February 3, 2016
Anyone who has worked in the realm of SEO understands that it’s only constant is change. As with anything in the technological world, it is always improving and evolving to present a more intuitive and effortless experience for users. Many of yesterday’s SEO practices would result in self-destruction if implemented today. At this point in time, it is safe to say that marketers and SEOs must be extremely flexible to survive in the volatile SEO universe.
As the practices and tactics for gaining SEO dominance are always in flux, it is critical to implement today’s best practices while placing one eye on the future so as to not get crushed by SEO’s transformation momentum.
So what will this year bring? Here are four SEO trends to keep your eyes on in 2016:
1. Mobile Monopolization
Ever since the first iPhone was released, mobile’s dominance has grown each and every year. As of 2015, mobile devices officially became the most popular of the digital platforms. As more and more of the younger generations continue to access the Internet solely through mobile devices, this trend of mobile prevalence will only continue to grow. Last year, Google made mobile’s importance very clear to website owners that it now favors mobile-friendly sites over those that are not optimized for smaller screens.
In 2016, businesses need to go further than simply generating a responsive mobile website; they must have an all-out mobile mindset. It is now necessary to consider how products, content, service pages, and layouts will all appear on mobile devices before finalizing websites. Enhanced visuals and increasingly streamlined experiences are becoming crucial. The implementation of mobile-only promotions and prioritized product pages according to what is popular with mobile users will become vital elements.
Additionally, business owners now need to heavily contemplate not only mobile design and usability, but mobile search marketing, mobile CRM, and mobile eCommerce, among many other factors. In 2016, a stellar mobile experience should be one of your first concerns.
2. Voice Search Proliferation
Alongside mobile’s control is the increasing use, and importance, of voice search. As mobile devices become more ubiquitous, the prominence of voice search expands as well. People are growing accustomed to searching in this fashion and are beginning to abandon typing in search queries while on-the-go or looking for quick answers.
This trend is already starting to have profound effects on the way search works and what keywords are most effective. This new technology has made the importance of structured data and “rich snippets” more heavily weighted. Approximately 19 percent of search queries now receive a direct answer from Google.
Moreover, this movement holds some serious implications for local SEO.
3. Local SEO Becomes More Imperative than Ever
For those that run brick-and-mortar operations, local SEO will become vital to your success. While this has always been an important factor, its necessity is paramount when considering all of the above. As mobile and voice search surge in growth, local businesses must optimize their SEO blueprint. It was revealed in a recent Google study that 50 percent of consumers will visit a store within 24 hours of conducting a mobile search and 72 percent of consumers searching for local results will stop by a store within five miles of their location.
Be sure that you claim your Google My Business page and ensure that your contact information, Google Maps locations, products, services, and social channels are all up-to-date. Additionally, it is important to analyze long-tailed keywords to establish patterns and figure out what terms and phrases will work best to get your local listing to the top of the SERPs.
4. Lines between the Web and Apps Continue to Blur
It was recently announced that Google is set to begin streaming applications through its search results. Since native applications became a major threat to the search giant, Google has sought, and found, a way to absorb this danger to its dominance through incorporating apps in the SERPs. This means that the lines between websites and applications will blur heavily from here on out.
Because of this muddling, app indexing, deep linking, and app store optimization (or ASO) will all start to become key areas of focus for SEO in 2016. Additionally, mobile article formatting such as Facebook’s Instant Articles and similar offerings from Apple and Google will push the importance of app content in organic search to new heights.
In a similar vein, social content will grow to become more important to SEO as well. Last August, it was announced that Google would begin displaying tweets in both mobile and desktop search results. But the social integration did not end there — November brought the surprise that Facebook would begin allowing Google to crawl and index its app and display the results in mobile SERPs. As this app assimilation carries forth, it is imperative for businesses to not only optimize for app stores, but for all of their social postings as well.
2016 is sure to be a wild ride in SEO. It is clear that this year is all about mobile devices and how to optimize these platforms for maximum impact. It is imperative for site owners and marketers to place mobile in the forefront of their efforts as these devices only continue to grow more prominent in use and in the SERPs. Ensure that your mobile blueprint is rock solid, verify that your apps are search friendly, build your local listing for peak performance, and as always, be ready for the massive curveballs that are sure to come our way.
What are your personal predictions for SEO in 2016? How do you think that Google’s app integration is set to change the future of search and SEO overall?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.