tips that we can help you with so check back next time or follow @shoestringnj on Twitter for more tips to help your business!