What's coming for SEO in 2016? Here are my 10 predictions.
2016 is here, and SEO continues to change by the day. Here are the hot trends you need to be on top of in the new year.
1. Semantic SEO: Semantic SEO has been growing for years. Ever since the Google Hummingbird update, it has increased in focus for local SEO, the Knowledge Graph, and other areas of search. It should be no surprise that intent-based matching of search queries will only continue to increase in importance
2. More Focus on Mobile Friendliness: Last April we saw Mobilegeddon. The world survived, but most of our websites were forced to go responsive. We will be seeing fewer and fewer sites without mobile friendly structures show up on mobile searches by the end of 2016.
3. Voice Search: Following on the idea of mobile, voice search is about to blow up. All three major smartphone manufacturers have solutions, and it won't be long before they get those voice search features up to speed.
4. Artificial Intelligence for Search: In October 2015, Google announced how far they have come with machine learning. This is only the beginning. AI is here to stay.
5. Less Penalties; More Algorithm: Kudos to Google for moving from the "hand slap" mentality to simply building new features right into the algorithm. It just makes more sense.
6. Increased Fear of Google: People are so afraid of Google already that some of them won't link to external websites. That's madness! The web was built on links. Until Google can convince people that they are really "doing no evil," people will stay scared and be tentative about a range of things. Save the links!
7. Accelerated Mobile Pages: Mobile will keep growing, and one way it will be enhanced is by the major initiative driven by the bigger search engines. Similar to previous Facebook news enhancement technologies, this will make the mobile UX much better for viewing and absorbing content.
8. Other Search Engines Will Gain Ground: Google has already fallen to around 67% US market share in 2015, and this slow fade is highly likely to continue.
9. Better Content Marketing Efforts: Is content shock real? Are we pumping out too much for human minds to comprehend? Perhaps. But realistically, we're probably just generating too much junk content. Savvy marketers are already planning to improve that effort, and I expect we'll see some awesome new content ideas in the coming year.
10. Increased Lead by Big Brands: Brands dominate on Google. This is what makes SEO so hard for newer or smaller websites. Sadly, this will continue into the future, and with deep pockets at their disposal, large businesses should be able to enhance their lead. More of the same to come.
There can be many more SEO predictions for 2016, but these ten are at the top of my list. What else are you watching in the new year?