Which SEO trends for 2016?

To start this new year, we have the pleasure to introduce the 13 SEO trends that will influence the SEO world this year. From our own predictions based on scientific research to experts’ opinions, this list of 16 SEO trends is a good overview of where you should focus your search marketing strategy.

1# Mobile search

Mobile search has overpassed desktop search in 2015 and that trend is not going to slow down. Actually, mobile searches have been made easier thanks to more powerful mobile browsers, faster networks and the mobile-friendly websites expansion. Users are now using their mobile to do their research and are switching more than ever of devices used. Moreover, as Google is rewarding user experience, websites will need more than ever to offer the best mobile experience possible. And this comes with responsive websites.

2# Semantic search & intention

Keywords alone are not enough anymore as people are not searching for exact match keywords. Search engines can now guess from your interactions with websites your intentions of search. Search engines then provide relevant content based on these intentions, offering more intuitive results. And this is deeply linked to mobile uses working with Siri, Google Now, Cortana.

3# Voice search

Voice search is something you should not neglect as this new form of search is gaining space through the year. Thanks to mobile devices and mobile websites beating the native apps desktop search, voice search is becoming really popular. Actually, people can directly search for something and get precise answers without having to type something. That trend also impacts keywords as people enter complete phrases when searching. Queries are more and more based on long-tail keywords. Semantic is still in 2016 a major trend.

4# Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization is a SEO metric that will gain more consideration in 2016. As a lot of searches are made from mobile devices, when users visit a website, they don’t necessary close their tabs. It results that websites remain open even if the user is not visiting the page anymore. Those behaviors don’t reflect real business conversion so conversation rate optimization is essential to calculate the real conversion and not the traffic volume. CRO is then useful to understand session data, users’ attentions spans, analytics and to plan effective SEO plans to increase your conversion rate.

5# Content

With no surprise, you will still need to focus on content in 2016. While quality and relevance are still important, length and interactivity matter too. Interactive content refers to any type of content made from user response. For instance, it can be a content produced from an enquiry. Let say we are working on providing tips box on our tool that guide the user to specific explanatory content. This new form of content deliver a more intuitive, interactive content and build a closer relationship with the user.
In the other hand, long content is also a SEO trend that have proven its efficiency. Short content have lesser chances to rank well in the SERPs. Actually, studies have proven that content with 1200 to 1500 words were more likely to rank high in search results. In parallel, rich content with images, infographics, videos, animation will get more impact in the SERPs. Diverse, rich and long content will be an increasing trend in 2016.

6# Local SEO

Local SEO has been over the past few years something that search engines have highly improved. Websites have tried to develop business opportunities through local SEO and advanced geolocation.
Actually, advanced geolocalisation technologies such as geo-fencing, iBeacon, reaching an audience based on its location has become usual. In 2016, that trend is going to increase even more and location will impact search rankings. Combination of voice search and Google algorithm updates like Pigeon will stress out that metric.

7# Social content

Content from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc are still going to increase on the SERPs. Social media is a leading content distribution platform for marketers as part of their SEO strategy. As social signal is still a ranking factor, it is interesting to get its social content appearing in search results and get a wider visibility.
When it comes to big brands, social media channels comes in top results. For instance, the Lipton Twitter account appears in second position in the SERPs.

The Kissmetric blog stated that links to content from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media help Google bots to understand websites’ credibility and what they are talking about and for what keywords they should rank for.

8# Video

With Youtube being the second largest search engines, video still have long days to come. Video is a great way to engage audience but also to improve your rankings. And as we said before, content including interactive content like videos tend to rank higher. So you should integrate videos in your overall SEO strategy if it’s not already done. Quicksprout.com has stated that videos get 50 times better organic page ranks in Google compared to plain, classic text results. Also, video searches also tend to gather higher click-through rate compared to static text content. Video is definitely a major trend in 2016. To know how to optimize your videos for search engines, you can read our previous article about SEO video.

9# Mobile optimization

As users are using different devices to navigate, your website needs to be compatible with all this different formats. The mobile-friendly update has been created to foster websites to offer a better experience to users on mobile devices. Mobile optimization started in 2015 and will keep growing in 2016 as website owners have understand that desktop websites needed to be converted into mobile ones too. Websites now need to be conceptualized for both desktop and mobile SEO. Actually, mobile websites have received a search ranking boost in SERPs in 2015.
SEONick has shared 5 stats to convince you that mobile optimization worths it:

  • 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop. (Source: Convinceandconvert.com)
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. (Source: Socialmediatoday.com)
  • Over 1.2 billion people access the web from their mobile devices. (Source: Mobify.com)
  • Global mobile traffic now accounts for 15% of all Internet traffic. (Source: Newtarget.com)
  • 95% smartphone users have searched for local info. (Source: Adwords.blogspot.com )

10# Content aggregation

Users like to consume snackable content that is already gathered around a specific theme. Content from Wiki, maps, knowledge graph, social media, news, images and videos make for 85% of Google search results. People looks for sources that provide all the information they are looking for in one common place. Aggregation is a great way to collect and share content that target a specific audience but also to build your authority. In fact, if you gather content from qualitative websites and experts in one place, your curation will get even better. For instance, Hubspot has created Inbound.org with Moz to curate great content and increase their reach.

11# Authorship / Authorank

Google seems to reconsider authors even if the search engine has not confirmed a real comeback of the Authorship. With the recent declaration from Gary Illyes at the SMX East in NYC and the comeback of author markups in rich snippets, it is not absurd to think that Google might reconsider Authorship in 2016.

12# Link earning

Link building should be replaced by link earning. Actually, link building is about gaining links quickly and easily. If you can do that, it means those links are not that qualitative and won’t bring that much benefits. Link earning is about valuable and trustworthy linking strategies. While creating infographics, ebooks, white paper were a great way to collect link in 2015, make it even more tangible this year. Offer reviews, scholarships, giveaways, etc to offer something different and unique. Exclusivity creates desire. People will be more interested by linking to you if they feel they have built a powerful relationship with your brand or service and that they are not another common prospects.

Originally published on OnCrawl