“Think Global, Shop Local”

Search engine traffic remains one of the biggest drivers to staffing and recruiting websites. Targeted search traffic is also one of the highest converting sources of traffic (right there with social media) for staffing and recruiting firms. With the start of 2016, many businesses are evaluating their web site’s search engine performance over the past months. In many cases, business owners have found that their SEO efforts have not netted them the results they desired. This lack of overwhelming success can be attributed to the use of outdated methods, including keyword spamming and link farming. Today, we will look at some techniques that can enhance a web site’s search engine rankings well into the new year. For several years, Google has been the sovereign strength in online search engines. The company has become such a presence in online culture, the name has become a verb synonymous with online searches. (“Just Google it!”) Many SEO experts have spent countless hours seeking to unlock Google’s search algorithms and gain a strategic advantage. The growing market shares of competing search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo, as well as the advent of mobile digital assistants, such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, will continue to erode at Google’s dominance. Although we work to rank on Google, there is nothing that frightens us more than Google. Every now and then, there is a fear of some big algorithm change that is dreaded even by the most seasoned online marketers. However, there is little that these seasoned marketers and those who follow the best practices have to worry about. There will be a lot to learn from this article if content marketing, search ranking, and SEO is at the core of your marketing activities.

Well! Over the last year, SEO has really changed, and will continue to change over the next year. In the past, you could optimize some page titles, drop some keywords in your URL, stuff keywords into content, build a few links and BAM .. better rankings. Today, that’s not necessarily the case. People are using the Internet more than ever to get what they’re looking for. No matter what business you own or what part of the world you’re catering to, you need a strong online presence to attract your target customers. One way to do this effectively is to always adapt your strategies to the current trendsin SEO.  The search algorithms take into account hundreds of different ranking factors. Lets take an insight of the key SEO Trends 2016 that the business owner, content creators, digital marketers and various SEO providers require to know:

Site-Wide SEO & In-depth Keyword Research: Sharing your newly published content on your social media accounts and making sure it is written well and has high SEO value is important. However, some business owners forget that the SEO for your entire site is just as important. This year, try to refocus your SEO on site-wide web elements to rank organically in search results. This way, you won’t rely on new content for all your lead generation. While Google AdWords is still a reliable and effective tool to look for the best long tail, partial match keyword phrases to use for your pages, you need to look even deeper this 2016. Google will still use keyword terms to give search results to its users, but they’ll also look into the intent of each user.

Mobile Searches Will Dominate: Now this is a trend we’ve been monitoring for sometime. This year will be dominated by mobile searches, to an extent that most of the organic and paid visitors will come from tablets and smart phones surpassing standard desktop searches for the first time ever, which comes as great news. Your business will have to take a big leap from building a mobile friendly and responsive site, as this are the per-requisites. Your marketing team or agency will need to have a mobile user mindset for all the decisions based on your website. The aim is to engage the mobile users by giving them optimum experience. So, while building a website, businesses will have to consider: mobile marketing strategy, design, search marketing, payment CRM, e-commerce, coupons, and many more.

Video Content Will Overtake Written Content: Videos are great! Video feeds have already begun to dominate the search pages. Google has already been experimenting with video advertising in its search results which means Vine, Snapchat, and similar video apps will hold more relevance in the coming year being that these mediums are becoming advertisement-savvy. About 71% of internet traffic this year and in the years ahead will be video. A few marketing analysts say that video is the type of content with the best ROI and no wonder with an ever increasing number of B2B marketers favoring video over the static text formats as a part of their content marketing initiatives. Videos are the best way to build links back to your site. If your audiences find your video helpful, they’re likely to share it, therefore facilitating linking for your site. Remember, the more your videos are share, better your overall online presence will be. Videos get  about 55 times better organic page ranks in Google as against plain & static text results. Video SEO strategies help you increase your engagement rate, offer convenience to extend your brand message, drive conversion rate, and of course, boost your SERP ranking. In a recent development, Google announced that it is all set to include video ads in search results. So, it is only prudent that you stay prepared with an effective Video SEO strategy aimed at ranking of your website up on search result page this year.

Aggregated Content Will Diminish the Power of News and Event Coverage: When is the last time you started a news-binge or data-mining expedition by going directly to a news outlet website? Aside from a few, rarely do anybody visits a news site directly. Nine times out of ten, you get redirected to news sites via social media like Twitter and FaceBook. This is an ever-evolving trend since the inception of social media, and even these outlets have capitalized on the success of trends such as these. Twitter now showcases ‘moments’ and “while you were away” posts, substituting for what would be a daily news-brief. Though this is great for the end-user, us Marketeers will now need to focus on original content more than ever in order to stay relevant in search engines. This factor had been a winner last year and still remains here. In a blog published at imediaconnection.com, Rebecca Lieb explains that content aggregation is a practical way of finding, collating, amassing, consolidating, presenting, sharing, and displaying content around pre-specified set of criteria to appeal target audience. So, do pretty well to collect and curate content from different, high-authority sources and display it at one place for your users to see. This technique will surely help in boosting your SERP ranking. But remember to refrain from stealing ideas and plagiarism. Give away credits wherever necessary. Don’t infringe on copyright policies. Never forget to play by these rules. Else, you might end up getting your website penalized, no matter how much time and money you spend to ensure a user-friendly and an easily navigable web design.

Context Over Keywords & Quality Over Quantity: Although the use of keywords still plays a vital role in a site’s search engine profile, that position has become less of a starring role and more of a supporting player. The growing sophistication of SEO algorithms has allowed various sites such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to place more emphasis on context clues than keyword concentrations. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm uses a semantic searching as a means to decipher a user’s intent. The company’s new RankBrain system will also emphasize the importance of semantic searchers. Keep adding fresh content on a regular basis to increase a site’s search engine visibility. The new trend still calls for fresh content, but that content must be of an outstanding quality to get noticed. Today’s users must endure under a relentless bombardment of content from social media platforms. The days of blogging for the sake of blogging are all but over. To paraphrase the old saying, “If you don’t have anything important to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Social content Will Readily Get Indexed: For a very long time, SEO experts and marketers have mistaken content curation for content aggregation. In their endeavor to consume content, they’ve pulled content directly from sources, without thinking about the repercussions. There are a range of content aggregation challenges that make the entire process difficult and daunting, but things are changing at a dramatic pace. In fact, SEO experts believe that in the coming years, content curation is likely to replace content aggregation completely. It comes as no surprise since content curation helps you build relationships with different high-value sources to maximize your reach and value. It makes it easy for you to create one more digital asset to your personal brand, to offer your visitors another way to subscribe, and to allow your community to follow third party contributions. Social Media has become a prospective nightmare for any SEO Specialist. Moreover, Google is increasingly indexing tweets and Facebook posts. Henceforth, social posts should and will be considered similar to independent pages. Most of us have seen these pages, such as an independent tweet being showcased. Be prepared to work with clients much more closely on their social media regarding any SEO campaigns in the upcoming year to increase their presence in the ever-growing sea of social media content.

Deep Links in Apps Will Become More Important: Unique content will be application-exclusive–and Google is fully anticipating this. Google has indexed apps for some time, and now is definitely the time to hop that bandwagon. Deep Links, or links that refer to application content, will continue growing in importance in Google’s search indexes. As Jayson DeMers said, “If your medium-sized or larger business doesn’t yet have an app, now’s the time to create one. If you still don’t think it makes sense for your business, at least get your business listed on as many other apps as possible.“ 2016 and forward, deep links will begin carrying more meaning, similar to deep links at the web. Deep links are the links that point towards a section of a particular map or a specific page. Deep linking helps reduce the bounce rate and improves the page views and average time spent on a site. Deep linking can raise the authority of any site & improve the overall visibilty & relevancy of a site dramatically.

Local Search Will Get Even More Local: The local SEO play has gotten increasingly small. So small, in fact, that you now get different search results depending on the level usage of your keywords. For example, one searching for ‘games’ on google will return a lot of generic news and probably some ads. Now a search for ‘fun games’ won’t particularly limit your search to a region, but Google will take that into account. However, searching for these two search terms on mobile, you are likely to find a game shop just down the street from you, whether or not you live in that region. This is the power of Local SEO, fellas. It would be wise to optimize your campaigns with local keywords and universal keywords to ensure your traffic remains as relevant to you as you do to your traffic. Its importance has now been recognized more prevalently making many entrepreneurs concentrate on their local strategy. To stay ahead in the game, pay attention to the local tangent in your inbound marketing campaign. Make sure to list your business on popular online business directories to increase your local awareness.

Voice Search Popularity: It has been revelaed by searchengineland.com that Google Now, Windows Cortana and Apple Siri are going to replace the conventional text based search system. Your audience or users are still searching online, but now they are presumably taking the assistance of voice based searches. This is sure to change the dynamics of the search eco system. Hence, businesses looking to get rank higher and increase their visibility in the search engine result pages will need to improve their social SEO techniques. Another major change in the world of SEO will be in the realm of search modes. Today, almost all mobile devices use voice search functions. Technology is driving the change. Voice search function became a major hit with users last year. The popularity was spurred on by Microsoft, Google, and Apple coming out with their own versions of advanced voice-responsive assistants – Cortana, Google Now and Siri. This is likely to take away the pain of typing in keywords to run a search query on search engines. A fine example of this, one that represents this style, is Domino’s Pizza’s ‘voice ordering’. This trend will take the world by storm surely and traditional keyword-based queries will gradually diminish. So do well to ensure that your content is easily searchable through voice searches. Get set to find, pick and use keywords that are colloquial and conversational. In addition, optimize your site well for voice search way in advance to tap the ever-increasing number of users who prefer voice search over traditional keyword-based queries.

Unethical and Negative SEO Practices Won’t Qualify: To achieve proper results and value you will need to work on some of the most significant factors that are often ignored by businesses such as offering training to your existing manpower vs letting them learn through trial and error. Unethical and negative practices don’t yield results and if you don’t avoid such practices it may get your website penalized by search engines.

Make sure you have a good user experience. High-ranking sites tend to be very easy to use and provide a great user experience. Here are some key components of the user experience that ALL staffing firms need to examine:

– Have a job board on your domain. One key element of user experience that search engines examine is “bounce rate.” A bounce is someone that lands on your site and leaves after only visiting one page. Sites with high bounce rates show Google that maybe your site isn’t relevant for the user–after all they left after visiting only one page.

– Build a responsive website. Responsive websites are designed to automatically adjust to fit the screen size of the device you’re on. From desktop to tablet to mobile, the site conforms to provide the best possible user experience. If your desktop site loads on your mobile device, fix it! We now see about 30% of all traffic to staffing firm sites coming from mobile devices.

– Use bullets and buttons. Sites that are user-friendly organize content in an easy-to-read way and provide users with a simple way to get more information. Make sure that your copy is presented in a nice way by using bullets, headlines and subheadings. Make sure that your calls to action and other complimentary navigation buttons are easy to use on desktop and mobile.

-Look at analytics. Take a close look at site analytics and determine where visitors are falling off. Fix those pages by adjusting copy, adding calls to action, or eliminating the page if it’s unnecessary. Pages with high Exit and Bounce rates could hurt your overall user experience.

Last but not least, always ask your visitors, viewers and buyers to review your site or business. Reviews remain popular with both popular search engines and with customers. So there you have it, SEO trends that are likely to remain prominent in this year. We’re sure more awesomeness would come along into this search ecosystem. Although some of these trend factors can go extinct like the dodo and the dinosaurs, some of them will get adapted, evolved and would outlive the rest. Nevertheless, we are sure by embracing these trends, you will be able to spearhead the market this year. Cheers to more of such exciting SEO trends! May we see bigger and better things from 2016!