After years of build up towards the ‘year of mobile’, it finally happened, with mobile search largely overtaking desktop in most industries and for many businesses.
This was helped in 2015 by ‘Mobilegeddon‘, as businesses nervously brought out a responsive site so that Google would perceive them as being ‘mobile friendly’. In the end, there were no punishments dished out, something that caught many marketers by surprise, however this was one of the those rare updates where many people held up their hands and admitted it did seem to be for the benefit of the user.
However this was all just the first step. The mindset is still to much around making sites acceptable for mobile usage, however in reality we need to be thinking mobile first. I have dealt with a number of businesses that have made their sites adapt for mobiles, with text easy to read and buttons easy to click, however there are normally a number of difficulties around filling in forms, completing purchases and complicated pages. Below I have included my thoughts on mobile search in 2016 and what marketers should be considering.
Keyword Research Is A Bit More Difficult
Many people are ruling out keyword research nowadays, however I disagree with this, as I feel it still has a huge amount of importance in understanding search intention and key terms you should be targeting.
One way in which this will be advancing through 2016 is with voice activated search, through Siri and other related technological advances. While terms such as ‘Spain Cheap Holidays’ used to be seen as critical to a business, people wouldn’t say that when talking to Siri, therefore businesses will have to consider how people talk and how this will affect search. When talking, people will structure the term much more like a normal sentence, with words such as ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘when’.
You might want to consider utilising the blog section of your website with questions regularly asked in your industry, with a decent lengthy answer, internally linking to the sales page or with a call to action.
The Emergence Of Video Ads
Google has previously experimented with video ads in search results, however Google Spokesman have mentioned a number of times that we will see this more commonplace in 2016. You might want to consider what video content you can create which could work for your brand. With the mobile Google landscape offering three paid ads before the requirement to scroll, you may start seeing some of these with videos, which you would predict would have a higher CTR.
App Only Content
Google only recently announced that it has been experimenting with app only content in SERP’s, as we take app indexing out of the app store. This will alter SEO completely, as people focus on building deep links to apps, rather than to their core site. The early birds are going to see the best results. When responsive came out and many sites were useless for mobile users, the early adopters saw incredibly positive results and this will happen again for people who have built high quality apps and optimise them perfectly.
AMP stands for accelerated mobile pages and is an open source advance in technology, offering incredibly quick loading times on pages. Imagine it as a heavily stripped down version of your usual HTML. This means that forms and other sections may have issues, but it could be great for the blog section of your website. This project was started by both Google and Twitter, in order to find a solution for slow mobile pages. It will be focused on pure readability, not for functionality. With the file sizes being so small, Google can cache these pages and then host your content themselves. You will need to build an amp version of the pages you want to be included, with the regular page pointing rel=amphtml? to the amp page and then this amp page pointing a rel=canonical tag back to the regular page. If you want to check this out, the Guardian have it in place, so look up a news article on their site and then add /amp to the end.
Augmented, Virtual Reality & Wearable Tech
There is no way I could finish this article without mentioning virtual reality. This is something we have grown up to in Sci-Fi films, however 2016 is the year it will become a reality and you will see more people wearing their tech, from futuristic watches and even heart and stress monitoring bra’s. I attended a conference a couple of months ago where they asked us to all lift up our phones to the front and we saw a character appearing on our screen. It was a bizarre experience, but it brought about so many thoughts and ideas for the future. Heineken have been quick to adopt this for mobile devices, by allowing people to scan their bottles and receive video content from the actual farmers that grew the crops. This doesn’t wow me yet, but when you think of the ability to offer mobile gaming, reward systems or alternative shopping experiences, this will change the way we see the world.
2016 is certainly something to get excited about!