SEO Trends To Take Note Of In 2016

2015 marked an exciting and innovative year for all things SEO. Most prominently we saw the update that’s come to be known as “Mobilegeddon”. Google made drastic changes to ensure that mobile friendly sites become more visible, while non mobile friendly sites become less so. By penalising sites which weren’t taking the experience of their mobile customers seriously, Google aimed to shake up the priorities of companies and developers alike. There were further changes, like the local three-pack, a considerable algorithm change in quality for content, and many more minor updates from Google.

But while 2015 was an eventful year, 2016 has the promise of even more landmark changes to Google search. Here are five trends that will no doubt dominate the SEO arena for 2016.

 

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Including the most varied and interesting content possible is important, but at the moment mostly everyone recognises that written is the primary form of content found all over the web. Alternative forms of delivering content, such as infographics, images and videos serve ancillary roles in the content marketplace. Moving forward in 2016, a number of new technologies are poised to take over, in particular video. New apps like Vine, Snapchat and other video apps and their rapid growth are largely responsible for converting users to this form of content delivery. And let’s not forget the ad market. Google has been making a lot of changes to their advertising methods lately, and are currently experimenting with video ads in search results. This would be a monumental shift for the search giant, as Google has only ever included text in the results, be it an ad or anything else.

 

Mobile Optimisation to Become Ever More important

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According to the most recent data, mobile traffic accounts for 55% of all net traffic; desktop, 45%. Now imagine a website. On a traditional desktop it looks great: everything loads quickly, navigation is a breeze and it has some snazzy designs that really set it apart from the competition. 45% of people see this version of the site and love it. They connect with the brand and fill out a contact form. The conversion rate for desktop is great. But on mobile, this website looks very different. The snazzy designs take ages to load, the navigation buttons are all over the place, nothing is easy to find and sometimes, the site doesn’t work full stop. 55% of people see this version of the site, immediately navigate away and never come back. The conversion rate of mobile uses is virtually zero.

The purpose of that little anecdote was to illustrate that mobile optimisation will become the dominant concern for websites in the future. Already, more internet traffic comes from mobile devices than desktops, with its share only set to increase. Look to this as a key focus for 2016.

 

Siri and Cortana Will Fight for Your Affections

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Microsoft, Apple and Google are all investing in digital assistants for their devices. These programs are always improving, to the point where they’re actually quite smart. While we won’t have AI anytime soon, what we do have are clever pocket assistants which are going to become more of a reliance for many people as they get better at what they do. Siri isn’t a gimmick anymore, she’s a genuine and useful tool for millions of people.

But how do digital assistants relate to SEO? Many people use them to make verbal searches, speaking instead of typing their queries. Because spoken words are often expressed very differently to typed ones, there’s going to be a whole new vortex of keywords that SEOers are going to have to take into consideration. This will take a little while to sort out but it’s something you should be focused on right now.

 

Social Media Content Will Become More Relevant to Search

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Traditionally Google only displays independent web pages in their search results. This has already begun to change and will more so in the future. Individual posts on social media platforms, like facebook and twitter, will be indexed on the same grounds as web pages themselves. Subsequently social media will begin to blur even further into the web from an SEO standpoint. If a site’s link back profile doesn’t include social media links, then it simply isn’t going to move up the rankings.

In 2016, there will be three components of web design which are going to be absolutely critical for ensuring a site can rise up the rankings. These will social sharing, site authority and real traffic. This shows how important social media will be for search optimisation: it will be on the same level as ensuring your traffic is legit and your site authority is optimal.

In short, social media is going to rule our lives even more than it does at the moment. Look out.

 

App Optimisation Will Become More Relevant

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App indexation has been a thing for quite a while now, but as more and more large organisations convert web content into app form, we will see apps become more relevant to search results. In a nutshell, Google is going to start treating apps like the web. Deep links into apps are going to be handled in the same way as deep links to any normal web page, starting from this year. App development and optimisation will be forefront in savvy companies minds when they consider Google’s new rankings strategies.

We all know how quickly the web, and therefore SEO, grows and evolves. Keeping on top of trends as they change is key to ensuring that you employ best practice in your SEO strategy. Click here for more information about SEO and what it means to your search results.