Instagram Algorithm Apocalypse: What it means for your SEO

A couple weeks ago, the internet went crazy with fear over the rumored Instagram update. The new algorithm was rendered apocalyptic. Many brands and celebrities were posting pictures with an arrow recommending to follow their accounts for updates. Hopefully you know by now that this is not the best way to optimize your accounts, but it proves the misconceptions of algorithms shape the way customers perceive brands.

Algorithms don’t exist just for fun. Over time, as the internet and social media platforms become more heavily populated, there are more users and many more posts. Feeds are becoming more expansive, and most people are unable to stay fully updated with their feeds. As a result, social media platforms have begun to adopt algorithms to improve the user experience. Facebook has already integrated this, and while some businesses may claim it has raised the cost of promotion, I think this is an expected trait of any mobile marketing. As the market becomes more saturated, costs will increase.

Twitter has begun to implement a similar algorithm, but Instagram admits there will not be an update for several more months. When there is an update, users, especially businesses, will need to rely heavily upon an engaged audience. If this worries businesses, then it proves that their content might not be engaging users as much as they think.

The Instagram algorithm update will simply curate content so that if a user likes a particularly account often, they will see more of those posts as to not miss any of their favorite posts. Likes are becoming dollar votes, which is why businesses should focus on engaging their customers as opposed to throwing content at them. If their followers like their posts regularly, they shouldn’t lose any of their influence. If followers aren’t liking any of their posts, then they will not show up on their feeds as often. Furthermore, if followers aren’t liking any of their posts, then they may not have the right followers. Quality is far more important than quantity regarding followers and engagement. This means businesses should focus on providing quality content that will keep users engaged.

This seems relatively obvious to someone who knows anything about SEO, but most consumers are unaware of these practices. They dislike the idea of something controlling their perspective. Consumers don’t want any higher authorities distorting their social media experience and don’t like the idea that social media platforms understand their habits, even if it is liking and commenting. Clearly, Google and Instagram are not trying to violate the privacy of any users, but are simply trying to improve the user experience in order to retain users and prevent information overload.

This fear proves that authenticity rules when utilizing SEO. While there may be temporary ways to game the system, whether it’s in search engines or social media, it is not in best practice to do so. The best practice is to create quality relationships with visitors that keep them engaged with your business. Customers enjoy genuine feelings toward brands, and it is easy for them to detect anything forced or artificial. Consumers are becoming more informed, and this makes brand transparency far more important than ever before.

If you were a new customer, would you want to visit your website? Would you want to like your Instagram post? If not, then there is a larger issue at hand. Quality content and posts will maintain and generate an audience, and there is no need to worry about algorithms regarding social media outreach.

Additionally, this proves the growing importance of mobile marketing. Your website needs to be available on a mobile platform that is easily accessible. More customers are viewing websites from a mobile device, such as from a link in an Instagram bio. By making your website easier to use, you’re improving your overall brand engagement.

As always, focus on improving your website for the simple reason of making the most out of visitors’ experiences. This is the most sustainable approach to embrace any and all algorithms, in the present and the future.

Evaluating 3 SEO Trends for 2016: Will They Last?

If you’ve been with our blog for a while now, you might have noticed how important staying up to date on SEO trends is. New information and techniques are constantly surfacing in the world of Search Engine Optimization. This blog post will give you our top 3 SEO trends for 2016 and whether or not we think they will last.

Trend #1: Video content will (continue to) dominate

Visual optimization

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Would you rather read 750 words on how to put together the best birthday party celebration or watch an interesting tutorial on Youtube? Something tells me you chose the latter. I would, too. That’s because our brains are predisposed to visuals. There’s plenty of science to back it up, but that’s not why we’re here. We are here because it’s become essential for all businesses, especially small ones, to have quality visuals at their disposal. One important way to implement visuals is to create a Youtube channel for your business. Quality Youtube videos that engage and excite consumers can be time consuming to create, however, the payoff may make the time and effort worth it. According to Marketing Land, videos account for 62% of all searches on Google. That’s HUGE. What does this mean for you? If you are successful at creating great video content for your business, the chances of that content being seen will go way up, ultimately driving more traffic to your website, blog, etc.

So will this trend last? Absolutely. Our brain chemistry isn’t changing anytime soon, which means it will always be important to have quality video and visual content in your SEO arsenal.

Trend #2: Mobile optimization will become more important than desktop

Mobile optimization

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We are already seeing this trend in the business world. Consumers are no longer getting information in one place. Everything is on the go and in the palm of our hands. As a small business owner, if your company has a website, you must make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. According to this article on mobile marketing statistics by Smart Insights, consumers use mobile media 51% of the time, while desktop time rests at 49%. This makes it increasingly important that your website is optimized for mobile searching. Check out Emily’s post on Mobile SEO for tips on how to make your website mobile-friendly.

So will this trend last? Definitely. Mobile websites are only going to become increasingly important as time goes on. It’s quite possible that in a few years time, all websites will be optimized for mobile first, and any website that’s not will fade into obscurity. My prediction? Desktop will be virtually extinct in 5-10 years time and mobile will be the new way of defining “the web.”

Trend #3: Local search will become even more local

local search more local

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This trend goes hand in hand with trend #2. We, as consumers, are always on the move. We have access to everything we could possibly want in the palm of our hands. Gone are the days when we researched where to eat before leaving the house. In an age of Yelp and Google Maps, it’s much easier to find food, attractions, shopping, etc. on the go. As a business owner, you will need to make sure Google and other search engines know exactly where you are so that you are present in location results. According to Search Engine Land, “local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day.” Some people, like Jayson DeMers in this Forbes article, predict that, rather than identifying businesses based on a state or region, we will begin to see search results based on street corners or neighborhoods.
So will this trend last? I don’t think so. In Mark Schaefer’s book, The Content Code, he talks about the misconception that people want a highly individualized feed of blog posts or content they would be interested in. He states that he likes seeing both sides of an argument as well as content he wouldn’t normally see if his feed was highly individualized. We, as humans, enjoy discovering new content. That’s how we find new and interesting ideas that can spur new thoughts or exciting ideas. It will always be important to be exposed to new things, regardless of immediate location.  While I would love to see what’s right around the corner from me, chances are I already know! If search results become too localized, I might risk overlooking a good business.

So there you have it! 3 of my top SEO trends in 2016 and whether or not I think they will pass the test of time. Leave a comment letting me know your thoughts or giving suggestions for more trends to talk about in a future post.

The Present & Future of Google Algorithms

Google is constantly revising and improving its algorithms in order to keep the search engine experience as efficient and authentic as possible. Here are some of the most recent improvements as well as what changes we can expect in the future:

Mobile-Optimization over Desktop

Mobile platforms are gaining a significant presence over traditional desktop search engines. Whether through mobile devices or mobile apps, people are searching for answers at their fingertips. Last year, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches and the new Google algorithm Mobilegeddon focused more on mobile accessibility. This provided more optimal search results. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action, so it is important not only for SEO but also for your business. While some say that desktop-specific sites are no longer necessary, you should still primarily focus on a template that is easy for visitors to use while also recognizable from all platforms. User experience is essential.

Considering 89% of mobile time is on apps, Google is beginning to pay more attention to them. When you include important keywords in your app it makes your business more searchable and easier to access. This trend is only going to grow, so it is essential for small business owners to stay on top of their SEO and optimize their mobile experience. Again, aim to optimize the user’s experience over the search engine results. Lines are beginning to blur between what is web and what is social media. Don’t fret – this just provides more opportunities to improve SEO.

Social over Factual

Social media is also increasing its presence within search feeds. Now, when searching a certain business, social media posts will be indexed in results. This allows the customer’s experience to improve your SEO but doesn’t discredit actual content from your website. All this means is that you need to connect your content to your social media platforms in order to create a more cohesive brand. Creating quality content for your site as well as your social media platforms is only going to increase your search engine presence and overall visitor satisfaction.

Aggregated Content over News

Twitter is always changing it’s algorithm, which consequently changes the way search engines work to aggregate live coverage and events. Content aggregating can be tricky, but it can also provide more specific results for target visitors. Twitter offers “Moments”, which explain an event through third-party coverage and opinions as opposed to typical news and media coverage. It is advised that you create or curate content, not aggregate, however, this trend is most likely going to affect Google’s algorithm in the future. Be prepared and open to change.

Video over Text in B2C Content

Video will continue to be important in Business-To-Consumer Content. While written content is the standard, video apps like Vine, Snapchat, and Periscope are revolutionizing the way we consume visual content. Google ranks video content as 50x better than plain text content, a number that will only grow in the future. Consumers want to watch exciting videos on their feeds that allow them to connect with your social media content. While searching, they want specific, exciting examples that visually share what your business has to offer. Proper keywords and tags will promote your video content in Google, but also keep in mind that quality content is still most important.


While the many Google algorithm updates like Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, Payday, and Pirate may sound like a weird zoo, don’t let them intimidate you. As always, never try to manipulate the algorithms. It is important to remain on top of the latest trends. Be sure to create the best website and content possible for your visitors. Remember, the goal is to optimize their experience. Google is constantly searching for ways to help determine what searchers really want.
What Google algorithm updates would you like to see in the future?