Read about trends from the first half of 2016 and predictions for the rest of the year in search, by downloading The B3 View below.

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• Blogger penalties
• Penguin
• Single page applications
• Monetisation of local
• Analytics 360
• Google core update
• Is Google becoming ‘soft’?

Ranking factors and signals

• The link-building magic formula
• Page speed
• HTTPS as a ranking factor
• Importance of technical SEO
• Continue building on your brand
• Satisfy user intent
• Designing to rank
• UX, micro moments and SEO


• Mobile first
• App optimisation
• Approach
• Agility
• Multi-platform
• Optimising customer experience

Executive summary

Search marketing is one of the most dynamic industries in the world, largely driven by changes in user behaviour and new technology. With nearly 90% market share in the UK and over 70% globally, Google is where most search marketers look to shape their strategy.

With this in mind, no search agency can afford to neglect investment in research and training. At Branded3 we empower every member of the team to become experts in their specialist area through investment in training, insights, and providing a platform to share their expertise. This investment, coupled with an ambitious team, means we are often in a position to take the lead on key industry updates.

The search landscape has never been as complex as it is today. Less than five years ago, your search performance hinged on a few ranking factors; in 2016, the considerations are much broader and multiple disciplines are required to achieve results.

Ultimately, Google is looking to provide users with information that is more localised, personalised, and easier to access. Keywords arguably still provide relevance, but understanding how users interact with your website is what Google really want to achieve; being the best result is not a matter of keywords, it’s a matter of value. A user may well use the search query ‘credit cards’ but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to apply for one; answering the indirect intention is the element that provides added value.

Of course, it isn’t simply a question of being the best answer, it’s also a question of trust – onsite or offsite ‘trust’ does and will continue to play a key role in your search performance. Links and citations from trusted websites, brand search volume, click-through rates, and manual reviews are just a handful of signals that we believe Google is using to establish trust. Search agencies cannot influence this alone and, therefore, working collaboratively is going to be integral to maximising performance.

As ever, there is usually a dark cloud hanging over the industry. In 2016, it is the agonising wait for Penguin to roll out. Penguin is Google’s link spam algorithm, designed specifically to eliminate value passed through paid or manipulated links.

It hasn’t updated since 2014, and businesses with short memories have long forgotten the devastating impact it had when first rolled out in 2012. The temptation of ‘quick wins’ is too strong and many are returning to link spam and paid links to boost performance in the short term. We’re confident that Penguin is on the horizon and we’re forecasting a significant impact across the search landscape, forcing businesses to focus on adding value and developing trust.

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