It’s been a thrilling year for the SEO industry with 2015 bringing in a lot of changes that affected online search — and ultimately how we do SEO. Things are not about to slow down in 2016 and it’s never too early to prepare for things to come. With just a few weeks left to the New Year, we’re listing some of what experts predict will be the trend in SEO.
It’s all about mobile
Back in April 2014, we wrote about mobile marketing being a core technology that you need to invest in and the importance of improving your mobile presence. A year later, Google released Mobilegeddon update – an algorithm update that penalizes sites that are not mobile-friendly. Companies who didn’t take the time to improve their mobile presence lost a significant number of potential clients to their competitors, especially since mobile searches surpassed desktop searches in 2015. Experts believe that the percentage of mobile searches will continue to increase in favor over the next 3-5 years, so it‘s very important to have a mobile mindset as you build your website or redesign your existing one.
What you can do now: Check if your website is mobile-friendly. You can go to Google’s Developers site and take the mobile-friendly test. If you fail the test and wish to make the necessary changes, Google also provides a guide to help you through the process.
It’s all about direct answers
Google’s Knowledge Graph has gained a lot of momentum since it was added to Google SERPs in 2012. The data Google uses for the Knowledge Graph come mostly from authoritative sites like Wikipedia, Freebase and the CIA World Factbook. But over the years Google has started showing direct answers from sites (this could be you) that they consider authoritative around a given topic. Sources are often cited in the Knowledge Graph which means if it’s your content, then there is a good chance that people will end up visiting your site to learn more.
What can you do now: While it may be a long-shot to actually get your content featured in the Google Knowledge Graph, as long as you keep creating good, high-quality content that answers people’s questions, you have a fighting chance. For now, start by reviewing how your company information is being displayed in Knowledge Graph. To get the most benefit of Knowledge Graph for your business, make sure that you are properly implementing structured data mark-up in your site. Structure data mark-up helps Google gather context about your website content.
It’s all about voice searching
Voice-based search is now on the rise with more and more people preferring to use digital assistants like Siri, OK Google and Cortana. The way people search for information is changing; search queries are longer and more detailed when spoken into a device compared to searches typed into search query boxes. In an article published in Search Engine Watch, it was noted how most voice search queries are marked with question words such as who, where, what, why and how. Search engines, especially Google, had also turned their attention in understanding the intention of the searchers and trying to provide direct answers rather than just matching keyword phrases.
What you can do now: Stop trying to anticipate which keywords your customers might be using to find your products and services. Instead, focus on providing answers to the types of questions that will be asked of you as the business owner.
SEO has changed tremendously over the years. With search engines moving towards semantic search to provide better answers to queries, it’s time to stop trying to game search engine bots and start to really create content that matters to your target audience. Keywords will still play a big part in SEO, but the difference is that you can no longer rely on simply including them in your website. What’s important now is to try to understand your customer’s intention and the context behind their various searches your and adapt your website content accordingly.