The Year in Digital: A Summary of 2015’s Digital Developments

As ever, it’s been a tumultuous year in the world of digital. From Mobilegeddon to Google’s increased use of Machine Learning things are changing rapidly… but then that’s nothing new.

It’s also not for the worse… Read on for our summary of digital in 2015, and some news bites to share of our own.

What’s new with SEO?

The digital world is changing – particularly with regard to SEO. It’s even more competitive out there now with many of us vying for an ever-shrinking page 1 of Google and struggling to make ourselves heard amidst a cacophony of digital noise. Content was King – but now it’s consumption of content that reigns supreme over cyberspace. The main points of note around SEO from this year are:

1. Page 1 is Shrinking

Google likes to reward sites that it trusts in its search results. And despite the fact there’s ample evidence it can trust yours, there’s a lot more evidence showing it can trust big player’s sites such as Tesco, Amazon, Wikipedia and eBay more so. Thus these big players are getting more and more prominence in search results. Add in to the mix that page one now contains Google Maps listings, Google ads, Google images, Google direct answers and Google suggestions as well as actual search results and you’ve got yourself a serious case of overcrowding.

Notes for 2016:
Once Google services, ads and big players get their share of exposure, us little guys are getting less and less prominence in search results – so it could well be the case that big rankings attainable in years gone by will be less so in 2016 unless you’re laying down some major spend.

There’s always a way though – so when creating your website’s content next year, look at answering common questions and addressing hot industry topics within your copy – rather than composing content specifically for keywords and phrases – you’ll stand much more chance of being seen.

2. Mobile is Imperative

If you’re not yet mobile optimised – don’t panic. We helped a client become mobile-optimised just recently despite Google’s update being released way back in May and they’re reaping the benefits. Consensus is that around 60% of traffic now comes from a mobile device – so going mobile should be a priority.

Notes for 2016:
Google’s major mobile update runs in real time – so whenever you gear up for mobile, you will get the benefit. If you haven’t planned it yet – do so. If you don’t have an eCommerce site you can use something like Duda Mobile to set a mobile site up very easily – and even better this costs less than $10 per month to run should budget be an issue. For eCommerce sites you need professional input I’m afraid.

3. A Renewed Effort into Links

Blogging became digital’s zeitgeist a few years ago as did social media while links took a bit of a backseat in the news. And whilst blogging and social media are still very much centre stage – links have nipped back into the top spot and are the basis of intense focus for teams. So as old and tired as “link-building” sounds we’re still seeing results from doing it and it should be firmly in the frame.

Notes for 2016:
Put effort into nurturing relationships – on or offline – that could result in links. Don’t do it on the cheap or quickly – the days of paid directories and such are well and truly behind us I’m afraid. There are industries where directories are very high quality, but these are niche and a lot are not.

4. Lots More Jargon

Google has released many more updates this year – we’ve had Hummingbird, Pigeon, Panda, Pirate and EMD. You don’t need to worry about what these are but they essentially mean things are changing constantly and rapidly. Simply responding to whatever update just came out therefore is not an effective way to stay visible online – it moves too fast.

Notes for 2016:
These updates all essentially allude to the same message – that sites with lots of authority, a good following and that are well optimised are competitive in search results. So keep building your brand online and use SEO as part of your wider strategy in 2016 to stay on top of things.

Merry Christmas everyone and here’s to 2016.