The New Year has arrived. And for internet marketers, many of us will be thinking about the new trends that are sure to pop up and figuring out how to incorporate these trends into their marketing strategy. So, what new 2016 SEO trends should you be on the lookout for this year? So glad you asked! Why? Because staying on top of trends ultimately helps you stay relevant. You need to be ready to adapt and change your strategy to ensure your website rankings stay near the top. Let’s take a look of at some of the trends we might see this year. Mobile Optimization According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 64% of all Americans own a smartphone. And interestingly enough, 2015 saw the rise of mobile searches outnumber that of desktop searches for the first time. It only makes sense that mobile optimization is going to be one of the upcoming trends 2016 SEO trends. Mobile optimization is not a new concept, of course, but it is definitely going to be one of great importance for this upcoming year. Deep Links in Apps Will Become More Important Since we’re talking about mobile optimization, let’s talk a bit about another foreseeable trend in 2016: mobile deep linking. Mobile deep linking, in the most simplest explanation possible, is when a link opens up directly to the content and bypasses the homepage. Huh? Have you ever searched for something on the internet and found a link for it? And when you clicked on it, it opened the content directly in the app instead of taking you to the website? That’s what we call mobile deep-linking. And because over half of Americans are using their cell phone for internet searches, mobile deep-linking is most likely going to be one of the pretty big 2016 SEO trends. Keywords Are The Foundation of Your SEO Campaign SEO is still alive and kicking, and keywords will remain the very foundation of your SEO campaign. But – there’s always a but – how Google looks at these keywords will change. Google implemented the Hummingbird algorithm way back in 2013. Hummingbird’s goal was to better help Google understand what web users were searching for – for example, do you mean “cars” as in the vehicle you drive or “Cars” the movie? Well, Hummingbird has evolved since then. In 2016, we may see more emphasis in keyword research to identify groups of thematically related terms rather individual, specific keywords. What does that mean? When a user searches for purses, Google also knows to look for handbags and all other related terms. So, that’s why keyword strategy is probably going to focus more on groups of related terms versus a singular keyword. So, what we’re getting, in a nutshell is Google looking at the whole picture rather than just a portion of it. High Quality Content Speaking of keywords, high quality content is going to remain an on-going trend in SEO. Content is king. You’ve probably heard or read that a million times already, but it’s used so much because it’s mostly true. When we get right down to the heart of the matter, no matter how much “in your face, aggressive” marketing you do or no matter how much you promote on social media, if your content lacks value, nobody’s going to be stopping by. According to SerpIQ, top ranked websites generally have content that contains between 2,000 and 2500 words. It’s a strong indicator that people prefer articles that give in-depth information. However, it’s not just words that matter now. We’re also moving towards a more visual culture, where images and videos become easier to process than written word. Media rich content will probably dominate 2016. Examples of this can be seen where Google is experimenting with video ads in search results. Sorry to inform you – but $5 articles from content mills probably aren’t going to help your rankings in Google next year. Remember: the focus is on high-quality, in-depth, original, and useful information. And you aren’t just going to need really good articles, you’re going to need the type of properly formatted articles that search engines love. Page Speed Is Very Important You can’t get around this: Page speed is a ranking factor. There is a specific amount of time Google’s bot is set to crawl your website. It if it takes longer than the amount specified for your page to load, the bot will leave and that means your webpages won’t get indexed by Google. So how fast does your website need to load? Well, most users expect a website to load in about 2 seconds and will typically abandon the website if it hasn’t loaded in about 3 seconds. Seriously, 2 seconds is fast! But to web user, 5 seconds can feel like an eternity. You don’t want users to leave your website! You want them to stay on your website, explore it, comment on it, share it, or (the most desired outcome) buy something on it! But that won’t happen if your website is slow. Let’s face it: we’re living in age of short attention spans. Be honest. How many times to did you skip over something while reading this? Social Content Will Be Indexed More Have you noticed that when you search for something on the internet, sometimes you get links to Twitter and Facebook pages? Of course you have. And that’s why one of the predictions for 2016 is that more social platforms will become heavily indexed. Possibly, we could see social posts held to similar standards of an independent webpage. And even though that’s only a guess, it’s still a very real possibility. Popularity of Voice Search Face it: It’s too much to type what you’re looking for into a search bar. And then you have to deal with all those problems from typing – like misspelled words and carpal tunnel. Thank goodness for Siri, right? The way a user searches for information online using a computer is a bit different from the way a user searches using voice commands. So, with the rise in popularity of voice search and smart assistants, there’s a good chance SEO experts will have to start considering ways to optimize pages for voice search. Real Time Penguin Updates You’ve heard of black hat SEO before, right? Have you ever heard of black hat practices? Oh you know – those annoying things like leaving spammy comments that contains irrelevant links? Or creating websites with useless content in order to link back to main website? It kind of sucks when you’re searching for something and find a poorly designed website with little to no relevant content on the topic. So, Google decided to combat these black hat practices, and thus launched the Penguin update back in 2012. Google views links as something similar to votes. If a political candidate has ideas and plans that are popular with the majority of people, then it’s most likely he’ll receive a lot of votes. The same logic works with links – the more people that link to your website, the more authoritative your website must be. So, basically – what Penguin does is look for unnatural link building patterns. If your website was hit by Penguin, then you’d have to do a site audit to remove all the bad links. Until then, your website wouldn’t show up in search results. Ouch. However, the main criticism was this: Websites that had been penalized but had fixed all the problems would have to wait forever for the next update before being able to recover. Now that sucked big time. Of course, with Google releasing a real-time Penguin update, websites that clean up their act will be able to recover more quickly while making it just a bit more difficult for those that are using less than desirable marketing practices. 2016 SEO Trends, Wrapping It Up This year, many marketers are going to have consider strategies that align with way people are searching for information. It’s been said that the only thing consistent about SEO is change. And that’s true. As technology changes and evolve, we also have to change. As our audience and the way people search for and process information changes, we also have to change for that as well. With more people than ever owning mobile devices, it’s not surprising that SEO will evolve to consider the way people search for information on phones and tablets. In fact, it seems the natural course to take. Content marketing will even have to change. Google, and other search engines as well, are looking for content that will provide web users with valuable information. Marketers buying cheap articles will have to step up and start producing higher quality information that provide actual value. Educating yourself on the trends we’ll likely will help you plan your strategy for the upcoming year. In fact, Google released last month 160 pages of its Search Quality Raters Guidelines and Handbook. Honestly, how can you pass up all that SEO goodness? Images “ Google.com homepage and cursor on the screen/ Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. 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