Search engine optimization (SEO) is a fluid technology. The tips and tricks (white, gray, or black hat) that you used last year might not work as well (or at all) this year. If you’re stuck with the “same old same old” with regards to your SEO tactics, it might be time to reevaluate and try something new. That’s especially true if you’re not seeing any results.
I sat down with Navneet Kaushal, the CEO of PageTraffic, to discuss the best ways to master SEO in 2016.
AJ Agrawal: What do you see as the single most important emerging trend in SEO in 2016?
Navneet Kaushal: That’s easy. Clearly, mobile optimization will take front and center stage this year. Marketers who neglect to specifically target people using mobile devices will not only be limiting their reach, but they’ll also be effectively committing SEO suicide. We’re at the point now where mobile devices have surpassed desktop devices in terms of the number of users. It’s more important than ever to ensure that part of your marketing reach includes people on mobile devices. Further, there are more searches on mobile devices now than there are on desktop devices. That means search engine marketers are going to have to be certain that their sites are responsive. Otherwise, users will get frustrated with unprofessional or unusable output and visit another site – probably a competitor’s.
Agrawal: How do you see social media impacting SEO this year?
Kaushal: I think it’s going to be challenging for new sites to keep pace with social media. When people on the Internet can get their news in real time from Twitter Moments, they’re likely to prefer that channel than to a blog with popups and annoying banner ads. That could put pressure on news sites that optimize their stories for search engine results. It’s likely that people will just go to social media to get their news as opposed to browsing around the web as they did years ago. Also, social media influence will diminish the number of backlinks that some sites receive from one-man-shop blogs. That could hurt their rank in the search engine results pages.
Agrawal: How else do you think social media will impact SEO?
Kaushal: You’re going to see more social media updates in search results. Google is already working with Twitter to show relevant information in its search results. Right now, when you search for a keyword that’s getting buzz on Twitter, you’ll see relevant tweets towards the top of the first page. That first page, as any SEO professional knows, is prime digital real estate and could limit the reach of search results near the top, but below the tweets. Beyond that, though, you can expect to see updates from other social media channels in the search results. That will make things even more challenging for brands that are hoping to get traffic from search engine marketing efforts.
Agrawal: What kinds of technological innovations will have an impact on SEO?
Kaushal: There’s almost certainly going to be more of a focus on micro-local search. I say “micro-local” search because it really goes beyond local search. Local search involves a geographic region, such as a city or town. However, micro-local search takes it a step further to a particular place of business or even a street corner. Thanks to the emergence of wearable technology and advancements in the Google algorithm, expect to see people search for terms on mobile devices that return results promoting a retail outlet within walking distance. Digital marketers who ignore geo-targeting do so at their own risk.
Agrawal: What else is going to complicate things for digital marketers?
Kaushal: Simply put: competition. Blogs are being created every day. Businesses, recognizing the value of content marketing, are going to post more content and, probably, use longform content to give themselves a boost in the search results. All of that competition is more pressure for SEO professionals who are trying to rank content.
Agrawal: What can digital marketers do in the face of that competition?
Kaushal: There are a couple of things they can do. First, they can practice some micro-niche targeting. Instead of optimizing results for keywords that have broad appeal, they should employ keywords relevant to a very specific subset of people within their target market. Also, they should optimize for longtail keywords that don’t have as much competition.
SEO, like every other type of technology, is constantly changing. If you just stick to “old school” methods, you’ll be throwing away some great opportunities to reach people based on emerging trends.
AJ Agrawal is a writer, entrepreneur, and speaker. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Alumnify Inc.
Sources – Forbes.com