As we say goodbye to 2015 and welcome 2016 in the New Year, SEO strategists are once again faced with the annual question – which SEO trends can we expect to see in 2016 and which are we leaving behind? With this in mind, let’s take a look at the latest 2016 SEO predictions that are set to take the internet by storm in the upcoming year.
2015 has been the year of Mobilegeddon, a Panda refresh and the ever-changing content debate. If you’re looking to keep your feet securely at the top of Google, then take note of the following predictions we can expect to see hit the SEO industry in 2016.
Mobile Search > Desktop Search
The battle of the iOS, Android and Windows phones continues but now we’re also seeing the conflicting differences between mobile search and desktop search. No matter which device you own (or prefer), there’s definitely been a point in your daily routine where you’ve used your mobile device to browse the web.
This is set to increase in 2016. It will probably come as no surprise to you that the highest spend, most organic traffic and very best paid click comes directly from mobile search. Whether this is from mobiles or tablets the fact of the matter is – they’re portable. In previous years the traditional method of search was on either a desktop or a laptop but as technology advances, so does best practice SEO.
This is where Mobilegeddon really kicked some businesses in the teeth in 2015. If your website wasn’t fully responsive on mobile devices, then it naturally would be losing traffic, raising bounce rate and saying farewell to customers. An easy fix is to think mobile and responsiveness. You want to provide your users with the same easy and enjoyable experience they would on a desktop site, so make those call-to-actions large enough to push with a finger and avoid any unnecessary scrolling. Creating a mobile marketing strategy might be a great place to start in January 2016.
Voice search is on the up. A major SEO expectation for 2016 is writing to rank when phrases or keywords are spoken, rather than typed into the search bar. With popular mobile devices promoting the voice activated search with Siri, Cortana or even Google Now, it’s become the norm for search to happen vocally. So what SEO tricks have we got up our sleeve to master voice search key term research?
Taking it back to basics is the answer. What would you ask Siri? Nine times out of ten it’s a question, and questions start with Who, What, Where, When, Why, How. This is where voice search differs from text search. When you type something you will probably just focus on the specific words individually, such as ‘restaurants Southampton’ or ‘zoo ticket prices’ but with voice search you will talk to your phone as you would another person. Your new voice search then becomes, ‘Which are the best restaurants in Southampton? or ‘How much are ticket prices at the zoo?’
It is currently uncertain as to which will take priority in the search stats of 2016 (we can re-address this in an SEO 2016 end of year review), but nevertheless it’s important to embrace the change. Ranking for specific keysearch questions (as well as terms) will become a great way of helping the busy consumer find you faster. Using long tail keywords as part of your overall content strategy, combined with how-to guides, FAQs or using questions as article headings will boost your chances of securing a position in the voice search results.
Optimising your content on your website is one thing we are all familiar with now, but it’s time to step it up in 2016 with your social content. Social media has become a massive part of our digital marketing strategies and yet again Google is ahead of the game. With already established Twitter and Facebook plans in place, you can see social media results intertwined with general search results. 2015 saw the development of real life Tweets displaying in mobile search results with news of the features arriving on desktops soon.
Whether you’re automating Tweets in advance or an avid socialite posting on a daily basis, your posts will carry a greater value and purpose in a similar way to independent web pages. Why don’t you give it a go – type in to your preferred search engine something relating to the news today and you’ll see a variety of Tweets in your mobile search results that relate to the same topic, as well as websites.
Eventually, social media and web will blend together and compete against each other when it comes to indexing, but until then you need to be aware that social posts are starting to appear in amongst indexed search results, so try and target keywords on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
There’s No ‘I’ In Keywords
Keywords are a team game. Google are set to become even craftier in 2016 with keyword research, targeting groups of keywords, synonyms of keywords and even frequently used words that often occur together. With that in mind, it’s going to become even more vital to target keyword groups and assign a selection of relevant keywords to different pages in your website. Keywords will require in-depth research to produce connecting groups of key terms and phrases rather than just individual keywords. This should also help eliminate the massive no-no that is keyword stuffing.
Way back in 2013 when Google’s Hummingbird algorithm was released, it offered a specific platform for targeted keywords to be found easily and efficiently in the search engine. They updated it in 2015 to shift the focus from separate keywords to groups of keywords and related synonyms.
Keywords are no longer for individuals, you must look at your keywords as a team and match them to one another accordingly – a bit like picking teams for sport – which ones work best together and who is most likely to win your spot at number one?
App Store Optimisation (ASO) (what is app-ening?)
Apps are a massive part of our browsing, downloading and searching experience when we use the web, particularly on mobiles and tablets. It’s not just about installs though, reviews and ratings are just as important now in order to drive organic traffic directly to your app. With the rise of mobile usage it’s no surprise that more and more companies are in favour of creating unique apps to suit their brand, product or service.
App Store Optimisation has become an important factor when designing and developing your new app and has also created a competitive edge in the app market. With the rise of voice search and mobile usage, it’s crucial that businesses developing apps, drive traffic straight to the official app, rather than through a website. ASO will target app content in organic search results so make sure you optimise your apps correctly to receive the very best results.
So, that’s it for our top SEO predictions we should all be taking note of as 2016 kicks off. Follow the rules, play nicely with Google and you’ll soon see results. For more SEO advice and services, get in touch with our team here at Atelier and we’ll be happy to help.