When it comes to SEO, we unfortunately don’t have a guidebook detailing what to expect, or a crystal ball for predicting the date of the next algorithm change.
We do, fortunately, have some hunches about what we think is pretty darn likely to go down in 2016.
Check out what we think might be in the cards for online marketing in the next year.
SEO Predictions for 2016
#1 Spot No Longer Means Best Results
With all the changes that Google has made to its search results page, including the rollout of the Snack Pack (or 3-Pack) and the beta test of paid home service ads, it’s clear that search engine result pages (or SERPs) will continue undergoing transformations.
While in the past, a #1 ranking on Google might translate into the most organic clicks, in today’s search engine climate, there are many other factors contributing to organic click-through-rates, including pay-per-click and social media efforts. Depending on the query and Google’s results page layout, searchers’ eyes will land in different places, and their clicks will change accordingly. A page with a paid ads pack, for example, might find users clicking more frequently on the sponsored listings. One with a 3-pack, however, might see a higher click-through rate (or CTR) on the 3-pack results.
Rich Answers Increasingly Important
Stone Temple Consulting Corporation conducted a study on Google’s use of rich answers — Google’s attempt to answer the searcher’s question without requiring any click-throughs. They found an increase in rich answers from 22.6% in December 2014 to 31.2% in July 2015:
What does this mean for your online marketing efforts? Well, for one, you should focus more on developing unique, detailed content that answers specific queries that searchers input. Stone Temple also found that 75% of rich answers Google generated included external data and links. Just like they taught you in school — citing quality sources is a must!
To go about creating this content, be sure to conduct some long tail keyword research to identify what questions to answer. When writing the content, be sure to include the actual question and a direct answer to it.
Social Media More Involved in SEO
Social signals such as shares have always played a part in SERP rankings. With Google’s recent agreement with Twitter, there’s a 466% increase in the number of Tweets being indexed, meaning social should now play a more prominent part in determining placement. You may even see certain recent Tweets appearing for key queries.
Local-Mobile Intersection More Crucial for Local Business
We expect mobile to remain important in 2016, with its intersection with local search to only increase and matter more to local businesses. Updates such as the “Popular Times” feature on Google My Business directly influence a searcher’s decision to go to bars, restaurants, shops, gyms, auto repair shops, and more.
Claiming key business listings and having a complete, consistent Name, Address, Phone Number, and URL across the web will still be crucial, as mobile searchers may turn to Google Maps and G+ for information about your business.
Many mobile users also rely on voice search, which on average contain more words than text searches; this means that your aforementioned rich answer and long tail keyword strategy will be more essential than ever.
Get in Gear for 2016
The other thing all business owners are expecting from SEO in 2016? Results! Turn The Page is here to deliver them. Let our team put our passion for online marketing to work. From local search and social media marketing to PPC and web development, we can do it all, and do it well.
Give us a call today at (816) 527-8371 or (844) 889-5001 to get started.