These 5 SEO Best Practices Will Be Hot In 2016

The Internet is today the major marketing channel for brands, and keeping up with the most up to date SEO best practices is very important to maintaining your marketing edge. This is because unlike conventional marketing, SEO helps you drive only targeted traffic which is likely to convert.

If you want to stay relevant and profitable in the digital landscape, you need to master SEO. According to a recent report from Searchmetrics, Google is now better able to reward high-quality web content that is relevant to a search query, and less dependent on traditional signals, such as keywords.

Here are some SEO best practices I believe will be huge for the rest of 2015, and in 2016.

1. Content will remain king

I think this might never change – and neither should it.

Google now increasingly rewards quality content. There is less focus on keyword saturation and more focus on whether or not the content is really relevant to the search query. So you need to continuously create top-notch content that uses proper, relevant queries that your ideal audience uses in search engines. Aim to create definitive guides that users will always find valuable and interesting.

Good is not enough. Go for awesome content – the type you always feel compelled to read, share, comment on and link to when it appears on other sites.

2. Social signals will carry more weight

There has been a lot of predictions for quite some time now that Google considers social signals in its ranking of content – although Google says this is not the case. With Google’s increased emphasis on user experience, I’m predicting that social signals – which is a good way to measure how many people consider the shared content valuable – will carry some more weight as a ranking factor in 2016.

3. Mobile-friendliness will be a must

In January 2015, mobile searches overtook desktop searches in volume. With the recent Mobilegeddon, the mobile user experience is currently an essential factor in Google's algorithm. Google now ranks mobile-friendly sites higher in mobile searches, and even shows whether a site is mobile friendly or not in the search snippet.

Websites that aren’t optimized for mobile users have already reported a decline in organic traffic.

But how do you know if your site is mobile responsive?

Google has provided an easy tool to check that. If your site fails the test, you could possibly be losing as much as 30% of your search traffic. Do you really want that? I bet you don’t. So go optimize your site for mobile searchers.

4. Brand signals will be rewarded more

Going forward, I’m betting that creating brand signals will continue to get rewarded by Google. Google knows that most webmasters who try to game its algorithm are not credible brands. They’re owners of thin affiliate websites or other type of sites out to make money without creating much value for its users. These are the ones Google penalizes.

So it will become increasingly important for webmasters who want to rank high to create signals that tell Google they’re a real brand: they have active social media channels, most of their links created with brand anchor texts, users searching for their brand name on Google, etc.

5. Multimedia content will grow popular

To stay relevant in the game of SEO, you’ll need to produce top quality, original content incorporating visual media like graphics, videos and presentations. Users appear to be favoring visual content these days, especially in the B2C landscape and there are indications it will only increase.

With its emphasis on user experience, Google will likely rank those multimedia content even higher going forward. Already, Google is experimenting with video ads in its search results. In 2016, a handful of disruptive technologies – think of Periscope and Snapchat – will surface and push this trend even further, creating big wins in terms of reach, engagement and conversion for brands who create multimedia content.

SEO is a constantly changing landscape. Those who grow with it stay relevant and those who sleep on their success soon go obsolete. If you want to maintain your marketing edge, you need to stay on top of the game. You need to monitor the trends and fine-tune your marketing plan accordingly.