2015 is nearly over and what a year it’s been for SEO, the everlasting Panda update continued to haunt, content reigned triumphantly as King and ‘mobilegeddon turned out to be more of an April shower rather than the Tsunami that was predicted! It has been a big year for SEO and we’ve seen many changes within the search marketing arena, as 2015 comes to an end we take a look into the future to see what lies ahead for SEO in 2016.

Mobile will go from strength to strength

Mobile has gradually been gaining dominance over the past couple of years and is only going from strength to strength, we expect to see mobile overtaking desktop, where it hasn’t already, in 2016.

Websites will need to be perfectly optimised for mobile devices and Google has really highlighted the importance of doing so, they have even gone as far and developing their own ‘Mobile-Friendly Test’ tool to help users check their sites meet the criteria.

Integrated SEO will become more important than ever

As the SEO sphere grows and includes new technologies and platforms, it will become increasingly important not to run the channel in an isolated silo. 

Brands will need to have clear search engine objectives and access to experts in social media, biddable media, affiliate, paid search, outreach and CRM. Experts will need to recognise that the best SEO is not just data it is also part instinctive.

A rise in ‘no-search’ search

Mobile is set to overtake desktop, where it hasn’t already, in 2016 and that means more voice searches and smart assistants. 

Due to the rise in mobile search we are set to see a “no search” future which put simply means  audience engagement strategies that include proxies like smart assistants.

Changes to Page One in the SERPs

We are expecting to see some changes in the SERPS such as interactivity in the SERPS as well as more answers revealed within the results themselves as Google continues to expand its Knowledge Vault. 

Interactivity and guidance built on what others have been searching for combined with a greater understanding of intent and acquired knowledge will see Google itself becoming the expert rather than the sites it gathers its knowledge from.

This is likely to result in changes on page one with snippets and blue links increasingly giving way to answers and knowledge.Pages two onwards are likely to remain largely unaffected. Paid search will benefit from this.

Diversified search results thanks to machine learning

We are expecting to see natural language and machine-learning-driven search to continue to grow on both desktop and mobile. As a result marketing will need to be using split-testing more for SEO purposes and ranking factors will continue to diversify. 

The anticipated arrival of Penguin

After a long nail-biting wait Google’s Penguin algorithm is due to be rolled out early 2016, this will undoubtedly be one of the biggest pieces of SEO news in 2016. The last official Penguin algorithm update was in October 2015 so we understand why this step by Google is being regarded as huge leap in the right direction. 

Improved performance in multimedia recognition

Since it was first introduced voice recognition has seriously improved and we predict that this will only get better in 2016. We are hoping to see an advance in image and video recognition as this will hugely improve users search results. 

App streaming

The introduction of app streaming by Google already blurs the line between mobile web and app, we expect to see this continue blurring the line between web and app in the search results. 

Competition between platforms

2016 will see more battles between Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google as they are likely to influence the market more than direct search-on-search competition. 

The growth of Schema

We expect to see companies of all sizes to start implementing Schema as it is the perfect way to dress up search results. We know that we need to make our content stand out so therefore Schema is an essential part of fulfilling this objective.   

Pigeon will get to know the local area better

Local SEO is definitely not a new phenomenon and it has always been important but in 2016 it will be more important than ever. As competition grows on the web, implementing local SEO will offer one of the best ways to find your audience in a sea of other highly competitive results. Local search has clear synergy with mobile search and voice search, and Google’s recent Pigeon update has highlighted that they are commitment to improving this. 

You will need to make sure you’re ready by staying on top of your local SEO with smart keywords, up-to-date Google Maps information and even app integration as Google now uses data from mobile applications and shows such data in search results.

12 SEO Predictions For 2016

Some things you just can’t predict

Lastly, in 2016 we need to remember that Google crunches numbers and trends and what worked in the past might not necessarily work in the future and that all depends on the outcome of Google’s number crunching. With big changes expected in the form of the Penguin algorithm update, we are sure that 2016 is open for some big changes and advances in the l world of SEO.

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