As we move into 2016 and ponder what SEO updates the mighty Google has in store for us, reflecting on the dramatic changes of 2015 gives us many clues. In April of last year, The Google pushed a significant mobile update, which globally rolled out on all mobile related search queries.
This algorithmic change focused mostly on:
- decreases in non mobile-friendly URLs on the first 3 pages of mobile SERPs,
- increases in mobile friendly results,
- any changes or updates applied.
Also, in 2015 The Google officially stated there were more mobile search queries than desktop queries. For those of us in the eCommerce space, this is a big deal for SEO because it means we really have to think about optimizing for mobile first. As we said in 2015, it's still "Mobile or Die" for 2016.
WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2016
"Mobile or Die" is still very much the rally cry, and will remain the main game changer in 2016. That said, we also predict additional game changers that will have a huge impact for eCommerce:
Voice search: Instead of typing keywords on their cell phone, searchers will more likely ask Siri or Google Now to find whatever they're searching for. This means that we will likely have to think about getting visibility on question-based searches such as "Who has the best Pecan Pralines" or "Who has the perfect Mother's Day gift basket". For optimizing eCommerce sites, this involves appearing on pertinent longtail keywords as well as showing up on Google's direct answers.
Online Reputation Management for Search: We'll see reputation management in effect as consumers will be more likely to buy product with terrific reviews. Making sure you own your brand's name search page on The Google will be a key aspect of your reputation management. This means having Knowledge Graph enabled for your brand or site, and ensuring there are no negative results showing up on the first 2 pages.
RankBrain Makes its Appearance: The Google is taking search to the next level with the launch of their artificial intelligence (AI) search engine named RankBrain, which will be able to understand search intents just like a real person.
YOUR 2016 SEO TO-DO LIST
This year all eCommerce sites need to revise their SEO priorities in order to cope with the industry shifts we're seeing. Your SEO focus needs to include the following:
- getting positive reviews for your products;
- managing your site's reputation on The Google;
- improving behavior data like Bounce rates, Click Through Rates, Dwell, etc.;
- researching longtail keyword ideas based on mobile search volume;
- implementing structured data (like Knowledge Graph, OpenGraph, Rich Snippets);
- shortening and indexing your mobile URLs;
- claiming your business in Google and Bing;
- implementing technical features (viewport, vary http header, rel=alternate tags, page caching);
- passing The Google's mobile-friendly test (huge!).
Don't forget about these items, though:
- fix those duplicate content and 404 "Not Found" errors;
- create internal links within content;
- backlinks, backlinks, backlinks!
We also predict that search engine rankings in general will be less of an indicator of SEO success than other metrics. SERPs matter, but they should never define you.
2016 is going to be an interesting year for Search Engine Optimization. With search habits rapidly changing and eCommerce and its products becoming more transparent, you need to adapt to the changes we've listed. Whether it's increasing qualified traffic to your store, improving search engine rankings or higher conversion rates, CV3's marketing team has the expertise and tools to get you there.
For more information about how we can help grow your site traffic and sales, contact Anton Ross at anton at commercev3.com.