7 Future Trends For SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is continually changing in response to the actions of search engines and habits of website visitors. In order to take advantage of SEO as a marketing technique, it is worth taking some time to reflect on developing changes and how they may affect your inbound marketing strategy in 2016. The following are seven trends which, while already evident, are likely to make the biggest impact as the next 12 months unfolds.
1) Mobile Supremacy
The biggest Internet news – bar none – of 2015 was that mobile Internet use overtook desktop-based traffic for the first time. This was an enormous milestone tantamount to the first manned lunar landings, and the full implications are not entirely clear. However, there should be no doubt that this was a completely game changing event. 2016 will begin to see what Mobile supremacy really means for marketing.
‘Mobile first’ websites will become the norm, with online content created to match the needs of mobile viewers first, with desktops coming second (if at all). SEO, in the post-mobilegeddon Internet, will be a very different proposition. With desktop traffic likely to fade into obscurity within five years, businesses are going to have to change their game and fast. Some of the trends we predict below are as a direct result of the establishment of mobile supremacy.
2) Declaration of War on Content Scraping
Some things never change: Google still hates spam. The next target in Google’s antispam crusade is so-called content scraping, which is likely to be clamped down on in the next algorithm update. Content scraping uses software to scan the Internet for keyword dense content and then siphon it off onto another website in an attempt to steal traffic. It is a classic ‘black hat’ SEO technique that steals the work of others through plagiarism. Good riddance we say. While no reputable business advocates content scraping, people will have to be especially careful in 2016 that the content they use is completely original. This includes avoiding duplicating content over several different pages on the same website e.g. through landing pages. Failing to be duly diligent on this count may lead to harsh search penalties the duplication.
3) Interactive Content
This is a direct result of websites now being optimised for mobile-first use. Thousands of words of written content don’t tend to look very good on a smart phone screen. While written content is still very important, interactive content, such as apps and surveys, will become more prominent for mobile users. Marketers are starting to talk about apps in 2016 in the way that they spoke about video in 2014. An embedded mobile or web-based app will no longer be a ‘nice to have’ addition to a website; it will be a necessity.
4) Digital Assistants
Voice-activated Digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana have been around for several years but have never developed into true search engines in their own right. Rather they mine the existing search engines for information. The most recent generations of these Digital assistants have more sophisticated search algorithms that improve the accuracy and usefulness of their search queries. Businesses will need to pay attention to the requirements of these Digital assistants in order to optimise their content so it can be found easily through voice queries.
5) Better Social Indexing
Social media has never been more crucial to SEO than it is now. Content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest is now being indexed more accurately on Google rankings. This is set to continue improving in 2016 and underscores the importance of social media for an inbound marketing strategy.
6) The demise of the search engines?
Could the rise of mobile Internet use spell the death of the search engines themselves? While this may still be a few years off, it is at least a possibility. More and more, users are turning to mobile based apps such as Facebook as their first port of call when researching a new business or service, frequently bypassing search engines altogether. This trend is part of a general shift of web traffic away from websites themselves and into alternative portals such as apps, social media platforms and micro-sites.
7) App Store Optimisation
With apps beginning to overtake traditional websites in popularity and breadth of function, optimisation for App Store visibility is going to grow in importance. This change will transform apps as well as websites, with apps taking on many of the characteristics now associated with websites. Embedded deep links, pointing to specific pages or sections of an app are already an important part of SEO. From 2016, deep links will become an integral part of app development, as thousands of business struggle for visibility. Expect many more changes to loom on the horizon as well.
The future of SEO
SEO is no longer seen as the miracle panacea that it once was. This doesn’t mean that it’s not an essential part of the inbound marketing toolkit. SEO is no longer about ‘keeping one step ahead of the search engines’. Rather it is about engaging your customers by answering the questions they ask in search form when and wherever they look for answers on Google and other search engines. SEO will still be very relevant to your business in 2016, success will stem from encouraging the search engines to work harder for you. This will depend on the extent to which you engage them in the right manner.