If you are familiar with this industry, you would understand that the field of SEO is really dynamic. Changes come and go before you can even say “what’s the latest?” You have to continuously adapt or else what you know would be outdated soon enough. With lots of things coming and going, how do you keep track of the latest SEO trends?
We can never stress enough the importance on keeping up with latest, so we have compiled this list. Top SEO practitioners all over the globe tells us the SEO trends we should look out for. Let’s hear what they have to say to know what we should keep an eye on.
I think what people used to call SEO is slowly turning into a much more holistic endeavour. A truly effective SEO has to have its hands in all aspects of a client’s digital presence. No longer will SEO be a black box where mysterious ninja tech guys manipulate the algorithm. Instead, we “ninja’s” will step out of the shadows of the internet and become marketing samurai’s to carve out a new vision for our clients digital marketing. – Eric McGehearty
Google getting smarter about grey and black hat SEO tricks, especially ad-cluttered or content weak affiliate sites and continuing to penalize bad content in general. – Kent Lewis
Virtual or augmented reality for sure. I would love to see how search functions in such a situation. – Jey Pandian
Google’s growing ability to actually comprehend content ala semantic search. A direction like that is great for Google since optimizing for keywords alone appears to only be able to take their results so far. – Bill Sebald
Absolutely. As I see it, link building will never die, but the way we do it is gradually changing. Chasing links are becoming old hat and increasingly we are having to rely on building relationships and being creative instead. This is a much more rewarding and authentic way to gain links and it is much more effective too. – Alex Johnson
Hopefully the death of click bait and formulaic headlines? As a marketing manager, I can see why people use them, but as a user they irritate the crap out of me.
“What do we want? CLICKBAIT
When do we want it?
The answer will shock you.”
I think SEO has excited me more post Penguin because for years I was frustrated that the industry was Tacky and Spammy. I think most companies know now that if they want to succeed, they need to play the long game and do quality work.
In many ways the internet / SEO industry will merge into something akin to the television industry, but everyone will be able to access and participate to achieve their own goals. That’s exciting. – Stuart McIlreavy
One of the Google folks (I think it was Gary Illyes?) recently hinted that Google was going to give more attention to structured data / rich snippets in 2016. That really excites me, as – for some sectors – it’s a really good way of showing off your results beyond the traditional page title, meta description and URL. It’d be good to see more options open up and perhaps an easier way for businesses to implement it, too. – Steve Morgan
As we have a strong focus on creative content-led SEO at Equator, the continued developments of Google towards user interaction and engagement being strong ranking metrics is exciting. Mobile browsing experience is changing the way people use the web.
It’s a subtle, but gradually evolving thing, but the shift definitely makes interaction metrics more of a logical signal to use and Google’s efforts in the field of Artificial Intelligence (such as Rank Brain) can only be presumed to be at least partly informed by these types of metrics. – Andrew Steel
Voice search is truly fascinating. An SEO still needs to figure out the best ways to position sites for this on mobile exclusively, but for now, we’ll just let the authority carry over naturally until we’re told what we can do specifically. – Logan Lenz
The slow but steady transformation of Google. It requires a much bigger SEO approach than simply optimising pages. I try to learn as much as possible about Schema at the moment and how Google Now is working for example. – Max Tandefelt
I love how quality content is taking over from SEO, and how link attribution and authority links have to come from content. People don’t care who’s linking to you – they care about you solving their problem. SEO doesn’t do that, your words do.
I’m sorry, and I doubt you want to read that, but Google keeps telling us that content is where it’s at. The good news is that up to 25% of businesses think their content is virtually worthless. You can fill that gap and help them out. Lots of opportunity here. – Greg Strandberg
The growth of semantic SEO will be a huge theme heading into 2016. We have already seen mobile become a major topic, but that ship is already pushing out to sea. Contextual ranking is the first step along the way to morphing search engines into prediction engines. We are not very far from that vision as 2015 comes to a close.
The single biggest development I’m expecting next year is in this area – the search engines will continue to get better and better at anticipating your needs. Voice search will also become big, and these two developments go hand-in-hand algorithmically. – Tommy Landry
It’s more of an opportunity than a trend, but I’m really excited by international SEO and the challenge of ranking in foreign languages. Algorithms are a lot less developed, and there’s a lot more scope to be ‘creative’ with your SEO campaigns. In terms of trends, I think app store listing optimisation and the prospect of real-time Panda updates are pretty interesting. – Samuel Miranda
I’d say the trend that excites me most is that we’re moving towards less search engine manipulation and putting more of a focus on creating unique content that answers questions and fills legitimate needs.
In the early days, or as my 6 year old son likes to say “back in the day”, it didn’t matter if your content was weak, could be found on other websites, or didn’t offer anything new or interesting; if you had a good SEO strategy and links, you would generate traffic.
With today’s SEO, if you don’t have something of value you’re most likely not going to generate interest or exposure from the search engines.
As the user experience becomes more of a ranking factor, SEO is no longer about manipulating the search engines, but about making the Internet a better place by providing better content, entertainment, resources and ideas. (This is probably the point in the interview where we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya) – Chris Lister
I’m excited about the evolution away from focusing on ranks. We’ve been advocating this for years, but finally the rest of the world seems to have caught up and is ready to notice all the different ways that a brand’s presence in search can be improved (for example, through an improved Knowledge Graph, or tweets in search results), and all the different ways that success can be measured. – Gradiva Couzin
It’s not an SEO trend but it will have massive ramifications for any organic search campaigns. Google’s focus on snippets, structured data, answer boxes, knowledge graph and so on already radically changed the SERP landscape. But now we’re seeing the rise of Google Now, Facebook M, search in iOS 9 and Cortana being integrated into Windows 10.
Increasingly, we will see more searches being completed outside of the traditional search engine environment – how SEOs react to this shift will be significant. How will SEOs work in a world where people aren’t searching with keywords, but simply talking to their phone? – Colin Cheng
I think it’s really interesting how marketing in general has almost gone full-circle. When you think back to the ad agencies of yesteryear, it was all about coming up with a concept for a campaign and brand.
With SEO we’re no longer able to get away with seemingly-magic technical SEO tweaks resulting in massive spikes in performance; if you want great rankings now in a competitive niche, you need links from highly authoritative websites such as national newspapers and industry websites.
The most effective way to get these links are through offering products and services, or even through a marketing campaign which is truly unique, in order to become newsworthy and naturally earn links. – Daniel Morgan
I’m excited to think about mobile SEO and how SEOs will be able to technically track performance between desktop and mobile. – Nuno Hipólito
Yes, it all excites me but particularly the Localized – Socialized movement. I love the thought of being able to deliver the right offer to the right person at the right time. Things are changing rapidly.
The way social and mobile is changing the way we behave is powerful and creates new opportunities for marketers today that we never had before. Let’s face it, we are in a connected world and that needs to be embraced. To me, that’s exciting. – Bernadette Coleman
Google is honestly getting much better at understanding topics vs. keywords, and being able to really detect original, quality content. I’m seeing my own sites and my clients’ sites do better and better where we’ve put some real effort into useful, thorough text, original images, and rich content elements like videos and maps. – Michael Cottam
Currently the semantic web and microformats are an upcoming and exciting trend. – Bharati Ahuja
Like I already said above, the “behavioural SEO” is something that sounds really exciting.
I wonder how far Google will go with it and if they will be able to decrease the value of backlinks to the point when PBNs and black hat SEO will no longer work. – Tim Soulo
I’ve long argued that Google’s policy of penalising sites for having bad backlinks was counterintuitive and ultimately self-defeating. If they can count the bad ones then by definition they must know the good ones. I see Google slowly moving this way and the rise of websites that don’t try to cheat their way to the top is exciting. – Jonathan Guy
The massive effect user engagement and experience has started to play on SEO has been extremely motivating and exciting. I’m absolutely stoked to see the improved focus people are starting to put on website usability and the well deserved results that have been attained from it. When I’m not playing “digital marketer” and casually searching the web, I get frustrated when I see shit sites ranking above genuinely well built ones.
It’s not that they don’t deserve the rankings, they’ve obviously put a lot of effort into SEO.
However, it’s frustrating to see a site that’s genuinely more useful not get the credit it deserves, just because they focused more on usability than SEO (as it should be!). – Peter Attia
Yes, I think Google is moving away from link building and focusing a user interaction and co-citation. These new trends I think are very beneficial for internet users. – Carla Dawson
I think the concept of users not necessarily using a traditional search engine (google.com, yahoo.com, etc.) but rather using a personal assistant who might get its data from a search engine is really interesting.
For example, M from Facebook, looks like it’ll be able to do some incredible things. It’ll be interesting to see how these personal assistant type products source their data and how we can still get relevant content in front of the right users. – Alex Ramadan
Everything excites me and that’s really, really important. If you don’t have that in this industry you will fall behind. When we hire people we look, above all else, for what we call ‘a voracious appetite for learning’ and a genuine intrigue for the world and how things work. If you have that you’ll do well. Talking specifically I would say it continues to be the trend towards a true understanding of the value of content and how it should sit at the very centre of your marketing plan. – Simon Penson
As wearables and other devices grow, SEOs will need to start paying more consideration to them. It’s too early to know what this ecospace will look like, but it should be interesting! – Adam Thompson
I’m excited that SEO is really starting to include, and prioritize, a lot of aspects of user experience. It isn’t just about keywords and links any more. Those so called “black hat” tactics like keyword stuffing or spammy links that (sadly) use to (kind of) work just don’t cut it anymore (yeah!).
You really have to have a good website (and, typically, a good company behind that website) that delivers for visitors. The most recent example is the release of Google’s mobile usability guidelines earlier this year which was a clear signal that bad usability can affect rankings (though, the extent to which it is affecting rankings is questionable).
You can go back over the years and see how Google has been building toward this. For instance, the roll out of Google’s Panda update in 2011 to weed out poor quality content certainly was part of getting sites to offer a better experience. It is great to see that Google is really paying attention to whether the websites they rank deliver a good, usable experience to users and I’m excited to see more of this in the future. – Matthew Edgar
The increasing use of things like Knowledge Graph and answer boxes in really interesting to me. Many site managers and SEOs find these efforts by the search engines concerning because they can often result in less traffic, but what I find exciting about them is the opportunity to establish my clients as the expert and top sources when I can help them become the sources for some of that information. – Eric Pratum
More video. As a content creator, I can’t afford to ignore video. I like that I’m forced to learn how to produce and promote videos and adapt. Our flexible company structure allows me to work closely with our webinar host and other team members so that I can better understand this important new trend. – Tara Clapper
I love the concept of link “earning” instead of link “building”. Link building just sounds spammy to me. Make your SEO team always use the phrase link “earning”. It’s a constant reminder that optimized quality, content is king. – Marvin Russell
It isn’t particularly new, but I love how Google is getting better and better at it’s ability to evaluate quality content. We’re seeing content we’ve created for smaller companies with low website authority actually outcompete much larger news publications in the search engines.
In the future, I think SEOs will have to worry less and less about building website authority before they can generate content.
Google seems like it’s starting to reward the best answer to a query on a more consistent basis.
Big brands won’t be able to rely on lazy content and smaller brands will have a chance to compete for much more competitive keywords if they take time to develop resources their customers engage with. Super exciting. – Chris Long
The death of spam is always great. User engagement seems to slowly make its way into the algorithm. – Bart van der Meer
The continual growth and evolution of mobile search is an interesting area for local SEO. The new feature in Google where they are using phones to identify popular visiting times for a business is as insightful as it is creepy. Our jobs will continue to evolve as more dots connect between multi-screen device usage, how we use those devices and behaviour outside of search engines. – Dan Callis