2016 is going to be a year of adaptation. Here’s why:
- Deep, not wide. As Google continues to prioritize its own content (or content widgets) in the top-fold real estate of SERPs, this will increasingly consolidate visibility to the market leaders.The bottom of first-page results will become even less trafficked, which means that the spoils will be shared with fewer lions. This will further reduce the ROI of mediocre link building. Action: Build your ROI (and KPIs) around getting to the top 4, maybe even top 2 for the primary keyword(s).
- High quality backlinks will become even more important. Google continues to do a good job of evaluating low quality links. Stop allowing low quality links to be built direct to your site.And yes, links will continue to be a huge ranking factor. We believe they will always carry some weight and that Google will simply become smarter at determining the true value of a link. Action: Build quality links. Leverage connections.
- Due to above, backlink boosting *should* continue to be the #1 priority after getting a high quality link.It’s a near-perfect strategy as it’s conservative in terms of “penalties” but aggressive on results. Action: Maximize the power of the links you worked hard to get in the first place.
- Social SEO will increase in “weight”. We’ve seen that the proof is in the data and I predict that Google will basically come out and say “yes, social signals have an impact on rankings. Action: Get social signals from high authority accounts and focus on SHARES, not LIKES which currently have near-zero effect on rankings.
- Google will reduce “Negative SEO” and start ignoring links vs punishing sites for accruing them (either as a result of their efforts or through link attacks).They’ve simply received far too much bad press and too many local – and big companies – have been killed unnecessarily due to their current Penguin setup. Action: This isn’t the case yet, it’s therefore critical to keep disavowing / removing bad links on a monthly basis to avoid penalties.
- Mobile SEO can’t be ignored anymore. “Mobilegeddon” was the first of many updates and the algo will become far smarter. Too many sites that “comply” with their algo look terrible on mobile devices.Further, they will continue to tighten up on mobile advertising to avoid the user being bombarded with ads before seeing the content they’re looking for. Remember Google’s mission: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Action: Gets your sites “Mobile” and deliver the best experience for them.
- Google will continue to de-prioritize duplicate or “substantially similar” content. Sites with dup content continue to get hammered, and there’s still more work to be done by Google on this. Panda is certainly advancing though and expect this to continue in 2016. Action: Eliminate duplicate content and watch your sites climb the rankings.
- On that note: Longform is crucial. In-depth, well-researched and extensive articles above 2,000 words will continue to dominate the top 10 positions in Google.Thin content is dying, fast. Action: Especially for pages you want ranked Top 10 in Google, go above and beyond on content.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)
855-943-8736 ext. 101