Google can be scary, especially for SEO consultants. It’s always moving, always changing. And it does what it wants to do, without the need to consult marketers and web content managers. They might be planning on a major algorithm change and no one else knows. With 2015 behind, who knows what Google has in mind for 2016?
The one thing we can do is base this year’s strategy on emerging trends brought about by the previous one. Having a solid SEO strategy for 2016 is very crucial in this dog-eat-dog market. Forfeiting a good plan is a surefire formula for failure. So what does the near future hold for us? Here’s what experts from a Woodinville Web Design Company have to say.
Mobile, Mobile Everywhere
More and more people are ditching their bulky desktops and laptops in favor of smartphones and tablets. The previous year, 2015, saw an unprecedented increase in search traffic coming from mobile devices. This year is predicted to be the tipping point at which mobile-based searches and purchases will surpass those done through the traditional medium.
So how should you react? This exodus to the mobile environment calls for more than making sites more mobile friendly and accommodating to multiple devices. You need to look farther.
Woodinville Web Design Company suggests that you consider thinking mobile in all your decisions, whether it is for your website or your products and services. Content appearance on your website, services pages, product pages and layouts should be the main focus and it needs to be compliant to multiple environments before the pages are finalized and published.
There used to be a huge gap between desktops and mobile devices in terms of site compatibility that made people hesitant on doing searches on their smartphones. That gap is getting smaller every day as more sites become mobile-friendly, giving the users the exact, same experience, if not even better.
The goal is to plan for mobile design, mobile marketing, mobile advertising, mobile payment, mobile e-commerce, mobile customer relationship management, and mobile e-coupons, as well as the integration of all of these into local and social networks.
Half of mobile searches are converted into store visits within 24 hours. Local information searches on smartphones account for more than 70 percent of store visits. Mobile devices are taking the Internet by storm, literally. Local businesses are seeing a major growth in the number of customers brought about by mobile searches. This is the case for most retail stores, cafes, restaurants, and hotels.
Beam Me Up Siri, or Cortana, or Google!
What used to be in movies has become reality. You are now able to talk to your phone and make it do specific tasks. This applies to making mobile searches and voice based searches require an approach that is very much different than that of text based ones.
You want to know the nearest IKEA store in your city? You just type IKEA on your browser. Voice searches start with firing up the assistant application and making a query like “Where’s the nearest IKEA?” Voice-based search patterns on mobile devices is done with question words such as Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why.
Google will be adopting search features that integrate voice recognition on Google apps. The predicted increase in voice searches will be due to the fact that it’s faster than typing text on the browser. There are no statistics out yet on the number of voice-based searches versus text-based ones, but it’s getting there. You need to embrace this change and jump on the bandwagon or else be left out.
To keep up with the change, you need to accept mobile searches and their increasing popularity and increasing search engine proficiency which saves effort and time for consumers. Improving local SEO efforts should be the first step. Search results are dependent on a lot of factors which include product or services details, local citations, and reviews. You need to consider these elements if you want your site to rank high in search engine results.
If you have your own mobile app in conjunction with your website, you also need to make it search-friendly. Google has recognized the mobile app boom and is now indexing app content. You should also make sure that your app appears under application in search results so users can easily access and install it on mobile devices.
Direct Answers and Structured Data are the ‘In’ Thing
What you get at the top of the page when you do a search in Google is its attempt in providing what is called a direct answer. Restrictions and requirements of mobile based searching have propelled its growth. This means both bad and good news for SEO.
This is bad news for other “specialized” search engines and other answer engines like shopping searches, weather sites, lyric sites, and yellow pages. This is also bad if you’ve chosen collection and publishing of public domain data as your base business strategy because Google will be your direct competitor. Google also favors users over websites so don’t expect any change that will benefit SEO strategies.
This is good news if you land on the top of the search engine results which means you are the direct answer. Searches don’t always get useful direct answers because most sessions are composed of multiple search steps. Thus, you still have a chance if you don’t place first in the ranks.
Woodinville Web Design Company’s answer? Structured data. You need to tag your web page data in such a way that it can be easily understood by search engines. Structured data is what makes those thumbnails, ratings, operating hours, and prices visible with the site on the search list.
Data structuring is something that’s better left to professionals. It’s better for you to focus on expanding your business than be concerned with creating and managing structured data. However, it is required if you want search results that are more attractive and lead to click rate increase.