While businesses continue to make huge investments in digital marketing and create diverse digital content, search engines are shifting their focus away from content and concentrating more on usability across devices. It is no longer enough for an organization to simply rely on its web presence to offer deals and promote sales.
Web activities and a digital presence across various platforms have become the norm, and these things alone cannot guarantee that you will stay ahead of your competitors. So, to stay on top of things and prepare for the next big digital opportunity, you need to know which SEO trends are going to unfold in 2016.
1. Mobile Search Will Remain Important
Mobile search is already on par with desktop search in terms of volume, and this trend will only accelerate. In fact, it is predicted that mobile will soon surpass desktop. In recent times, thanks to updated mobile browser capacity, faster networks, and a majority of websites embracing a mobile-friendly design, mobile web has even made the future of so-called native apps look bleak.
This trend will only increase, and in only a year from now, the mobile web will be referred to as the web in general. Naturally, a majority of websites will be primarily designed for mobile. Also, websites that are not mobile-optimized will become irrelevant. A mobile-friendly design is already (a ranking factor for?) Google’s search engine algorithm, and in time, it will become the new bare-minimum search engine criterion.
2. Intention, Not Keywords, Will Drive Search
The days of searching with exact keywords are long gone. Finding relevant search results is no longer dependent on what you type. From your interactions with websites, search engines can now assess your intention and provide the most relevant results accordingly. Search will become more intuitive from now on, which will save a lot of browsing time and effort.
3. Voice Search Will Compete With Text Search
Though voice search is still a new kid on the block in the search engine space, it has already gained enough momentum thanks to mobile devices and the rise of mobile web beating the native apps desktop search. Voice search will continue to be popular as people can ask a question and immediately get an answer – for example, an address, driving directions, etc. – without the trouble of typing.
Google plans to add a voice recognition feature to its apps very soon. This would help increasing the volume of searching web as web search will be faster and smoother. This change is likely to have a bigger impact on users who are accessing the web from a mobile device.
4. Focus Will Shift to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has been getting more attention for some time as most often huge number of users staying live and online does not reflect in business conversion for the respective site.
Because a majority of users access the web from mobile devices and simply remain online casually without actually using the sites they’ve opened, the huge difference between the traffic volume and conversion will continue.
Naturally, conversion rate optimization will be more useful to get into session data, as well as tracking events and users’ attention spans. Understanding the factors that produce higher conversion rates will help websites formulate suitable SEO plans.
5. Interactive Content Will Rule
Interactive content is not only a quiz, but all sorts of web contents delivered according to the user response. For example, in a presentation, when a user clicks on a negative opinion about something he is guided to a content page that addresses his questions Interactive content provides an intuitive, unique feel and it can quickly can motivate someone to take action.
6. More Content = More Effectiveness
SEO these days are merciless to unoriginal contents. But even for short content that only conveys a few pieces of information, it is becoming even more difficult to rank in search results. As the situation stands now, articles that are between 1,200 and 1,500 words long get better rankings. While this trend will continue, another trend would be about multiplicity in presenting content.
For instance, a text-based piece of content supplemented with infographics, images, animation, and video files will have more impact on search engine and traffic. As this trend suggests, longer, more diverse content will be effective.
7. Local SEO Will Be More Competitive
Over the last couple of years, we have seen a consistent focus on local SEO from search engines, web traffic in general and business websites trying to tap the opportunity of web to garner business output. Advanced geolocation maps have fueled this trend.
Now, thanks to advanced geolocation technologies like iBeacon, geo-fencing, etc., targeting an audience using location has become a common practice for marketers. In 2016, this practice will increase even more. Location will play a key role in search rankings. Moreover, voice search will add more momentum to this trend, and recent search engine updates like Google Pigeon are a clear indication of how location will be a key determinant in search results.