State of Search Engine Optimization 2016

State of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 2016 with a little help from my friend David @davidiwanow

boston state of SEO 2016

State of SEO


Evolution of Search

Where have we come over last few years?

Google’s evolution up to 2013 (before Apps/AMP)

Thinking back to the good olde days

Limited number of AdWords results
No Carousels
No Answer Boxes
No Universal Search
No Knowledge Graph
Limited Related Search links
No Ratings/Review schema
Required you click through to website for information
Mobile wasn’t really a thing yet
Apps were a second thought
Exact match domains ranked well
Low quality content dominated the SERPs
End of 2012 Google got aggressive on webspam

In 2014 webspam became even more of a focus

Since 2014 the Rise of Entities

Google Query Understanding

  • Does the query name any known entities?
  • [san jose convention center]
  • [matt cutts]
  • Are there useful synonyms?
  • [gm trucks]: “gm” → “general motors”
  • [gm corn]: “gm” → “genetically modified”
  • Context matters



Local Business Cards
Twitter Cards


YouTube Cards


Schema Data


Open Graph


Shift in Search

What changes made an impact or could impact you?


  • spelling suggestions
  • autocomplete
  • related searches
  • related questions
  • calculator
  • knowledge graph
  • answers
  • featured snippets
  • maps
  • images
  • videos
  • in-depth articles


  • movie showtimes
  • sports scores
  • weather
  • flight status
  • package tracking


Google these days giving most common answers

Google these days providing “just the facts ma’am”

Google these days providing “just the facts ma’am”

Google these days driving more related searches

Google these days… no need to click

Google allows for product comparison

Google allows for animal comparison…

Google answers more questions

Google is helping answer historical questions

Google gives cooking tips

Google offers interactive widgets

Google is learning about it’s users

Google is helping you find flights to book

Google answers are going beyond first answer

TV Show Spoilers are right in the SERPs

Linked Queries could work better

Multiple questions now being answered

People also searched for results are extensive

Google Shopping results showing more often

Presidential candidates get custom results

Google Mobile First

  • How does Google make it mobile-centric?
  • More mobile queries than desktop in samples
  • Pay attention to user’s location
  • Tools display mobile user experience
  • Raters visit websites on smartphones

Mobile UI is changing to show tabbed results

Mobile UI is changing to show no organic results

Mobile weather experience has no organic results

Voice search is slowly gaining adoption

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)


Facebook Instant Articles (mobile content)

Shift in Search

What is happening in the app space?

Mobile growth is still happening but slowing

Number of free mobile app downloads

Number of paid app downloads

Facebook App Links can drive traffic to your app

Google is working on improved App discovery

Streaming of apps, no download needed

Google offering app installs within browser

Google AdWords App Promotion Options

Google Testing Interactive Interstitial Ads

Other Paid Products to Promote Apps

iAds – Closed June 30th 2016

Facebook Ads

Twitter Ads

Criteo (remarketing)

Incentivised Downloads


Facebook & Google dominate top Apps

Client Apps


Google App-Indexing will continue to expand

Bing also supports App Linking from SERPs

iOS Search API will start to gain traction

iOS Spotlight search adoption is low but steadily growing as users discover it and it’s algorithm improves.

iOS Spotlight search can surface content within your apps

iOS Search API will cannibalize your organic traffic from iOS device as Google is removed from the search process

iOS Search API can start to drive downloads of your mobile app

App Integrations will become essential

WeChat shows the power of an app platform

  • Instant Messaging
  • Public Accounts for providing services
  • Subscription Accounts for content
  • WeChat Payment (p2p, bill payment)
  • WeChat Wall (transfer,pay,wallet)
  • City Services (book appointments, pay bills, traffic fines, book transport)

Personal Assistant, ChatBots, & Customer Service

Offer assistance without search or other apps

Messaging Apps are kinda popular…

Mobile messaging app user penetration in North America

Mobile messaging app users in worldwide

Shift in Search

What is happening in the local space?

Local Business Cards

Bing Integrates TripAdvisor Reviews in Local

Importance of local listings, reviews and ratings


Importance of local listings, reviews and ratings


Facebook is chasing after more local traffic

Facebook is chasing after more local business

Shift in Search

What is happening in the social space?

Facebook might get search right?

Social Networks spill over into the Search space

Social platforms offer

Google Organic Results
Integration into Universal Search
Alternative Traffic sources
Paid Targeted Options
Paid Amplifications
Diversification of traffic

Social Platforms are working on

Better cross-platform experience
Better internal search
Less reasons to leave their platforms
More ways to engage with users
Growing their advertising features

Google will expand Twitter integration

Pinterest will expand their ecommerce reach

Shift in Search

What is happening in the content space?

Hyper personalization of content is getting better

Hyper personalization of content is getting better

Hyper personalization of content is getting better

Great content is required for success!

You should focus on GREAT content!

– easily consumed

– it will attract new users

– it can lower bounce rate

– will increases pages/session

– will increase time spent on site

– will create conversions/transactions

– can generate shares on social

– will attract natural links

Great content is required for success!

Think mobile first! Is the content mobile friendly?

Is the page size mobile friendly? 15mb images don’t work? Flash is bad!

Think how the content can be shared, how can you amplify it?

How will your content will look when being shared on social media?

Content takes longer to show impacts than it did previously, it’s not an instant fix!

Content needs more than just text, think interactive elements, images, video…

Great content requires investment!

Rise of ad blockers will affect your monetization

Rise of ad blockers will affect your monetization

Now you have 4 Pillars of SEO

Future of Search

What is already here and what is coming soon

Big Data is required to scale up marketing

Understand historic & seasonal trends
Allow for predictive analytics
Optimise for conversions
Optimise for revenue
Understand your internal link graph
Evaluate performance of social
Be able to spot patterns
Be able to spot opportunities
Be able to understand what content works

Voice Search takes center space in your home

  • Plays all your music using just your voice
  • Immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control
  • Answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules
  • Controls lights and switches with compatible WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, and other smart home devices
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills more than 95 added since product launch

Behavioral Generated Content and Suggestions


Consider the impact of Apple TV on content

Are you ready for Android TV?

Android Auto only wants select app partners

Apple CarPlay leads to more content consumed

Google Cardboard is a mass market solution

Oculus Rift for consumption of premium content

Microsoft Hololens could change web interactions

Bing will rise powered by Windows 10

IoT – Google’s Brillo (OS) & Weave

IoT – Google’s Brillo (OS) & Weave

IoT – Google’s Brillo (OS) & Weave

IoT – Google’s Brillo (OS) & Weave

Network the Home

Wearables will end up getting it right eventually

Mostly Voice Activated
Limited interaction options
Most still require daily charging
Powered by Voice Search
Most still depend on Mobile/Tablet device
Have no browsers
Support limited number of apps
Limited consumption of content
Crowded market
Estimated market size – 5 mil iOS & 2 mil Android

Benefits of Wearables?

Always with you
Always on

Always tracking
Always contactable
Always connected…

Amazon Dash

IoT – Brita Filter with Amazon Dash Replacement

IoT – Samsung Smart Fridges







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