SEO is constantly changing. Below, we’ve listed some of the biggest trends in SEO that we believe will have an impact on your website in the coming year.
1) Mobile Optimization
In many countries, including the US, mobile traffic is responsible for more than 50% of web searches. With everyone owning a smartphone, and the popularity of tablets like the iPad and the Microsoft surface, is this really a surprise?
No, it isn’t. But unfortunately, a lot of website owners neglect one of their largest traffic sources. It is no longer optional to have a mobile friendly website. It is now necessary to operate.
Mobile sites need to be streamlined in design. They need to be simple, with large text and large buttons to compensate for smaller screens. Links need to be far apart to prevent accidentally pressing on the wrong one. Also, flash should be avoided, as it can be buggy on mobile devices.
Luckily, it is easier than ever to make your website mobile responsive. The majority of WordPress themes nowadays are mobile responsive. Themes on sites like Squarespace and Wix are as well.
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your site scores. If the score isn’t good, you may want to reconsider your theme/website design.
2) Site Speed
Having a slow website hurts your SEO rankings. But why is that? It’s very simple:
Having a slow website is not only annoying for users, it can be extremely frustrating. You want something, and you can’t get it. It is no different than food at a restaurant taking an eternity to reach you.
This is especially true for mobile. People are much less willing to wait on their mobile devices than on their desktops.
Check out your website’s speed ranking with Google’s Page Speed Insights.
If it isn’t quite up to snuff, there are a couple steps you can take:
- Allow for browser caching
- Reduce HTTP requests on the site
- Use JPG images instead of PNG
Social media has changed how we experience the internet. And it isn’t slowing down one bit. Your website should be on multiple social media websites.
We aren’t just talking Facebook and Twitter here; we’re talking:
Social media allows for you to engage with your readers and subscribers in new ways. It also allows you to drive traffic your website might not otherwise get.
Your website and all of your content must be shareable. That means that anyone who likes what you say should be able to share it with their peers. This can bring massive traffic to your website. This is also how you can go viral.
On top of all these benefits, social media also boosts your search engine rankings. When your social media is active, with users commenting and sharing, that is a strong signal to Google that your content is valuable. As a result, you can see a strong boost in rankings.
Video marketing is a HUGE ranking factor. Not only is it a ranking factor, but it is a great way to drive traffic. Search engines consider video to be media rich content.
Users love videos. As a result, search engines love videos as well.
A well-produced YouTube video can drive massive traffic to your website. As a matter of fact, it is much easier to rank videos than it is to rank websites.
An embedded video on your web pages can also make your content stand out from your competition. Video marketing is also popular because it allows you to convey a large amount of information quickly, and in an easy to digest format.
If something on your site is going to go viral, the most likely candidate is a YouTube video.
Video marketing is especially important in e-commerce. Your customers want to see your product. What it looks like and how it performs. They want video reviews. No one likes to buy blind.
The best part about this is that video marketing can be extremely inexpensive. For live action, all you need is a camera. To make list videos or tutorials, all you need is PowerPoint and a screen caster.
Video marketing shows no sign of slowing down. Google may be the largest search engine, but do you know who is the second largest? That’s right, YouTube!
It would be a massive mistake to overlook this traffic and SEO goldmine.
5) Voice Search
Twenty years ago, it would be inconceivable that we could talk to our phones, and they would talk right back to us. Voice recognition technology was the stuff of Sci-fi movies.
But in 2016, this technology is a reality. On iPhones, we can talk to Siri. On Androids we can talk to Google Now. And on Windows Phones we can talk to Cortana.
Your content needs to be optimized to be found via voice search. But how do you go about doing that?
The answer is simple: long tail keywords.
When you use voice search, you are making long, detailed requests. Long tail keywords fulfill these requests. If you are ranking for long tail keywords, it is very likely you can be found via voice search.
6) Local SEO
Local SEO has come a long way. For a while, it was kind of an afterthought, but now it can have an extreme impact on your business.
If you own a brick and mortar business, you ABSOLUTELY need to be focusing on local SEO.
Even if you own an e-commerce business, you should still be focusing on Local SEO. For example, if you’re selling heavy winter jackets, you can focus on local SEO in the Northern US and Canada.
One of the best things you can do for local SEO is to have consistent information across multiple listings. The most important of all of these is Google My Business. However, other resources such as Yelp, Yahoo Local, and Trip Advisor are still very important.
7) Playing Clean
It is no mystery that Google, and other search engines, are getting smarter. Gone are the days when keyword stuffing could gain you high rankings. No longer can you hastily set up a private blog network and dominate the rankings.
Google updates have destroyed countless people’s businesses who were trying to cheat the system. Don’t get hit by one of these penalties, your website may never recover.
Google only cares about one thing, content. So create good content, and don’t break the rules.
Stay white hat, don’t go black hat.
Sure, results may come slower, but at least your site will still be there a year from now.
To learn the difference between white hat, and black hat SEO check out this article.