SEO in 2016 - From Mobile to Social
Thought I'd put pen to paper or, mouse to table, and look into my crystal ball and look at SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) practices and trends that look to become big in 2016 having been put into practice in 2015. Looking into the horizon I see...
Mobile, Less Desktop
Primarily, after the long-awaited Mobilegeddon update, which penalized websites lagging behind in the mobile compliance area, I think we will see a real swing to the mobile in 2016. More and more people are viewing websites on their mobile moving away from the desktop. Maybe mobile optimisation will become more important than desktop optimisation. Interestingly with this, chances are Google will be looking to building on their voice search options (think of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now). This in turn may change the way text is written on a site. Rewarding pages that contain talkative, conversational content. This makes sense to me, as 2015 was the year of the blog and reader feedback through commenting.
However I don't think desktop will be left behind, well, not in the forseable future anyway.
Following on from that Google has been indexing apps for a long time now. As part of the shift toward focusing on mobile users.
You Talkin' To Me?
Following on from above I think there will be a shift to more conversational text content within a site. Google rewarding sites that demonstrate content thats mimics the spoken word. Keywords within a site are important as, after all, its the keywords that people use to find what they're looking for. However, it looks as if Google is really working on 'interpreting meaning'. By this I mean search engines are able to intelligently understand content; recognising what an article is about by 'reading between the lines' (or the keywords). As the search engines get smarter, they are starting to think about other words that you would expect to be in that article.
What Size is Yours?
Although mobile is shapping the future of SEO interestingly I'm reading articles where size of articles are and will be playing a major part in SEO for 2016. I don't see mobile users scrolling through endless reams of text, but on the other hand, it's widely accepted that content on the web page should be of a certain size. I think pschology plays a part in reading articles on the mobile. If someone is reading a long article on their mobile, they will read fairly quickly, and learn to quickly filter the information. The word count for 2016 looks to be in the region of 2,500 for a typical article. There is a reason for this. Articles of that size, that are well written and informative, indicate to the search engines that the article has been written by an enthusiast who has invested time and resources into the content. Again it comes back to basic SEO, people are more likely to link to long, well informed artices. Google says people like longer content – people actually link more to longer content too. However it has to be stressed, it's no good writing long articles for the sake of it, the content has to be interesting and meaningful
Being a graphic designer I'd love to think images will be as important, if not more important in 2016, as they were in 2015. Unique eye-catching images and photos will always make a website stand out from the competition. Photo libraries will always do good business but photos unique to a website will always help sell it. I always have the camera at hand to take photos on a clients premises which will ultimately end up on the website. Search engines love unique content whether its written or images. While responsive images appearing on a mobile look just as good as on the desktop.
Looks like Google will carry on indexing Social Network content as has already been the case. Google has deals in place already with Facebook and Twitter, which I think you'll see more of. In other words expect to see more news items and tweets poping up in the search results (especially on mobile). In addition to those platforms, many others will become more indexed as we head further into 2016. As the year continues the line that has been drawn between web content and social media content is slowly going to be erased. This means it's more important than ever to engage with the Social Networks. Content remains king but conversation is key.