The way people are using the internet is continuing to change, which means SEO experts must evolve if they want to remain relevant. While last year was defined by the ever-increasing importance of mobile sites, this year is all about social media and mobile apps. And we must not forget all the advancements Google is making with regards to their ever-changing algorithm. There is no doubt that technology is moving at a ridiculously fast speed, which is not good news for anyone who wants to maintain the status quo.

Now we will attempt to predict the top ten trends for 2016 with regards to SEO:

  1. Quality video will rise in importance when compared to text content.

We all know that content is king, but written content has been our standard for the past few years. But this is expected to change, with video content emerging as the new standard bearer into 2016 and beyond. Video content, whether it is in the form of short videos, long videos, infographics or animations, is easier to share and more engaging than text content.

Videos are playing a hugely important role in social media, while they are also rising in importance on mobile apps. Google is starting to embed video ads into the search engine results, which means that video is going to have a significant advantage over text content in the coming years. We already know how much online interaction and social media interaction is prioritized over the traditional methods of SEO.

  1. Search queries are expected to change as more people start speaking to their phones

The truth is that people are beginning to engage with Google and other search engines in a different way. In the past, it was all about typing succinct text if they wanted to find something or know more about a particular topic. But people are starting to talk to their phones through Siri or Google Now. This means they will start asking questions in complete sentences, which changes the way websites need to input SEO and long-tail keywords.

  1. Google will index social media

While there are some skeptics who still think social media will not impact search engine results, they need to change their tune and fast! Google has already begun displaying Twitter or Facebook content when you search for items on your mobile. This indexing should continue for other social networks, such as Instagram. This means the importance of your social media marketing strategy is going to be even more significant than it was in 2014 or 2015.

  1. Apps also need deep links

The time for excluding deep links from mobile apps has passed. While everyone knows that you need deep links on your desktop and mobile websites, many SEO experts have excluded them from mobile apps. But since Google is now indexing apps, it means app developers need to have shareable links that are easy to view and transmit for users. Deep links already play a huge role on websites, but they will soon gain equal importance within apps.

  1. Focused local search engine results

Almost all smartphones now have GPS, which means apps are starting to pin-point a user’s location when they make a search query. This means that local searches are going to be even more focused than they were in the past. While we already have specialized results if you search for restaurants in a particular city, you may soon find your suggestions are narrowed down based on your street or neighborhood, not only your city of choice.

  1. Google search algorithm’s real-time updates will keep everyone on their toes

There was a time when Google’s algorithm would only receive updates one or two times a year. But now they have introduced real time updates, which means SEO experts and webmasters must remain on their toes at all times. People who make an extra effort to stay in front of the curve will reap the rewards, while those who stand still will find their website ranking dropping like a stone without much warning.

  1. Organic search positions may not provide great returns

Having the top position for organic search engine results provides a site with huge amounts of traffic. But this is before you had to compete with video advertisements or social media posts. Google is now putting dynamic and engaging content at the forefront of their search engine results, which means a top ranking site is not going to provide the returns it did in the past. Diversifying your social media presence is even more important than it was in 2015.

  1. Google’s rich answers mean sites with unique information are more valuable

If we take the statistics for search queries, we see that Google responds to these queries with a rich answer around one-third of the time. These answers are often at the right of the organic results, while they are on the top in some web browsers. This means a user does not even need to go to a website to get the answer to their question, because Google has taken the answer from a site and displayed it on their search engine results page. This means websites that have unique information can really benefit from the rich answers concept, because it is their information that Google will display at the top, along with a link to their site.

  1. Page loading times are more important than ever

When a page loads faster on a consistent basis, Google gives it a higher search engine rankings position. Large pages that take too long to load may not even get indexed by Google bots, which means all your SEO efforts are going to waste. It is crucial to have snappy landing pages, along with quick-loading pages throughout your website. Advertisers must cater their ads in a way that does not slow down web pages, even when they are being loaded on mobile phones.

  1. Mobile site optimization is going to be more important than desktop optimization

Statistics show that more people use the internet through their mobiles than on desktops or laptops. This has been true for the past two years, which is why it is so important to have a well-developed mobile website. For certain industries, 2016 will mark the first time where mobile optimization is a far bigger priority than web optimization. This is not limited to how a site looks or loads, but whether or not the site has mobile apps or social media profiles.

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