2015 was an exciting, eventful year in the world of SEO, and Dreamscape Marketing would like to share with you some of the most significant developments. To be honest, this is pretty “inside” stuff. Many businesses out there really don’t understand how much this matters. We know that you do and that’s why you’re going to do well in 2016!
The industry itself has clearly evolved. We’ve witnessed new technologies, new strategies, and new trends that are reshaping the SEO landscape. It’s likely they will continue to evolve in 2016 as well.
1. Digital assistant searches are no longer a novelty.
When Siri was first introduced, people saw it as a gimmick. Certainly not something especially practical. Its speech recognition was primitive and unreliable, and the results it gave you weren’t always correct. Things have changed, haven’t they? After several years of upgrades, Siri is sophisticated enough to decipher nearly any vocal inquiry and people now rely heavily on them. Several new competitors such as Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana now want a piece of the action in this expanding market.
This evolution makes perfect sense. People like the idea of not having to type in queries and taking the time to browse through results on a laptop or a desktop computer. They’re on the go with their texts and music so they naturally want to search quickly and easily without being tied to a PC or a laptop. It’s only a matter of time before more users adopt it as their exclusive search medium. As that happens, queries will become more conversational, semantic understanding will improve dramatically, and mobile searches will dominate over desktop searches.
2. Google’s dominance is no longer a given.
Through much of the 21st century, the major influencing force in SEO was most definitely Google. Google has enjoyed its status as the undisputed king of the search world. In fact, they have been responsible for introducing most new features coming out and establishing industry standards we’ve since grown accustomed to. Similar to the Panda or Penguin algorithms that had a significant effect on the SEO industry, everyone still looks to Google for the next big innovation.
But things may be changing. While Google continues to get two-thirds of all search traffic, the competition increases. At the same time, Google’s updates aren’t quite so revolutionary any longer. Knocking at the door are Bing, Yahoo, Apple, and even social media platforms like Facebook. All of them are trying to introduce their own search options for consumers.
3. Mobile grows in importance as each day passes.
Mobile search traffic is increasing and in 2015 it hit a new high. In fact, Google announced in May that mobile traffic had officially surpassed desktop traffic in a number of countries. At the same time, Google released its “Mobilegeddon” update, which was supposed to penalize those websites that aren’t mobile compliant and reward all those that were.
Digital assistants and user-friendly search layouts are increasing in prominence as well. Google has gone so far as to say that having a dedicated desktop version of your site isn’t necessary any longer if your site displays correctly on a mobile device. It’s no surprise that Google shifted its desktop search results pages to resemble mobile results (like its local 3-pack update, which was introduced in early 2015). Clearly, mobile optimization is gaining importance as we head into 2016. At Dreamscape, we have watched this development very closely and mobile is a top priority with all of our website builds.
4. There are new ways for indexing content.
It’s easy to see that content is now being indexed on new platforms and in different ways from before. To illustrate the point, consider the fact that Google signed a deal with Twitter in spring, 2015 to index the majority of its tweets as content that can be displayed in relevant searches. That’s a bit of game-changer. In addition, Facebook now offers “Instant Articles” to a select group of publishers, which serves to draw attention toward in-app content and away from onsite-hosted content. Consequently, users are forced to stay in its app longer. How we publish, consume, and access content is beginning to shift toward a more universal accessibility. That’s good news for adapt strategists and very bad news for anyone who tends to resist change.
5. Manual updates may be gone with the wind.
In October, Google released RankBrain, which is a machine-learning algorithm that works in conjunction with a semantic-deciphering update called Hummingbird. This means that the update can better interpret users’ ambiguous or complicated queries and provide better results. There’s no more reliance on manual updates from technicians. Instead, RankBrain learns on its own. It receives new data from queries and updates itself. This machine-learning algorithm could mean the end of manual updates.
The field of SEO is changing all the time, making it tough to predict the future. Clearly, manual updates may soon disappear altogether. In such an ever-changing environment, it’s important to stay alert and roll with the punches. To be a good search marketer in 2016, this will be incredibly important.
If you need any kind of assistance with SEO, content marketing, or a social media campaign, please don’t hesitate to call or drop us an email. We’re here for you. Let’s tackle 2016 together!