The end of the year is fast approaching and as 2015 quickly turns into 2016 we should all take note of how the landscape of the industry has changed. SEO is a very fluid game, and certain things become more or less important as the months go by. The one thing that remains is just how viable SEO still is (it was the most effective source for bringing in new customers for 85% of online retailers last year).

One of the most difficult things when it comes to search engine optimization is that even a few minor mistakes can have a large negative impact. In dealing with some new trends, let’s look at some SEO mistakes you need to avoid in 2016.

Not having competitive insight

Although this is important in almost all industries, it is really one of the essential elements of SEO. As the years go by and more and more people enter the game, it only gains in importance. In essence, search engine marketing is a zero sum game: you gain when your opponents lose. That means you need to know as much about them as possible. This includes:

  • Adjusting to their strategies
  • Discovering new keywords
  • Seeing which of their content is performing best
  • How to succeed where they are coming up short

Knowing the most about your competition means you give yourself an edge on them, and that is half the battle.

Not merging your SEO and your content

SEO really only goes as far as your content. If you don’t have engaging, informative, and rich content that attracts users on the web, then you might as well not be in the game. These two things need to work in unison. They are so intertwined at this point that they are basically the same thing. The best strategy is to start with properly researched strategic content, and then from there optimize using proper SEO practices to increase its readability and visibility. That means:

  • Keywords
  • Headers
  • Subtitles
  • Bullet points
  • Engaging information

And much more.

Not writing longer content

At first it may sound counter-intuitive. If the world is full of people who like easily-readable content with short paragraphs, then how does longer content help? Good question. The answer is dependent on who you are trying to reach. When it comes down to it, longer, fuller content actually reaches more valuable customers, and fewer users that aren’t interested. Studies have found that longer content:

  • Got more links
  • Posts with over 1500 words received more tweets and likes
  • Got more hits for long-tail keywords (which have increased in search frequency)

Not adjusting to this trend will certainly leave a lot of value on the table. Although short posts still have their place and are very valuable, you need to consider lengthening your posts or at least incorporating longer posts into your scheme.

The landscape of online marketing continues to shift and as new trends become the status quo, it remains that you need to adjust your game. Don’t make these SEO mistakes in 2016 because the changing online world will quickly leave you behind.