The effect of keywords on search rankings and magnitude of opportunities search marketing brings increased significantly in 2015 and is expected to continue dominating marketplace sales in 2016.
A MarketLive study found that combining paid and organic search marketing results in an average 44 percent increase in revenue.
Search marketing has become an essential part of business. According to a BrightEdge study, a majority of all traffic driven to both business-to-business and business-to-consumer websites originates from organic search (51 percent) and paid-search (10 percent).
And the race to search marketing supremacy is expected to pick up further to an above-trend pace in 2016.
As you conduct your year-end analysis and make adjustments for next year, here are four key search trends your 2016 marketing plans must reflect.
1. MOBILE WINNING THE BATTLE AGAINST DESKTOP
Google is changing the game again with Mobilegeddon, a mobile-friendly update placing emphasis on blended mobile ranking. Released in April 2015, the roll out is Google’s way of penalizing non-mobile sites by adding mobile usability to its ranking signals. The update is slowly leveling businesses that fail to create mobile-friendly content.
Currently, the update is primarily impacting smartphone search queries. For certain queries, listings ranking high in mobile searches are slowly, but steadily dropping in rankings as competitor websites optimized for mobile move up the rankings.
At present, mobile rankings fluctuate across industries and categories, but the affects are quickly starting to upset all arenas. Desktop rankings no longer remain competitively unaffected. The rollout of Mobilegeddon is complete and URLs are starting to be reindexed and rescored. Everyday rankings on both mobile and desktop are changing.
B2B companies can prevent a loss in traffic by making necessary mobile-friendly adjustments now and keeping track of their mobile performance over time by leveraging:
- Google’s new Search Analytics Reporting feature in Webmaster Tools
- Mobile reporting from SEMrush
- Searchmetrics Mobile Reporting
Each of the tools mentioned will help gauge your mobile rankings and traffic and determine improvements to ensure both your mobile and desktop rankings remain consistent.
2. DIGITAL ASSISTANT SEARCHES SET TO TAKE OVER ONLINE MARKETING
Due to the proliferation of data available, the need for digital assisted searches continues to increase. Society is finding itself overwhelmed with disorganized data. These frustrated users seek a virtual assistant to help sift through digital files and locate answers they need.
This need paved the way for Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana speech recognition programs. The programs serve as smartphone data butlers with the ability to understand natural language and answer complex questions for the end user – all within the confines of a smartphone.
Using conversational commands and requests, digital assistants provide immediate answers to users, often negating the need for users to browse or navigate to individual websites. Based on the nature of queries, digital assistants will scour data with search engines often operating in the background of each assisted search.
The programs are redefining the search process and how users interact with online content. Rather than opening up a browser window and funneling users to a specific site, users can now engage in conversation with their smartphones to retrieve (almost immediate) solutions to their problems.
The machine learning capabilities are forecasted to replace web searches and apps. The rise of digital assistants will require a new kind of search optimization to ensure brand assets are accessible to these assistants.
3. SOCIAL SEARCH ENGINES REDEFINING THE BUSINESS WORLD
In-app content is quickly overshadowing onsite-hosted content. Customers are moving away from using search engines for queries to using social networks for search.
Publishing anaylitics provier Parse.ly found that social media continues to account for a large and growing portion of search traffic, “depending on the content of the news story.”
The growing popularity of search on social networks verse search via search engines underscores the growing importance of blending relevant content placement and real-time offers with the daily routines of customers on social media.
Social search engines like Smashfuse, SocialMention and Topsy aggregate content using algorithm-driven technology and online community filtering to produce real-time information specifically designed to serve certain demographics.
Using descriptive tags, social search engines find and bring forth content about niche products and services to users. These descriptive tags elevate the visibility of content within online communities. Theoretically, companies can boost page metadata and rankings for keywords using tags, and accordingly optimize content for sharing on social networks.
The growing sophistication of social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to recommend highly relevant content to users is invaluable. Social search engines create a priceless opportunity for companies to analyze the social popularity of a particular subject and quickly identify content that’s performing well and make necessary adjustments to improve low-performing content.
Business owners should be leveraging tags and social search engines to ensure their information is reaching customers directly on their preferred and trusted network.
4. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE UPROOTS THE SEO LANDSCAPE
This year comes to an end with the release of Google’s RankBrain, a machine-learning artificial intelligence that is responsible for processing 15 percent of search results each day.
The AI gathers and analyzes the traditional SEO factors like keywords, backlinks, title tags and meta descriptions, but surpasses previous algorithms with its ability to recognize patterns therein. It can analyze and draw conclusions of past search inquiry patterns to determine what appears and ranks in a Google’s search engine results page.
RankBrain is part of Google’s overall search algorithm – Hummingbird. According to a recent article by Bloomberg, RankBrain is the third-most important factor for ranking webpages.
With the emergence of RankBrain, there will be a growing emphasis on monitoring content performance and producing additional keyword-specific landing pages to help the AI learn more about your products and services, so it can reach the proper conclusion about your practice.
Search marketing optimization is a leading driver of revenue growth for B2B companies. The benefits and growing supremacy of search marketing can’t be ignored. As the benefits continue to increase, more companies will up their spend on search marketing. These insights are a good means for keeping ahead of the curve and ahead of the competition.