Search engine optimizers have seen a lot of changes in 2015.
From Google deeming mobile-optimized sites as equals to their desktop counterparts, to digital assistants changing how consumers search and even social content becoming more valuable to search indexing “spiders,” there are sure to be some big shifts in how companies approach optimizing content for the web in 2016.
With the New Year upon us, here are some trends to look for in the realm of SEM:
Rise in “Natural Language” Search Queries Thanks to Mobile Assistants
Digital assistants such as Google Now, Cortana and Siri are changing the search habits of consumers, shifting towards more of a spoken language query versus a typed query. For example, instead of typing “Tampa mechanic” in a search engine most people will simply say “Ok Google, find me a mechanic in Tampa to help me with my brakes.” Most searches will mimic spoken dialogue and the companies that adopt the “long tail” effect of natural language search queries will see the results as search engines will adopt and rank conversational content higher.
Google says Mobile Sites > Desktop Sites
Earlier this year, Google announced a change in its search algorithm, which essentially placed more value on mobile-friendly sites and decreased the visibility of non-mobile-friendly sites. Even John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst for the company, said you don’t need a desktop website as a mobile-first site will suffice in terms of page rank.
With this change in how sites are indexed, mobile-optimization will become more important than ever, as mobile searches officially surpassed desktops queries this year. Look for companies to place more emphasis on mobile content and promotion of their mobile apps and sites.
Social Content on Equal Footing
Nowadays when you search for news updates, you’ll more than likely see tweets from credible news outlets or reporters pop up first. Thanks to separate deals between Google and social media giants Facebook and Twitter, social content will be on equal footing rank-wise with any independent web page. The trend will continue into 2016 with more platforms joining the page rank competition of relevancy. It will become harder and harder to separate “social content” from “web content” in terms of SEO.
As these trends become more evident in the New Year, what will you do in order to make sure your SEM strategy is ready for 2016?