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6 ways SEO will change in 2016

2015 saw big changes in the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). And this year is shaping up to be no different. To find out more about SEO in 2016, I had a coffee with one of Found Digital’s resident SEO gurus: Cameron Milner.

Here’s what I found out.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here

Google purchased AI company Deepmind in 2014 and began implementing its tech in late 2015. This was a significant change as it signalled that Google was moving away from manually written formulas. Instead allowing sophisticated AI to determine and control rankings.

This transition is expected to continue in 2016, with even more emphasis being placed on AIs, which are capable of learning from experience and data. And, which can form intelligent algorithmic changes based upon that knowledge.

2. Updates will be smaller & on-going 

Coffee with SEO Campaign Manager Cameron Milner

Coffee with SEO Campaign Manager
Cameron Milner

Dubbed mobilegeddon by several popular digital-marketing websites, Google’s mobile update shook the confidence of many an SEO professional.

The effects, however, turned out to be more granular (and on-going).

This is a trend that will continue as Google focuses on dynamic and real-time changes. So non-optimised websites and websites that use ‘black hat’ SEO techniques will no longer be slammed a couple of times a year. Instead, they will be hit (or penalised) in real time as Google constantly assesses and analyses content.

3. Mobile will be more important than ever 

Google’s mobile update was unique. It was the first (ever) update, which Google officially announced and detailed, prior to launch.

That’s how seriously the company is taking the shift to mobile devices. For websites in 2016, being mobile-friendly is no longer optional, it’s a must.

4. HTTPS & SSL will boost rankings for eCommerce websites

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) are two secure transfer protocols used for securely transferring data between users and websites, for example, when you submit your credit card details on an eCommerce website.

Google recognises the importance of encrypting sensitive data, especially where payments are concerned. Because of this, Google is more likely to prioritise eCommerce websites that use HTTPS or SSL over those that don’t.

The mugs of a a SEO campaign manager, and a copywriter

Cam clearly doesn’t have a problem
with promoting his skills

5. Semantic relationships will continue to make a difference

Google is becoming increasingly good at understanding concepts. This makes taking a holistic approach vital for effective SEO content writing.

Google is able to understand that when we talk about products we also talk about semantically linked products and ideas. Therefore, in order to boost relevance for key terms, we need to create content that relates to and supports those key terms.

6. Local searches will become more sophisticated

Because of the wide adoption of mobile technologies (that feature GPS) search engines now have a much greater ability to determine a user’s location. This allows them to provide the most relevant and geographically close results.

Google My Business listings (Google places) provide an easy and authoritative way for businesses to appear both in Google Maps and higher up in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) – including in the ‘three pack’ listings.

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A big thank you to Cameron Milner for volunteering his time, and to Nina Pajevic for taking the awesome photos.

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