Most of the years we've been online I've sat and wrote a number of predictions for the years to come. This year in a twist I have gone through the hundreds of posts across the web on this topic to bring you the predictions of SEO and Digital Marketing experts from around the world.
1 - Mobile Will Surpass Desktop in Search
Huyen Truong an SEO from Australia wrote on the Jeff Bullas blog that, 2015 has been a tipping point for mobile in search & web use. This means 2016 will truly have a focus on mobile from a search point of view, and this means it should to from your marketing aspect and website progress.
This was a prediction shared fairly commonly across the web, its pretty clear mobile connected devices will grow this year & as such the interaction online will too. From my view there is a question over the speed of this tipping, I'd suggest most websites will see a change but it won't be dramatic until the end of the year.
2 - Structured Data Continues to Grow
"In 2016 structured data will continue to grow. Google’s own newsletter (Dec 10) had a whole feature about it, highlighting its importance. With Knowledge Graph becoming more powerful, providing specific layers of data to Google to utilise can only be a good thing, even if Google doesn’t display the information." says Sam Osborne of Vertical Leap.
This is something that has long been on my radar and something that I talked about during the Boagworld podcast posted in Feb 15. The continuing growth of semantic search and structure data (together) shows a will for search to become intelligent and to know what you are really looking for - whether that is a direct answer you need (eg what temperature is it outside) or a top set of results for SEO Predicitions this year.
3 - "OK" Content Won't Cut It
For a long time I have said that producing great content and great resources will make a site more valuable than a ton of "ok" content, in his predictions on the Bruce Clay blog Dan Petrovic says exactly this. "I believe we’ll see a lot of digital agencies adjusting their approach to content formats and keeping in mind that more doesn’t mean better... Content production has been increasing at a phenomenal rate. The abundance of choice and easy of access of web content lead to changes in our reading habits. One specific phenomenon is the rise of skimmers."
In essence, this simply means that you've a very short period of time in which someone will decide to read your content or not. This means you give them answers upfront and then you show them your working ... think of it as a school exam... (they always wanted to see your working and thought process).
4 - Bing to Become a Player
For a few years Bing has been on the cusp of getting some real attention in the search world. Lately with Cortana and it's roll out across systems like xbox and windows 10 desktop, Bing could be a serious hit this year. Not least due to it's voice enabled abilities directly within systems - a little like how Google has a massive android advantage because of it's userbase.
This prediction is common among SEO's in their predictions with Lounge Lizard saying "we don’t expect them to even come close to half that traffic Google has, but we expect them to firmly take over second place from Yahoo Search and close the gap with Google primarily because of the integration factor. Bing is integrated with Cortana which is packaged with Windows for both PC and mobile. Additionally Xbox will use voice search from Cortana and Bing. What that means is that your SEO strategy should focus on more than just Google if you want the greatest reach. We also like the new engine DuckDuckGo, but even though we expect solid growth from it in 2016, we still don’t see it cracking the top 3."
5 - The Unpredictable Will Happen
Honestly, there was so much change in 2015 from a search view and from a tech view its near impossible to guess much that hasn't already been said to be happening. Many SEO's predict things like a rise in SSL/HTTPS within search (Google has already said this to be so), there will be a focus on mobile within search (again announced that we will see "mobile-friendly" tags) and that Google will continue to fill search with answers from it's knowledge graph dataset and your own data for search (this is a given). Ultimately, 2016 will be fairly unpredictable, the one this we do know is that.