2015 has been an exciting year for us here at Michael Bell One, we’ve seen changes in how we approach web design and for SEO the playing field has gone through so many changes that we’re convinced that it’s off its medication. As is becoming the tradition of so many companies such as YouTube with their Rewind video that celebrates their myriad of content creators and Facebook who shared a video that showed off the major events of 2015, we wanted to share our year with you, looking at how the web marketing landscape has changed and a little taste of what we expect to see in 2016.
Google and Alphabet Inc
One of the big revelations of the year was the founding of Google’s now parent company Alphabet Inc, which is the equivalent of an orphan building their own parents. The company serves as a way to manage what was once the sole task of the search engine giant; managing a myriad of services and products that include everything from the Android arm of the business through to the semi-secret Google X who have been researching and developing driverless cars. Aside from announcements from the company branching into medical sensors that may have everyone worried about the company bringing about a future akin to Logan’s Run, little has happened since Alphabet Inc came into being, aside from the old Google motto of “don’t be evil” being dropped in favour of “do the right thing”. Whether we should all be worried about this is yet to be seen, but it’s likely that the change will have more affect on individual departments within the company and mean that going forwards into 2016 each arm of Google will be able to better focus on their intended purpose, and we hope that this means that search algorithms will “do the right thing” and allow us to better help our clients.
The Year the Animals Took Over the Zoo
In the Judd offices at the very least we’ll look back on 2015 as the year that we learned to tame the Panda, but not without ignoring the Penguin. This might sound like the kind of fever dream that influences musicians to make concept albums, but it’s impossible to deny that the now high profile Panda refresh has had quite an impact on the way that SEO is performed. While it’s been clear that Google has changed the way that it’s rolling out changes to the Panda algorithm, the focus has clearly been on content, with a need for longer, more engaging and unique content being a priority. Less has been said about Penguin in 2015, aside from an ominous “it’s coming” message cropping up here and there, but at Michael Bell One we’re convinced that the effects are already being felt, and that going forwards the impact of changes to the Penguin algorithm will become more and more noticeable.
WordPress Got Even Bigger
WordPress has moved on from its humble beginnings and in 2015 could proudly proclaim that over a quarter of all websites use WordPress. At Michael Bell One we’ve helped in our own way towards this, having previously utilised WordPress more as a way to offer a user friendly way to power the blogs of our clients websites, we’ve shifted focus to use it more as the sole CMS of a number of sites. While WordPress isn’t appropriate for every site, notably ecommerce websites can benefit from alternatives such as OpenCart, WordPress offers a simple and easy way for those who are less inclined towards web coding, but it still allows us as developers to design and implement some truly stunning websites. Going into 2016 we’re sure that we’ll continue to grow the number of websites that use this powerful user friendly CMS.
User Experience Became King
Once the claim used to be that links are king before the ideology shifted to content being king, but there’s a new public champion in the shape of the user experience (UX). While it’s obvious that links haven’t become less important, and neither has content; the general perception that UX is the new king has been pushed not just by industry analysts, but in hints from Google, and if anything it provides web marketers with a positive direction to work in that they should be to begin with. Every website should be aiming to provide the user with a great experience and as this message has become more prominent in 2015, we predict that in 2016 UX will be the area that all web designers and SEO agents focus their efforts in.
Mobiles Left Desktops in the Dust
The smart phone has gone from being solely used by professionals, to being a tech fad, to being everywhere, and while the adoption of smart phones didn’t necessarily experience a peak that was noteworthy or outside of expectations in 2015, mobile web traffic achieved something which it hadn’t before; it overtook desktop web traffic. This didn’t require a crystal ball to predict, but it’s still interesting to see that while desktop traffic hasn’t necessarily decreased, mobile traffic is unavoidably important, and if your website hasn’t been optimised to be responsive in 2015, in 2016 it’s imperative that it is. Google have made it quite clear how important mobile friendly web design is to your rankings, and going forward if you haven’t made sure that your website looks great on an iPhone as well as a desktop, then you’ll likely lose potential clients.
Social Media has Changed
War never changes social media marketing does. In 2015 we saw the social networking behemoth that is Facebook continue to expand, and at present they’re in a position to start eating away at the traffic that YouTube receives, however at present little of that traffic is of benefit to content creators on YouTube. This issue has been quite a hot topic in 2015, and going forwards into 2016 it’s likely that discussion over the ethics of what Facebook are doing will only continue to heat up. It’s also been interesting to see that the user base on Facebook is starting to age quite drastically, with younger audiences becoming disinterested in the social network that once prided itself on targeting hip college and university students.
Social media integration into Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) got an additional boost in 2015 has begun to include results for users logged into Twitter meaning that even tweets that were posted a second ago can show up in the SERP for a relevant search enquiry. While exceptionally popular tweets have shown up in the past, this is interesting to see, and for social media marketers provides a new avenue to reach out to existing clients that could be very beneficial in 2016.
We’ve already covered the changes to Google+ that occurred towards the end of 2015, but going forwards into 2016 it will be interesting to see what the impact of these changes are on the knowledge graph in the SERP, as well as map listings. Google+ is an odd beast, and we wouldn’t be surprised if by the time the 2016 round up is being put together at Michael Bell One we haven’t reported on at least one major change in the Google+ camp.
Looking into the Future
2015 has been an exciting year for us at Michael Bell One, and we’re proud to have produced a number of exceptionally designed and developed websites, that in conjunction with our effective SEO campaigns have seen a vast number of clicks turn into clients. While 2015 may not have brought us flying cars and hover boards, we can be thankful that we don’t have $50 Pepsi, and going into 2016 we’re excited to see what direction the world of web marketing will take, and in a future article we’ll consult our crystal ball and bring you our predictions.
Web Design and SEO in 2016
The team at Michael Bell One are always keeping up to date with the latest developments and changes to ensure that we can provide you with a website and SEO campaign that boosts your business. If you want to find out more about the web design and marketing services that we offer, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to discuss a strategy that will fulfil the needs of your business. You can contact James Golding by completing our online contact form, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our Lewes office on 01273 478822 to speak to a friendly member of the team.