As 2016 dawns on us, it’s natural to wonder what the new year will bring in terms of online marketing and SEO. Here are our top seven marketing and SEO predictions for 2016 and some tips on how to prepare for each of them:
- Twitter will step into the online marketing spotlight again
It’s been a tough few years for Twitter. Between the infamous “Fail Whale” incidents of years prior and more recent CEO changes and marked lack of user growth, many experts in the industry have been calling for the death of Twitter for a few years now. Fortunately, many experts are thinking just the opposite: that 2016 will be the year that Twitter rises, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of mismanagement and irrelevance.
With that in mind, marketers can do well to start the year out by learning how to effectively use the social media platform. This means learning how to advertise on Twitter, how to make the most of its soon-to-be expanded character limit (up to 10,000 from 140), and learning how to engage and participate with the Twitter audience base. With these skills, savvy marketers stand to use Twitter to their benefit.
- The conversation about adblocking will continue
As you probably know, adblocking was a big issue in 2015. The rate of adblocking has risen exponentially (181 million people were using adblocking software in January of 2015) in the last several years and major companies like Samsung and Google are now allowing adblocking software to be used on their devices and platforms.
Most commonly, adblocking software has been pointed at things like auto-play video advertisements and behavior tracking ads, which can contribute to a poor user experience and slow load times. In 2016, we can expect to see the conversation about adblocking continue and, likely, expand to include more sites pushing to restrict the use of adblocking software. While nobody knows exactly where the issue will land just yet, it’s clear that this is one bump in the road that has the potential to affect advertisers everywhere.
- Voice search will explode
Voice search has been on our radar for a few years thanks to things like Apple’s Siri, Google’s “Now” feature, and Cortana from Windows. Voice search presents some pretty fundamental changes to the nature of search as a whole. For example, when a person enters a text search for a coffee shop, they may type something like “Coffee shop Seattle” and then click the first result to locate an address.
With voice search, on the other hand, people are saying things like, “Where’s the nearest coffee shop?” By nature, voice search changes the way a search engine’s algorithms have to work. Google is already preparing for the voice search revolution by introducing a feature called RankBrain, which is an A.I. system designed to process search queries more efficiently and pair users with more relevant results.
To prepare for the rise of voice search, marketers can bolster their local SEO efforts. This includes adding extensive details on things like pricing, location, products, and services as well as collecting user reviews and targeting local keywords. These things will help your business feature more prominently in the voice search era that’s coming our way.
- Content marketing software will become mainstream
Just a few years ago, big companies were the only ones who enjoyed access to high-quality content marketing software that allowed them to track performance, generate ideas, and conduct audience research. While this trend has been shifting for a few years now, 2016 is likely to be the year that content marketing software officially hits the mainstream. From research tools like Buzzsumo to publication and content management platforms like Kapost, even the most novice content marketers will have access to powerful tools in the new year.
- Social media as a search channel will become more powerful
When marketers think about SEO, Google often comes to mind as the search engine to cater to. Many marketers forget, however, that social media platforms are search engines, too. The majority of consumers search for businesses on social media and, unless you’re optimizing your social media profiles accordingly, you may be missing out on traffic.
There are many things that affect social media SEO, including how shared your content is and how many mentions your brand or products have on a social media platform at large. Boost your social media presence and make it easier for brands to find you by ensuring all of your profiles are complete (profile and product pictures, complete contact information, store hours, detailed information about products and services, user reviews, etc.) and sharing content to social media often. While it may sound simple, these steps can help ensure that your brand is getting all the traffic it deserves through social media.
- Email marketing will be effective for people who know how to use it
Critics are quick to proclaim the death of email marketing, but we disagree. The fact is that email marketing can actually be more effective than many other forms of marketing providing it is used correctly. Marketing emails are opened at a rate that is 8x higher than other forms of email and, as a general rule, they generate 6x as much revenue as other marketing materials.
With this in mind, you can bolster your email marketing tactics in 2016 by building and nurturing your email list and conducting target audience research that will allow you to send marketing emails at the optimal times.
- Expert content is more important for SEO than ever
While high-quality content has always been an important factor in positive site rankings, 2016 is the year of expert content. Last year, Google released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines -160 pages of guidelines meant to help the Google engineers responsible for rating pages do their jobs.
Within them, Google places an especially strong focus on the need for expert content on sites. This means that every piece of content your site features needs to offer enough valuable information to present a high level of authoritativeness, expertise, and trustworthiness to readers.
2016 is bound to be a banner year for marketing and SEO. From the rise of voice search to the release and distribution of more powerful content marketing tools, 2016 will be the year your company wins at SEO and online marketing. To learn more about current marketing and SEO trends or for help expanding your content marketing strategy, contact Strider SEO today!