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3 Search Ranking Factors that will define your Success in 2016

Beginning of the year is the time when marketers start building their action plans for the year. As marketers’ time is always limited, you need to make sure you have chosen the right methods to stay ahead of competitors and be on the edge of what marketers consider trendy. We asked recognized marketing specialists Bas van den Beld and Eli Schwartz for comments on what ranking factors are going to define SEO/SEM world in 2016.

New to SEO? Learn more about Search Engine Optimization! Download this free Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

Bas van den BeldDigital marketing specialist with over 15 years of experience. Keynote speaker & trainer in online marketing. Founder of Stateofdigital.com. Considered to be an expert on internet marketing, social marketing & SEM. In 2015, Bas was awarded the “European Search Personality of the Year” award  for the work in the search industry.

3 ranking factors that will define search engine rankings success in 2016

The three main key factors (there are many more) I would advise marketers to focus on are:

1. Understanding your target audience

Understand who you are targeting better. Make sure the content you produce answers a question of your audience. Be there when it matters. Be there in the right moments of the customer journey.

2. Mobile

If you aren’t ready for mobile, you are too late. Your website has to be mobile-friendly, or you will miss out big time.

3. Technical SEO

Finally, one that is often neglected and undervalued: technical SEO. Your website has to be technical to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. Get a knowledgeable technical SEO involved and make sure your website runs smoothly.

3 online marketing channels which popularity will grow in 2016

As a channel search will always be important and social media will continue to grow as well. One that is always underestimated is e-mail. Important, however, is that all of these channels should be used in a very “personalized” way. It’s no longer accepted to ‘broadcast’ using channels. The information (and thus content) has to be relevant to those being targeted.

When it comes to platforms, next to the regular ones like Facebook we might see the growth of platforms like Snapchat. The more ‘personal’ channels will gain a lot of traction, so there is a bright future for messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat) and platforms like Instagram.

Your favorite digital marketing campaigns you’ve seen in 2015

Many great campaigns are going around. Picking one is hard. Let me pick out one that made me laugh: Vodafone and Ghita the Shepherd. It got a lot of (local) traction in Romania. Here’s the video:

Eli Schwarz: Director of Marketing APAC at SurveyMonkey, the world’s largest online survey platform. He oversees SurveyMonkey’s marketing efforts in the Asia-Pacific region as well as leads the company’s global SEO efforts and strategies across 17 languages. Eli is a marketing professional with broad experience in digital and offline marketing. He achieved hundreds of competitive organic traffic search engine rankings in the US and internationally for dozens of online properties.

Three ranking factors that will define search engine ranking success in 2016

1. Quality links:

Eventually, Google will get around to making Penguin dynamic and sites that have cleaned up their act will get promoted, and bad sites will get demoted. This process of more instant reward and punishment will force everyone to behave better.

Learn how to get more quality links for your newly established website.  Download this free Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

2. Mobile

As more and more users accessing the web move to mobile, how you appear on mobile search will be critical. Google is starting to prioritize apps with deep links, so it’s important not to fall behind whatever your competitors.

3. Social.

2016 could be the year where Facebook’s search becomes a thing. Optimizing for social so you can rank on Facebook might be even more important than what you do for Google.

4. Some of your favorite digital marketing campaigns in 2015 and what trends you think they set for digital marketing in 2016?

I don’t have any particularly favorite campaigns from 2015, but I think the biggest trend in 2016 will be personalized marketing. The advancements in advertising and tracking are going to allow us to be retargeted everywhere we go.

Summarizing what experts said about trends in SEO/SEM for 2016

1. Personalization will be the key

Thanks to the rise of social media and plenty of customer survey tools, customers become more transparent to us, and it becomes easier to gather information about them. These companies will win who leverage precise targeting and have a customized message. This trend will continue to grow in PPC advertising (like Facebook ads) as well as in content marketing and email campaigns. As Bas said “It’s no longer accepted to ‘broadcast’ using channels. The information (and thus content) has to be relevant to those being targeted”.

2. Mobile will rule

Last year, Google reported, that Google searches from mobile devices outperformed the number of desktops; more and more interaction with brands are made on mobile. This will change marketing in the search results, on social and will prioritize marketing on mobile. We already have the proof of this, April 21st, 2015 was the day when Google released its mobile-friendly ranking algorithm which made impossible to ignore site optimization for mobile devices. eMarketer reported last year that mobile ad spend will top $100 billion worldwide by 2016 which will make up 50% of all digital ad expenditure.



The largest social network Facebook already receives the lion’s share of its revenue from mobile ads.



3. Quality SEO will remain important (local ranking factors, technical SEO, quality links)

User’s behavior and site usability improve site performance on search, but technical SEO and backlinks remain an undeniably important part of a site’s growth. This is proved by ranking factors studies from the last two years (2014, 2015) and by a real-life experience of small business owners who start trading online, launching a site is not sufficient to establish a real presence online and gain traffic, technical SEO and link-earning are must-haves!

With increasing online users, demand for relevancy on one hand and Google rewarding sites with location-based tags on other, optimizing for local search becomes one of the effective ways to distinguish yourself and cut through the competition.

Local ranking tracking tools, like Positionly, are going to rise in demand. Positionly allows tracking keyword positions locally. When you sign up for the 14-day free triall, during the first configuration you can add an appropriate search engine + preferred region.

For instance:



Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 2.42.15 PM

Then you will be able to track your results not only for your country, but it can be tailored to the particular state, city or voivodeship.

4. Email marketing will be leveraged more

Email marketing is one of the most underrated marketing channels, and 2016 could be a year for its further adoption. We often see case studies where email turns out to be the most efficient channel. Email is an indispensable part of the customer’s journey in many marketing campaigns and can retain the client as well as trigger their action at a time needed. According to eMarketer research, #1 priority for marketers in email is Improving segmentation and targeting, while goal #2 is Utilizing real-time data, which means marketers are shifting to a fresh approach – real-time marketing.



5. Social Media will continue changing marketing landscape

Surveyed in 2015 North America and the UK’s organizations, said that social marketing is a prime technology they wish to invest in 2016.



Today’s information-saturated society is increasingly favoring video and image-based content format, and social sites are main drivers of it. Facebook successfully experiments with video formats and becomes a serious player in this market; YouTube remains the leader status regarding online video viewing, and it is # 3 the most visited site on the web.

Thanks to their visual-rich features and interactivity, such platforms as Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest are predicted to grow in popularity. In response, marketers will focus more their promotional efforts on social and will change the way they spend their advertising budget. Top 3 social platforms where marketers would be interested in advertising are Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.


Especially, this is the case for Instagram. Thanks to the high engagement rate with the ads on this network and a wide availability of Instagram ads to advertisers in 2015, Instagram is said to grow big by 2017.


2016 will be a good year for those online projects which follow the rules of search engines and genuinely want to understand their customers better so to be relevant and send a personalized message to them. Social platforms will play a significant role in this process thanks to their engagement-rich visual properties, audience listening features and narrow targeting options within advertising campaigns.

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