Search engine optimization is a constantly evolving practice, and SEO trends change quite frequently. This is due to changes with search engines, their algorithms, and the landscape of SEO competition in pretty much all niches.
And if you really want to derive real business value from your website, you simply MUST stay on top of the latest trends in search engine optimization. In fact, you stand to benefit most by taking a proactive approach.
So with such great importance, what trends and strategies should you be looking ahead to in 2022? This post aims to help you get focused on the prize, so you can hit the ground running in the new year.
2022 SEO Trends: What Strategies Will Work?
A high-quality SEO strategy should significantly increase your website’s organic traffic over time. But you can’t just do the same thing every year without adjusting to the latest SEO trends. Let’s look at what the landscape of SEO trends looks like for the coming year.
#1 Move On From Old Link Building Methods
Contrary to some opinions in the digital marketing space, link building remains alive and well. In fact, it can make a huge difference between success and failure, particularly for more competitive search terms and topics.
But the old way of begging, borrowing, and/or stealing links anywhere you could get one are long over. You won’t succeed just because you have a high volume of links.
They have to be the right links. Aim for higher authority websites, especially those that align well with Google’s E-A-T priorities. One of these links will help grow your authority more than dozens of tiny domains that lack relevance and authority of their own.
Of course, there’s still a place for smaller authority links. But that should not be the priority. It should be complementary to building stronger links as your foundation.
#2 Write For Humans, Not Machines
In the past, we saw a lot of content generation focused strictly on feeding the search engines. It’s no longer practical to take this approach to copywriting.
The algorithms now employ machine learning / artificial intelligence to determine which content is of the highest quality. In 2022, this AI is getting more sophisticated, even including things like your visitors’ feedback report data.
Write your content for people first. This content may be more challenging to ideate and execute, but it will resonate far better with visitors.
You may find it very difficult to create good customer-centric content. In that situation, consider getting help from external resources. You can shop for the right resources in many places.
Whatever path you choose, always avoid keyword stuffing in your content. This has been an important change ever since Google Panda hit about a decade ago, and it’s even more relevant with the latest algorithms.
So to write better content for the readers, always follow some of the common rules for writing internet content:
- Make it easy-to-read
- Split it up into many short paragraphs
- Break it up with subheaders so visitors can scroll through it first (which they want to do before reading)
- Structure it well, both visually and logically
- Be sure the design also helps make it more readable, including fonts, color choices, and the overall user experience
Be sure your copy answers the most important questions visitors may have and keeps them engaged. This way, the search engines will see your website as a good source to put in front of potential visitors on the SERPs.
#3 Aim For Higher Word Counts
Long form content is more effective than short materials, when it comes to generating consistent traffic. Studies have found that higher word counts generate three times the traffic of medium-length content.
Not only will this increase overall visits / views of the content, but it will also enhance engagement metrics such as time on page. This is one of the metrics Google uses to understand how engaging your copy is, which in turn impacts your organic rankings.
#4 Embrace Voice Search
Voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa have long been popular on mobile devices. According to a market study by eMarketer, 33% of the population uses voice assistants in their daily lives.
To improve SEO in this specific search area, focus on optimizing content to respond to voice requests, and select keywords accordingly.
#5 Employ Video Content for SEO Benefit
According to Statista, 27% of people spend at least 10 hours per week watching videos, 15% spend 7-10 hours, and 18% spend between 4-and-7 hours.
If you want to use video content for SEO purposes, you’ll need to identify both primary and secondary keywords. Or even better, semantic clusters of keywords surrounding your intended topic.
This is due to the AI driven indexing and ranking within Google’s algorithm, which digs into context and attempts to match SERPs to the user’s intent with the search. The more well-rounded keyword list you can integrate, the more likely Google will place you in front of more potential viewers.
#6 Go Mobile
If you want your website to perform well organically, you have no choice but to ensure it is as mobile-friendly as possible.
What does this mean? You have to take additional steps, specifically:
- Choose a template or design that will make mobile access and navigation easier
- Ensure that your theme or design is fully mobile-responsive, i.e. it will resize to any screen resolution including smartphones and tablets
- Provide a download and installation app for iOS and Android
- Pre-test content for mobile devices through Google
#7 Focus On Google E-A-T
When searching on Google, the service always indicates that the quality of the content is of utmost importance. The main factors determining the level of quality of content include:
They are abbreviated as Google E-A-T. E-A-T influences your ability to rank organically.
Why? Google’s main revenue stream is PPC, and they absolutely MUST optimize the search experience to keep people using Google and seeing ads.
One way to exhibit all three of these items is to cite relevant and official sources in your content. Don’t err on the side of carelessness – be absolutely sure you are linking to content that adds value to your own material. Otherwise, Google may see it as Black or Gray Hat SEO tactics.
#8 Optimize for Featured Snippets
This is one of the SEO trends that has really picked up steam in the past few years.
The primary goal of featured snippets is to answer questions as quickly as possible and to improve the search user experience.
Searchers have a much better user experience if they can find the information they want without having to keep trying new searches or poke around a website to find it.
Featured snippets are one of the best features Google offers to help their users. If you optimize for it, you’ll get more views in the SERPs and eventually more organic traffic.
#9 Ensure That Your Website Is Accessible To All
Every day, more people use the Internet, including those with visual impairments or other disabilities. As a result, the key factor will be the use of tools that each user can see and find.
Ensuring universal access to content, services, products, and other resources will not only help improve your website rankings. It will also improve customer service and user satisfaction on your domain.
#10 Optimize All Images
Although previously used strictly for aesthetic purposes, images are now important to both user experience and search engine optimization. They are often the main item that gets clicked when users are shopping or searching for information.
SEO specialists can improve image optimization by using high-quality and relevant images, providing customizable filenames, and generating well optimized Image Alt-Texts.
#11 Ensure Fast Page Load Speeds
With the release of the Google Page Experience Update in June 2021, website performance has increased in importance moving forward. This is particularly true on for mobile rankings and visitors.
Users have become very impatient, especially on mobile platforms. If your website doesn’t load in seven seconds on desktop or four seconds on mobile, you’ll have two problems: Users won’t wait, and Google will stop rewarding you on the SERPs.
So check your Core Web Vitals, fix your website performance, and enjoy the success it will bring you.
#12 Focus On User Experience
Your website’s user experience (UX) is exceptionally important for keeping people engaged on both initial and subsequent visits.
It’s crucial for you to strike a balance between SEO and UX. Get ranked, and then work hard to give users what they want, where they can find it, and when they need it.
Poor UX can hurt your organic performance, but top notch UX will do quite the opposite.
#13 Incorporate Both Customer And Competitive Analysis
If you run a business, you should already know who your target audience is. These are people will may buy from you or refer others to you.
If you don’t know who your target is, you can use competitive analysis to understand what works for others in your industry.
And while you are at it, you can learn everything else they are doing right, like what keywords they optimize for, what channels they like to invest in, and when they put various messages out into the market.
This can help prevent you from wasting marketing dollars on channels that your target clients do not use or interact with frequently. So know your audience, research your competitors, and adjust your strategies to maximize your chances of success in your niche.
Conclusion: Be Ready for These SEO Trends
One constant in digital marketing is that SEO Trends evolve annually. If you want to make the most of it, you have to keep up with what does and doesn’t work in the coming months and years.
So focus on these 13 areas for 2022. In the end, you’ll be happy you did.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.