The trends shaping SEO in 2016

The ever-changing algorithms of Google and other search engines can leave marketers feeling out of control when it comes to their search engine optimization strategy. Nevertheless, given that SEO is one of the best methods to demonstrate ROI, it remains an important part of integrated marketing strategies everywhere. These are the common threads successful marketing agencies will use to navigate the world of SEO in 2016:

1. Mobile-optimization
It appears 2015 was the tipping point for mobile search, meaning mobile is on tap to surpass its desktop counterpart in 2016 (1). Since Google officials announced earlier this year they would reward mobile-friendly sites by ranking them higher in search engine results, the move to mobile has become increasingly clear.

As Forbes reported, mobile will only grow more important as desktop searches become obsolete over the next five years (2).

2. Social indexing
When conducting online searches, today's Internet surfers are likely to come across a Tweet or two in the midst of their results. This is because search engines, particularly Google, have started assigning more value to social media platforms. As a result, social content will continue to be indexed in 2016 and, consequently, become easier to find through search engine inquiries (3).

3. Personalized marketing
In 2016, B2B marketers will expand upon their efforts to harness the power of data and use it to create effective strategies. One way they will do so is by curating highly personalized content marketing based on behavioral data; from there, strategists will target having those pieces of content perform better in organic searches.

These days, effective inbound marketing relies heavily on getting that content in front of the right people at the right time. In the past, B2B marketers used email marketing to do this. While that continues to be a vital part of many successful strategies, marketers will lean more on targeted SEO as mobile searches continue to ramp.

4. Audio-based SEO
Voice searches are revolutionizing the world of SEO; instead of delivering a series of website links, Google and Bing searches are now providing direct audio-based answers to user questions (4). For this reason, companies should look to add audio files to their website in 2016 – if they haven't already.

5. Localization
Given the advancement of wearable devices and Google's local indexing capabilities, it's safe to say local searches are here to stay. If a company's website isn't already optimized for local searches, web developers should take strides to make that happen in the coming year. Some ways to do so include setting up a Google business page, encouraging customers to leave reviews on Google and incorporating location-based keywords on your website. Additionally, businesses should aim to correct any address discrepancies across multiple directories; those inconsistencies tend to lead to lower page rankings. (5).

6. Semantic searches
Essentially, a semantic search is an advanced technique where the search engine is able to seek out similar keywords and phrases in addition to what the user originally typed into the search bar. Beyond that, search engines are able to use context clues, such as location, recent search history and time of day to provide results they deem most relevant (6). Companies looking to capitalize on semantic searches can do so in the following ways:

  • Create content that is easy to understand.
  • Link to relevant third-party websites to give your company more value.
  • Reach outside of common phrases and provide more "comparison words" within content; this, in turn, provides more context for search engines.

It's important marketers looking to improve upon their SEO efforts realize they'll achieve the best results when these strategies are used in tandem with mobile advertising, responsive web design and other best practices for mobile. With proper planning and employment, these systems can lead to improved B2B lead generating and nurturing results in 2016.

(1). Mobile Search Will Surpass Desktop in 2015
(2). The Top 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2016
(3). SEO Future Predictions for the Next Year: 2016
(4). How voice search and Google 'direct answers' are changing SEO
(5). 4 Steps to Optimizing Local Search With Google
(6). What is semantic search and why does it matter?

Sheila Kloefkorn (1029 Posts)

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.