Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a driving force behind the growth of nearly every business website for years. In short, SEO is the practice of including the right type of information and keywords in your website so that search engines like Google and Bing can find and rank your site based on the user’s search. It’s one of the most effective ways that marketers can improve their website’s search engine ranking organically. But as the marketing industry has evolved, so has SEO. </span testtest.

Over the years, we have seen a decrease in the organic reach that traditional SEO practices produce, causing many industry professionals to claim that SEO is losing its effectiveness. Many of them are blaming this downturn on factors like the Google algorithm changes and the increased popularity of social media sites for information searches. Some people have even gone as far to say that SEO is dead. That’s not the case. In fact, let’s take a look at how important SEO is in 2016.

How Search Engines Have Changed

In the good old days of SEO, users were able to employ techniques such as “keyword stuffing” and “content spamming” to get their websites ranked higher on searches. Keyword stuffing is the act of cramming a website full of popular words that you think consumers will be searching for – regardless of whether those keywords are actually relevant to the content on the webpage. Content spamming is when blog comments are automatically posted – generally by bots – with relevant keywords in order to rank higher on search engines.

These methods ended with the introduction of Google algorithm changes such as the Hummingbird update. This update laid waste to traditional SEO rules and required users to create quality content full of long-tailed keywords instead of the the short keywords of the past. In addition to being lengthier, long-tailed keywords are more specific than the typical keywords used in the early days of SEO. For example, the Google algorithm updates reduced the effectiveness of ordinary keywords like “basketball” and replaced them with more detailed long-tailed keywords like “red rubber Spalding basketball.”

The Role of Content Marketing

Because of changes like those made in the Hummingbird update, businesses must now generate quality content – commonly referred to as content marketing – to boost their website ranking rather than just stuffing it full of keywords. Content marketing can include articles, videos, podcasts, white papers, case studies and infographics that are available on the website and created for a specific niche audience. All websites that are ranking at the top of Google searches have this trend in common.

While some content marketers claim that , both should be incorporated in your digital marketing strategy. Think of SEO as the highway that you take to work and content marketing as the traffic. Without the highway there wouldn’t be any way to direct traffic to your site, and without the traffic, there would be nobody traveling to your site.

How to Rock at SEO in 2016

Be Local. over the past few years due to smartphone usage, which means that local SEO is becoming more prevalent. For example, when a person conducts a Google search for “sushi restaurant,” a list of nearby sushi restaurants will pop up. If you want your sushi restaurant to rank high on the search engine, you’ll need to make sure to include addresses, maps, contact information and other important local keywords to your website so that it comes up when somebody utilizes a local search.

Be Mobile-Friendly. Not only is mobile usage changing local search, but it puts pressure on companies to make their sites mobile-friendly. If there’s one thing that will negatively impact your search engine ranking in 2016, it’s having a poorly constructed mobile website. Take our advice: Invest in creating a seamless mobile website in order to help your SEO effectiveness in the new age of search engine marketing.

Be Adaptive. Due to the ever-changing nature of search engines like Google and Bing, it is crucial for businesses to stay up to date with algorithm changes. This means that what is successful in 2016 might not be in 2017. Long-tailed keywords have produced success for companies’ websites, but who’s to say it will work tomorrow? That’s why staying current with these search engine changes will ensure you’re not left in the dust in 2016.

When done correctly, SEO and content marketing can help produce an impressive ROI. A combination of the two is crucial to a successful digital marketing strategy in 2016. If you need help getting started or staying up to date with the latest SEO rules, contact SKAR.