Let us begin with a caveat. Google doesn’t wait for a year to go by or the turn of a year to make changes to its algorithms. Throughout the year, Google makes hundreds of changes. You may not get to know of these because the press doesn’t usually focus on any such changes unless some dramatic impacts are recorded. Some of the last updates of Google had created ripples and had changed the dynamics of SEO.
2016 is unlikely to witness any such changes. That is partly because Google has got things under control. If there is an instance when webmasters, SEO experts and internet marketers start to hoodwink Google’s policies and algorithms, then the search engine giant will flex its muscles again.
For now, we know for sure that a few things will change. Those changes will have to be accounted for in your SEO strategy. Let us talk about the changes in SEO rules that would become predominant in 2016.
- We all know that Google has been focusing on quality, relevance and the magnitude of information. Earlier, the focus was entirely on keywords. This had led many to overuse keywords and Google had to deal with black hat practices. While the significance of keywords cannot be done away with entirely, the focus on intention has become more important now. Thanks to advanced algorithms, the crawlers or spiders of Google can now ascertain the true intent of an article. Does the article, blog post or any type of content manage to deliver what it promises? That is the question. It doesn’t matter what keyword, how many keywords or how many times a particular keyword has been focused on. What matters is if the message being conveyed, the information being provided and the manner in which the two are presented solve the purpose that propels an internet user to initiate the search in the first place. If an article or any online content can satiate the exact need for information of the internet users, then that content will get rewarded. This is all in the right context, regardless of keywords and keyword density.
- Google has been working relentlessly to make its search engine results more relevant and satiating for the users. As Google has said repeatedly, its sole objective is to offer value to its audience. You can only offer value when you don’t hold things back and walk the extra mile to satiate the need for information. For instance, if you were to look for a turkey recipe for thanksgiving, then you would want a detailed guide. You would want basic information, exact recipes, stepwise guide, images and perhaps a video. Any content that can offer you a complete guide will be the most helpful. This is the kind of content that Google will rank higher. Anyone coming up with a half baked article or offering limited information will not attain the desired results.
- Since the focus is on information or content and the complete user experience, the kind of contents that will work has changed. A simple article of three hundred or four hundred words will not work. You cannot offer all the relevant information within that word count, unless the topic or query doesn’t require any more information. For instance, a thanksgiving recipe cannot possibly be contained within two hundred or three hundred words. Even if you were to write the stepwise guide, illustrating how the oils and stuffing are to be used, how to watch the skin change color and, you would run into several hundred words. It is now widely agreed upon that word counts of articles should be eight hundred or more than a thousand. Gone are the days when companies could offer snippets of information for free and then lure the users to sign up or to share the content to get more information.
- Google has already declared that it would focus more on mobile and would reward sites or contents that are published with a mobile first approach. Mobile search is already in and it is the future. It is quite possible that desktop searches would become obsolete by the time we hit retirement. Any website that doesn’t factor in the significance of mobile and doesn’t have a mobile compatible approach will not be penalized. But it wouldn’t be favored, which is just the same as being penalized.
- If unique content was the hallmark always, time is rife for images and even videos to become unique. Bland videos, plagiarized images or just overused visuals will not get the traction and thus the recognition that you want. If you wish to truly capitalize on search engine results and you wish to get that coveted first page ranking, then you better come up with original, engaging, unique and professional produced audiovisual content.