In today’s article we are going to discuss 5 most important SEO trends of 2016. As you all know, SEO is one of the most important things any website can do online to increase its popularity and online presence. Without SEO, you are forced to invest heavily into advertising, relying on ads to bring you traffic. Search engine optimization allows you to build up natural, organic traffic from search engines – traffic that you won’t have to continuously pay for. So everyone, whether you are creating websites for others or have your own business with an online website, should read the best SEO blogs and become an expert in SEO. So without further adieu, let us look at 5 SEO trends of this year which we think are most important.
SEO trend #1: Google’s Instant answers and results.
This has been a real threat to many websites, while on the flip side being a real benefit to others. Google has been getting increasingly better at providing you instant answers to queries, wherever possible. Let’s take for example “How many delegates does Trump have” as a search query, and you will see an instant answer for delegate count, along with a graph, for all republican candidates currently looking for a GOP nomination. Let’s take another example, “How to brew tea” and you will get a detailed, step-by-step answer from Google at the very top of the results. Granted, they take the information from one of their search results (for me, that information comes from the #3 result from the first page, not #1 – go figure), but the thing about instant results like this is that they force the visitor to stay on the search page in many cases, without actually going to the website that provided the answer. It’s a clever way for Google to take away traffic from people’s websites and to keep as much traffic as possible for themselves. So going forward in 2016, we will be seeing more instant answers and results from Google as Google tries to keep as many people as possible on their search pages. And if you’re wondering why Google is doing that, some of you may think it’s to make things easier for people to find answers quickly. But I believe Google is doing it for the ads. All search results come with Google Adwords ads, and it makes a lot more financial sense for Google to keep people searching through their search box and click on ads instead of going to individual websites for answers.
SEO trend #2: Mobile / responsive websites will dominate all search.
Mobile-first design is a must for any web designer and developer. As we all know, creating a SEO friendly website that isn’t mobile friendly is obsolete. In this day and age, everyone has a smartphone or tablet and most people use their mobile devices to surf the net, shop and do everything else they’ve grown accustomed to doing on their desktop / laptop computers. In fact, latest research shows that mobile usage in the US is now higher than non-mobile usage. Moreover, some time ago Google officially announced that they will use mobile friendliness as a ranking factor when showing its results (by the way, you can use Google’s mobile friendly tool to check if your website passes the mobile friendly threshold or not). So for all designers, it is not just important, but essential, to create websites with a mobile-first approach. Ideally, all of your designs should be responsive, however some website owners still choose to do separate website versions for mobile and non-mobile devices.
SEO trend #3: Social content will be indexed much more than previously.
The interesting thing about this trend is that most things are talked about via social media. So we will be seeing more and more results from social media discussions of certain topics on search engines. Google has been becoming increasingly good at differentiating between “newsworthy” and other content. I used a political example in the first SEO trend of instant answers and results – let’s use something like that again. Search for “Hilary Clinton” and you will see a separate section on the first page titled “Hilary Clinton on Google” that shows a slide with Google+ posts from Hilary’s Google page.
SEO trend: #4: The ever-growing importance of local search
As most of you know, not too long ago Google has started to show local search results based on where the person searching is from. This means for any physical business that is limited to a specific area, local search optimization will be a must in 2016 and going forward. It is entirely possible that Google will start showing “micro-local” results for non-mobile searches based on the neighborhood you are in or even the street you live on. Currently, when I search for something like “Sushi” from my laptop (I am from New York), this is what I see:
However, when I search for the same thing from my phone with location enabled, the results are tailored to where I am and listed by proximity. The trick for Google will be to figure out how to better detect location from non-mobile devices.
SEO Trend #5: long, thorough content will rank better than short content, in most cases*
This trend has been true for some time now and will become even more true going forward. When someone writes an article that’s thin on content, say 300 to 400 words, Google and other search engines will simply not see this content as useful. In the world of fierce competition for search results, other websites will simply “outwrite” you, providing more detailed, thorough content. So if you have a blog like I do at Line25, it is in your best interest to write longer blog posts that cite all relevant sources, provide relevant images and contain as much original content as possible. But in some cases, there simply isn’t a lot of content on a subject, so short content may still work well for you depending on your niche. For example, Googling for “how to tie a bow tie” shows me the first result that contains just 139 words of instructional content – something that would otherwise be considered very “thin” and not useful. So far, I am at just under 1000 words of original content for this article and I hope that will be enough to rank well for the keywords which I’ve targeted – “seo trends” and “seo trends 2016”.
Some final thoughts on SEO Trends:
SEO is an ever-changing landscape. SEO is something that requires us to adapt and overcome any challenges brought upon by the never-ending SEO changes by search engines. So stay on top of latest SEO trends in 2016 and going forward, you will not only do well with your own websites, but will also be an expert in creating SEO friendly websites for clients.
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