Ten SEO Trends & Tips for 2016

Ten SEO Trends and Tips for 2016 was inspired by 7 SEO Trends by Anne Carton (via Os on Scoop.it). Curagami’s 7 SEO Trends / Tips are different, but we used Anne’s excellent post to get ours started. 2016 promises to be a watershed year for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Some say SEO is dead. We think SEO is morphing into something different as these ten SEO tips and trends demonstrate:


SEO Tip #1: Great Content Creates Community

We’ve read Mark Schaefers books (Content Code, Tao of Twitter) and love his “proprietary audience” concept. We also under the math of Mark’s most famous pronouncement – content shock. Content Shock states an easy to understand truth. We are creating more content than attention. Attention is another matter entirely.

Attention isn’t as elastic (able to be moved up or down) as our ability to create and publish. Mark says there is no ROI in creating content. By the time anyone cares, it’s too late. Now imagine an e-commerce site with poorly written or boring content. How long will an e-com site with bad content be in business?

Answer = not long. Stories and content are the new currency. No stories = no traffic and no traffic = no money. Content Shock isn’t wrong, but it is misaligned. Mark lumps two problems into one. Creating a market and generating SCALE are different problems.

Content Shock is correct. We can’t cut through the clutter with content anymore, but once someone is on your website great content a CSF (Critical Success Factor). Great content creates community. Great content generates a “like me” moment and pulls visitors desire to JOIN something larger than themselves. “People JOIN brands they don’t BUY them,” is a favorite Faith Popcorn quote becoming more true every day. Content and community creates movements we want to join, share and advocate.

Separate TRAFFIC from your need for emotional, real, relevant and varied content. Imagine an online world where you NEVER rank for any term and create a market, brand, company and website with Return On Investment (ROI) anyway. We’ve arrived at the upstream problem of the “new SEO” – how to create markets without Google search rank. Here is a handful of ways we’ve explored:

  • Contests and Games (gamification in the broad sense is still our #1st choice)
  • Partnerships with those who HAVE your traffic
  • Buy a brand, company or URL that has your traffic
  • Mashup of content, curators and other well-trafficked memes (platform)
  • Add MOBILE apps

Traffic can come from a thousand tactics. Converting “TRAFFIC” to “CUSTOMERS” is why you create content (shock or no). Email or leave your ideas for how to create a market without organic search traffic and we will curate into this post with an attribution link back.


SEO Tip #2 MOBILE

Anne starts her list of 7 SEO Trends with Mobile She focuses on mobile search. Team Curagami thinks mobile is more important and game changing than the billions of smartphone searches. The smartphone changes website design, graphics, copy, navigation, and functionality. Mobile and smartphones are changing everything.

Here are a few mobile trends we’ve observed bound to impact online commerce next year:

  • Smartphone = EXCITING & Laptop or Desktop = BORING and “WORK”
  • Mobile = Short Attention Span Theater
  • Mobile is more video game-like adjust your content accordingly
  • VIDEO, VIDEO and VIDEO
  • Q&A with GPS overlay (Answer questions and know where I am)

Mobile isn’t about “mobile friendly” sites. Mobile marketing places smartphones and video at the CORE of your “great content”. If your brand, company or site isn’t on your customers’ smartphones you don’t exist. If I’m not compelled to CHECK IN and see NEW STUFF frequently you are half dead. If you aren’t on your customers’ smartphones you are toast in 2016.

Content must engage. Many say “engagement” is key. Let’s be more specific. Engagement in a social, mobile and connected time is when the space between YOU (content creator, website owner) and THEM (customers) is almost impossible to see or feel. Look at our “Curators” section where we are going to give keys to Curagami over to our Ambassadors.

What can YOUR WEBSITE do to create “US”? I’m working on a post about how you can understand web marketing by watching Miracle on 34th Street. If you haven’t watched the great seasonal film about how Macy’s figures out serving customers well is the best path to profits you should. Everything you need to understand about web marketing is in there.


SEO Tip #3 VIDEO

Video doesn’t SEO. Spiders can’t “read” video content (yet).  This is an important paragraph from Anne’s post:

Brainshark.com reveals that 74% of internet traffic in 2017 will be video. The site further reveals that 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. No wonder an ever increasing number of B2B marketers favoring video over the static text formats as a part of their content marketing initiatives. (emphasis mine)

I’ll go Brainshark.com one better. Based on over 15 years of online marketing experience generating more than $30M in online sales the most important video content to create is simple Q&A. Answer questions, especially questions being asked with few published answers, and your website wins traffic, hearts, minds, and loyalty.

Support your video content with transcripts and relevant tags. Decide what content you should HOST (via a platform like Brightcove) and what content can safely share on “free” platforms such as YouTube. If you’ve got proprietary content people pay you for don’t add it to YouTube!

YouTube helps content spread but removes value (ROI back to you). Keep proprietary content on Brightcove or a similar hosting platform within your website. NEVER host your own video as big files need big hardware or your site SLOWS and slow = death. Hold onto valuable video content as long as you can. Knowing when to share what is a tricky question these days. YouTube is like a roach motel – visitors go IN but they may never come OUT. TAKING at least as much as you are GIVING is a good general rule with all “social networks” providing “free” platforms.




SEO Tip #4: Community, Community, and Community

You create web content to move visitors enough into becoming customers. Moving visitors enough to become customers means you need to LOVE and SERVE your customers (even the cranky ones). How many followers are you following back?

Below 50% is insane. Social media is not about how COOL you are. As we said in a recent Haiku Deck – Social Media It’s About the Conversation Stupid. When ABUNDANCE overtakes SCARCITY we buy from those we love. We love those who LOVE US, so follow, ReTweet and curate content from your customers.

Many say they are “customer focused”, but few really CARE or SERVE customers. Few “digitally listen”. Good news for you. Care and serve to win hearts, minds, and loyalty creating sustainable (i.e. renews faster than decays) advantage when Community Shock hits.


SEO Tip #5 Community Shock

We followed Mark Schaefer’s thinking downstream. “How many community are we willing to join and contribute to,” we asked one day. Bet your number isn’t greater than 10. Since the “new SEO” is about sharing and the secret to “proprietary audience” is content and community get your request (for others to JOIN) in early and hold on tight.

You “hold on” to your audience by doing and sharing amazing things. If “create or share amazing things” isn’t on your content marketing list good luck with that. Send us a postcard from your next job. But there’s a problem. If anyone tells you they know how to create “amazing” in your business vertical RUN.

Amazing content is impossible to guarantee, hard to create on spec and only known once the cover is off. Digital Listening means you tune into your customer’s subterranean wants, needs, and desires. Web analytics is one tool to discover your online businesses “blue oceans” (content areas not made red by competition). Another and vastly overlooked way is to ASK FOR HELP.

Type A web marketers HATE asking for help. I get it. I was like you once too. Then I heard “cancer” and my name in the same sentence. If you have the Big C and don’t ask for help you won’t be here long. Start small. Create an Ambassador Program (link is to the Moon-Audio.com’s Ambassador program we helped establish).


SEO Tip #6 – Empower Ambassadors

Watch Eli Pariser discuss “filter bubbles” and you will know an important online marketing truth – we market by proxy now. “Proxy marketing” is when people who love you brand, company or website reach out to their friends and advocate you. This “Friends of Friends” marketing is all that is left (really). Proxy marketing requires different tools.

Proxy marketing requires tools such as:

  • Ambassador Profiles (their content on your site)
  • Ambassador Club (place your Ambassadors can talk to each other and you)
  • Graphics and Suggestions (make it EASY to share your content)
  • Rewards and recognition (read Drive by Pink to know why social rewards trump money)
  • Stores your Ambassadors can “sell” stuff they love (of yours) for social currency

Make it easy for your Ambassadors to HELP. Only 1% to 5% of your visitors will ever care enough to advocate, so take care of these critical Sherpas with social rewards (features, “leveling up”, shares, links) and your Ambassadors will take good care of your SEO.


SEO Tip #7: Fresh and NOW Beat Stale and THEN

The closer your content is to NOW the more value, legitimacy and stickiness it has. We are moving toward a near real-time world. Sites capable of responding with the most relevant content NOW win (watch Joi Ito discuss NOWISM at TED). But there’s a problem.

“Relevant content” is a bowl of spaghetti. What is relevant for YOU may be meaningless to ME. Web design in 2016 must become more dynamic. Our web designs must incorporate fast feedback INTO their design. Buyer Personas, creating archetypes to describe buyer characteristics in 3 to 7 “groups” or “segments”, has never been more important.

Anne discusses the importance of “deep links” – moving traffic to highly relevant landing pages. We agree. 2016 will see websites fracture into many hubs (or content silos). The INSIDE / OUTSIDE Rubicon will be crossed too. Web design will incorporate relevant content from many sources (see our Curagami Magazines). When you are on my website vs. Scoop.it vs. YouTube will become harder and harder to know as having a sense of scent trail will give way to content relevancy and freshness.

Don’t think “done” after you publish a web page. Think, “Now it’s time to curate”. Keep content fresh by curating and sharing reactions, relevant content from others sources and/or new takes. Keep adding to your best posts. QDF = Quality Deserves Freshness and QDF is a key “new SEO” concept.

Create LESS but curate more. Several years ago we shocked Phil Buckley’s Raleigh SEO group suggesting 90% content curation to 10% content creation. Today that ratio should be more like 98% curation to 2% creation with all of your creation suggested by subterranean memes you’ve noticed, are caring for, feeding and learning from. Remember, the “new SEO” is a CONVERSATION stupid (smile).


SEO Tip #1:
Great Content
Creates Community


SEO Tip #2:
MOBILE


SEO Tip #3

VIDEO




SEO Tip #4:
Community, Community, Community


SEO Tip #5:
Community Shock Is Coming


SEO Tip #6

Empower Ambassadors


SEO Tip #7:
Fresh and NOW
Beat Stale and Then