The Experts Speak: The One Big Change Expected in the SEO Landscape in 2016

The iMarketing Cafe Team
Published on November 16, 2015
Debra Mastaler, Founder of Link Alliance

The iMarketing Cafe has come out with an SEO survey for the third year in a row with an objective to take the pulse of the SEO community.

The survey was recently conducted on Twitter and more than 300 SEO experts around the world were contacted and were requested to tell us what they thought was the one big change that could possibily happen in the SEO landscape in 2016. Interestingly, few answers are similar and some are very different – you’ll find some interesting responses below. Read on.

As usual, we didn’t publicize the survey much but still considerable number of industry experts responded. The iMarketing Café team heartily thanks all the contributors/experts for taking time out to respond to our tweets.


Larry Kim, Founder & CTO of WordStream Inc, says:

Debra Mastaler, Founder of Alliance Link, says:

Michelle Robbins, Vice President of Technology at Third Door Media, says:

Ian Lurie, CEO of Portent, says:

David Mihm, Director of Local Search Strategy for Moz, says:

Peter Attia, Director of Content and Search at HomelLeads and Founder of DiceyGoblin, says:

Robert O’Haver, an SEO consultant and host of SearchTalkLive , says:

Derek Edmond, Managing Partner of Komarketing, says:

Tad Chef, Founder of Onreact and, says:

Kane Jamison, Founder of Content Harmony, says:

Bob Jones, Director at Visible, says:

Simon Penson, Founder of Zazzle Media, says:

Melanie Nathan, Digital Marketing Specialist at Topdraw

Jayson Akers, Digital Marketing Consultant at Epica Interactive, says:

Harris Schachter, Content Marketing Product Manager at Capital One and Owner of OptimizePrime LLC, says:

Takeshi Young, SEO Manager at, says:

Vee Popat, Founder of VPDMDigital, says:

Sebastian Cowie, Director at SCDigital Ltd, says:

Russ Mann, Independant Marketing and Business Consultant, says:

Tim Grice, Head of Search at Branded3, says:

Kristopher B.Jones, Marketing consultant, Internet Entrepreneur and Author, says:

Dave Synder, CEO of Copypress, says:

Mihai Aperghis, Founder of Verify, says:

Jey Pandian, SEO Director at Mindshare, says:

Scottcowley, Digital marketing and social media researcher, says:

Patrick Hathaway, Director – marketing and Editor-in-chief for URL Profiler, says:

Khem Raj, an SEO consultant, says:

Ryan Jones, Manager – search strategy & analytics at SapientNitro, says:

Kalena, Founder of Search Engine College, says:

Grant Simmons, VP of search strategies at Homes & ForRent, says:

Susan Dolan, Founder of SEOWebMarketing, says:

Russ Jones, Founder of, says:

David Iwanow, Founder of LostPress, says:

Steve Plunkett, Sr.Search Scientist at RockFishDigital, says:

Kai Spriestersbach, Owner of Search One, says:

Erwan Derlyn, SEO & SMM Manager at Zettle, says:

Chris Silver Smith, CEO at ArgentMedia, says:

Matthew Diehl, SEO & Content Strategy Manager at Pegasystems, says:

Nedim Neximuss Šabić, Internet marketing consultant, says:

Thomas Ballantyne, Speaker, Marketing/SEO Consultant, says:

Themelis Cuiper, Director at AdSocialMedia, says:

David Waterman, Director of SEO at The Search Agency, says:

Additional Reading:

Matthew Diehl, initially shared this great piece of information with us and on request he tweeted the shorter version (pasted above) of the following content. This is the full version:

The BuzzSumo/Moz study on shared and linked content gives us a strong direction for SEO strategy in 2016. We will continue to see the convergence/integration of SEO and Content Marketing but now SEOs have data-backed research that will drive content production for content’s sake (quantity of content) out of SEO strategy and replace it with data-driven, long-form content that provides actionable value or thought provoking viewpoints to an audience. The value of this strategy to SEO, and potentially business goals, can be at least 3-4x more than a fast-paced, short-form content churning strategy. 2. We will see more machine learning algorithm components being announced. RankBrain, the third most important component in Google’s algorithm, proved that AI can beat humans when it comes to result quality. The move to machine learning may have quality benefits but it also has significant operational benefits to search engines. In the case of RankBrain, it allows Google to utilize a more finite set of results capable of being recalled based on RankBrain vectors rather than operating a unique set of results for every query entered. With mobile and voice search continuing to rise, the number of unknown queries, or Query Deserves Vector (QDV) searches, will also continue to rise. RankBrain’s word vectoring process is how Google will keep up with this demand.

Summing up:

  • Google is maniacally focusing on user experience, so user experience and engagement should be our primary focus and the basis for everything we do.
  • Mobile First Approach and take all other devices/mediums into consideration including wearables
  • Voice search, contextual/semantic search – machine learning will become more advanced.
  • Improvement of Knowledge graph and thus more and better answers
  • Creating search-friendly ( read: search user-friendly ) content becomes even more challenging – requirement of strategic & tactical thinking and technical skills. Understanding consumer intent is vital.
  • Basics are still important.
  • Local SEO throws up new challenges
  • App SEO ( App store + App indexation ) will continue to gain importance.
  • Think beyond Google, leverage other search alternatives as well – Youtube, App Stores, Facebook Search, Review sites, other search engines like Bing,Yahoo etc.
  • Penguin is likely to become real-time which will decrease the the life span of black-hat link strategies.
  • Links are still a strong ranking signal
  • Expect the unexpected from Google
  • Presented by: TheiMarketingCafe Team

    Join us on Facebook and Twitter . Tell us what is that one big change that you expect in the SEO landscape in 2016. Post your views in the comment section below.

    Read – Behind the scenes stories/Fun

    Have a look at the SEO surveys we conducted in 2013 and 2014.

    Copyright @ TheiMarketingCafé.com . You can use/publish excerpts from this post provided you give us the credit (link back).


    The iMarketing Cafe Team


    Hey Guys, we're the team behind The iMarketing Cafe which handles the day to day affairs at the TiMC office and also is responsible for website maintenance, content strategy and management, public relations and everything else that needs to be handled to run this website/ online community smoothly. Our objective is to bring value to our readers by making sure to publish great content and also by providing them a seamless user experience. Hope you like what we do here at The iMarketing Cafe. Any feedback may be sent to We'll get back to you within 24 hours. Thank you so much for being a part of this Digital Marketing Community. Stay connected. Regards TiMC Team

    Related Posts

    There's No Crying in SEO T-shirtSEO Survey: Behind the Scenes Stories/Fun
    AJ Ghergich, SEO ConsultantThe Experts Speak: Top 3 Changes Expected in the SEO landscape in 2015
    Jill Whalen, SEO ExpertSEO 2014: The Biggest SEO Survey of the Year


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *