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The 7 Biggest Trends in SEO: 2016

Rand Fishkin's presentation covering 7 of the biggest trends in SEO in 2016 from changes in Google's handling of keywords to CTR opportunities to machine learning and more.

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Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com
2016’s Seven Biggest SEO Trends
And How Marketers Should React
Slides online at
bit.ly/7bigseo
Google’s Still Growing, But
Others Are, Too#7
Via SimilarWeb
Via GS.Statcounter
Don’t believe Comscore’s 65% Google share.
Google’s 85%+ of the North American search
market.
Via GS.Statcounter
Facebook’s on a tear,
too.

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The 7 Biggest Trends in SEO: 2016

  • 1. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com 2016’s Seven Biggest SEO Trends And How Marketers Should React
  • 3. Google’s Still Growing, But Others Are, Too#7
  • 5. Via GS.Statcounter Don’t believe Comscore’s 65% Google share. Google’s 85%+ of the North American search market.
  • 7. via Reuters Institute US Daily Video Views (Note: Facebook counts views @ 3s, YouTube @ 30 s)
  • 8. Via Cohlab YouTube is the World’s 2nd Largest Search Engine
  • 9. Via DuckDuckGo And DuckDuckGo Continues its Rapid Growth
  • 10. Via Search Engine Land Amazon vs. Web Search
  • 12. Don’t Ignore Search Channels Just Because They’re Not Google
  • 13. See Where Your Competition Gets Their Traffic: Via SimilarWeb Pro These are the sites that sent traffic to WarbyParker.com in March, 2016
  • 14. Apply different tactics to reach audiences on different sites Amazon’s ranking factors can be found here. Conversion rate plays a big role.
  • 15. Consider Content for Multiple Engines Moz first puts videos up on our site, then later uploads to YouTube to benefit from both classic SEO and video
  • 16. Google’s Still the 800lb Gorilla More on how Google ranks pages & sites here.
  • 17. Google Now Works to Answer Simple Queries Directly Rather than Make Users Click #6
  • 19. Google’s minimized the desktop search experience to make it more closely align with the mobile experience.
  • 20. And they’re putting more and more “answers” atop the results to remove the need to click a 3rd-party site for information
  • 21. We expected answers like these would siphon away traffic from our site… In reality, we got more!
  • 22. But some answers really do remove traffic (estimates of 50%+ traffic loss to web results after SERP
  • 24. Consider Click-Through-Rate When Choosing Keywords The organic results on this page probably get only ~60% of the clicks from searchers
  • 25. Consider Click-Through-Rate When Choosing Keywords But, the organic results here are likely getting 100% of the clicks
  • 26. You can make these estimates yourself when evaluating keywords for SEO effort:
  • 27. Or you can use a tool like Keyword Explorer to get the CTR Opportunity scores 100% CTR Opportunity 60% CTR Opportunity
  • 28. It’s Possible to Use SEO to Get Into Featured Snippets (and earn big CTR boosts) They beat out Wikipedia by phrasing the content to match the *answer* Google wanted for this search query
  • 29. More on How to Become theAnswer: Via Dr. Pete (and more Dr. Pete)
  • 30. Keyword Data is More Obfuscated, Less Reliable, & Less Accessible #5
  • 31. The Classic Source of Volume Data is GoogleAdWords, and there’s a Lot of Weirdness There
  • 32. These numbers actually represent ranges, even though they show as estimated averages
  • 33. Russ Jones showed how Google’s volume ranges work in his post about Keyword Planner’s Dirty Secrets.
  • 34. Google Trends (which we’ve found to be generally more accurate) tells a different story?!
  • 35. AdWords is Now Conflating Volume of Related Keywords in Frustrating Ways Via Bill Slawski on Go Fish Digital
  • 36. Keyword Suggestions inAdWords Hide a Lot of Useful, High-Volume Queries Really Keyword Planner? Really?!
  • 37. It sure looks like Google knows about some closely related keywords that have search volume!
  • 39. Don’t Use Google’s Volume Numbers asAbsolutes, Only as Relative Comparisons There are probably more people searching for “champagne flutes” than “toasting flutes”, but 12,100 and 1,900 almost certainly aren’t the real quantities.
  • 40. Google Trends is Good for Volume Comparison “Champagne flutes” is likely ~5-10X the volume of “toasting flutes”
  • 41. KW Explorer Uses Clickstream Data and Volume Ranges that May Give GreaterAccuracy In our tests, these ranges contained the true search volume 95% of the time.
  • 42. Want the Best DataAbout Volume, Conversions, and Trends? You’ll need to buy the keywords and measure directly in AdWords.
  • 43. Don’t Rely Exclusively on KW Planner for Keyword Suggestions/Ideas Search Suggest and Related Searches are smart additions (and totally free)
  • 44. 7 Kinds of KW Research Expansions to Try: 1) Search Suggest 2) People Also Search For… 3) Similar Pages Rank For… 4) Semantically Connected Terms 5) Topically-Related Searches 6) Questions Containing these KWs 7) AdWords (Commercial)
  • 45. Tools that Have These Discovery Options: 1 ) 2 ) 3 ) 4 ) 5 ) 6 ) (Free & Paid) SEMRush (Free & Paid) KeywordTool.io 7 ) (Paid) SimilarWeb (Free & Paid) Moz KW Explorer (Free) Ubersuggest (Free) Answer The Public
  • 46. Twitter Has Replaced Google+ as Google’s Primary Social Result #4
  • 47. Only a few elements of Google+ remain for logged-in searchers
  • 48. Twitter (like Justin Trudeau) Has Taken Over
  • 49. Twitter dominates many real-time results in Google Mobile as well (often even more so than in desktop)
  • 50. According to Mozcast, Twitter shows up in ~6.5% of Google searches, up from 5.9% in April 2016.
  • 52. PayAttention to How Twitter Influences the SERPs You CareAbout Hashtags
  • 53. PayAttention to How Twitter Influences the SERPs You CareAbout Brand Names
  • 54. PayAttention to How Twitter Influences the SERPs You CareAbout News Events
  • 55. Engagement and Recency Govern Google’s Display of Tweets, So Use Them! Personalized Trends Localized Trends via Trendsmap
  • 56. Bio Search Can Help ID the Influencers in a Given Niche or Topic Data Via Followerwonk (LittleBird is also a great tool for this)
  • 57. But, if You Have a G+ Following ofAny Kind, Keep Sharing There (it only takes a minute, and still provides some benefits)
  • 58. If You Haven’tAlready Invested in Google+, It’s Probably Not Worthwhile to Start Now Via Stone Temple
  • 59. ThereAre More Non- Traditional Ways to Get Into Google’s Results Than Ever Before #3
  • 60. 18 Unique Types of SERPs that Show Up in 0.5%+ of Google’s Results One of my favorites: the “disaster type”
  • 61. In our data, only ~3% of results are the “classic ten blue links” kind
  • 63. These types of results can dramatically reduce organic CTR (in this case, Moz estimates only ~24% organic CTR)
  • 64. Infuriatingly, Google’s restricted who can appear in certain types of listings (e.g. video is now YouTube or Vimeo
  • 65. And on mobile, even more kinds of searches are limited to particular networks (Google Play & iPhone App Store).
  • 67. Analyze Which Types of SERPsAppear Most in the Keywords You CareAbout These show me how many of each SERP type appears in the results for this keyword list (via
  • 68. Then Determine What Verticals & SERPTypes You Need to Optimize For It might pay to generate some visual charts in addition to a text-only version…
  • 69. If certain searches are impossible to target…
  • 70. Aim to Influence Search Suggest More on Whiteboard Friday
  • 71. Be On the Right Platform For Your SERPs: Videos: E-Commerce: Podcasts: Local Businesses: News: Apps: YouTube Vimeo Facebook G Shopping Amazon eBay Etsy G Play iTunes G Maps SoundcloudLibsyn Apple Maps Bing Maps G News iTunes G
  • 72. Matching Searcher Intent > Matching Searcher Keywords #2
  • 73. Google’s Become Masterful at Understanding a Searcher’s Intent
  • 76. Keyword Matching is No Longer a Competitive Advantage Via Backlinko
  • 77. On-Page SEO is No Longer Satisfied by Raw Keyword Use Either These keywords are nearly as important to use on a page targeting the query as the query keywords themselves
  • 79. It’s Still Wise to Use Keywords
  • 80. Matching Your Content to What SearchersAre Seeking is Critical, Too Trulia knows searchers want home prices, by neighborhood, with trend data, zipcode filters, and a zoomable map.
  • 81. Use of related topics to indicate the content’s relevance Serving KWs w/ matching intent together on one page Thorough answers/solutions to the searcher’s query Unique value over what other sites in the SERPs Intelligent keyword use in page title, meta description, URL, and top few paragraphs (just as before) On-Page SEO in 2016 Requires
  • 82. More in this Whiteboard Friday Video
  • 83. Machine Learning & Engagement Are Google’s Future#1
  • 84. RankBrain is Only the Most Obvious of Google’s ML- Based Ranking Elements Via Gianluca Fiorelli on Moz
  • 85. Rankbrain helps Google know that results like these are relevant to searches like this
  • 86. And that all of these queries probably share intent and should bring back similar kinds of
  • 87. Google Uses User, Usage, & Engagement Data to Determine How to Rank Content I hate bullet points, but this slide from Google Search Engineer Paul Haahr, shows how clicks are used to grade performance Via How Google Works on Slideshare
  • 88. This is a good SERP – searchers rarely bounce, rarely short-click, and rarely need to enter other queries or go to page 2.
  • 89. This is a bad SERP – searchers bounce often, click other results, rarely long-click, and try other queries. They’re definitely not happy.
  • 90. Someday,Algorithms Built by Machines Will Outperform those Hand-Selected by Engineers Potential Ranking Factors (e.g. PageRank, TF*IDF, Topic Modeling, QDF, Clicks, Entity Association, etc.) Training Data (i.e. good search results) Learning Process Best Fit Algo
  • 91. Google Leverages Machine Learning Despite Not Knowing for Sure What It Uses: Via SERoundtable
  • 92. We may soon hear that algorithmic elements are no longer applied universally. Rather than one algorithm, we get thousands or millions of them.
  • 93. Google’s PublicAbout Their Commitment to ML Techniques… Won’t Be Long Now. Via BackChannel
  • 95. Focus on Signal:Noise Ratio – Don’t Let Bad Pages Drag Down a Good Site Quantity of Pages Earning SERP Visits Relative Time on Site, Bounce Rate, Pgs/Visit, Searcher Satisfaction Site’s Search Engagement Reputation =
  • 96. These don’t look so good; probably worth investigating.
  • 97. Find Ways to Beat Your Competition’s & YourAverage Ranking Position’s CTR If you rank #3, but have a higher- than-average CTR for that position, you might get moved up. Via Philip Petrescu on Moz
  • 98. Serve Multiple Searcher Intents, Not Just Your Own Interests You can’t just try to sell sous vide cooking devices to the <1% of searchers who are ready to buy after performing this query. To compete long term, you’ll need to empathize with and serve ALL of these intents with your ranking
  • 99. Note that NONE of these SERPs are trying to sell equipment directly. They’re serving the *intent* of the widest range of searchers.
  • 100. Speed, speed, and more speed Delivers an easy, enjoyable experience on every device Compels visitors to engage, share, & return Avoids features that dissuade or annoy visitors Authoritative, comprehensive content that’s uniquely valuable vs. what anyone else in your space provides Make UX a Cornerstone of Your SEO:
  • 101. Invest in Content 10X Better Than Your What Your Competition Can Create See this list of 10X Content for examples and resources on how to create it
  • 102. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com Bit.ly/7bigseo