SEO trends in 2016

Search Engine Optimization (a.k.a. SEO) has changed significantly in the past few years. For example, keyword stuffing was once an effective and accepted technique which enabled manipulation of the positions on a given search engine. This technique, however, is now purged.

We wanted to continue the tradition of writing tactics and SEO trends, so we have carefully analyzed some of the most influential and relevant websites, including Moz, Content marketing Institute, Search Engine Watch, etc. to see what is (and will be) new in SEO. Here are top eight trends in SEO which will help you optimize your site and improve its position on the preferred search engine.

2016 SEO trends & expectations:

1. Social media signals will affect ranking positions

This is probably the biggest thing that is being discussed within the online community recently. There are indications that social networks (referred to by some as social media) will become so influential that the signals coming from those sites will be included in the algorithm and influence the rise in the position. Even though the myth that Google+ can improve positions is clearly busted (the thing is to include brand/company name in the search field), it seems that in the future, social media presence will be so influential that it will boost the positions by including brand/company pages on top of the search results for a given brand keyword.

How to improve your site: Sign up with your brand on all important social networks and create official pages. Do not forget to fill all important fields (such as website, working hours, contact, CTA, etc.) and post quality content which links to your website/blog. Start promotional campaigns moderately and see what works with your target audience (via trial and error method).


2. Relative CTR

Jodi Harris, Content Marketing Institute consultant, reports Rand Fishkin’s prediction that CTRs (click-through rates, i.e. the ratio of users who click on a link to the number of total users who open the link) will become relative in the future. The Wizard of Moz suggests that search engines can easily become smarter and include this in their algo – when content has more clicks, it will be ranked higher in the results page (of the SERP). In a nutshell: the more clicks the link obtains, the better its position will be.

How to optimize: Optimize your content with keywords, connect things semantically (via synonyms) and add metadata (do not forget the images!), check typos, may your content be fresh and match the title at all times, and make sure that it fills the gap the users are searching for. And, finally, include social media buttons. You know, the usual.


3. Videos drive engagement

In the past couple of years, video content proved to be the leading factor which encourages people to click and become engaged. In fact, this led to video marketing even ‘threatening’ to take over the dominion in Internet marketing. This is supported by the fact that 62% of Google searches consists of videos (in other words, videos are highly searched for). This may not come as a surprise if we recall that Google had invested significantly into buying and improving YouTube. What optimizers need to do is to fly on the wings of this change and focus on this type of marketing.

How to improve content: The answer is simple: use (meaningful) videos for promotion purposes, be it on your site, be it on social networks.


4. Mobile search optimization takes on importance

Some SEO experts will not be surprised by this trend. It is known that people today use mobile devices practically for any kind of search – enabled by widely ranged Internet access – so it became natural for websites to adjust to the (smaller) needs (and sizes) of mobile devices.

How to improve your site: Optimize your site for mobile devices (even phones), that is – make them mobile-friendly.

See also: Accelerated Mobile Pages Project


5. Voice search will become ever more influential

It is clear that English has become lingua franca in the contemporary world. The Internet does not fall behind, either. Besides Spanish and Chinese, English is at the top of the most widely used languages on the Internet and the new technologies are now actually allowing English (both native and non-native) speakers to communicate with the engines not via a keyboard and zeros and ones – but via voice. It has now become completely normal for one to ask Siri or Cortana to find you a restaurant nearby. This option is not available only on iOS and Windows Phones, but on Android, too. What is best about it is that it does not help busy people get what they want only, but the visually impaired as well.

How to improve your site: If you are in an English-speaking country and you want to rank better both on the local and global markets, do not forget to optimize your site for voice search. Even though this option may be a little bit pricey, it is expected to become ever more influential in local search and finding guidelines.


6. Aggregation will be bigger

Sharing content on social media only is not enough. First of all, a thorough research of the niche needs to be conducted to see where content is being launched, such as authority blogs, community forums which bring important topics and discussions, etc. One of the best examples of good aggregation is the usage of good ol’ newsletter. Brace yourselves – emails are coming.

How to aggregate: Research is the most important part in the aggregation process. When you find where your target audience discusses problems and important matters, find a way to get closer to them, by giving them the answer they are looking for all along. And in return you can obtain more links and signals.


7. App your mobile UX

The entire Internet is going mobile. Mobile apps have been developed out of the need to do things faster – while on the move. User experience (UX) comes hand in hand with this trend, which is why it is predicted that apps will be used more in the future and, thus, become even better.

How to app your UX: Get an app for your site. And once you develop one, make sure to update it frequently. Optimizing it according to SEO standards is also a must – it needs to link back to the parent site in order to track visits and conversions.


8. Local SEO

Local search will become one of the key factors for SMCs (small and middle-size companies). Imagine how a small company would benefit from reaching to its neighborhood – why, its business would improve, surely! As it was already mentioned, local search on mobile devices is usually about path-finding and guidelines, and now there are indications that SEO could improve communication with users and, naturally, a site’s position on SERP.

How to optimize for local search: If you are not familiar with Pigeon algorithm updates – you had better do your homework right now. The algo was started in July 2014 and was intended to improve positions in local search. Using the user’s location data and data from sites with adjusted/updated geolocation, the search engine calculates the results and shows which ones are optimized best for a keyword. Isn’t this good enough reason to study local search optimization?


What do you think, is SEO really going to follow these trends in the months to come? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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Vesna Savić

Dedicates her time to learning about better means of communication, translating knowledge into practice, and is a passionate reader.