In the world of SEO, trends come and go over time and the years can be defined by certain fashions that eventually fade as algorithmic changes are made.
With this in mind, here is an overview of the trends that made SEO tick in 2016 and the catalysts that caused them to flourish.
Digital home assistants
While SEO practitioners have yet to maximise the value of more households now having on-tap access to search results as delivered via Google Home and Amazon Echo, there is little doubt that these devices came to play a big part in the market last year. How powerful they will become going forwards is still up for debate.
Although mobile-geddon is fast becoming a distant memory, 2016 saw Google and its contemporaries continue to increase the focus on catering to smartphone users. Updates to accelerated mobile pages and the wider rollout of this technology is still ongoing this year.
This has made mobile optimisation even more of a priority, with businesses turning to the likes of Dublin SEO agency http://www.rycomarketing.ie/ to maximise their impact in this area.
Keywords vs content
In the past, the race to find the best keyword combination was the holy grail of SEO; however, there was a shift away from this type of strategy in 2016 towards a more holistic, quality-centric approach that puts content front and centre.
This is largely due to search engines becoming better at determining the worthiness of content without having to solely rely on keywords as a major indicator. This frees up sites to focus on making engaging content without being bound by restrictive keyword inclusions.
Optimising for cards
The shape of SERPs is changing, with Google putting more emphasis on its card-based interface rather than simply presenting a list of links for users to click. This has also made social media more impactful, as relevant posts cropped from sites such as Twitter can also appear to add a real-time spin on the results pages.
This could mean that sites are facing more competition, vying for space on SERPs that would normally have been readily available. With smartphone use becoming dominant, there is even less onscreen room to go around, magnifying the need for a good SEO strategy in each and every market segment.