2015 brought about some big changes in SEO best practices. Here are three of those changes that I think were the most important, and will continue to be important in 2016.
1. Earned Links
If a link is “earned,” it means someone linked to your content because you’ve created something worth sharing, not because you’re hounding them to give you a shout out. It used to be that any inbound link was a good link, but now, low-quality links from non-credible sites can actually hurt you. By creating and promoting informative, valuable, and unique content, you can earn links from reputable sources to your relevant content.
2. Mobile Friendly
In 2014, mobile internet use surpassed desktop internet use. One out of five people in the world owns a smartphone. That’s why you need a mobile-friendly site. This is not optional. Not only that, but you need to make sure your site is optimized for mobile searches and user experience. Mobile user experience is now a ranking factor in Google’s search engine algorithm, so having a mobile-optimized site is not only beneficial to your ranking, you can actually be penalized if your site is not mobile optimized.
3. Audience Engagement
“Content is the king” is a phrase that was thrown around a lot this year. It’s still true and will continue to be true in 2016. Brands can no longer get away with filling their sites with so-called “thin content” and articles that utilize keyword stuffing. Google search algorithms want to make sense of your content so that they can deliver the best quality and most relevant articles to their users. It’s not about quick fixes to help you rank in the organic search results anymore. Now it’s about relationship building. Writing engaging, unique content will help you and your brand gain your audience’s trust in your knowledge and, by extension, your product.
These are just a few of the SEO trends that took over internet marketing in 2015. However, as users move towards wanting quality content, I believe these trends will remain relevant in 2016 and in years to come.