According to the American Marketing Association, Google averages 500 changes per year to its algorithm for ranking websites. Search engine optimization (SEO) has never been more important than it will be in 2016. Smart marketers know that doing things a certain way now can result in thriving through the future of more changes. In 2016, there are seven SEO rules to follow.

  • Outsource your SEO efforts.

Understanding the continual changes in the world of marketing is no easy task. Every year there is new lingo to learn and a new component to implement. Outsourcing has skyrocketed in recent years and will continue to do so in 2016. Companies like Flagstone Search Marketing take the guess work out of SEO by helping businesses gain a competitive edge and monitoring algorithm changes that impact their site.

  • Keywords are subjective.

Getting a click-through used to be about having the exact keyword phrase for you content. Many times, these were missing modifiers or appropriate fillers in an attempt to be “click bait”. This year, keywords are subjective. The algorithm has gotten so advanced that it will naturally link content that is relevant with associated keywords over those that use the exact phrase. This means that if user searches “how to bake bread” the top results may include phrases like “baked bread” “bake a loaf of bread” or “bread baking”.

  • Keywords are less important in some markets.

Instead of focusing on building articles around a keyword that is at the density of 2% to 5%, companies need to focus on quality content. Google has made it clear that authoritative information is more important than keyword stuffing. High quality content will continue to rank higher as a result.

  • Article length is crucial.

At first, 300 words was the standard for SEO articles. Then it was bumped up to 450 words. In 2016, search engine giants will be looking for articles that are 1200 to 1500 words in length. This type of content, when written as high quality, excels by comparison to shorter articles.

  • Sites need mobile optimization.

According to statistics in 2015, around 80% of website traffic is coming from mobile devices and tablets. As a business owner, your site needs to be optimized for mobile viewing or even have its own mobile app if you expect to reach that customer base successfully.

  • Have original content and images.

The web is inundated with regurgitated images and content. Now, search engines are looking for the most unique content available for their users. They want original content ideas and original images. This is not to say that you can’t focus on an idea even if it is having already been done, it simply means that your content needs to be written in a way that stands out from the rest.

  • Enhance the user experience.

Websites today need to have a better user experience as well. This means focusing more on the design, access, and usability of a website instead of just having one that looks nice. Visitors should feel engaged and informed when accessing your site.