Insights from the SEO World: Key Takeaways in 2016
Let us look at how the SEO industry has grown in 2016 and summarize with key takeaways for 2017. SEO, which comes always in disguise, has been a stepping stone for many brands and startups.
Accelerated Mobile Pages, Big Leap in Organic Mobile Search
Faster loading, faster accessibility- better performance!
Accelerated mobile pages, or AMP pages, were introduced for mobile users to easily surf the web in real time. Amp Pages are accessible with a click, load instantly, rank higher in search results, and appear in an AMP “carousel”. Pages that adopt Google AMP specifications have been given preferential treatment in mobile searches as well.
Featured Snippets & Answer Box Optimization
Google uses structured data to highlight important content of your page, which can be quickly and easily understood, and could displayed in a rich format, such as a rich snippet in SERPs. The mantra to get it right lies in identifying generic questions for your targeted customers.
Updates that Dominated in 2016
Impact / What does it mean for a SEO PM?
|Mobilegeddon 2.0||May 12, 2016
- Mobile friendly sites boomed in mobile search, non-mobile friendly dipped
|Possum 3-pack||September 1, 2016
- Local SEO will now depend on searcher's location
- Worked as a litmus test for query 'service + location'
- Filtered businesses based on address and affiliation
- +ve for businesses with no specific location; those with fixed mark were pushed lower
- Filtered businesses with one GMB page and several affiliated GMB listings (pushed down)
- Local filter independent of organic filter
- Keywords order would matter
|Penguin 4.0||September 23, 2016
- Update will happen in real-time
- Became part of core search algo
- More page specific
- Impact ranks based on spam signals
- Devalue sites with bad links and with the opposite (reward sites after a link cleanup)
|Mobile First Index||Nov, 2016
- Google started using the mobile version of the web as their primary search engine index
- Google will rank your desktop site based on signals from mobile site
- Sites serving different content on desktop and mobile were pulled down
Keywords, Search Snippets and Content – User Search Behavior
Longer and organized content got a warm welcome. The focus shifted from keywords rich content to long tail key phrases to understand consumers’ search behavior. Remember, Google still focusses on CTR and uses user-behavior factors in its ranking algorithm.
With the increasing demand in video content, the trend of social media platforms’ re-sharing and re-tweeting video content boomed.
Brand Mentions - No More Links
Search engines are understanding what to trust, and the SEO in 2016 was more about brand awareness and reputation management.
Voice Search is the Future of SEO
People are increasingly using speech. For SEO, it is a form of semantic search while understanding a user’s intention, since what customers are going to ask or question is difficult to predict.
RankBrain, a Google algorithm based on artificial intelligence, is among the top three ranking signals. It is based on matching user queries with web page and showing better results on relevancy.
What does it mean for an SEO project manager?
- Mobile First - Digitialisation coupled with 100% mobilisation is from where we need to start
- Technical SEO remains important
- Focus on visual content
- Rich answers, featured snippets to dominate organic search results on all devices
- Optimise content for users’ intent and not just keywords
- CTR to play a bigger role, with the death of the pagerank and link operator - Optimise your Google search snippets
- Organic search results might decrease from 7
- Google My Business GMB Listing to attract more traffic, local mobile SEO
- App optimization, AMP and GTM to thrive
- Adopt to multi-channel, cross channel marketing