As you know, search engine optimization (SEO) is ever-changing, affecting the way marketers manage their online presence. In 2016, some things will stay the same while others will not. To help you maintain and improve your search engine rankings, here is an overview of the state of SEO in the New Year.
Mobile-Friendliness is a Must
In Quarter 2 of 2015, Google decided to make mobile-friendliness an official ranking factor. Other search engines soon followed suit. Following this announcement, we saw many websites undergo redesigns and retrofit their websites to responsive. Now that 2016 has arrived, if you do not have a mobile-friendly website, you may be in trouble. Users have come to expect mobile-friendly websites when browsing on mobile devices. In addition to taking a ranking hit on Google, the users who do manage to access your website via search results will likely abandon it within seconds.
Content is Still King
Content will continue to be one of the most important parts of search engine optimization in 2016. From word count and keyword frequency to context and Metadata, what you do with your onsite content can make or break your SEO strategy.
According to Forbes, the average word count for top-ranking content is in the range of 1,140-1,285 words. If that sounds like a lot, that is because it is! But the quantity of content on your website is not the only important thing. You must remember that quality is just as, if not more important. And stuffing your pages with your targeted keywords is not the way to create quality content. Search engines have become so advanced that they can understand context. The robots that crawl your site use an advanced algorithm to determine whether your content is relevant, useful, and high-quality. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for ranking number one in search results; it is all about the quality of your content.
Videos are Continuing to Influence Search Results
Video marketing has continued to grow in popularity over the past several years. Search engines have picked up on this and have therefore begun ranking videos higher in search results. In fact, a report by Marketing Land found that videos make up 62% of all Google searches universally. Additionally, Relesoo.com found that video searches garner 41% higher click-through rates as compared to plain, static text content (SEO Nick). With statistics like these, it is plain to see that video is here to stay.
Local SEO is an Important Piece of the Puzzle
If you are a small or local business, then you likely understand just how important local SEO is to your overall strategy. In 2015, Google came out with the Pigeon Algorithm, an algorithm focused on local search results. The thing with local SEO is that it requires specific tactics, beyond general search engine optimization. Those tactics include location-based content and Metadata, presence on local directories and Google MyBusiness, and a location-oriented responsive design. The great thing about responsive design is that you can code your website to display specific information first on mobile devices. If your location is an important part of your business, you can code your website to display a map, phone number or address on your mobile homepage.
Rich Answers are the New Craze
Google’s rich answers are “any attempt by Google to answer the searcher’s query in search results” so that users do not have to click through to a website (Stone Temple Consulting). Historically, rich answers have been filled with insights from Google or Wikipedia snippets. Yet recently, we have seen more answers from regular, old companies. According to Stone Temple Consulting, for 75% of rich answers Google uses external data and includes a link to its source. While it is certainly going to be a challenge getting your content indexed in rich answers (it has to be the best content on the web, after all) we recommend making this one of your goals in 2016! Plus, the payout is huge. According to Link-Assistant.com, CTR for clickable rich answers is 2X better than that for the #1 ranking on a search results page with no rich answer.
If you need assistance with search engine optimization in 2016, please contact Informatics.