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5 SEO Predictions For 2016

5 SEO Predictions For 2016

As an industry that is so predicated on technology, it should come as no surprise that SEO is constantly changing and in a state of ‘permaflux’. Many SEO best practices from only a few years ago would be marketing suicide for any website today. In the past decade we’ve heard SEO proclaimed ‘dead’ about a million times, we’ve seen tools come and go and we’ve survived countless algorithm updates. At this point it’s probably safe to say that SEO as an industry isn’t going anywhere but if history is any indication, we’re in for a wild ride.

So what can we expect for 2016? Here are some of the leading predictions on what we should expect over the next year or so. Take heed and prepare for the coming storm!

1. Mobile Will Continue to Dominate

Mobile has gradually been gaining dominance since Apple first unveiled the iPhone 1. It’s only more recently though that mobile devices have officially overtaken desktop computers as the most popular way to get online.

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Speculators tell us that this is set to continue even more so, which is why it’s absolutely necessary to ensure your website or blog is perfectly optimized for smaller displays. Google has practically screamed at us regarding the importance of this factor, going as far as to develop their own ‘Mobile-Friendly Test’ to help us check our sites meet the criteria.

2. Voice Search and Structured Data

Tying in with the increasing prominence of mobile search, is the growing importance of ‘voice search’. People don’t like searching Google by typing when they’re on the move, which means they’re now much more likely to simply ask Siri, Google Now or Cortana to find what they’re looking for.

This has already brought about subtle-yet-profound changes in the way that search works. Structured data and ‘rich snippets’ are increasingly growing important as Google and other search engines attempt to directly answer questions by understanding the content they retrieve. Now approximately 19% of queries provide direct answers or rich snippets.

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This has some serious implications for the industry as a whole but in the short term, this means you’d better start including that structured data in your site. You might not like the idea of Google using your information without referring visitors but it’s better than being left out of the loop entirely!

3. Local SEO Will be More Important Than Ever

Local SEO has always been important but in 2016 it will be more important than ever. As competition grows on the web, going local will offer one of the best ways to find your audience in a sea of other results. Local search has clear synergy with mobile search and voice search, and Google’s recent Pigeon update has demonstrated their commitment to this aspect. Make sure you’re ready by staying on top of your local SEO with smart keywords, up-to-date Google Maps information and even app integration (Google now uses data from mobile applications and shows that in search results).

4. SEO Will ‘Merge’ With Other Forms of Digital Marketing

Those who have been paying attention should recognize that the very way you describe SEO has changed in recent times. SEO is very often synonymous now with ‘content marketing’, which says a lot about the emphasis that Google is now putting on high quality content.
At the same time, a good SEO campaign needs to incorporate social media elements, to help build organic links and to benefit directly from the likes of Google+.

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In other words, SEO doesn’t really stand on its own anymore. What’s more likely is that we’ll see companies offering ‘Digital Marketing Services’ that encompass all these elements, with the delineation become less and less of a factor.

5. Bing Will Offer Rising Competition

Microsoft’s Bing has been building momentum as a serious competitor to Google for some time now and a number of key moves on Microsoft’s part mean this is only likely to continue.

For starters, Bing is integrated with Cortana which in turn is now packaged with Windows on PC and mobile. Xbox will also be benefiting from voice search via Cortana and Bing, while recent successes in the hardware department have also helped Microsoft to gain more of a foothold. With Google making some unpopular moves, Bing may just offer a viable alternative for discerning users.

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So there you have it: the near future as most pundits see it. Ready yourself!

Featured photo credit: Johny Blaze via flickr.com

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Josh MacDonald

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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