The practice of SEO is ever-evolving, with Google constantly updating their algorithm. Because of this fact, it may be difficult to anticipate the future of SEO marketing. There were a lot of changes in 2015 that affected search, and with 2016 right around the corner, it is only natural to eagerly await the new trends and updates that Google has planned.
Tandem Interactive visited one of the largest and most trusted SEO conferences this year, Pubcon, and found that there was a lot to learn about the future SEO trends coming in 2016. Here are a few of the biggest 2016 SEO trends that Tandem reported.
1. Keywords are still the base of your SEO campaign. Keywords and keyword targeting are the most basic and longest running aspect to SEO campaigns. They remain intact and will be one of your most useful SEO weapons in 2016.
However, Google’s Hummingbird update has shifted focus from targeting specific keywords to researching groups of related terms and synonyms. In 2016, your keyword research goal should be to group interconnected terms instead of individual keywords.
2. There will be an increase of Google’s rich answers. Rich answers are built upon public data or data licensed to Google. If your SEO strategy is built on public domain data, you better switch up tactics, since it will only become more difficult to get search traffic from Google.
If you have proprietary, high quality, and creative content that allows Google to answer a searcher’s question, then rich answers are a resourceful tool for your SEO strategies. There are a few tactics to get your site featured in rich answers:
- Long tail keywords
- Developing content that directly answers questions
- Make sure the content is genuinely helpful and adds additional information on the subject that the consumer/searcher may not have known, exceeding their expectations.
- Make sure to share your content through social media platforms.
3. The page speed of your site is of utmost importance. Page speed will affect your ranks and the site that loads faster will outrank an equivalent, competing site no matter what. A slow loading site will waste your allocated Google crawl budget, since the Google bot will not stay on your website for longer than a specific period of time.
4. High Google ranks does not translate to more organic clicks. Attention grabbing search engine results page (SERP) elements like paid ads, knowledge graphs, and rich snippets can draw clicks away from the #1 ranking website and will influence your organic clicks in the 2016 Google.
Before you dedicate your efforts to optimizing for a specific keyword, you should take a look at the search result page and determine if there are SERP elements that are stealing clicks from your organic listing. You should next determine if it will be more beneficial to launch a Google AdWords campaign for the particular keyword query.
5. User behavior is not yet a ranking factor, but it surely will be in 2016. User behavior affecting rankings is a debated topic. Even if user’s behaviors are not affecting your rankings right now, logic says that they will be in the near future.
Factors of user behavior that will surely affect your rankings in the future include, but are not limited to:
- Engagement of content and how long users stay on your site due to usefulness
- Social signals such as shares, likes, or linking back to your site, which all result in loyalty and relevancy to your site
- The efficiency and accessibility of knowledge on your site.