2015 was an interesting year for SEO experts. Google changed its algorithm to favor mobile-friendly sites, a machine-learning artificial intelligence is now helping deliver search results, and a dozen of other minor updates were released. Now, all eyes are on 2016 and the trends that will dominate this upcoming year. To help provide a better understanding of the search landscape for small businesses, here are four game changing SEO tips for small business in 2016.

4 Game Changing SEO Tips for Small Business in 2016

1. Mobile Is the Future

It’s getting bigger and bigger every day. The average consumption of digital content through mobile has almost doubled in the past couple of years. And, as of May 2015, mobile searches have officially overtaken desktop queries.

Keeping up with the evolution of mobile devices is a real necessity for marketers who want to keep their audience close, engaged and excited. As more and more people choose smartphones and tablets over desktop computers, making your website mobile-friendly is one of the best SEO tips small business owners can follow in 2016.

Apart from making your website responsive to all devices, you need to go a little further. In other words, you need to have a mobile mentality and adjust your strategy with user intent in mind. Consider how content will appear on a mobile device before creating your website or landing page. Give mobile users the same seamless experience as if they are visiting a proper desktop site.

2. Social Media Is More Important Than Ever for SEO

According to recent studies, the average consumer today uses more than ten online sources of information to make a purchase decision. They use search engines to find potential companies, to search for specific businesses, and to learn more about them. That is where social media comes into play.

Nowadays, consumers don’t use just Google to evaluate a company. They read blogs, online reviews, watch videos and connect with content published on social media platforms. Publishing content across all these channels is a vital component of your search engine optimization process. It goes without saying that your social profiles matter to Google and to consumers who are looking for you online. In fact, social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings.

3. Interactive Content Is on the Rise

By now, you know that content is king and that delivering unique, valuable content is a key success factor. However, passive content has become fatiguing for consumers to sift through. Users are starting to get accustomed to personalized results, and will start to expect content that is tailored to their needs.

Interactive content such as quizzes, infographics, and videos allow marketers to hold the attention of consumers and to keep them interested. Engaging content can help generate links to pages on your website from other publishers. These inbound links result in referral traffic that can boost your search engine rankings.

4. The Growing Importance of Customer Reviews

According to one study, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Think about it for a second: they aren’t asking their friends or their colleagues. Instead, consumers today know that they can find legitimate online reviews for just about anything.

Customer reviews are a powerful source of information that has a big impact on customer behavior. They matter so much that, according to another study, products with positive reviews sold 200% more products that those that had no ratings. More than that, businesses with more reviews and positive reviews have higher SEO rankings of their competitors. So, it’s not a question of whether consumers read online reviews – statistics say they do. It’s a matter of pampering them with your stellar customer service and getting them to review your business.

2016 may bring other exciting trends that will change the landscape of SEO. Regardless, you need to keep pace with the updates to make sure your small business will thrive. Remember these game changing SEO tips for small business this year, and you should have no problem keeping up with the competition!

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Barbara Dittert is a Content Marketing Specialist at Volume Nine in Denver, Colorado.