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SEO In 2016: What It Means For Your Content Strategy

The good news? Many changes are just beginning to take shape, and much of the conversation is still largely based on predictions, which means there’s time to get ahead of the curve. Here’s what we know about what has changed, what could change and what will stay the same when it comes to SEO in 2016.

ComScore reported last spring that mobile Internet browsing has officially surpassed desktop browsing by 60 percent. Which means there isn’t much point in distinguishing between mobile and desktop browsing any more. It’s just browsing …

Every website should be optimized for all screen sizes and Google agrees. It already changed its search algorithm last spring to weed out websites that aren’t optimized for mobile. But what’s even more interesting is the Forrester report everyone’s been referencing. According to the research, 85 percent of the time we spend on mobile devices is in app. This could mean serious changes for SEO strategy. Namely, an increase in in-app content and, subsequently, more marketers linking to specific pages within apps instead of website pages.

Have you noticed a little something different happening when you click to read an article on Facebook? Historically, you’d be routed to the website in which the article originated. But recently, Facebook added a new feature to keep users in-app.

Now the articles remain in-app for your viewing pleasure. Twitter isn’t far behind, either. It plans to follow Facebook’s lead with long-form content in-app. This will definitely impact SEO strategy because social media isn’t necessarily feeding traffic back to your website anymore. That means social signals (likes, shares, comments, mentions) are increasingly more important to your SEO ranking and social connections and influences may also start to play a more substantial role in search results.

Facebook didn’t just stop at long-form content, either. It also added a search feature that, surprisingly, is gaining on Google 1.5 billion searches daily to 3.5 billion. This gives marketers one more reason to consider increasing their focus on social presence.

A huge driver behind changes in SEO is voice-activated personal assistants, especially now that the technology has become more accurate. Instead of typing keywords, we’re speaking inquiries in our casual language, which means your content strategy must follow suit and take on a more relaxed phraseology.

Voice search also means search can take place anytime, anywhere. Not just when it’s safe and convenient to type on a keyboard. Furthermore, search assistants use your prior search history and context to deliver more accurate results. For example, if you regularly order clothing from a favorite online retailer, and search for sweaters via personal assistants like Siri, Google Now or Cortana, they’ll provide your choice retailer as a top search result.

Finally, voice search puts greater emphasis on local SEO. In many cases, people using voice-activated assistance are busy and need immediate information. Their topic of search frequently involves finding a nearby location, which means local SEO is going to become a greater asset for businesses looking to rank in these queries.

Google is also pushing the limits of search. It started to answer search queries with its Rich Answers feature instead of solely providing a list of top sources for you to choose from.

For marketers, this means audiences don’t always need to sift through search rankings to find what they need. That is, unless they want an in-depth answer to their question.

Getting your content indexed in rich answers should be a goal (albeit ambitious) in 2016. It won’t be easy getting recognized by Google as the top source for information on a topic—but it is possible. And if you get the feature snippet spot, it will boost your website traffic.

Feel like the rug’s just been pulled out from under your feet? Take a deep breath. Not everything about SEO is on the fast track to change. Here’s what won’t be changing:

Content is still as important as ever. But as the market continues to become saturated with content, length isn’t as important as the value of the information.

It’s happening again. The winds of change are sweeping across the SEO landscape and this time, they’re leaving behind quite a few ranking factors. HubSpot believes SEO will be unrecognizable within the next five years as new and diversified search behaviors leave marketers no choice but to adapt. Except this time, it won’t just be about strategy tweaks. Some of the changes we’re going to see for SEO will require a complete strategy rewrite.

It’s happening again. The winds of change are sweeping across the SEO landscape and this time, they’re leaving behind quite a few ranking factors. HubSpot believes SEO will be unrecognizable within the next five years as new and diversified search behaviors leave marketers no choice but to adapt. Except this time, it won’t just be about strategy tweaks. Some of the changes we’re going to see for SEO will require a complete strategy rewrite.

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