2015 was an ever-changing year for the SEO industry. We saw the long-awaited Mobile-geddon update, a large overhaul to local SEO, and the shift to the use of search and social data to guide content strategy. With the new year on our doorstep, now is the time to take a step back and look at what the new year may have in store for search engine optimization (SEO).
Accelerated Mobile Pages are Making Waves
Early in the fourth-quarter of 2015, the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project launched with the goal of revolutionizing how mobile and tablet devices interact with web content and pages. As we move into 2016, AMP technology will cement its place as a mobile development staple.
Offering faster load times without sacrificing the quality of content, AMP will be a platform that gives users the ability to access content quickly and consistently while still allowing content producers to advertise, display and track their content.
Mobile Web Design is Paramount
Designing and optimizing your website for mobile may seem like old news, but many sites have still not embraced the mobile revolution. In 2016, it will be all the more important to focus on the mobile user and create unique, enriched experiences. Mobile devices have accounted for more hours of usage per day than desktop since 2014, and it will continue to grow.
If that isn’t enough, Google’s April 21, 2015, update gave a slight search rankings boost to mobile-friendly pages when searched on mobile devices. As mobile becomes more and more relevant, it’s important to remember to develop your content on the platform with which your audience engages.
Rich and Structured Data are Trending
Schema.org is an open source effort sponsored by major tech companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft that seeks to provide search engines with the appropriate information, so it is able to interact with content on the internet.
One of the more notable results of these efforts is the debut of direct answers on Google. Direct answers show the result to a user’s query without the user visiting the page associated with the answer. Embracing this open-sourced vocabulary will help search engines find the content of your website and relay them to the user. Expect to see content strategies to shift as a direct result of this changing algorithm.
Content is Still King
Developing unique content should be the goal of any business looking to boost their SEO. Giving the user a reason to pick your site’s content over a competitor drives the competitive nature of the digital space. It is healthy and will ultimately drive every company to develop the absolute best content for the user, which in turn, helps the company gain more followers and see more visits.
Content creation can be difficult. To simplify the process, dive into what your target audience is missing by taking surveys, researching with the help of online tools, or simply conducting a Google search for content ideas.
Voice Search and RankBrain are Changing the Game
“We built Google for users, not websites.” - Google
With recent advances in voice search technology such as Siri, Cortana and “OK Google” and the introduction of the RankBrain AI, it is more important than ever to develop content with the user in mind, not the search engine ranking. This means you should think about how a user would end up searching for your content.
One quick tip to “thinking like a user” is trying to answer “who, what, why, when, where and how” within your content’s headers and subsequent paragraphs.
Panda Update Will be Real-Time and Continuous
Google Panda was initially created to stop sites with poor content quality from reaching top rankings in search results. Last year, it was announced there would be a new real-time Panda algorithm update rolling out in early 2016. This means every piece of content that is produced will be crawled and ranked in real-time to make sure the quality of the content on the web stays high.
What is the Top Tip for 2016 SEO?
SEO should be a big part of your web strategy that is always evolving. As algorithms are updated, usage trends change, and as users access your content, there is one question that should always be answered when making SEO decisions:
“Will this result in the best experience for my user?”
If you can answer this question with a resounding yes, you are well on your way to SEO success.
Happy New Year from the Blue Compass team!