The new year is a time for change and improvement, and this applies to your website too.
Search engines are getting smarter all the time, and these days SEO is interconnected with many other areas of marketing. Keeping on top of your search rankings should be an ongoing job if you want your brand to stay on top and appear credible. It’s a wise investment too – organic search delivers way more clicks than paid advertisements!
So, make yourself comfortable and take a read through our guide to what sort of SEO strategies you should be thinking about in 2022.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Just like in other industries, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making an impact on SEO. Google uses AI to provide searchers with the information they are looking for!
One of the most important ranking factors for Google’s SERP (search engine results page) in 2022 will be its AI algorithm RankBrain. They haven’t shared exactly how RankBrain learns and analyses content yet, but experts believe that user experience is one of the main factors. Click-through rates and how long visitors spend on your website will likely be used to prioritise what content gets shown.
This means that it’s even more important to create content that’s useful, engaging and structured in a way that keeps people on your site!
2. Long-form content is crucial
In 2022, we’re going to see even more importance given to long form content.
Think longer thought pieces, blog posts and in-depth articles or guides that offer real value to your customers.
Written content like this can sometimes be overshadowed by other more visually engaging content like graphics or video, and while these are still important, written content has some key advantages.
Google can crawl and index written content, helping it understand the context of your website and decide where to rank it! And unlike short-form content, long-form content can target keywords across an entire topic, expanding your chances of ranking higher and reaching audiences.
Although the days of simply dropping keywords into content and hoping it ranks highly are gone, keyword research is still hugely important and should be incorporated into the writing process.
Another benefit of creating longer pieces of quality content is that it can keep driving traffic to your website over time, particularly if you keep it updated. If it’s really useful, other sites might refer back to it; link building is an important factor in page ranking.
TIP: When crafting long-form content make sure to structure it so that it’s readable and easily scanned by using clear headings, subheadings, number lists and short paragraphs. Not only will this benefit your SEO efforts, but it will add value to your website as a whole!
3. The importance of mobile will grow even more
Most of us use our mobile devices for everything these days and it’s estimated that almost 73% of internet users will browse exclusively through them by 2025.
A mobile-friendly website has been a ranking factor since 2015, then in 2019 Google rolled out a mobile-first ranking factor, cementing its importance. This means that the search engine will look at the mobile version of your website when ranking content first – mobile comes before desktop as the primary version!
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure how your mobile site performs, because Google has made it easy to check with their free mobile-friendly test. You can use Google’s Mobile Usability Report to find out if there are any issues that you might need to fix to help your SEO.
Optimising your website content for mobile is a smart move for both your SEO and for helping users make their way to check out!
4. Google’s EAT Principle
For the last few years, Google has been letting us know that they value content that is beneficial above all else. The ‘EAT principal algorithm update in 2019 shone a light on this – standing for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.
Google wants to be certain that they are only recommending sites that contain high-quality information. And if your business falls under the umbrella label of happiness, health, or wealth then E-A-T is vital for you to understand.
Medical journals, journalistic articles and financial advice are key priorities for EAT, but so are sites that require expertise in general. Even sites about hobbies, like photography, parenting and painting are affected.
Google measures the ‘EAT’ quality of a website with their human rating team. These people monitor searches all day long and evaluate websites that top the Google results for those searches. There are about 10,000 people employed by Google to carry out these spot-checks, a process which is designed to check up on the ranking algorithms effectiveness in recognising web page quality.
As well as making sure that the information on your website is top quality, Google also looks at the expertise of the author. If you have authors write content for you, you can emphasise this by adding links to their profiles elsewhere online and using author schema markup, i.e. structured data that tells Google all about the author, making it easier to connect the author with any other authority signals.
5. Video gets more important
It’s no surprise that video content will continue to be an important digital marketing tool in 2022. Over 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube each day.
To make your videos work towards better SEO, you need to optimise them so that Google can find them! Give them an appropriate name and make sure to use the keywords you want to rank for in the description.
6. Voice searches need to be considered
Nearly every household has at least one device that uses voice search these days!
Whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant, the technology behind voice search has come a long way in recent years and is a real presence in everyday life.
People tend to abbreviate when they type into a search engine, but voice search works best with longer phrases. To improve your chances of being found with voice searches, focus on keywords and longer phrases.
7. Semantically related keywords
One of the things that most people know about SEO is the importance of keywords, but as mentioned above, long gone are the days of stuffing them into your content! Google’s algorithms are intelligent and will actually penalise you for these.
Instead, it analyses the content of search queries and tries to understand the user’s intentions. Known as ‘semantic’ search technology, it tries to determine what users mean when they type in a certain keyword.
This means that the more relevant the information you share is, the better. You should use both primary and secondary keywords, along with related phrases to expand the context of your content.
8. Social Listening and SEO
Of course, social media has many business benefits, but did you know it also affects your SEO?
Social listening is going to be increasingly important in 2022.
This is the process of monitoring your business’s social media handles, tracing customer feedback and looking for direct mentions of your brand. It also includes monitoring discussions on specific topics and keywords, along with keeping an eye on competitors! All of this can help you gain useful insights.
Why do this?
Well, although direct page links are still important in SEO, online mentions are becoming important too, showing trust and credibility.
Google’s patent for their “Panda” algorithm mentions that links taken into account when it comes to search engine rankings include both “express links” (hyperlinks) and “implied links”. It goes on to describe an “implied link” as “a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource”.
Google Alerts is a great free monitoring tool that you can customise to fit your needs but there are loads of other options available too.
9. Page Experience rules
In August 2021, Google Finalised its new Page Experience algorithm.
The page experience update rates your website based on some key ‘signals’ that make a better browsing experience for users. Google assesses each of the signals and gives your website an overall ‘page experience’ score.
Things like page speed, mobile usability and security issues are just some of the factors assessed to give your website an overall ‘score’.
As part of this update, they also introduced a new set of metrics called Core Web Vitals (CWV) that relate to how your website loads and how stable it is.
You can view your website’s score in the new page experience report in your Google Search Console.
If you’ve read all this and feel like your head is going to explode, don’t worry! SEO is a complex, ongoing process that is constantly evolving. If you’d like some expert help in breaking it down and working out the best strategy for your business in 2022, get in touch!