The versatile world of search engine optimization is constantly changing. That means Internet marketers need to continually modify their strategies and SEO campaigns according to the latest changes. Arming yourself with knowledge about expected changes that will happen is a great way to stay prepared for whatever comes in 2016. I have worked on finding important fact-based SEO predictions that I strongly believe may come true in 2016.
SEO Predictions for 2016:
1. Everyone will go mobile
According to research conducted by biakelsey, in 2016 will see over 113.4 billion local searches via mobile in the U.S. On the other hand, desktop local searches are expected to drop by 1 billion. This trend is expected to continue in the following years. By 2019, there could be over 140 billion local searches conducted via mobile in America. In May 2015, Google confirmed that mobile searches are now more popular than desktop searches in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.
Obviously, the vast majority of businesses will go mobile to cater to the growing number of mobile users. Don’t get left behind. Equip yourself for this SEO 2016 change by making your site mobile-friendly with a responsive design. It’s also advised that you make your business decisions with mobile users in mind. You’ll need to begin introducing mobile payments, mobile coupons, etc.
2. Conversational search will grow
With Google’s conversational search getting smarter, it’s expected that 2016 will see much more of these searches. If you conduct a voice search on Chrome, the engine will now speak back to you. You can continue your search in the form of a conversation if you have further questions. For instance, image you first searched “How old is Barack Obama?” Then, you can ask related questions like “Who is his wife?” and so on.
This is a highly convenient method of search since it moves faster than a type search. You’ll need to adapt yourself to the higher number of conversational searches by integrating voice searches into your SEO 2016 strategy. Conduct long tail keyword research so you can find which ones to implement in your SEO campaign. Increasing mobile usage will automatically raise the conversational searches too.
3. Semantic markup will be key
Semantic markup is a way of using HTML tags to help search engines identify what exactly your website’s content is all about. These markups are a necessity for SEO since they aid search engines in indexing your content faster. If these are not present, search engines will just guess what your content relates to based on context.
CSS and semantic markup help you separate the markup from the visual design. You and your page visitors will be able to save a lot on bandwidth because the design only needs a one-time download. These benefits suggest that by SEO 2016, Internet marketers will be embracing semantic markups for search engine optimization. If you haven’t started using semantic markup already, you should get useful tips from Schema.
4. Crap outreaching will increase
After the Google Penguin update back in 2013, all the old link-building tactics went obsolete. That’s where link-building outreach came in light. With the importance of backlinks becoming more known, there has been a lot more email outreaching happening in the last two years. By 2016, it will be swamped. This means that even websites with low-quality content will be trying to reach out to bloggers, experts, news editors, and influencers.
As a result, mailboxes will be swamped with low-quality content emails. This will frustrate these bloggers, experts, and influencers. The rise in crap outreaching in the coming year will make it much more difficult for Internet marketers to get backlinks through email outreach or any other link-building tactics. In short, link-building will be more competitive and hard thing to get in SEO 2016.You’ll need to work much harder to improve your email outreach rate. Even if your mail has interesting content, the key is to compel people to open the mail in the first place. You must start by writing a unique subject line rather than opt for a generic one. Studies have found that a personalized subject line has a 26% higher open rate in comparison to generic. Also, make sure that this line is short to suit a variety of screen sizes.
5. Local businesses will get the benefit
Increasing local conversational searches and mobile searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. Reach to the local audience is getting narrow. Small to medium businesses will get the benefit if they focus on local SEO and reach out to local audiences. Although local SEO doesn’t have the priority it deserves, it’s slowly gaining tract in the world of Internet marketing. It’s expected to be highly popular for local businesses in SEO 2016.One of the main reasons for this is that local SEO allows you to deal with less competition. When you optimize your website for a local audience, you get more visibility in your city or region. Keep in mind that bigger businesses with a nationwide or international following can benefit from local SEO too though. Every business could do with positive attention from a nearby audience.
6. User experience will be priority
Keywords, meta tags, and images form an important aspect of your SEO strategy. Yet, they aren’t where the priority will lie in 2016. Instead, the next year will see the rising need for Internet marketers to prioritize on user experience. This is because Google aims to provide users with relevant results and an excellent experience. Ensuring that users have a positive experience when visiting your site will also encourage social sharing, returned visits, and bookmarking.
You can prepare yourself for this upcoming change by focusing on important factors that affect your site’s user experience. Reducing your page load time, de-cluttering ad-filled pages, building a mobile responsive design, and optimizing your content are all great ways to improve user-experience.
7. Website link profile will crucial for rankings
If you take a look at high-ranking pages and websites on Google, you’ll notice that many of them have an impressive link profile. For this exact reason, the link profile of a website is going to play an important role in how it’s ranked in search engines for SEO 2016.
Search engines will take into consideration the quality of links. Third-party links coming to your site have to be from very credible sources. They’ll also take a look at the quantity of links. Your website must have plenty of links to and from authoritative sites. One of the most important factors will be the types of links though. Having the right kind of links relevant to your content will play a pivotal role in ranking.
8. SEO’s sister ASO will be in more demand
As I’ve mentioned in the first prediction, everyone will go mobile in 2016. Naturally, more and more businesses will start developing their own mobile apps. By next year, we should be seeing an increase in demand of app store optimization. Pew Internet research has shown that 83% of adults in America now own a mobile phone. 51% of them have used their phones to get useful information at least once.Sensing this trend, businesses have gradually started to rely on ASO to get greater visibility among prospective users in the app stores. Doing so helps boost downloads, retention rates, and revenue for their mobile apps. Although SEO is going to always going to exist, 2016 will witness ASO outshining its sister.
9. Real-time Penguin will completely kill traditional link-building techniques
Google has recently confirmed that the Penguin algorithm will soon be in use. Once it goes real-time, the Penguin algorithm will be able to help the sites which were previously hit and made efforts in the recovery. At the same time, it’ll be much easier for sites to get a Penguin penalty. Since the Penguin algorithm is expected to go real-time in 2016, we will be seeing a fall in the traditional link-building techniques. Marketers will have to work much harder to build a good link profile for their websites.
From the above SEO predictions for 2016, it’s fair to say the coming year will be more costly. Marketers will need to shell out extra cash to successfully increase site visibility. Your SEO 2016 strategy will be much more difficult to manage. That’s because it’ll work around contextual searches and content marketing. With more businesses going mobile and building links, there will be a much bigger competition for Internet marketers.
How do you think SEO will change in 2016?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.