With the fall season around the corner, we at Studio Brand Collective thought we'd share the latest three SEO trends that will rule the rest of 2016. So much has happened, especially within the last month including the release of Extended Text Ads, Google's "Possum" Local search and Penguin 4.0 algorithm updates.
So much is happening in SEO, it might seem difficult to keep track of all these changes but don't freak out. Stay calm!
1) Mobile Optimization Is Taking Over!
Earlier this year, Google announced that mobile searches trumped desktop searches. In a May blog post on their Inside Adwords blog, they stated, "More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan" and with the Google Mobile Friendly algorithm update aka Mobilegddon that happened last year, optimizing for mobile has increasingly become more important this year.
So what do you do? If you haven't done so yet make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. Both Google and Bing have mobile-friendly test tools. Here is Google's and here is Bing's. Your results should look like the screenshot below. If not, then work on fixing the issues that are reported in your test result.
Finally, be sure to implement AMP HTML markup. Google announced that it is rolling out AMP pages in the main search result pages. Even though, Google claims that having AMP markup won't help your sites rankings, it does help with usability which is a win-win for everyone. If you want to learn more about AMP, check Google's guidelines.
2.) Rise of Voice Search
Since searches on mobile devices increased , it is no surprise that voice searches have also. With the proliferation of digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alex and Google Assistant and voice searches "making up more than 10% of global searches," it really is no surprise that natural language and long tail phrases have become even more important to SEOs. Just check out this bar graph from a study MindMeld conducted on voice searches:
Also voice search is no longer confined to our cell phones but instead increasingly becoming integrated in IoT hubs and gaming consoles, smart TVs, etc.
How will this affect the state of search?
Long tail phrases will become increasingly more important, especially due to AI e.g. Google's Rankbrain, which is a machine-learning AI system that helps Google process some of its more complex search results. Rankbrain? Exactly.
According to Search Engine Land, "RankBrain is primarily focused on helping refine queries that Google processes, but the company says that the system is also used to help rank web pages. In fact, Google says RankBrain is its third most important ranking factor."
Rank brain in combination with the rise of voice search, means that long tail phrases will become increasingly more and more important. Check back with us and learn how to optimize for this growing trend.
3.) Local Search Stepping Towards the Forefront
With mobile searches on the rise, columnist Adam Dorfman, believes "location marketing is on the cusp of exploding into something new: Becoming the foundation for all marketing." We at SBC believe him too. Within the last month, there has been a lot of activity with local search. For example, on Sept 1st Google released an algorithm update for local search which is now being called "Possum." Check out this article to learn everything about Possum.
What does this mean? It means Google is investing more in local search, beacons will increase in use, mobile wallets will increase in popularity, SEOs will optimize for more and more phrases ending with "near me," especially with Google's release of their Google My Business API.
Finally, another big hint that local search will be huge, is its inclusion in Google's recently released Search Quality Ratings Guidelines. "This document helps Google Search Quality Raters understand how to rate the search results they are testing", according to SEL.
These are the top 3 SEO trends we think you should focus on the rest of the year. Other things are happening including Google's real-time Penguin 4.0 update, Extended Text ads and cross-device re-marketing in Adwords, etc. So, keep checking back for more tips, news and HOWTOs. But for now, feel confident you can face the rest of the year like a SEO boss.