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8 Ways to OPTIMISE Your Small Business for Google Search in 2016

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If you are a business owner keen to be ahead of your competitors online, then this post will help you review and plan on how well is your online presence optimised for 2016 and the things you need to do in order to tackle the upcoming digital marketing challenges for your business! Every year, Google rolls out a host of sweeping updates to its search engine algorithm most of which are dictated through changes in user preferences. In 2015, there were 3 major updates by Google! 1. Mobilegeddon (April 22, 2015) – Google’s algorithm update indicating that mobile-friendly websites will be given preference in search results. 2. Quality Update (May 3, 2015): Google introduced some ne

google-search-in-2016

If you are a business owner keen to be ahead of your competitors online, then this post will help you review and plan on how well is your online presence optimised for 2016 and the things you need to do in order to tackle the upcoming digital marketing challenges for your business!

seo-google

Every year, Google rolls out a host of sweeping updates to its search engine algorithm most of which are dictated through changes in user preferences. In 2015, there were 3 major updates by Google!

1. Mobilegeddon (April 22, 2015) – Google’s algorithm update indicating that mobile-friendly websites will be given preference in search results.

2. Quality Update (May 3, 2015): Google introduced some new quality assessment measures to understand how good or how authoritative a website is.

3. Panda Refresh (July 17, 2015): Google placed more emphasis on quality content!

Those Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business owners that are quick to adopt Google’s SEO changes get an advantage over their online competitors, while laggards tend to miss out on the opportunities that arise from these updates.

Planning for 2016, SME owners need to ask themselves the following:

1. How can I check if my SME website is SEO ready for 2016?

2. What are the latest SEO trends in 2016 important to SME owners?

3. Does my SME website has the right SEO strategy in place?

4. Do I have the right SEO outsourcing partner for 2016?

In my previous article I talked about 7 ways SMEs can gear up their website for 2016. In this article, I’ve outlined 8 SEO trends that can up the game for your small business!

SEO for Googles

So SME Business Owners, in my usual acronym style, using the keyword OPTIMISE, let me outline steps required for you to understand and get your internal expertise and/or external outsourcing partner to take actions and be a step ahead of your competitors.

1. Outshine With Structured Data

outshineThis is probably one of the latest SEO trends in 2016 important to SME owners! With Google placing more and more importance on returning user-focused content, a relatively new concept called schema markup has emerged pushing structured data into the lime light as a possible ranking factor in 2016.

When a website uses schema mark-up, users can find structured data as to what the business is about, where it is located, what does it offer, how much items cost on a website and lots of other stuff. Now that’s useful!

Actually so useful, that some people call it a virtual business card and that’s exactly why it has benefits for your online SME business as well!

This is an early trend with less than 1% of the companies adopting it so far. However, moving forward, it will be the focus of many in 2016.

Having a schema markup in place, helps websites rank better for various types of content be it articles, products, movies, book reviews, software, or something else! This offers a huge SEO potential for SME owners to tap into and keep an edge over competitors.

2. Plan Your Website Content

planIf you are wondering: Is my SME Website SEO ready for 2016?” its time get familiar with Google Knowledge Graph.

Google Knowledge graph is Google’s data base of information that it gets from crawling the web.

Traditionally, search engines used to provide a link to a relevant website by matching the query with the content on that website. With knowledge graph, Google displays more and more information in search result pages thereby minimising the need to click on a website link to get the information someone is looking for.

Does that ring the bell? Well, it should!

Since many queries are questions and Google’s knowledge graph is directly pulling the information from the website in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), websites are losing click through, dwell time and conversions – everything you need to survive online.

As an SME owner, your website needs to have a content plan that considers optimising for Google’s knowledge graph with more focus on having long-form question-based content and provide in-depth knowledge to dominate naturally generated queries! Hence, with Google knowledge graph, you need to give more focus to content quality on your SME website!

3. Thrive With Mobile And Local Search

thiriveGoogle’s mobile-friendly update rolled out in April, 2015 is only the beginning of the major shift from accessing internet through desktops to mobile devices. The bold step by Google recognizes the landmark changes in the browsing patterns of today’s users, and is actually ranking mobile-friendly websites higher in search results.

So, is your SME website SEO ready for 2016? That depends highly on how quick you are on befriending mobile and making responsive websites a priority for the coming year.

mobile-friendly-website

Pro-active SME owners will be rewarded with more click-through rate and more traffic with mobile-friendly websites.

Additionally, local search is expected to get more refined. So while Google’s local index turns up results for a given city or region, ranking will soon be generated based on a neighbourhood or street.

4. Improve Results With Long-Tail Keywords

interactAs mobile search increases in popularity, Google is placing more emphasis on voice search, where by users “say” rather than “type” a query.

From an SEO stand point, the rise in voice search will make keywords even less important than they became following Google’s Panda algorithm update in 2011 to fight back keyword stuffing in favour of more sophisticated searches that result in more relevant results.Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update in 2013 served as the final nail in the coffin of keyword search engine optimisation, giving rise to semantic search that recognises the meaning behind the search rather than the query itself.

Since spoken queries tend to be more natural and more conversational, SME owners need to define a whole new set of long-tail keyword queries to match a user’s request and provide value.

5. Magnify Reach Through Social Content

magnifyThe line between social media marketing and search engine optimisation is blurring fast.

Earlier in 2015, Twitter entered a deal with Google to give the search engine giant access to its full stream of tweets, commonly known as the “fire hose”. We already know that Google is interested in indexing content that it believes will provide value to its users, so the Twitter-Google deal comes as no surprise.

Search for something and there you have a tweet or two in your mobile as well as desktop search results.

Twitter Feed

Considering this step, it would be safe to say that the search giant is likely to index more social content from other platforms sooner or later and what you post on social media needs to be optimised for search engines as well.

Does your SME website has the right SEO strategy in place to leverage from this partnership? If not, then it’s high time to strengthen the SEO aspect of your social media marketing strategy!

6. Interact Through Video Ads

improveAnother interesting and latest SEO trend in 2016 important to SME owners is the rise in video advertisements.

Video ads are nothing new to YouTube or other advertising channels like Facebook and Bing and we already know that Google is experimenting with video ads for mobile.

Hence the high speculation on the likelihood that the search giant will start showing video ads in its SERPs comes as no surprise and is definitely a sign that more and more people are accepting online video ads.

Though it’s a trend that is likely to emerge in 2016, getting there before your competitors do will give your small business a clear edge, without any doubt. By including video based advertising in search as opposed to the traditional text-based advertising, this functionality is expected to allow videos to emerge as thumbnails that expand when clicked.

With Google owning a video powerhouse like YouTube, it remains a matter of time when we start seeing video ads in the most unexpected places.

7. Secure Your Business Website

secureAs I already mentioned in my previous article 7 ways SMEs can gear up their website for 2016, in August 2014, Google announced that it will be using HTTPS as a website ranking signal.

Google has left no doubt that its keeping website security as one of its top priorities for SEO and overtime it will carry more weight when it comes to search engine ranking.

With cyber crimes on the rise coupled with Google’s announcement, getting an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate for your small business website is worth investing in for giving authenticity to your new website visitors as well as to rank higher with Google to better position your website to convert more leads in 2016 and beyond!

8. Elevate Through App Optimisation

elevateWe have already talked about having mobile-friendly websites as a pre-requisite for SEO ranking. Nonetheless, it’s worthy to note that the influence of SEO does not stop there. Rather, Google goes a step further to index apps in mobile search results.

This means that out of 10 search results displayed on your mobile, two or three will be leading to an app that matches your query, potentially threatening to replace websites in search results.

app-optimisation

As the shift from websites to apps continues, Google is now placing more emphasis to Deep Links whereby users are directed towards specific pages or sections of an app rather than the homepage.

As a SME owner, if you still don’t have an app although you feel it does make a lot of business sense, now is the time to get one.

 

Conclusion

2016 will witness more and more businesses getting social, local and mobile and if the above SEO trends are any indication, I see Google rewarding such businesses with better search engine ranking which means better click-through rate and more traffic.

We hope now you have found the answers to the following questions:

1. How can I check if my SME website is SEO ready for 2016?

2. What are the latest SEO trends in 2016 important to SME owners?

3. Does my SME website has the right SEO strategy in place?

4. Do I have the right SEO outsourcing partner for 2016?

Don’t forget to keep out an eye for my next article in which I’ll talk about ways to gear up your small business Social Media Marketing for 2016.

Grab my Presentation on SlideShare:


 

With less than a month to go before the year ends, this is high-time for you as a forward-looking SME owner to take a leap and get ahead of your online competitors by adopting these leading SEO trends and become Google’s favourite! Remember! The ultimate bottom line is to convert more leads for your online business!

If you are wondering: Do I need an SEO outsourcing partner for 2016? The answer is yes! The simple reason being that an SEO outsourcing company will be aware of the evolving trends in the online landscape and can help you achieve your online marketing goals.

If you are a SME owner looking for a partner to outsource search engine optimisation, social media marketing campaigns and content marketing that is up to the mark and in line with the latest technology trends then we can help you succeed in 2016 and beyond!

At SolomoIT, we are a team of digital marketing and website design and development professionals, actively integrating latest technology trends serving a diverse client base comprising of small and medium business in Australia for more than a decade.

With an Australian based sales & marketing staff focus and with our own technical team of experts based in Sri Lanka, we are well positioned to support with your local needs and marketplace capitalising on our cost-effective off-shore business model.

Here is what one of our long standing customers has to say about us:

“I have been using solomoIT as our online marketing outsourcing partner for our highly competitive plumbing business for many years. As a SME business owner, I find them to be always in line with digital technology changes and able to position my business to convert leads which allows me to focus on my plumbing business.” – Steve Ware – One Hour Plumbing

website-for-2016

Want your business to thrive online? Then Contact us to book your free one hour consultation on how your SME business can rank higher with Google to increase your company’s bottom line in 2016 and beyond.