What are the SEO trends set to shake the world of search in 2016?

2015 was the year of change for SEO, and while marketers and SEO agencies review how their digital efforts impacted on their rankings, it’s time to evaluate what search marketing will look like in 2016.

1) H2, H3 & H4 Tagging

In 2015, mobile search surpassed desktop the first time, and a constant shift towards mobile use for every day tasks will result in further increases.

As a result 2016 will see heading tags being rolled out a far greater rate, and potentially more frequently, than currently seen on most websites.

Offering structure to mobile users results in a need for different devices and browsers to load pages differently. Uniforming structure all the way down to H5 tags will aid in this happening with ease.

2) Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) Comes To Life

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) has been a buzz term in 2015 – if the users are there but not converting, conversion rate optimisation is ‘carried out’.

Of course conversions are measured differently from one website to another, but in 2016 the use of conversion rate optimisation will become more sophisticated: this will include a greater use of event tracking and user analytics/data. All of this information will be crunched by web managers and SEO companies to understand how to get users to convert quicker. The use of CRO is also likely to increase the number of different conversion types and different stages along the sales process.

3) App Store Optimisation (ASO)

The rise of mobile has resulted in a greater number of companies producing apps, creating a need for app store optimisation (ASO) and an additional competitive medium. Also needed are more technical deep-linking aspects of app management, whereby app pages will show in search results.

Mobile users are increasingly using device search tools like Siri as opposed to search engines, in order to ‘cut to the chase’ and get to the information quicker. Businesses looking to capture mobile users need to develop and market apps accordingly to take prospects straight to their official apps – skipping a visit to the website.


4) Local Search Targeting

Local search is getting more targeted and as such businesses need to be more vocal in what they are doing. Google Places/Businesses now only shows three results instead of seven in the first instance, but a click through reveals a list of around 20 results.

Local businesses or large scale companies with local depots or shops should put schema tagging and local listings as a top priority to capture a local market which will be receiving increasingly relevant results in 2016.

5) The Research and Buying Phases of SEO

In 2016 SEO will come with research phases and buying phases and companies will need to construct SEO as such.

This new way of creating SEO strategies includes building distinctive campaigns for the different steps within the user journey: for example, customers at the start of the user journey and the ones ready to buy may be targeted through separate sets of keywords. Targeted SEO campaigns per user will take into account different habits attributed to site use and conversion understanding.

6) Micro-Moments and Human Search

The different phases in online conversions, combined with the rise of mobile search, app use, and the evolution of local search, will all feed into user journeys becoming increasingly fractured, cross-device and harder to track (the ‘always online’ state making it even more difficult). Periods of quick searches and online browsing intervals during the user journey were called Micro-Moments by Google in 2015, and businesses must be present in all steps along the way.

Tracking events and using goals on various devices, and measuring protocol overview will be needed in 2016 to stitch a full user journey together.

7) Panda Updates in Real Time

Next year will see Real Time Panda Algorithm Updates in full swing. It is suggested the algorithm will be updated and rolled out by the end of 2015, so 2016 will be the year SEO agencies and web managers really start to use the update to their advantage where needed.

8) Google Goes to War on Content

Robotic articles – ‘You will not believe what happens…’ ­ – written by computers scraping content from various sources and put into related content sections of websites will be targeted in 2016.

Overall these are less likely to rank and we could potentially see a big penalty for a few large scale content pushers – Facebook feeds may never be the same again!

9) Google Knowledge Graph Growth

Google is increasing the amount of information it is putting on its search results pages, in some cases reducing the need for users to even click on a website. This can be seen on local listings, cinema times, hotels and reviews, tourist attractions and most recently film reviews from industry critics.

Although handy for a user, it poses a few questions for websites striving for online space.

Magazines in particular have some work to do, as they’ve been forced online and can now potentially be forced back off it.

Tagging a website for the knowledge graph can be essential for such websites to survive online.

10) Interactive Content

Content has been king for a few years, but it seems interactive content will look to steal the crown in 2016.

Infographics, already hugely popular as a selling point, have never really taken off among users, but interactive content, similar (but more advanced) to online quizzes, does encourage user engagement and interaction with a brand.

2016 is likely to see this grow further with mobile and app use, as the smartphone is the perfect tool for user interaction.


Polaris is an SEO agency in London specialised in optimising websites and apps internationally. Contact us for more information on our SEO and ASO services.

Other posts

Top 3 SEO trends for 2021January 28th, 2021
  • apps
  • ASO
  • games
  • games stores
  • gaming industry
  • online gaming
  • healthcare
  • healthcare seo
  • private practice
  • 2016
  • ASO
  • ASO Myths
  • SEO
  • SEO Guide
  • SEO Myths