Now that the sun has set on another year, it’s natural for us to find ourselves reflecting on the last 12 months and looking to the future – not only within our lives, but with regard to business as well. From an SEO standpoint, this is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your SEO strategies and to take a few tips from the experts in terms of what trends will lead the way in 2016.

According to marketing guru Martin Armstrong, long-tail keywords (i.e. longer search phrases, “designed to mimic what someone would search for organically”) should play a big part in your SEO content strategy. His reasoning is that short-tail phrases (between one and three words in length) are usually too competitive, and that the average business can’t expect to rank for them as a result. When brainstorming longer-tail variations, the key is to try to think the way your user is thinking (more specifically, the words he or she would use when entering a query into Google or another search engine), and to tailor your content accordingly.

In a similar vein, AudienceBloom SEO Jayson DeMers stresses the importance of “shotgun blast” keyword strategy – that is, including a wider variety of keywords and phrases on a given page, instead of focusing on a single keyphrase to the exclusion of variance. His reason for this is that “keyword frequencies no longer have a one-to-one correlation with ranking results”, so trying to optimize for one keyword can lead to failure, regardless of how diligent your efforts.

John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, offers several tips for upping your SEO game in 2016 – one of which is ensuing that your site is mobile-ready. There are a few different ways in which you can achieve this; perhaps the most efficient is to design your site to be responsive, so that it adapts fluidly to the device on which it’s been viewed. The same goes for apps – they need to be SEO-friendly in order for Google to rank your site more highly.

Marketing expert Jeff Bullas concurs, saying that 2016 will see mobile searches pass desktop searches in overall volume. If users are increasingly searching with their phones or tablets, your website needs to be friendly to these devices – or else you risk losing a lot of business.

It will be especially interesting to see how voice-based search affects mobile SEO in the coming months and yearsas well.DeMers suggests that it might actually work to lessen the importance of keywords; it’s also worth bearing in mind, he notes, that voice-powered searches tend to involve a more immediate need (finding a restaurant or service nearby).

Search marketing director Julian Connors predicts that local SEO will be hugely influential in 2016 and beyond. He mentions Google’s Pigeon algorithm update, as well as the increasing prevalence of devices including the Apple Watch, as catalysts for this trend; users are becoming more and more accustomed to getting location-based information when and where they need it.

What SEO strategies do you think will lead the way in the coming year?