9 Things to Consider as Part of your SEO Strategy in 2016
So far, 2015 has been a challenging year for the search engine optimization industry. Two major updates were released this year one is mobile friendly update on April 21, 2015 and the slowly rolling out Panda 4.2 update released on 18 July 2015. Both of these updates have caused damage to some websites that lack mobile version or duplicate content. In addition, those websites that had reviewed and improved their On-page strategy after Panda 4.1 had a spike in organic traffic. Similar is the case with mobile friendly update.
So the question is are you ready for the incoming Google algorithm changes in 2016? If you are still following the old tactics of the past years then seriously it is time to review your SEO strategy for 2016. Here are some of the key points that you need to consider in your 2016 SEO strategy to stay competitive.
Keyword Analysis in 2016
Keyword research or analysis in 2016 will be completely different as compared to the old styled keyword analysis tactics. You need to adopt the Google guidelines for a perfect keyword strategy and follow semantic search model of identifying user intent. Google has introduced semantic search for improving search results for its loyal users. There are currently two types of search engine models working.
Syntactic is the old system of keyword based SEO that included closely related queries to the main focused keyword. We use to change the order of the keywords in syntactic analysis to generate organic traffic. Now Google has re-written the rules in past years and changed it in to semantic search. Semantic means Google will analyze the user intent from the query and provide results according to it rather than specific keywords.
The fundamental aspect of keyword research is still the same we need to find those words and phrases that our potential customers are using to find out our business’s products and services. The major difference is that we now have to think just as our users do when they search for our business. This is doable by numerous ways:
- Identify users persona, who are your audience? For what people you are optimizing your website.
- Analyze, what phrases or words users are using actually to seek out your business? You can use various keyword analysis tools like Google keyword planner, Soolve, Ubersuggest, SEMrush and others to find phrases based on intent.
- You can use your Webmaster search console and Google Analytics data to determine which keywords are bringing the most organic traffic. You can then utilize this data to find new relevant keywords.
- You can steal your competitors keywords by checking out their top ranking pages. You can check the targeted keywords through various online keyword density tools.
- Add long tail keywords naturally in your content to increase organic search without creating much backlinks.
Website Mobile Optimization
Google noticed that mobile searches exceeded the number of desktop searches in the USA in 2014. This growing trend of mobile search is also witnessed in many other parts of the world. In order to satisfy mobile users Google launched its mobile friendly update also called Mobilegeddon on April 21 2015. After this update, the sites with low quality or no mobile version faced enormous decrease in organic traffic. By ignoring mobile audience, you are risking to lose 50% of your potential customers.
With the addition of responsive web design, you can reduce page-loading time and provide satisfying user experience on the website. The file sizes on the desktop are bigger for mobile usage, a mobile version of site with file-size customization feature makes fast and flexible website experience possible.
You need to review your online marketing strategy with respect to mobile optimization. To achieve this you can add mobile design, mobile payment channels, mobile advertising, mobile local social integration and mobile CRM.
Mobile Local Business Searching
It is true that 50% of smartphone users now search for local businesses including shops, restaurants and offices through mobile search. Major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo have refined local search a lot in almost every niche. If you have a local business then claim your Google plus local business page now. Various other business-listing sites also offer map listing associated with Google like Yelp, Yellow pages and Merchant Circle.
Google has incorporated business page with maps, so when you verify your business page it adds in to local map listing too. In this way, local customers can find your business easily. Mobile searchers will increase by 75% in 2016 and Google is determined to make local search more user-friendly and helpful for mobile users too.
Google Voice Search Optimization
Voice search is another revolutionary feature of Google launched in 14th June 2011 by Google labs. Now, we can imagine how it has changed the search from typing queries to simple voice sentences. Many of you have enjoyed the experience of Siri app or Cortana program years ago and now Google is making voice search more fun. Currently, it supports 40 different languages of the world and Google may update more languages next year.
When type search was the only option, majority of the people use to write small queries as much as possible. However, in voice search we talk in full sentences like “When was Apple founded?” or “How to make herbal tea?” We start the virtual assistant by saying “OK Google” then we say the query. The important thing is that voice search works with the use of question pronouns such as when, where, what, which, how, who etc. and provide search results accordingly. Google voice search is much faster and simpler than the type search and it will improve a lot more in 2016.
A huge number of people are using voice feature for local search that’s why Google is now working on improving this feature. It is currently integrating voice recognition features with their apps and it is already in use on Google maps, Google business and You Tube android apps. In 2016, it will be able to understand the user intent instead of only question pronouns this will make voice search more popular than the type search. It is vital that you optimize your business website with full sentence queries and in a more conversational language way, instead of short-tail keywords only.
App Indexing in Search Results
After the Google mobile friendly update earlier this year, there was another announcement. The first half of the update include “More mobile-friendly websites in search results” and the other half says “More relevant app content in search results”. Google has started indexing deep links to Android apps in search results just like websites. This will allow mobile users to directly land on the relevant content within your website app. This is applicable on your website app and on other Android apps as well. You can add your business on relevant apps on the web.
Not only Google is indexing apps in the mobile search results, Bing is also using this technology because it is the part of future mobile search. As we are moving towards a much larger mobile world in 2016, businesses need to understand the importance of mobile optimization in all aspects.
Social Media Updates Indexing
It is in the air that Google is making deals with Facebook and Twitter to show their updates in the search results. Facebook has so far agreed on its apps data to be index able. However, according to a Tweets indexing study on Search Engine Land, there is an increase of 466% Tweets in Google search results this year. The number will grow greatly in 2016 and Google may break more deals with other popular social media platforms for indexing updates. In addition, social post will become equal to the value of a separate web page. Social media marketing will be vital for SEO in 2016 than ever before.
According to some experts this major shift will remove the difference of web pages and social updates in the eyes of users. This means that Facebook pages and twitter updates can be used to catch up organic traffic from Google.
Video Content will gain more Weight
With the evolution of content on the web, different types of content like articles, images, and infographics had more importance in the past and people used them accordingly. However, the new emerging trend is video content. If you check on Google and Facebook for videos, you will notice that more videos are now appearing in search results for popular queries. Facebook videos are currently receiving more reach as compared to other post types according to a study by Social Bakers “Native Facebook Videos Get More Reach Than Any Other Type of Post”.
According to some analysts, video content will be the new king of content in 2016. However, it won’t replace the written or graphical content completely. Quality written with graphical content will remain useful in 2016.
Written Content SEO Strategy for 2016
It is true that links will remain a ranking factor in the SEO process because link votes are one of the basic search criterions of Google algorithm. In 2016, unique and engaging content will be the key to hold the link building side of SEO. Old tactics of content spinning and putting on web 2.0 platforms that does not contain any editorial process won’t work in 2016. Instead, these spammy tricks of bulk manual or automatic submissions will result in severe penalties. Currently, most savvy webmasters know that these old school quantity based link building tactics are long gone.
In a recent study by Moz and BuzzSumo, it was clear that which content types get the most links from different referring domains. Below are the points:
- Top List Posts
- Strong opinion forming articles
- “How to” and “Why” Posts
- Deep research based content
- Content length more than 1000 words
Relevant Guest Posts
Guest blogging will remain an effective link building tactic but in the context of relevancy and publisher quality. It is important to check the relevancy of the publisher website that you are targeting, if it is related to your topic or business and its authority in terms of editorial process. For example, if you want to promote an SEO agency, you should look for sites like Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land and Business 2 Community for guest blogging. These are authority sites in search engine marketing niche and provide latest news and views on the marketing industry.
In this way, relevant guest posting will remain a strong link-building tactic in 2016. You can search guest blogging sites in a number of ways online and can produce content according to the criteria they demand. Posts that go through a tough editorial process on an authority site before publishing attract more links naturally and ultimately improve rankings of your site.