If there is one thing that continues to divide opinion in the world of marketing, it is the relevance of SEO. A polarising concept in every sense, it is derided by some as moribund and considered by others to be a pivotal part of any successful strategy.
As with any debate of this type, however, the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.
While historic SEO practices such as bulk link placements and keyword stuffing may be outdated and potentially harmful for your brand, for example, other techniques have emerged as Google has refined its ranking algorithms. So far from being moribund, SEO has simply evolved in terms of its requirements and best practice.
SEO in 2016: Key Trends that underlines its course and importance
In terms of understanding this evolution and the key trends that embody it, a keen attention to detail is key. With this in mind, here are three trends for 2016 and how they will influence best practice in the future: –
1. Social Content will become a key driver of SERPs
In its relatively short lifespan, social media has assumed a number of different roles and purposes. Most recently, it has become a key driver of organic marketing campaigns, with an estimated 76% of brands using social media to support their SEO ranking.
This will continue throughout 2016, with huge swathes of social content likely to indexed by Google and following search engines including Bing and Yahoo. It is therefore crucial that you are ahead of the curve of this trend, as you use social media publication tools (such as those available on LinkedIn) and share all branded content organically across and integrated social platform. This will optimise your brand’s online visibility as the boundaries between web and social content continue to blur.
2. The Age of mobile optimization is upon us
This is perhaps the worst kept secret in the ever-changing world of SEO, especially after Google launched its first mobile-friendly ranking algorithm in April last year. Despite this, some brands have been slow to react to the news, potentially losing traction by failing to create responsive sites that boast fast loading landing pages.
The change has improved the rankings of websites that are optimized for mobile usage, with Google keen on refining the consumer experience for the modern age. With an estimated four out of five consumers now using their smartphones to shop, it is crucial that your brand strives to meet this demand by creating a website that is designed primarily for smartphones and tablets.
Responsive design is a crucial element of this, as is the development of an uncluttered layout that is fluid and easy to navigate.
3. Local SEO will become increasingly important for businesses
Local SEO is another concept that has grown stronger with every passing year, and this trend is unlikely to change any time soon. In fact, local SEO is set to become even more influential, especially with marketers now required to let Google know their precise location an offers in order to rank well in relation to specific keywords and targeted audiences.
The acceleration of this trend can be traced back to Google’s Pigeon update, which brought local SEO sharply into focus and forced brands to consider it as a major priority.
As a result of this, you must be sure to include location-specific keywords as part of your overall SEO strategy in 2016, while also tailoring content for local audiences and specific communities.
By now, it should be apparent that SEO is not only as relevant today as it has been in previous years, but it also placing an increased emphasis on social content, mobile usage and location-specific keywords. In this respect, SEO is arguably more important than ever and it is crucial that you keep pace with these trends if your brand is to remain visible online.