SEO Predictions for 2016
Search Engine Optimization – one of the biggest and most effective online marketing strategies – maintains a progressive evolution day to day. Whether you like it or not, people still search online for what they want – and increasingly, they do it from their phones. Do you want them to find your business, or your competitors, when they do those searches?
So what can we expect for 2016? Here are some of the leading predictions on what we should expect over the next year or so. Take heed and prepare for the coming storm!
Mobile Will Continue to Dominate
Mobile has gradually been gaining dominance since Apple first unveiled the iPhone 1. It’s only more recently though that mobile devices have officially overtaken desktop computers as the most popular way to get online.
Speculators tell us that this is set to continue even more so, which is why it’s absolutely necessary to ensure your website or blog is perfectly optimized for smaller displays. Google has practically screamed at us regarding the importance of this factor, going as far as to develop their own ‘Mobile-Friendly Test’ to help us check our sites meet the criteria.
Voice Search and Structured Data
Tying in with the increasing prominence of mobile search, is the growing importance of ‘voice search’. People don’t like searching Google by typing when they’re on the move, which means they’re now much more likely to simply ask Siri, Google Now or Cortana to find what they’re looking for.
Structured Data and Direct Answers
Showing direct answers are Google’s attempt to show users the exact answer to their search queries at the top of the search page.
Unfortunately, this was not originally designed with mobile phones in mind, but the requirements and restrictions of mobile search have pushed its growth.
The good news is that most direct answer platforms are not commercially valuable—most searches cannot be turned into a direct answer and about 75% of the time, links to the source are provided.
So in order to adapt, online marketers should provide structured data for everything that they can. It may sound a bit off putting, but it’s a way of tagging the data in web pages so that search engines can easily understand the data used.
Local SEO Will be More Important Than Ever
Local SEO has always been important but in 2016 it will be more important than ever. As competition grows on the web, going local will offer one of the best ways to find your audience in a sea of other results. Local search has clear synergy with mobile search and voice search, and Google’s recent Pigeon update has demonstrated their commitment to this aspect. Make sure you’re ready by staying on top of your local SEO with smart keywords, up-to-date Google Maps information and even app integration (Google now uses data from mobile applications and shows that in search results).
SEO Will ‘Merge’ With Other Forms of Digital Marketing
Those who have been paying attention should recognize that the very way you describe SEO has changed in recent times. SEO is very often synonymous now with ‘content marketing’, which says a lot about the emphasis that Google is now putting on high quality content.
At the same time, a good SEO campaign needs to incorporate social media elements, to help build organic links and to benefit directly from the likes of Google+.
In other words, SEO doesn’t really stand on its own anymore. What’s more likely is that we’ll see companies offering ‘Digital Marketing Services’ that encompass all these elements, with the delineation become less and less of a factor.