To website builders, bloggers and designers alike, the almighty Google and its page rankings can seem a little like coming up against the Dark Side – with an impenetrable fortress and very little space for attack. However, even though Google may change the way that SEO affects their rankings on a regular basis, 2016 promises to be a year in which even the smallest designers or website Jedi can take advantage of the changes in the way people are using the internet to find their content. SEO 2016 will be all about changing platforms, search choices and of course trends – and while we don’t necessarily prescribe an intense swamp-based training program from the likes of Yoda, there are a number of key points you should be aware of in the coming months to ensure that you are at the front of the fleet.
While we are sadly a decade or two away from being able to use telepathy or Jedi mind control to search the internet, the next best thing is voice control – and while this started out some time ago thanks to Google’s own application and the rise of Apple’s Siri technology, recent statistics show that voice searching – couple with a move to mobile browsing – is quickly taking on a sizeable chunk of searching behaviour. Therefore, it’s all the more important that your content is optimised for Google to be able to retrieve data from your site if a related search question is asked. To be able to keep up as part of SEO 2016, this means that you’ll need to focus on structured data and provide relevant, simple content, particularly in your taglines.
Mobile optimisation doesn’t just mean making sure your content reads well enough to be picked up on by Google’s all-seeing eye – it also means ensuring that your site is easily readable and searchable for tablet and mobile devices. SEO 2016 and beyond looks set to be working hand in hand with ‘fluid’ or mobile-friendly design, meaning that there really hasn’t been a better time to get started.
SEO techniques may change, but one element which seems to reign high on the list of tried-and-tested hints and tips is that of keeping content local – highlight your location. Your keywords may include your type of service and business as well as your national or even international location – for example, you may want to optimise for ‘UK Podracing Supplies’ or even ‘Wiltshire Podracing Supplies’ if you are looking to tighten up on search data. As years come and go, and even with SEO 2016 looking to be slightly different to previous years, location appears to be remaining key for at least the next twelve months – after all, the more precise you can be in describing your services, the higher chance you have of converting a simple browser into a customer.
While we are a few years away from hologram technology taking over in the mainstream, Google has recently decided to start integrating different media into its search results, particularly focusing on the visual. With YouTube continuing to be on the rise in terms of audience, it appears that relevant video search results are being blended with plain text results – and with the claim that SEO videos are encouraging an increased take-up in services and businesses advertising in this manner, it is perhaps unsurprising that many websites and blogs are now pushing for optimised video content to enhance their chance of being found on Google. Certainly, if your website is to survive SEO 2016, it’s a fantastic idea to take on as many different content platforms as you can.
As any fan of Star Wars will tell you, even the smallest alliance can take on the biggest obstacles if The Force is in play – and while we can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to use telepathy and lightsaber trickery to pull in the visitors, it appears that keeping strength in numbers via social media will be a big part of SEO 2016, and how Google will pick you up. While many small businesses and websites may already have a Facebook page or Twitter feed, the importance of SEO in these pages cannot be overlooked – as it appears that Google is becoming keener in listing social media content amongst its top results. Therefore, while it’s suggested that take-up and custom can be generated in a big way from social media, it will also be well worth your while ensuring any content you upload there be fully optimised for Google’s crawlers!
Just when you’ve got everything sorted for one platform, or when you’ve destroyed one Death Star – another one comes along! Microsoft’s Cortana system, which is the company’s answer to Apple’s Siri voice command application, is primed for use with Bing’s search engine – and while SEO is currently primed for use with Google and its listings, there is nothing to say that Bing won’t become big property in the near future, particularly as our predictions for SEO 2016 show that voice search will be an even bigger deal in the coming months.
Wherever web design may take you this year, may the SEO force be with you well into 2016 and beyond!