These days, marketers are investing a lot of money in content and they’re leveraging those investments through SEO. But over the past 10 years, SEO trends have continually shifted from one thing to the next. In this ever-changing landscape, many people are wondering where SEO will go in 2016 and what tips or tricks will help content connect with large audiences. So in order to maximize your investment in quality content, we’ve handpicked the best seven SEO tips and tricks for 2016 from SEO experts and websites.
1. Mobile optimization is crucial
Is your website mobile-friendly?
The web has evolved. Audiences are no longer in one place. Users browse the web on all sorts of devices: mobile phones, tablets, laptops, computers, and smart watches. 2015 saw brands large and small become mobile-friendly.
An August 2015 study on the future of SEO conducted by Moz Inc. predicted that one of the most important SEO factors in the next year would be mobile-friendliness. The study suggests that the impact of mobile-friendliness will increase by 88 percent in 2016.
Neil Patel, of KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout, has stated that mobile searches have seen a 43 percent increase year-over-year. Google has also taken notice and now considers mobile-friendliness in its rankings.
2. User experience is key
“Google, right now, is making 500 algorithm changes a year. Every change is focused on making sure that when someone searches on Google, if they get the right result on the first few pages, they’ve got a great experience. It’s not, ‘How am I going to tweak the engine or trick Google, Bing, or Yahoo?’ It is how you make sure that your content is the best possible content on the Internet for the words that you care about.”
— Martin Laetsch, Director of Online Marketing at Act-On Software Inc.
The better the user experience your website provides to your audience, the better your site ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs). Users prefer content that’s instantly likable and not hard to find, so your content should make sense to your user.
Original and targeted content—whether images, videos, or long-form writing—makes users feel valued. Laetsch suggests that the most important thing marketers should do for SEO in 2016 is make an editorial calendar according to customer interests.
3. Social content will be prominent
Content from social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, is becoming more and more important on SERPs.
KISSmetrics.com states that links to content on social networks help search engine crawlers understand which websites are credible and how they should be ranked for keyword phrases.
2016 will blur the line between the web and social media in terms of SEO. Marketers are expected to do everything they can to make their social media posts or tweets rank high on SERPs. Impactbnd.Com says that 76 percent of marketers are already using social media to support and boost SEO.
4. Video will still reign
2015 showed that adding video to your content is one of the best ways to give it more value and keep audiences engaged.
Videos have been shown to improve pages rankings on SERPs. According to Quick Sprout and Relesoo, video’s organic page rankings on Google are 50 times better than plain text and its click-through rates 41 percent higher, as well.
To enhance user experience, Google is adding weight to blended results. Google’s new algorithm can find video content, index it, and display the video content when specific keywords are used in searches.
5. Local SEO is becoming more important
Jayson Demers, the founder of AudienceBloom, stated in 2015 that local SEO is likely to gain solid ground in the near future. After the launch of Google’s Pigeon algorithm in 2015, local SEO has become more prominent and has forced businesses and marketers to focus on local results.
According to Search Engine Watch, 50 percent of all mobile searches are conducted with the intention of finding local results and 61 percent of those searches result in purchases. Therefore, businesses should use location-specific keywords and personalized content to stay ahead in 2016.
6. Intention matters the most
According to Laetsch, keywords are a thing of the past.
75 percent of search queries are between three and five words long. Adding keywords to your content’s title, body, and meta description is history. Now, to optimize your search rank, make the intention of your content clear.
Exact keywords aren’t necessary to produce relevant search results. With new algorithms, Google has gotten better at interpreting the meaning and intent of content.
Cyrus Shepard, the director of audience development at Moz, states:
“In the old days, it was about getting the click. Now search engines are seeing how people are interacting with your website: Are they going back and clicking on results, or are they finding the answers they’re looking for when they’re on your site? Today it’s about the post-click activity. Not only do you have to get the clicks, but you have to satisfy user intent.”
7. Size also matters
Neil Patel states that the average length of web pages that rank in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google is at least 2,000 words. Longer articles are also expected to get more traffic. This makes them rank higher in SEO, especially in the terms of competition.
Shepard says that:
“People are sharing longer articles on social media more and are linking and citing them more. Shorter articles do well sometimes, but on average, longer articles tend to perform better.”
Laetsch suggests breaking longer content into subheadings, bullet points, and images to make it easy for the readers to scan.