We have seen a lot of changes to the way search engine optimization (SEO) is done over the years. Gone are the days of stuffing as many keywords as possible into an article or a webpage. Today, generic SEO and various other methods prove to be more effective in getting good search result rankings for websites. What can we expect from 2016?
Local Search & Local SEO
Local search will still be the highlight of SEO campaigns in 2016. Search engines are taking local data much more seriously these days, matching searches from certain areas with companies and websites that are based in the same region.
There are a few simple things you can do to take advantage of this shift:
- Be sure to include information about where you are based, along with your complete address and contact info, to (at the very least) the footer of your page. This will help search engine crawlers recognize your site for local searches.
- Use keywords that are relevant to the local community you are targeting. “Auto insurance” for instance, may be more suitable than “car insurance” in certain areas.
Optimized Site Layout
Yes, there are shifts to the way website contents are displayed too. Optimized website layout has always play an important role in boosting the site’s SEO performance, but 2016 will see an increase in the impact of good site layout.
Better content structuring should be one of your primary focuses in 2016. Use the right information scheme to display and deliver your content to your audience. The use of tags and headings will also boost the impact of your SEO efforts greatly.
The same goes for design trends. Since 2015, we have seen websites getting simpler and focusing more on performance. Heavy sliders and animated elements are no longer seen; they are replaced by simple user interface elements that load quickly and offer the best performance.
The way the site is organized is another key point to focus on. Categories, tags and the actual navigation of the site must reflect maximum user experience in order for the site to perform well SEO-wise. Crawlers no longer rely solely on your sitemap. They now take ease of use and user experience when ranking websites too.
We’ve seen this trend since early 2012, when social media became really popular not only among site owners and among general users as well. The impact of social media in 2016 will be greater than ever, but there are a few subtle changes that you may want to pay close attention to.
Facebook appears to be making a strong comeback. Twitter was once the hottest social media on the market, but the recent changes to the way Facebook is used and the new features added to the social network made it interesting again for site owners and users alike. In fact, Facebook offers better average engagement rate in general.
Speaking about engagement, the interaction that happens both on- and off-site will influence your site’s SEO performance even further. It is no longer about search engine optimization only, but also about online presence. I personally love that phrase: online presence. It widens the scope of search engine optimization to a whole new level.
So how can you build a stronger, better online presence?
- Your website will still be the anchor of it all. You can post status updates, share links or even spread videos to users, but at the end of the day your website will be their main destination. Learn to integrate social media activities and make them part of your website’s user experience.
- Sharing is key. You can’t expect users to interact with you unless you share valuable information with them as well. Don’t hesitate to include questions and ignite responses from your followers to gain a much better engagement profile.
- New social networks are being introduced in 2016. Even when you don’t plan on using them regularly, be sure to secure your handles and apply a consistent branding on these new social networks to maintain a strong online presence.
At the end of the day, SEO is still a key internet marketing tool to use. More traffic will come from searches in 2016, so be prepared and stay on top of your game!