Search engine rankings aren’t just about search engine optimization. Your website design, the programming it uses, the breadth of content, and the on-site SEO are all part and parcel of what allows your site to appear in the search engines. Outdated websites that aren’t mobile friendly and don’t keep up to date will continue to be less visible in search.
As search engines evolve to satisfy the user so too must websites. Here are four trends you’ll see in search in 2016.
AMP is not the amount of voltage your website puts out, it’s an acronym for accelerated mobile pages, a new open-source project led by Google to compete against Facebook instant articles. When Google has a new initiative they’re behind, businesses and webmasters should listen. Google is expected to launch AMP by late February 2016. More sites and ad networks are working to support AMP everyday.
The goal of AMP is to speed up the rendering of pages on the mobile web. AMP uses a shared library of scripts, so there’s no need to download each one every time. It’s like HTML on a diet. Caches and prefetches are utilized for optimal delivery speed to the user and instant delivery. Google has now launched support of AMP pages in its search engine and is encouraging its usage for a better mobile web experience.
AMP also has a lot to do with ads. Google needs ads to load quickly on smartphones and adopting its usage helps set a new standard for advertising architecture and more rapid delivery. Google wants broad industry participation so that AMP becomes the standard in mobile. Google recently announced that Google Analytics now supports tracking for AMP.
The number of queries has now surpassed desktop/laptop and the mobile user wants speed and ease of use. With the rise of mobile, mobile advertising has also evolved and is a big reason why Facebook with all its mobile users has seen a surge in revenue. Google has its own mobile search algorithm and mobile advertising continues to rapidly progress with AMP and other new features and trends.
Since Google typically only shows 2 ads in a mobile query, it’s of the greatest importance to have a top ad spot. This makes working with a Google AdWords certified professional all the more important.
Knowledge Graph Expansion
What is the knowledge graph? It’s the data that appears in Google pulled in from another Website in the first result. What’s known as the knowledge can appear in the right hand column of a desktop/laptop Google search. When you search for information, Google wants to show the best possible result. For example, when you search information on a place, data about that place may pull in from a site like Wikipedia in the knowledge panel.
When you search a business in Google, their business information, customer reviews, office hours, photos, Google+ page link, other social profiles, or even business competitors can appear in the right hand side in the knowledge panel. This data is pulled in from our Google business page. Having a completed business page is of heightened importance as Google has evolved away from collecting business data from Google+. This also ties into JSON-LD programming and Schema.
The push for HTTPS began a few years ago but expect the importance of having an https website to increase in 2016 and the years to come. Google has advocated for a secure web. As part of this push to improve security on the Web, its Chrome browser will soon flag websites that are unencrypted, without a security layer, with a red ‘x’ display over a padlock in the URL bar for the site.
A secure socket layer (SSL) is a layer of encryption that is added to the standard http Web protocol. An https site displays shows a padlock in the URL bar. Google isn’t alone in encouraging encryption as both Apple and Mozilla have indicated they want more Web encryption and the U.S. government required all .gov websites to use https by the end of 2015. Expect Google and others to continue to look for ways to encourage all sites to be encrypted.
What These Changes Mean
While the Web and Internet marketing rapidly one key takeaway from change is the emphasis on providing a better user experience whether it’s speed, less spam, more security, or more easily accessible, concise search information. Google wants to provide the best possible user experience and have highly satisfied users, as should all Websites.