2015 has been another year of radical change in the SEO industry and 2016 looks set to continue this trend. So, what can we expect to see emerge has the main SEO factors next year?
Much More Data Available
The Director of Services at White.net, Daniel Bianchini, believes businesses will be using much more structured data, as Google Now and other applications ‘learn about our needs’. This data, he says, will be more targeted towards the user experience, and one way to achieve this will be through the creation of more specific content that is tailored to the user.
The CEO & Project Manager of Pole Position Marketing, Stoney deGeyter, also mentions that people will soon be able to ‘feed’ Google enough data, via Rankbrain, to enable the search engine to provide a search result that’s completely tailored to the user.
An Emphasis on ‘Usefulness’
VP of Organic Search Optimization at Bruce Clay Inc, Duana Forrester, says 2016 will involve a shift from ‘relevancy’ to ‘usefulness’, because ‘relevancy’ is no longer specific enough. He believes businesses should invest more time in cross-sharing data, using integrated programmes, and capture data in a way that will be more customised to customers than ever before. The more aligned a website is to its customer’s intent and desire, the more it will be rewarded by the search engines. This is a win-win situation for business owners and Google alike.
But could Google could become your Competition?
Internet Marketing Consultant Ammon Johns has a different view. He believes businesses should realise that Google is their rival, not their ally. That’s because Google is its own brand, after all, and its business model is centred on giving customers access to the best – and cheapest – products and services.
Indeed, Johns exemplifies this by likening Google to a person who goes to a store to tell customers that they could find a cheaper item in another store. Ultimately, he recommends that business owners should ‘seek to cut them (Google) out of the deal’ whenever they can.
A More ‘Customer-centric’ Approach
The CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, Lee Odden, says customer centricity will help companies to win at SEO next year, pointing to the fact that understanding customer behaviour is all about how the user discovers information, their preferences, and ‘triggers’ that inspire the user to make a decision. He recommends that businesses simply focus on ‘what makes their customers tick’, and that means making sure owners use SEO in a way that makes it easier for customers to ‘do what they want to do’. This, he says, can help brands focus purely on customer acquisition, rather than past SEO tactics.
Monitoring Off-site Activity
Co-Founder & CEO of gShift, Krista LaRiviere, says two thirds of a user’s journey now occurs off-site, and brands still don’t have an understanding of content engagement. She also states that standard analytics packages do not give businesses access to the full dataset, and understanding the off-site experience is important for content strategy.
LaRiviere also mentions the term ‘influencer marketing’, which involves focusing on individuals as opposed to a general market. Clearly, to understand this type of marketing, businesses need access to influencer analytics, and she says new platforms and technologies are already beginning to address this need.
SEO will continue to be driven by quality web content, smarter and faster mobile friendly websites and improved customer experience.