SEO in 2016

SEO in 2016 is going to be a very interesting topic to give advice on this year. It is as much about where and how the search results are displayed as it is about what the content is about. For Oxfordshire businesses where locality is a factor, featuring first in Google’s organic search results may not even be as significant as other display methods – more on that later.

 What should you be focussing on this year to improve your search rankings?

I certainly wouldn’t ignore all the normal Best Practice fundamentals and would urge you all to continue this. (We do a free review if you want one). With regards SEO and where we are now in 2016, here are 5 points to get you started.

1. Mobile

Google Analytics for all our mobile friendly websites have shown us an increase in mobile search but not to the levels everyone is writing about and certainly not overtaking that of desktop search yet. It would be a good moment therefore and highly recommended if you were to start considering the following this year:

Go to your website on your mobile and ask yourself the following:

  • Does our site look good?
  • How fast does it load?
  • Is the mobile version easy to navigate?
  • Is all the information I am looking at really necessary given the limited space available?
  • Are our “Call to actions” still prominent?

Given that Google tries to mimic your target audience, it will want to make sure your mobile offering is as good as it can be for your audience to enjoy. That’s how it works.

And what if it isn’t?

You need to investigate where you are at in terms of your technology and what you have done with it.

For example,  some businesses have not invested anything in regard to Responsive Design which would need to be addressed now. Others have but tweaks need to happen for a better mobile experience. We currently have this issue on our homepage actually with our main header. In other cases changes need to be made to reflect both mobile and desktop versions of your website – classic SEO on and off-page issues.

The current thinking is to consider how your web offering will look on a mobile as much as it will look like on a desktop rather than designing a desktop version and then making sure it’s ok on a mobile.

Again, if you would like us to review your website then please just let us know.

Try using the Mobile Friendly Google tool to check it out but don’t just rely on that alone, go and have a look as your customers would.

2. Mobile (Again)

If you are a local bricks-and-mortar business in say Witney then start to think how someone coming to Witney can take advantage of your digital offering which will lead them to your premises. This could be through local search, mobile coupons and Social Media integration. This may not sound like “SEO top tips” but again if these are things that your target audience would get excited about then Google will get excited about them also.

 3. eCommerce – for mobile

If you have an eCommerce shop, it is worth investigating what it looks like on your mobile. Test for the following:

  • How easy is it to understand what you sell given the limited screen space?
  • How easy is it to find a product (not just search but how are your popular products made available)
  • How fast do your products load?
  • What is the actual buying process like?

Most of these things can be handled from a good quality eCommerce platform. If you use WooComerce (WordPress application) or Shopify for example, using a modern theme as your starting point will help you achieve all this.

Again as Eric Clapton said when playing the blues, it is not what you play it is what you don’t play. Don’t just add stuff because you can. This is especially true for mobile so keep it simple.

4. Mobile again – last one today.

Google AdWords can be very effective. We find that creating slightly different ads for different devices not only performs better but the stats are much easier to make sense of. Use Ad Extensions for your mobile ads to display additional information for free such as address and phone number.

 5. General SEO thought.

SERPS example for SEO 2016I am covering this in more detail in a soon to be published post. However what do you notice about the following screen grab taken from a Google search results page for “Care homes in Abingdon”?

As you can see my “above the fold” display is dominated by non-organic search result information. All your hard SEO work has made no difference on first inspection.

And usually there are also ads on the right hand side to further distract potential customers from your organic search results.

OWS Business Card on GoogleAnd sometimes the display takes the form of a digital card on the right hand side. In this example it shows our business card taken primarily from our Business Local efforts but in general it is created by Google accumulating information from everywhere as part of their Knowledge Graph work. Products of course are also displayed in different ways to the traditional view as are people and definitions, all of which you can influence.

If you want more on that please visit our Business Local page

Summary

The time has now come to really get to grips with your mobile offering if you haven’t already done so. Whether you decide to use or continue to use a Responsive Design which is a very good starting point for looking good on all devices, reviewing your pages to help optimise the different views or to go all out and have a mobile app developed which can be tailored specifically for mobile only, now is the time to act. It is inevitable that for the majority of businesses, people will be viewing your digital offering on hand held devices within the coming year and thereafter.

The exciting thing for me about mobile is voice-activated search. If you don’t mind saying “Ok Google” in a crowded place then you are more likely to say “Good place for lunch in Woodstock” then type in “Woodstock restaurants”. This opens up a whole long tail search result strategy that you can influence with the right overall content. More on that another time.

Additional Resources

If you would like us to carry out a site review please click this link

If you would like more information on our Business Local package, please click this one.

If you would just like to contact us and arrange a meeting to discuss what we can offer your business, please click this link