Recently, there has been a change in online user search behavior. Using a search engine is still the most common method of searching for new information and products. But there are a growing number of users completing searches directly on social media and skipping the search engine all together.

There seem to be two major reasons why users are doing this. Firstly, users believe the visual content found on social media channels is more trustworthy than text-heavy documents. Second, users know they are more likely to find genuine and legitimate comments or reviews from other users using social media.

As more searchers begin to behave this way, we will continue to see social media have greater influence on SEO practices and organic search engine listings. This year, Google and other search engines started incorporating social postings into search results. For example, tweets are now embedded in certain search results on both desktop and mobile.

twitter search results page

With social media posts now available on the search engine results page (SERP), users expectations for quality content rise, as well as advertisers focus on creating content with engaging titles.

Another major factor into SEO trends for 2016 is a mobile-first approach to content. Keeping your desktop site updated is still extremely important. After ‘Mobilegeddon 2015’ in April of this year, we know Google heavily weighs on mobile optimization in their search rankings. After all, more users are searching on their mobile devices than on desktop.

With these recorded changes in how users are searching, it is clear marketers’ focus in 2016 should be on mobile optimization and high-quality visual content. Effectively managing your various social media channels will become more critical than ever before.

Be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming guide on 2016 digital marketing trends. In the mean time, make sure your site is mobile-friendly with Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test Tool!