2015 brought major changes and updates in the digital marketing world. The launch of Google’s mobile friendly algorithm, Hummingbird, Penguin and Panda algorithm updates, the (unofficial) death of Google+, and Google as a subsidiary of Alphabet, 2015 was a roller coaster ride for digital marketing.
Let’s have a look at what happened in 2015 before stepping into the future and what 2016 will bring for digital marketing.
What we Saw in 2015:
Google began a crusade in 2015 for site owners to get HTTPS. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, which means all communication between the browser and the website is encrypted. Initially, HTTPS was necessary to protect confidential transactions in online banking and eCommerce websites. Pushing for secure communications across the board seems like the better practice, and if it will give your website an advantage, we call it a win/win.
Facebook has been working away in their own search capabilities, using Atlas to power up ads targeting, expanding into mobile payments and upgrading their messaging functionality.
3. Wearable Tech
Apple created a lot of buzz with the launch of Apple watch in 2015. Wearable tech is opening a whole new world of opportunities as they can provide us with real time data.
The Google Mobile-Friendly Update is encouraging website owners to think about how users are accessing their sites and how to make it a great experience. For those who made the switch before “Mobilegeddon”, you will already have seen improvements in your keyword rankings.
5. Google Algorithm Updates
Google owned the stage by launching algorithmic updates back-to-back. They rolled out a brand new Panda update, Mobile-Friendly Update, and multiple quality updates over the year.
What we Expect for 2016
1. Structured Data
Google wants to focus on Rich Snippets, Knowledge Panels & Featured Snippets in 2016. These are all generated from structured data from websites. Although not officially a ranking factor, structured data can help your website stand out from your competitors in search results.
2. Local Search
Google is revamping Local Search to a great extent with the removal of Google+, enabling users to easily set their location, shrinking the local pack from 7 to 3 results & increasing the number of ads. Although reviews are no longer accessible through Google+, users can still see them in search results and Maps.
3. User Experience
Providing a great user experience is Google’s paramount goal. Fast and mobile-friendly sites, and sites with HTTPS are likely to see a boost in their search results during 2016.
4. Digital Assistants
Digital assistants like Cortana and Siri are getting better, and they’re setting a new trend for how people search for information online with conversational queries rather than keyword-based queries. This is the difference between asking “what is the nearest bakery” to “bakeries in Toronto”.
5. Google Algorithm Updates
Google rolls out major algorithm updates every year. Both Panda and Penguin will see major updates in 2016 as Google adapts to new trends in mobile search and assisted search. Following these updates and Google’s guidelines will ensure your website stays on the good side of Google.
What About Now?
A successful digital marketing and SEO strategy is a combination of factors. If you are not sure where your website stands, you can request a free SEO Audit here! We’ll be happy to help you with a comprehensive digital marketing plan for your business.