While we’re halfway through 2016, it is not too late to look at the SEO trends for this year. 2015 was a great year for the SEO industry, along with new digital technologies and new mobile devices there was the Mobilegeddon update and a new quality algorithm for content. If 2015 was the year that it became entirely clear just how vital the mobile ecosystem is, 2016 is the year that mobile-optimization became more important than desktop optimization.
Jayson DeMers, of Forbes, was very excited about all that 2015 had to offer, and is looking at 2016 with the same amount of promise. While focusing on the user should always be the number one goal of the SEO professional, there are definite trends developing. While many SEO experts have predicted as many as seven trends for 2016, here are the top three trends that have made their mark so far this year.
Mobile optimization over desktop optimization
DeMers admits that until last year, desktop optimization was standard, but with the number of searches on mobile devices passing the number of searches on desktop computers in 2015, it is time for SEOs to focus on mobile optimization. Guarav Kumar of SEO Nick stresses that mobile optimization is becoming absolutely crucial for success. In 2015 Google made a huge move to make it easier to find mobile-optimized websites by using the mobile friendliness of the site as a factor in their ranking of search results.
The value of mobile optimization cannot be understated according to Kumar: 95% of smartphone users searched for local info; there are more than 1.2 billion mobile web users; 80% of consumers use smartphones for shopping; and 70% of searches on a mobile device led to online action within a single hour. This offers ample opportunity for the SEO to exploit the ecosystem.
Social content cannot be undervalued and will be more readily indexed
Sitepoint’s Taulant Spahiu stresses the value of social content, particularly since the deal between Twitter and Google to index Twitter’s hashtags, tweets, and profiles. Now, Twitter profiles can be found in the top three results on a Google search. Spahiu points out that Twitter is not dealing exclusively with Google, there is also the sharing of data between Bing and Yahoo!
DeMers highlights the convergence of “web” and “social media” when it comes to the SEO perspective. Kumar points out that 76% of marketers are using social media in order to support and boost their SEO strategies. Kumar predicts that SEO professionals will go to great lengths to push their Facebook posts and Tweets to rank as high as possible on the many search engines.
Local search will be even more local
SEMrush’s Darshan Patel focuses on the opportunity for SEO to focus on the hyper local. With newly developed geolocation technologies such as iBeacon and the ability for software to use geo-fencing it is possible to target a very specific geographical audience. The ability to better focus on location is made easier with the growth of products like the Apple Watch and DeMers notes the increase in the sophistication of Google’s local indexes driving local searches even further. Instead of offering businesses based on the entire city or state region, the search results could focus on a street corner or neighborhood. Kumar notes that when search results focus on local listing, one-half of mobile visits translate into a store visit within a single day and more than 60% of consumers have used local information found in ads. He also cites a study that found one-half of all mobile searchers are done in a search for local listings.via @annebot — July 17, 2016