2016: Web Design with SEO in Mind

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 28, 2016

It is just past the new year, and SEO is more important than ever. Changes to Google’s algorithm have disrupted the established wisdom for SEO, but appearing higher in search engine results pages and therefore earning more Web traffic should be a major goal of every business. The gains are potentially huge, because every visitor that you gain comes at the expense of your rivals. In this post, we will talk about why in 2016 it is more important than ever to snag those top spots.

The 3-Pack

Up until late 2015, Google presented seven suggestions for local businesses if a query was tied to a local search keyword. Those businesses appeared in a special panel at the top of the search page called the snack pack, or the stack. However, a sudden update to Google’s algorithm reduced the number from 7 to just 3. Now there is intense competition to be one of the lucky three businesses to appear for a given search. Those three are also the first page of results for mobile users, so the spots are doubly important. If your design isn’t good enough to crack the top 3, you stand to lose a lot of traffic.

More Mobile

Mobile browsing is growing rapidly. In 2015, more people used a mobile device to browse the Internet than any other device. But the small screen size for mobile devices presents web designers with many unique challenges. For example, designers need to ensure that any images they use will still look good on a small smartphone. That is far from easy. Google’s “mobile responsiveness” standard is a benchmark for whether your site can adapt itself well to mobile users. If your site meets the standard, then you stand to retain many more visitors to the mobile version of your pages. Furthermore, sites that are responsive get pushed ahead of sites that are not. So you can pick up a lot of free traffic if you have responsive design. You also reduce your bounce rate because the design is easier for mobile users to process. It takes time and effort to make your site responsive, but the gains are big enough to make it worthwhile.

The Economy Is Improving

This is a macro trend that will make 2016 a more competitive year for all businesses. The unemployment rate is shrinking, people are buying again, and the economy as a whole is stronger than it has been in years past. That means there will be more businesses competing for the attention of the American public. If you want to stand out from the crowd, then you need strong SEO and excellent web design. Now more than ever, if someone gets to your site and it is not appealing, they will leave for a competing site. And with more people looking to buy goods and services, there is more traffic at stake in the SEO game. So you stand to gain even more by getting a higher rank on SERPs now than you did even last year.

The bottom line is that 2016 is a critical year for SEO. The growing importance of local, mobile, and organic connections affect everyone. Without a real effort, it is not easy to get and maintain a top position. Now is the time to start getting involved in heavy SEO so that you are well-prepared for the future of online marketing.