As 2021 comes to a close, you’ve probably already started to look ahead at how to get the most out of 2022. With your profit goals and marketing strategies in place, you’re poised to make next year your own.
One area you may not have fully considered is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it can improve your business opportunities. This digital marketing practice has come a long way even in the past couple of years, and 2022 looks to only expand its importance. As technology advances and users find new ways to search for local businesses, modern SEO best practices will change to meet them.
When looking at SEO trends for 2022, these exciting changes help to future-proof your digital presence. By following these trends when possible, you can give your website and brand a leg-up over the competition over the next 12 months.
1. Pay Attention to Google Updates
As of 2021, Google is still the most popular search engine, holding 92% of the global market. The majority of people searching for services or answers to their questions are using Google. Therefore, when Google makes an update, business owners and digital marketers should pay attention.
Google makes regular updates, some known and others behind the scenes, but they always affect search visibility on the most popular search platform. Their big focus in 2022 seems to be algorithm-based technology designed to help users find exactly what they’re looking for with fewer steps.
- Google Desktop Page Experience Update 2022: In 2021, Google launched a mobile page experience update that further prioritized a web page’s mobile responsiveness. In February 2022, Google will begin to roll out the desktop version of this update, completing this process by March 2022. This update is designed to highlight pages that have “great” user and page experiences.
- MUM or Multitask United Model: This model analyzes multiple blogs, videos and images to answer complex queries. By tapping into the different contexts and intentions from a search query, Google search results can answer your questions faster. This also plays in voice search capabilities, which is another trend to keep an eye out for in 2022.
- Shopping Graph: This is an improved version of Google’s online shopping functionality. It’s designed to incorporate data from multiple websites, loyalty programs and sale information all from a single search result. By incorporating a user’s existing linked accounts, Google can keep them on their platform longer and help them easily access the items they want.
2. Pushing for AI Influenced Marketing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a popular method of improving search algorithms and user engagement.
By relying on machine learning, companies like Google and Facebook can quickly improve search results with less time spent monitoring results and more time creating curated experiences. And as this technology continues to improve, search results will become more sophisticated.
Google has been using AI and machine learning to help improve its search engine results through RankBrain. By paying attention to factors like click-through rate (CTR) and time spent on a page, an AI can determine if a website is popular and engaging for users, thus determining if it should rise in the rankings.
AI is also being adopted by marketers to help create a larger quantity of content in a shorter amount of time. With advancements in tech, some AI bots can create entire blog posts or service pages with a few prompts and directions.
Of course, the content isn’t quality enough to be published without review. For now, AI is best used as a tool to get your mind thinking rather than a way to shirk responsibilities.
3. If You Ain’t Mobile-Friendly, You’re Last
As Google continues to update its algorithm and prioritize new ranking factors, its continued focus has been on mobile friendliness. This isn’t surprising, as mobile devices account for 63% of all Google searches, while 90% of global internet users used a mobile device in 2020.
If you haven’t already made your website responsive or your services easy to access on a smartphone, then you’re already behind. Your goal for 2022 is to make your digital presence ideal for mobile users.
- Making a responsive website that can easily be navigated on smaller screen sizes.
- Creating short-form content, like videos and social media posts, that don’t waste a user’s time.
- Assisting users by making it easy to access your content no matter where or how they search for your website.
Along with Google’s Mobile-Indexing prioritization, mobile-friendly content is the name of the game in the coming year. It’s best for your business to hop on this trend before it leaves you behind.
4. EAT Better with Quality Content
While algorithms are adjusted and popular trends change, one SEO ranking factor is still important in 2022: quality content. Google’s updates are working towards continuing to reward websites that produce quality content. The issue some have run into is how to create content that Google considers “Quality”.
According to Google’s Search Quality Guidelines, every high-quality page needs EAT. This stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
- Expertise: Your content should show that you are very knowledgeable in the subject you’re writing about. That doesn’t mean you stuff a page with jargon and technical terms. Expertise is more than simple experience, it’s also the ability to explain it to the layman while keeping them engaged. The idea is to write content that answers questions your audience is looking for with well-written content that is easy to understand.
- Authoritativeness: To be an authority on a topic means that you are a trusted source within your industry, that many reliable brands or publications cite you as a source. This attribute can be achieved by having links to your website on relevant and authoritative websites, mentions of your business or name on those websites or having your content widely shared on social media.
- Trustworthiness: Google wants to promote websites and businesses that the average user enjoys working with. If your business gains a bad reputation, through poor ratings and negative written reviews, your rankings could be severly negatively affected. Make sure to respond to all reviews, even negative ones, to try and resolve any concerns. Make it easy for users to contact you or visit your physical location if possible. Ensure that your website is secure with HTTPS, ReCaptcha on contact forms and safe transactions. Lastly, make sure to cite your sources where applicable.
5. “Hey, Google? How Important is Voice Searching?”
The answer? Very important for 2022 and the near future of digital marketing.
Thanks to modern voice-focused technology, like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, voice searches have become increasingly popular. According to a study from Bright Local in 2018, “76% of smart speaker users perform local searches at least weekly—with 53% searching using these devices every day.”
For small businesses, 2022 is the year to begin making content geared towards voice searches. This means creating more conversational content that answers questions using more casual vocabulary and sentence structures.
While you shouldn’t abandon long-form content, as the past few points have shown, you can start by creating a dedicated FAQ page. Use this as an opportunity to directly answer questions with sentences and phrases you often hear from clients.
It’s also not a bad idea to check places like Quora or social media to study how average users frame questions. By creating exact sentences that users are searching for, your answers are more likely to show up in future searches.
Keep Your Business On the Cutting Edge in 2022
SEO trends are just that: trends. They can help improve your digital presence when you jump on them early. But they’re only effective when used in conjunction with tried and true digital marketing fundamentals.
Keep a close eye on any updates or trends that arise during the next year, as they could potentially make a huge difference in your search engine visibility.
Make consistent updates on your site and social media channels using high-quality content that your users are actively searching for.
And never stop learning new tricks or practices in the marketing space. The most successful businesses are always improving and trying something new.
For small businesses in Richmond, VA looking to boost their search engine visibility in 2022, it’s best to start now with a dedicated SEO maintenance plan from Key Web Concepts. You’ll work with experienced SEO specialists who use these new and traditional methods to give your website a fighting chance.
Check out our SEO plans and see how you can reach more clients in 2022.