SEO 2016

With only a couple of months left on the calendar, now is the time to start looking towards and planning for the coming year. SEO is always on the forefront of all our minds and it is even more prevalent now that we are getting close to ripping the final page down on our 2015 calendars.

Naturally, Google and the other search engines have plans to throw some monkey wrenches at web designers, but what else is new? We have come to expect nothing less from those who create the algorithms that produce search results. Our goal is to adapt to these changes with fluid ease.

First, however, we must learn about some of the ways SEO experts are saying we can all improve our skills for the next year. Starting off fresh is the best way to remain successful and here are some things you should begin incorporating now before the competition gets ahead of you.

Direct Answers

Let’s face it. We are all on the move. We need answers and we need them quickly. Google knows and understands this better than most. Because of this, they have completely changed how they provide answers to questions being asked of them.

For example, let’s say you were looking to learn more about Michael Jordan. One of the first questions you may ask is, “Where is Michael Jordan from?” When you type this question into your handy Google search box, what do you expect to find?

Before these changes, you would have found something entirely different. You would be taken to a list of websites that offered information about Michael Jordan. You could choose the website you wanted to look at and review any information listed their. When searching the same question today, you will get a simple answer, Brooklyn, at the top of the screen.

Now, you have no need to visit another website because Google has already provided you with the answer. While this is handy for those looking for quick answers, this will be rather troublesome for those websites looking to receive visitors from those asking this question.

What can you do to battle this dilemma? There is a saying, “If you can’t beat them join them.” So, if you have information on your website that could be answered with a simple answer, follow the formula Google has created and many of the other search engines. Basically, instead of writing an entire article about the information, write a sentence that will answer the question directly.

Voice and Mobile Searching

One area that direct answers definitely comes into play is with voice and mobile searching. While people want quick answers when they have a question, this need is even more demanding when they are out and about. This is one of the reasons Google has spent so much time developing direct answers, so people could quickly speak a question and receive an answer in return. For tools like Siri and Cortona to be functional, this concept is the key.

Speed is everything in the mobile world. Web designers have already determined a website needs to load in less than 3 seconds in order to hold the attention of its visitors, but are there other ways to speed up the process?

The important thing to remember is the way people are now searching for things is changing dramatically. Instead of typing words into a computer, we are now having a conversation with it instead. For web designers, the thing to take away from this concept is searches today will be less about keywords and more about how people converse.

The goal should now be to provide people with something they can’t get from a search engine alone. The best way to do this is to know more about your target market. Understanding how they react to the world around them as well as to your business will help you discover ways to adjust your websites and SEO content around voice searches so you always stand out in the crowd.

Bringing it All Together

Nothing about the concepts behind direct answers and voice searches is new or revolutionary. In fact, they’ve been in the making for a couple of years now. What is new, and is causing SEO experts to finally take notice, is the advancements in technology. These advancements have greatly increased the ability for Google to pull off direct answers and voice searches with ease.

When these concepts, especially voice searches, were first placed in front of the public, they were viewed as a novelty. But, today, approximately 40% to 60% of people use a voice search on a daily basis. This number is only expected to increase as time passes, especially as enhancements are made to the way the system responds to our voices.

Evidence of this can already be seen over recent years. Just a year or so ago, Google reported an error rate of 25% when it came to voice searches. Today, this number is down to 8%. Technology is also being released that will help the device hear your voice better in noisy areas.

The rate of direct answers is also on the rise. Just over a year ago, Google showed they provided a direct answer with 4% of all search results. Now, you can expect to see direct answers at least 20% of the time. These numbers show the occurrence of voice searches and direct answers will continue to rise quickly over the next coming months and years. SEO experts need to be ready for these changes when they happen.