SEO Forecasts for 2016

There is no doubt about the fact that Google has thrown many a spanner in the works in the form of complicated algorithm updates this year. If the infamous ‘Mobilegeddon’ wasn’t enough, towards the end of October, Google made another shock announcement by informing the world that it has been using a machine-learning artificial intelligence system called “RankBrain” to help sort through its search results – and that this has been going on for a while. For those who have been dedicated in terms of their SEO efforts, this is actually great news. However, those who have not can expect to see a significant drop in rankings come 2016.

In order to soothe your worries, and to ensure that you are equipped with the necessary knowledge to make 2016 your best year yet SEO-wise, here are some helpful forecasts for SEO to keep in mind when putting your new strategy together for 2016.

Mobile Will Continue to Dominate

It is safe to say that mobile has been the main focus of 2015, with almost all Google updates calling website managers to take heed and make changes where appropriate. Next year, effective mobile optimisation will remain essential in improving and maintaining your search engine rankings, so be sure to re-look the way in which you have designed and laid-out your site. Ensure that your mobi-site loading times are as short as possible, that your visitors are able to navigate their way around the site without difficulty and, if your website allows for online shopping, that your check-out process is simple and user-friendly.

‘Voice Search’ Will Increase in Popularity

Did you know that voice search has been around since 2008? However, it has only become popular in recent times. The question is, how do you get it right before Google forces you to do so with an unexpected algo update? Here are some tips:

-          Forget about keywords and think more about the types of questions that your potential customers would be searching for. Voice search is likely to include a longer search query, usually in the form of a question. So, if your business specialises in eco-friendly laundry supplies, optimise and write content that provides valuable answers to questions such as ‘How do I get rid of a coffee stain?’ or ‘What is the best type of washing machine to buy?’.

-          Ensure that your website has been optimised to attract local customers. Since most voice searches are conducted on mobile devices, and often while people are on-the-go, it is likely that they will be searching for products or services in their area. With this in mind, consider taking advantage of PPC or Google Adwords and activating the push-to-call add-on, thus making it incredibly easy for the potential client to get in touch with you.

Responsive Design Will be Key

Ensuring a great user experience will always be the secret to impressing Google, which is why responsive design is so very important. Nowadays, people browse the internet with a great variety of gadgets and devices – from laptops and desktops to smartphones and tablets. Knowing this, optimising for desktop and mobile just isn’t enough – you need to make certain that your website is responsive to all possible devices. In doing so, you are likely to see a notable improvement regarding your rankings.

Ultimately, although we can make a few educated guesses, it is nearly impossible to predict what Google may throw at us next. One thing is for sure though – SEO is far from dead and, in order to ensure success, should remain an integral aspect of any digital marketing strategy going forward.  

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET