SEO Trends 2016

Practical SEO Trends and Key Takeaways From Previous Years

With all of the recent Google algorithm changes, our search marketing team at AIS Media would like to recap the past few years’ top SEO trends as well as offer a look into the future.

SEO Trends In Review: The Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update

Quite possibly the most widely-discussed SEO factor shift of the past several was Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update that happened in 2015. Online searches on mobile devices have well surpassed desktop searches at this point, starting with smartphones and tablets, and since moving on to voice searches and home assistants like the Echo, or Google Home. Future searches may be done with augmented reality phones, and devices, but for now the mobile device remains the king of the online search.

For Google, and many digital marketers, the writing for “Mobilegeddon” was on the wall for 2015. And as predicted, in early 2015, the amount of searches from mobile surpassed desktop searches for the first time.

While this alone may not have disrupted your online presence, the preemptive Google algorithm shift certainly did. Websites that cater to the “mobile experience” have received the greatest benefit from page authority boosts and search engine results since that 2015 update. Imagine the benefit of being placed in Google Maps’ local 3-pack results found on page 1, just from having a mobile-optimized site. This is one of the many ways that mobile-friendly sites have leaped past their competitors in online searches.

Proximity has become one of the largest local ranking factors since the mobile shift. Your business’ physical proximity to the device searching has become significant: if you’re closer to the person wanting the service, you rank higher. It’s especially important on mobile searches as people tend to search for services when they want them, whether that’s a place to eat or a nearby store.

Content Marketing and SEO Strategy

A few years ago, another significant SEO trend began when the division of search engine optimization and content marketing occurred. While these two factors are mutually exclusive, SEO has shifted toward a technical focus, while content marketing has become the primary driver of search ranking results. In order to succeed, your SEO expert should be well-versed in keyword strategy as well as mindful of all technical factors that influence search engine ranking. After a strong SEO plan is implemented, writing and engaging your audience with high-quality content is an absolute necessity in order to achieve significant search engine ranking going forward.

Even the development of content has changed considerably in the past few years: the importance of keyword density has dropped off, Google now favoring strong keywords strategically placed. Long-form, detailed content has become more and more important. 500 words is the minimum content length for Google to crawl and understand what your page is about, but content in excess of 1000 words makes the case in a much stronger fashion.

If you’re not 100% confident with your current SEO team, call our Atlanta SEO experts today at 404.751.1043 for a free consultation. We’d be happy to share our ideas of how your website can be best optimized for 2016 and beyond.

Future SEO Trends & Success Factors: User Experience

If you haven’t already created a mobile-optimized site, you’re more than missing out on a big opportunity: you may be effectively invisible on search engines. Brought in part by the Google algorithm updates over the past few years, as well as indisputable consumer trends in search marketing, mobile-optimization is now more important than desktop. Your future SEO plan must include a push for optimizing your site to be mobile-friendly: that means embracing layouts that are easy for mobile users, sites that load quickly on mobile devices, and accelerated mobile pages. Without it, your competition certainly will take your place on page 1 results.

Future search marketing is going to be even more cutthroat in order to benefit the overall user experience. Mobile-friendly remains a significant aspect of the overall user experience, which is why mobile-friendly SEO factors became required. Optimizing for the user experience will affect other aspects of your site as well, including content, keywords and social factors. Google has recently started penalizing on-site elements that interfere with the user experience, most notably popups. Having a pop-up that obscures content, can’t be easily closed, or is too large can earn you a penalty.

Start your SEO strategy for 2017 and beyond by reevaluating your current online audience and the stages of their consumer journey. The opportunity for online conversions lies with being visible at the right time for the right audience. Content and keyword strategy remains an ever-present trend for SEO. You’ll have the greatest opportunity to boost online authority with high-intent, hyperlocal (when applicable) and useful content. Site speed has also risen to be a very important factor: users won’t wait around for a page to load, especially if they’re searching on mobile. They’ll just go to another site. Make sure that your site loads quickly. The chance of a conversion can decrease by up to 20% for each second delay in load time.

Backlink Quality Over Quantity

Backlinks have changed in nature as well. Sheer quantity isn’t as important as the quality and relevance of the sites linking to yours. Getting links from well-respected sites with high domain authority in your industry can go a long way toward improving your rankings.

Finally, SEO integration with social engagement is going to be a major factor in keyword rankings for 2016. Your site will enjoy the benefit of added online authority when other brands refer their users to your site. In addition, engagement on your social media channels will assert your site as an online authority, and you will see greater ranking benefits than without. Overall, the best way to boost your online rankings is to increase the conversation about your brand online.

Here at AIS Media, our SEO experts want to ensure your website is properly aligned for success going forward. We’ll walk you through the steps of setting a clear strategy to best optimize your business goals in the digital space.

If you’re ready to exceed your marketing goals, call our SEO team today at 404.751.1043. Our representatives are standing by for your call.