It’s no secret that if you want your website to stand out against millions of others, you need to have strong, solid SEO practices in place.
Good use of SEO will not only make your brand stand out, it will also enhance your reputation by strengthening its visibility and accessibility among consumers. And ultimately, of course, lead to more business.
Staying on top of Google updates and action changes accordingly, can seem quite an uphill struggle, we know, but these changes pretty much always affect SEO and how it should be implemented. Just one update from Google can change the whole strategy.
The key is to keep creating content that follows specific SEO best practices which serve the growing needs of the ranking algorithm/s.
It is also imperative to watch out for upcoming trends to make sure that your ranking doesn’t start slipping.
‘Trending techniques’ can also illuminate other ways you can proactively improve your website, making it more creative and work harder for you and your customers.
Here are some of the key trends to look out for in 2022:
Machine Learning will have a greater impact on SEO
Have you heard of RankBrain? It is a component of Google’s core algorithm using machine learning to determine what might have been the users’ intent in searching for a specific key word, to serve the most relevant results.
According to Google it is one of the three most important factors in determining rankings and has been improving user experience since 2015.
It is a very interesting algorithm because the words and phrases it may not know it will learn. RankBrain is also able to determine how those expressions are used specifically in each location and language.
Since 2017 Google algorithm updates are becoming increasingly less transparent, and exactly how to respond to these types of ranking factors is unclear. However, it has been reported that click through rates and the page view time will help shape how this algorithm prioritizes content.
User experience is definitely key and your best rule of thumb is to anticipate your visitors’ intent yourself, and match your strategy to the queries and visitors you most want to attract.
Engagement will be key in captivating audiences so make content the number one priority. Content needs to be well organised, creative, useful, and relevant to the consumer to keep them focussed.
Voice searches will increase
Voice activated technology has been huge over the last few years. Innovations such as Google Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Amazon's Alexa have come a long way and are now, for some, the main way they search the internet. Google now reports that 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile.
Users range from the tech savvy, to the extremely busy as well as the elderly: for them voice search is enabling access to information and technology they otherwise wouldn’t be able to use.
This type of search has become increasingly popular and is constantly improving. According to Cobuild Lab the percentage of households owning a smart speaker by 2022 is estimated to be 55%.
To help voice activated search assistants find your business, first, think about how you would ask Alexa for a restaurant recommendation. You wouldn’t say “Italian restaurant Madrid,” you’d be more likely to say, “Find me the most popular Italian restaurant in Madrid.”
Humans are more likely to use complex search terms and use keywords and longer phrases when voicing a query, so your content should match this too.
Reinforce Mobile Platforms
It’s estimated that today more than 80% of internet users are surfing the web on mobile devices and that by 2025 nearly 75% of internet users will only access the internet on mobile phones. Further proof of this is that Google is already using the mobile version of the content for ranking in the main.
And it is not only the B2C search journey that is impacted: B2B solution researchers are also using mobile devices throughout the entire path.
Your desktop page ranking high sadly doesn’t guarantee high mobile SERP rankings: according to SEMRush, only 17% of websites retained their SERP desktop positions on mobile Search Engine Result Pages.
As discussed before, user experience is at the heart of mobile search rankings too.
Ensure that edits are made in mobile view so that they are completely user friendly on a phone. If you don’t, you risk alienating your audience who will search for a competitor who does it better.
Keep in mind that user journeys move across devices: enabling visitors to switch between a laptop and their mobile by letting them save shopping carts, for example, will increase user satisfaction and over time, rankings too.
MUM’s the word
The MUM (multitask uniform model ) Algorithm is Google's latest major update to the search algorithm. It is an AI-based technology and will eventually facilitate Google’s ambition to be able to answer search queries in the way an expert would.
MUM is trained in 75 different languages so it can help break down language barriers by transferring knowledge between them and getting you search results from languages different from the one you typed in.
The algorithm is also able to interpret many different formats, including podcasts, videos, and images across multiple languages to meet modern search demands. Pretty cool and pretty global.
There is no one simple way to optimise for MUM. Providing great user experience, keeping your users in mind when creating content and structures is all part of it.
So is being more strategic about all content formats marketers deploy. Whether it is a podcast or a white paper or a LinkedIn post, the more cohesive and on “SEO brand” your overall content is, the better your position.
Meet Google’s EAT principle
The EAT principle stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. The best way to explain this is that it’s an important one to watch on YMYL – your money or your life – websites. The EAT model is a straightforward and uncomplicated ranking factor in SEO for these niche websites.
Memprize.com explains: “In concrete terms, this means: the more trust a website inspires on Google, the greater the chances of ranking well in the SERPs, according to business pally magazine.”
It’s important to note that EAT is not an algorithm; it is a concept in Google's Search Quality Guidelines.
Google uses these three criteria to evaluate the quality of those pages and this quality then determines where that web page will show up in results pages.
So, it pays, quite literally when your website depends on commerce, to ensure the overall quality of your webpage is up to scratch.
Content that works harder
Overall, this year your business is going to need to work harder on content. It needs to stand out from the crowd, grab your audience and make it stay.
Well researched, well thought-out, and well written content is going to be important for ensuring you are found and rank well. Understanding your audience and creating enjoyable user experiences trump one off tactics and create long term results.
Images and videos capture people’s imagination and attention and do the work of written text better. When you are using written content, make sure it has more wow factor than any of your competitors.
And make sure that all of this is gift-wrapped with a bow for mobile users. Good luck!