What Google Says About SEO in 2016

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SEO is an ever-changing industry as search engines (Google in particular) evolve to some extent every single day. Google makes algorithm changes on a daily basis, and every now and then it makes major changes that cause massive shake-ups in search results as well as SEO strategies.

What do you expect to change the most about optimizing for Google in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Mobile has been a major focal point of Google for much longer, but in 2015 it was as big a focus as ever. Early in the year, Google announced two significant ranking factors - app indexing and mobile-friendliness - both aimed at improving the mobile experience for users and getting them the content they want/need in the best way possible.

This will (unsurprisingly) continue to be a major focus on Google's heading into 2016.

In a recent webmaster hangout on Google+, Google webmaster trends analyst John Mueller spoke a little about what to expect for SEO in the coming year (via Barry Schwartz).

The relevant portion of the video begins at about 26 minutes in, but you're probably only going to get more by watching the entire video.

Mueller answers a question about general SEO tips for 2016 (as transcribed by Schwartz):

Oh man… I don’t have any magical SEO tips for next year. I can’t tell you about that high ranking meta tag that we’ve been working on [sarcasm].

But in general, I think, next year you’ll probably hear a lot about from us about AMP, mobile friendly, we’ve been doing over the years. It is still a very big topic and we still see a lot of sites not doing that properly. Those are probably the bigger changes, but other things will definitely happen as well. More information about JavaScript in sites so that we can really figure out how to handle these better in search and make a better recommendation on what you should do or shouldn’t do.

But past that, of course, high quality content is something I’d focus on. I see lots and lots of SEO blogs talk about user experience, which I think is a great thing to focus on as well. Because that essentially kind of focuses on what we are trying to look at as well. We want to rank content that is useful for them and if your content is really useful for them, then we want to rank it.

We've covered mobile-friendliness a great deal throughout the year, so if this is something you're still struggling with as Mueller implies, I'd encourage you to read back through the content found here.

AMP of course refers to Accelerated Mobile Pages, which is a new open source project and basically Google's answer to Facebook’s Instant Articles, which is being supported by a number of other internet players including Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WordPress.com, ChartBeat, Parse.ly, and Adobe Analytics.

You can read more about this here, but Google recently said it will begin sending search traffic to AMP pages beginning in late February. So that's one major change you can expect in 2016 (and early 2016 at that).

Another big SEO change coming in early 2016 is Google's next Penguin update which is supposed to update in real time moving forward.

Regarding the javascript stuff Mueller mentioned, Google recently changed some recommendations related to that, which you can read more about here.

What would you like to see Google change or do for webmasters and SEOs in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.