Marketing March 15, 2016 Last updated March 13th, 2016 2,406 Reads share

Major SEO Factors that will Influence Your Website Rankings in 2016

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Google has already announced some key changes in its ranking factors. These factors will drastically change your website rankings this year. We have researched some of the leading factors that will change the game of SEO. Obviously, businesses and agencies across the world are alarmed. So, without further ado, let’s discuss these factors – or better call them major influences.

User Interface (UI)

The user interface used to be a mere factor among some 200 signals for rankings on Google until a couple years ago. This year the user interface of your site would be a chief factor influencing its rankings. So, make sure that your design and content teams are creating the best experiences for the users across different platforms and devices. It includes responsiveness and navigation.

So, the website will adapt itself according to the screen of your choice and it should be consistent across all its pages and all devices.

Some other factors include visual style, control implementation, opportunity and interaction costs, and content prioritizing.

Content strategy is one of the most important things when it comes to user interface and the chief factor is content prioritization. So, when you change the layout, you also need to prioritize the content accordingly.

Go for the designs that are compatible with both touch and mouse.

Then, you need to take care of navigation part. Both primary and secondary navigation should be intuitive and smooth across all devices.

Interaction should be smooth across devices and platforms.

One more UI factor that is important for the SEO in 2016 is the availability of your visitors – which means how your visitors are available to visit your website.

Let me explain it.

Most of your users can be active while visiting your website; they might be driving, socializing, working in the office, or just hanging around in shopping malls or restaurants.  They might not be completely comfortable or at ease all the time. You can’t assume that they are sitting in front of a large desktop either, so they can easily get into the nitty-gritties of your site. Most of the times, people surf the net using their cellphones. So, make sure that the user interface of your website offers active multiscreen experience.

Your website speed, responsiveness, layout, content prioritization, and its cross platform and multiscreen compatibility are going to effectively influence your SERP rankings on Google.

User Experience (Ux)

Businesses and agencies should also focus upon constructive internal linking, which is good not only from the SEO point of view but also from the User Experience perspective.User Experience

So, Google’s intention is clear. You need not optimize your site just for the search engines. You’ll have to do it for the users.  A proper content strategy and constructive internal linking are more to do with the user experience now.

Start thinking in terms of User Experience (Ux) in order to win the game of SEO in 2016 and beyond.

Keyword Research

Do you think keyword research is becoming obsolete as Google is moving towards semantic search?

No, it’s not. It’s actually getting more sophisticated and complex. Now, you should brainstorm various keywords and also search for topics that are contextual and that your audience might be interested in. Focus on low competition and high converting keywords. Try synonyms instead of focusing on keywords alone. Cover as many topics and issues as you can, that are related to your field.Keyword Research

Remember, Google is now moving towards understanding your intent rather than mapping content according to the keywords stuffed in that. So, wasting your energy on exact keywords is fruitless.

Social Signals

When we use the term “social”, it means using social media platforms and networks. Back in 2014, SEO professionals started thinking that social media can be good for interaction with your audiences and overall marketing, but it had nothing to do with SEO and rankings. It was partially true because Google was not considering your social media activities as a ranking factor back then. But, according to the recent studies, Google is seriously considering your social media presence/buzz as ranking signals. The logic is simple – if something is popular on social media, it is definitely worth noticing.

Google is now fetching social signals from all the major special platforms viz. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.Social Signals

Now, the message is clear. Create your social profiles on all the major platforms and start interacting with the audiences there. It has many benefits in terms of marketing, sales, business development, branding and reputation management and now it will help you in achieving Google ranking as well.

It’s interesting to know that Google has validated social sharing as a signal of quality. It’s also leaked that Google has tied up with Twitter  to include tweets in their real time search results. It has been confirmed after some recent research.

As far as domain level ranking is concerned, Google has also started including Google Plus and Facebook engagement metrics.

The social data is not fully integrated with Google search algorithms, but yes, the engineers are working hard in that direction. Regardless of what the current situation is, we’ll be able to measure the impact of social signals on your rankings in quantifiable terms in the second half of 2016.

So, what did you conclude from it and how will your SEO strategy change in the wake of the ongoing trend?

Quality Content

The obvious results of the current trend of inclusion of social signals for ranking would be the increased emphasis on quality content. It’s a well-known fact that the factors that fuel the virality of the content on social media are its usability and quality.

So, the enterprises would have to change their content strategy immediately and increase their investment in producing quality content. The incentives for producing quality content are assured.Quality Content

Panda frowned upon poor quality content, but now you don’t just need good content, you need the best content to stay ahead of the competition.

Apart from social shares, quality content will also add to usability and engagement of the website. So, it’s also an essential element of user experience (Ux). When you have great content on your website, people will stay longer and share your content more frequently.

So, act on the following tips:

  1. Produce more audience-focused content
  2. Offer solutions to the core problems your audience might be facing
  3. Offer free downloads

According to a recent report from Search Engine Watch, numerous SEO campaigns are suffering because of lack of quality content, user engagement and social media marketing. So, pay attention to your user experience, social sharing, and keyword research and produce great (not just good) content. These are the major influences that are going to affect your rankings on Google in 2016.

Images: ”Author’s Own“


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Anjali Dixit

Anjali Dixit

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