SEO is alive and well. It’s still vital if you want search engines to explore your website with ease, rate its content against competitors and rank it fairly in the search results. You still want your website to come up on the first page of Google when you type in the words and phrases your customers use to find businesses like yours. And search engines still use words to do it. What’s in store for the next twelve months?
Predictions for SEO in 2016
Here’s what the experts say.
- Voice search will go mainstream, good news because you’ll look less like a nutter asking your phone questions in an embarrassingly over-precise way because we’ll all be doing it. Siri, Cortana and Alexa are there to help you do it, and smartwatches are blazing a parallel trail with their voice activated interfaces. As a result we’ll probably see more audible search queries popping up in the Google search results
- Search Customisation is hot, and it looks like Google and co will carry on in the same vein to deliver even better search results to punters. Google is working hard to develop artificial intelligence and there’s no telling how far personalised search will go. Search might even go proactive, making suggestions before you lift a finger. If you think that sounds downright annoying or patronising, you’re not alone. On the other hand if you want Google to remind you about your husband’s birthday and suggest a gift, you’ll probably love it.
- Humans love moving pictures, and we can’t get enough of them. So videos will play an even more important part over the next year. The same goes for graphical representations of information, easy to digest. And they’re indexable, provided you follow Google’s guidelines about optimising video for SEO. The same goes for all your content. If you don’t optimise it as per Google’s guidelines, whatever medium it’s in, search engines won’t ‘see’ it.
- Apple and Google are at war. And it’s set to continue, as both giants fight for market supremacy and brand world domination. Let’s hope neither of them wins, since it’s better for everyone concerned to have a healthy, varied, competitive market than one run by just one or two corporate monsters.
- New search engines are arising, but they’re nowhere near achieving Google’s mass market reach in the UK, if anywhere. There are more private and secure search platforms than ever, as more people get fed up of being spied on algorithmically by Google. These days Facebook, Amazon and Ebay act as search engines in their own right. The search landscape might split, it might consolidate, but it won’t stay still.
- Google algorithm updates will continue in an effort to suppress sites whose owners ‘unfairly’ manipulate the search results. It’s the only way to organise and rank the unbelievably vast amounts of data they handle every day. You need to keep abreast of algorithm changes and act in good time if they’ll affect your site.
- Content marketing still rules. Experts predict algorithms will soon be able to figure out how accurate information is, which adds an extra obligation to content creators and is set to boost the quality of content even further. You’ll need to up your game.
- Facebook on the rampage. Will Facebook partner with a search engine? It’s entirely possible, ad if so it will add another layer of complexity to SEO as well as consolidate the social network’s already scarily powerful reach.
Optimise your content to the max every time
The overall message is this: no matter what happens in the search engine arena, it’s your job to properly optimise all your content, of every kind, for search engines. Google gives clear, free, easy to find guidelines about what it expects from SEO in every circumstance, and it’s all there for the taking. You’d be mad not to.