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SEO Crystal Ball

Click Consult digests top predictions from industry influencers

Prediction season is well underway, and with 2016 trend articles popping up everywhere Click Consult has decided to bring you some of the best of the web.

All signs point to video. Whether it’s Facebook Live, video on Twitter, Periscope, Blab, Instagram, Vine, or the old standby YouTube, 2016 will be the year when video becomes a primary content marketing consideration for all brands – even B2B.

– Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert

This is a prediction that makes the rounds, to greater or lesser extents, most years – however, this year may be the one that sees video become, if not a primary concern, then at least a major concern for digital marketing. Video content is undeniably popular with mobile users and as mobile use and search proliferates and UX takes on ever increasing importance, video will be recognised as delivering great returns for brands seeking to capitalise on the mobile market. We’d add here that podcasts are similarly popular with mobile users and as more large brands begin to offer their own podcasts, we will also see a marked increase in their importance. We’ll say, overall, that 2016 will be the year of ‘content on the go’ – content digestible on the move and on mobile.

Apple search. iOS is already showing landing pages for terms typed in the search field, particularly for brand terms and you can bet they’re not using Google to do it. Consequently, I can see brand searches begin to fall, in Google’s data at least.

– Shyam Dattani, Searchmetrics

Predictions regarding Google’s market share is another that appears regularly, yet for the most part Google has continued to defy predictions. 2016, however, may well be different – and iOS will almost certainly play a part in any dip in Google’s near global domination. As Apple and Google battle it out, however, we’d also recommend keeping an eye on Duck Duck Go – a search engine with impressive growth in 2015 and with the potential to extend that growth well into the next year.

Deep learning – machine learning – is here. It’s already writing its own algorithms.

– Pam Neely, Act-On

The importance of this is undoubtedly likely to grow over coming years, but 2016 will certainly be the first in which we begin to see the effects of machine learning – with Google’s RankBrain most likely leading the way, in addition to this, with Google looking to liberate its algorithm menagerie to continuous rolling updates, it will be interesting to see how quickly Penguin ‘learns’ to parse new link value, how RankBrain begins to influence SERPs and where else in the industry we begin to see machine learning crop up (will 2016 see programmatic ad placements begin to instigate as well as automate?).

High proportions of search queries will be using Google’s rich answers in 2016 (like Google’s Knowledge Graph), and businesses will need to tailor their content to their audience’s needs more than ever before and shift away from generic content towards specific, relevant information that anticipates and satisfies detailed user searches.

– Matt Bullas, Founder and CEO, Click Consult

This follows on a long term trend of Google’s to turn 1st page SERPs into the home not only of search, but of quick answers, and is something we have been preparing for as a result. As mobile search continues to push this up the priority list for Google, the industry and the brands it represents will need to be ever more certain to provide not just content, but highly relevant and engaging content.

As the SEO sphere of influence mushrooms to include new technologies and platforms, it will be increasingly important not to run the channel in an isolated silo.

– Andrew Girdwood, DigitasLbi

We’ve been making this point for a while now, and it also encompasses changes to the industry that are requiring digital marketing agencies to embrace all types of media. When marketing companies across traditional and new media begin to compete for the same staff and the same skillsets it will become more of an issue. We can therefore expect (if not this year, then certainly in the next few) to see digital agencies diversify into traditional media and for some of the older marketing companies to either acquire a specific digital marketing arm, or to vastly expand those already present.

Twitter will figure out how to grow again it’s been a rough couple years for Twitter, but I’m bullish on the company in 2016 and long term. It takes new CEOs some time to right the ship and it takes time for changes in a company’s leadership to impact their growth. It might be toward the end of 2016, but I believe we’re going to see numbers from Twitter that improve their market position and their stock price.

– Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz

We discussed this particular move to profitability in a recent blog post, and though we’d also expect any real impact to be felt late in the year, perhaps into 2017, we do feel that Twitter will be able to finally master the balancing act they are currently involved in to begin delivering long awaited returns. Expect to see a return to growth in user uptake throughout the year, with the push toward profitability to follow.

The paid media landscape will becomes much broader – 2015 saw the proliferation of Gmail sponsored promotion ads, with the novel targeting method of a user’s Gmail inbox contents. Advertisers had to get a lot more creative and really put themselves into the minds of their customers in order to make a success of this new targeting method.

– Dave Karellen, head of PPC, Click Consult

Possibly representing an acknowledgement by Google of trends toward the ‘appification’ of the web and, as mentioned, new competition in search provision, we can see Google’s increasing abilities to offer ever more refinement of its demographic and interest targeting for ads as direct action to maintain and grow ad revenue in an increasingly competitive market. Not only does this represent a trend in and of itself, it also sends a message to the digital marketing industry that thorough consumer profiling and demographic knowledge will continue to grow in importance to paid search.

Digital Assistants will change the way we think about Search Queries.

– Jayson Demers, Forbes

We’ve included this as the prediction gets to the heart of a couple of 2016’s possible trends, both the appification of the web and the increasing importance of voice search. With the increasing usefulness of Siri, Cortana and others, we are almost certain to see the growth of ‘conceptual’ rather than ‘keyword’ targeting as brands seek to capitalise on the prevalence of mobile, voice search.

User engagement as a big ranking factor. (via Twitter)

– Larry Kim

Short and to the point, this prediction is one which would have seemed impossible at the dawn of SEO, but increasingly the way people interact is being taken more and more seriously by Google as they prioritise UX with each development of their algorithm. Though, as has been stated in several Webmaster talks, social signals are difficult to fully integrate as a ranking signal, engagement is certainly less difficult to measure (with many of the data-points that would no-doubt be used to calculate it already reported by Google Analytics). We would certainly expect to see this become a factor mid-late 2016.

At Click Consult we believe in staying ahead of the game by constantly learning and improving in every way. If you’d like to take advantage of that, or want to see how we can help bring the best of digital marketing knowledge to your brand, contact us today.

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