SEO Trends for 2022: Where do we start?

06 February 2022

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The digital landscape is always evolving, and as it does, it increases its offering to marketing departments across a variety of industries. With the constant need for change, marketers need to be flexible and agile with their planning. SEO, for example, has taken many steps forward with the acceleration of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and voice assistants. As mobile devices also advance their UX to keep up with demand, SEO now has a central role in marketing strategies for all businesses.

The pace of technology will only speed up, which comes with both advantages and disadvantages for marketeers. To keep up, businesses need to retain their content rankings, and to do this, marketers have to be utilising the latest in SEO trends.

Voice search

Voice search has quickly become a critical element in SEO, with more than 43% of online consumers making purchases through voice-enabled devices and around 60% of shoppers using it to find local businesses. As its popularity soars, voice-enabled device sales has surpassed that of tablets in 2021.

The need to optimise a brand’s online presence to be compatible with voice search is now more crucial than ever before, and while it is still considered an emerging trend, it is no secret that it fuels SEO and has transformed the way people use the internet. There has been a rise in demand for incorporating voice search into websites, withcontent marketers and SEO professionals having to devise several methods to accommodate it, starting from how the content is created and the way we speak. The trend is becoming more popular because voice searches are easier for longer queries, with most typed searches typically coming in at around six words.

Internet users are seeking particular answers when they use a voice search command, with precise or definite long-tail keywords giving users the most accurate answers to their queries. This trend is showing no signs of slowing down, so how can content be optimised for voice search? Tips include making content conversational, being concise, opting for longer content with long-tail keywords, making sure data is updated frequently and adding an FAQs page to websites.

According to Google, FAQs account for 2.68% of voice search results, with most voice searchers using ‘who, what, when, why or how’ in their questions. With this in mind, a well thought out strategy should include FAQ content that can tackle such voice queries within your niche.

The E-A-T concept

Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T), are an essential part of any SEO strategy, with Google using these three elements to gage your website’s credibility when it comes to providing users with the best online experience and information that is authentic and trustworthy.

E-A-T is a vital part of Google algorithms, with the search engine only intending to support websites it deems reliable. Google search is continually working to upgrade its performance, and by using the EAT concept it is optimistic that it will be able to get better at determining credible websites. EAT is not a direct ranking factor, but brands can boost their expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness through well researched and valuable content, accurate data, updating old content, inserting inbound hyperlinks and displaying positive customer reviews.

Featured snippets gain provenance

Featured snippets are excerpts of text that appear at the top of search results. These snippets are automatically taken from pages in Google’s index to provide quick answers to users’ search terms.

Google search results that appear with numbered or bulleted responses above the link to the website are featured snippets. Their purpose is to answer users’ queries with a short sentence or paragraph and can help content appear more prominently in searches. These snippets bypass links to Google’s page one ranking and more importantly, they take organic traffic from competitors on the first page of results and ensure your website continues gaining prominence. To formulate snippets, evaluate question-focused queries and pertinent keywords.

Videos and images

By 2022, 82% of the global internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads, making it necessary to incorporate informative and entertaining video content into your SEO strategy. Videos improve the average time users spend on websites, which helps maintain higher search rankings, but more importantly is expected by site visitors. 54% of people want to see more video content from brands, so to utilise videos for better website SEO, embed video content for better visibility, create a YouTube channel and use it to look for popular niche keywords that answer audience queries in your niche.

Visual image search protocol has also progressed, with clearly labelled and optimised images putting brands in the best possible position. With 90.86% of global traffic coming from Google Search, Google Images and Google Maps, using keyword-rich and relevant alt tags and titles on all images is a small but significant way to improve SEO.

Core web vitals

Google has recently introduced Core Web Vitals as ranking criteria, with page experience metrics now imperative. Without this, brands risk falling behind their rivals. A site’s effect on the user experience is important, so it is vital to consider the responsiveness of pages, compatibility with mobile devices and safety and security of the connection during browsing.

Also, considering that Google declared page experience and Core Web Vitals as ranking factors, brands need to monitor metrics closely so they appear in searches. Reducing JavaScript (JS) execution, applying lazy loading, compressing and optimising images, enhancing server response times and working on improving largest contentful paint (LCP) scores, first input delay (FID) score and cumulative layout shift (CLS) scores are all ways to improve this.

The online world is constantly progressing and with this change comes innovation. Brands need to be able to not only create brilliant content but also have a successful online presence. By deploying advanced SEO techniques that satisfy search engine frameworks, users can convince Google that this is what your target audience is looking for. Only then will you be able to sustain and drive meaningful results and become real competition to others in the industry.

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