The SEO industry witnessed many exciting developments in 2016, and mobile compliance was in focus with many websites getting punished by Google for lagging behind with this. The local ranking was another front runner while content had another quality algorithm keeping a watch on the quality of content going on your site. In short, just as user behaviour seldom remains static, Google’s efforts to enhance user experience will also keep pace. It is for the SEO industry to track all these developments and implement necessary changes to the digital canvas so that the businesses they service can forge ahead and stay at the top.
Although we are soon stepping into the last quarter of 2016, we have seen significant changes happening in the SEO space. Following are among the notable trends and SEO tips ushered in during the year:-
1. Video content outpacing written content
We are already experiencing the growing success of apps like Snapchat, Vine and Periscope along with other video apps. Together, they have created a paradigm shift in user engagement, reach, effectiveness and the overall ROI. Although Google is the accepted leader in the internet search industry, Bing has already given Google some sleepless nights with its foray into video ads. Google has taken the threat head on, and Google’s version of video ads with search results can be expected before the year end. It would be interesting to watch who takes the first spot and manages to stay there without getting displaced. The effectiveness of video ads with search results has already been proven beyond any doubt, and that gives more reason why Google will not want its competitors walking away with the advantage.
2. Mobile optimisation taking centre stage
By the year 2019, the global mobile phone penetration is expected to reach the 5 billion mark and therefore it is no wonder that Google has trained its gun mobile optimisation of web content. In case, if your website is not optimised for mobile and other handheld devices, the chances are that your business will fall by the wayside, sooner than later.
3. The era of digital assistant to impact search behaviour
Search is getting more complicated with the addition of digital assistants (Google Now, Siri and Cortana). Queries in spoken language are distinct from typed questions, and that means we now have a new generation of queries with long-tail keywords, particularly the ones that mimic a spoken dialogue. Pages with conversational or colloquial content can expect significant rewards from this trend.
4. Content aggregation
‘Moments’ launched by Twitter as an experiment is already making waves. But Twitter is not alone in content aggregation. As a result news stories that are not automatically sourced will fade away and for traditional content marketers, This will be a spot of bother. However, one can see a corresponding increase in opinionated, editorial, tutorial or other evergreen content concerning search visibility. In the process, traditional journalism is taking a backseat and some quarters have even expressed their resentment over the way their profession is being impacted.
5. Social content
Google has a tie-up with Twitter and Facebook and that is one reason you possibly get to see one or two tweets on search results appearing on your mobile screen. Massive indexing is happening with more platforms in Google’s vaults as well as other players in the search engine space. Social posts would now carry value similar to any other web page and the thin line between social media and the internet will further fade away in the context of SEO.
6. Apps with Deep links
Apps in particular, are to gain further momentum with search engines and more so, with Google. For quite some time now, apps are indexed by Google. Google also expects that in the near future, apps can potentially overtake the traditional websites in terms of functionality and popularity. Anticipating these changes in advance is one-way search marketers can benefit from this development. Deep links within the app point to a particular section or page. You can also expect major thrust in optimisation in the days to come. Having captive apps is one way you can push your business to greater heights. But, if you are not yet ready to create one or more, you can think of listing your business on many other apps you can.
7. Local search gets into focus
Local search is getting into more focus and we are already experiencing samples of these explosive search engine measure. The addition of wearable devices has only brought further emphasis to the focus on local search. Therefore, going forward you can see page ranks being determined by your street name or immediate neighbourhood.
Google takes into account the distance at which a potential business is located in relation to the search term and the prominence of the business itself. So Google’s local focus will try to guide the user to the business using well-known landmarks like hotels or leading brand stores etc.
8. Keywords are still important
Although many things have changed your ability to pick the right keywords for your business and place them appropriately in your content continues to hold the greatest importance to take your business on the growth trajectory. Also remember that keyword stuffing and poor quality written content can do more damage to your business than good.
Have you also explored the sea of useful plugins and apps that WordPress is now offering? The Yoast SEO app is especially useful for starting out on their SEO mission.
10. SEO will continue to evolve
Finally, search engines will always want to enhance their experience and businesses that populate the digital world can only follow the directions set by people who run the search engines.
Keeping yourself constantly updated on every single aspect of SEO, with emphasis on Google as well as other major search engines is the singular way to grow your business in the digital world.