5-trends-in-seo-to-look-out-for-in-2016Search engine optimization, or SEO, is perhaps the most powerful tool to maximize the effect of your online marketing campaigns. SEO first became visible in an accessible way in the mid-1990’s and caught on quickly. Today, when a website browser tool such as Google changes how it catalogues and ranks SEO-optimized web pages, the whole world mobilizes to make changes accordingly.

As well, SEO itself continues to evolve as a marketing technique, which can bring to light new developments and trends from year to year. Here we predict major upcoming trends in SEO for 2016.

Trend #1: Long-tail keywords are now “in”.

Gone are the days where the only keywords worth scrutinizing were single words or short phrases. But as user online search expertise increases, short keywords and phrases are no longer cutting it. The use of verbal-based typing software and digital assistants also favors long-tail keywords.

The bottom line is, long-tail keywords can deliver more specific search engine results, leading to more focus here in 2016.

Trend #2: Search engine results will increasingly include social media.

Some of the most relevant, useful content today is being generated via social media. Much of this content is original, which makes it even more relevant. Google in particular has announced plans to incorporate social media feeds from Twitter and Facebook, among others, into its search engine browser results. And what Google does, others tend to follow, so look for much more of this in 2016.

Trend #3: High quality backlinks are paramount.

Spam is out. And while, yes, spam has been out for some time now, in particular spam or spam-appearing back links (aka low quality back links) are very, very out, and can cause a site to fall in the search engine results rankings rapidly.

“In 2016 pay increasing attention to whether back-links lead to high quality, useful information”, according to a Utah SEO company.

Trend #4: Google will continue to update its algorithm.

Google’s Panda algorithm introduced some major changes in how the browser giant assesses which sites have the highest-quality content. Panda’s ripple effect included the systematic weeding out of content farms (spammy pages and sites). Then in 2012, Penguin was unveiled. One of the big changes with Penguin has been reduced rankings for pages and sites with unnatural or spam-based back links (see #4 here for more).

As a positioning tactic, Google has found both updates very useful in solidifying its position as a browser worth trusting, so expect more of the same going into 2016, and expect more of the changes to come in close to or actual real time.

Trend #5: Mobile optimization is no longer optional.

Statistics slant overwhelming towards the use of smaller screen smart devices over traditional laptops and desktops for just about everything search engine-related today. This means it is no longer enough just to optimize your website for rankings with keywords. You must provide a site optimized for small screen usability as well (especially if you want to show up in Google’s search engine results).

From consumer browsing to buying to keeping up with email and social media to conducting research and doing business on the go, mobile is where everything is headed in 2016.

By keeping up with the top trending strategies in SEO optimization, you can ensure your website and e-commerce store get the traffic and sales that justify your hard work and vision. With some focused strategizing at the beginning of this year, you can position your site for this type of success all year long as you build your marketing campaigns around a website that is already optimized for online visibility.