Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a crucial part of any business’s digital marketing strategy. Effective organic search is a cost-efficient, long-term means of delivering increased ranking, share of voice, visibility and for driving relevant traffic volume over the medium and long term.
However, SEO is far from a static discipline. It is fluid and ever-changing; so, understanding the implications of algorithm updates as they happen and the potential impact of and trends in SEO in your market is to maintain and evolve your website performance and the results it achieves.
As SEO evolves, techniques to leverage it also evolve. Those techniques that worked five or even two years ago may be far less effective today and their lifecycle is only getting shorter as the speed at which the digital world is moving increases. With that in mind, it is imperative to stay on top of how SEO is changing so that you can adjust your strategy to keep pace.
This article explores the 5 key SEO trends we foresee for 2022, and how they could be incorporated into your SEO strategy for best results.
1. Long-Form Content
There has been a big shift from short-form content to long-form content over recent years. Long-form content is 3,000 words or more in length, that will captivate and engage the readers who visit your website.
Focusing on effective long form content in your content strategy will help increase your search rankings within search results. Although long-form content is not listed as a ranking factor, having in-depth, informative, key-word specific content pieces on subjects that are relevant to your business, will help increase your online visibility and reach your target consumers.
By understanding your users' search intent you can craft your content to be either informative, commercial, transactional, or navigational to align with the stage of the buyer’s journey you are targeting. Implementing long-form content with the correct search intent will increase your rankings because search engines will understand that this is the type of content users are searching for (from their search entries) and want to be presented with.
It is important to ensure that the content is of a high quality, concise, well-structured and is relevant to the query and key terms your users are searching. Creating content that is up-to-date, relevant, original, and in-depth on keywords that your audience is searching for will help search engines rank it accurately and so will boost ranking and drive higher volumes of visitors to your site.
There is an art to developing a content strategy, but when it comes to long-form content, we recommend you think in terms of content clusters, i.e., groups of related articles that spoke off a pillar piece or main topic article. Not only does this give you a structure by which to cover a topic properly in depth as well as by specific area, it also helps develop a useful means of engagement and adds to your user journeys.
2. Voice Search
Voice search is booming, in the consumer market especially. Its growth is synonymous with the rising technologies that support it, such as Google Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Amazon's Alexa. These smart AI systems can be asked to search the internet with a spoken search query, negating the need for a handheld device and making search as easy as simply asking a question out loud.
What we are finding with this relatively emergent channel, is that voice search results are improved when longer phrase searches are used as opposed to using abbreviated keywords that would typically be used when typing a search.
As a result, marketers now must consider the optimisation of their content for both traditional and voice search. Simply ignoring voice search optimisation is not an option! We anticipate voice search being one of the hottest SEO trends for 2022 that will continue to grow in popularity as users become ever more comfortable with the technology and the technology itself continues to evolve. The benefits of optimising for voice search include access to a wider market, expanding options for delivering effective results across search, shopping and image results (to name just a few), as well as the potential for generating higher rankings, revenue, and domain authority as a result of providing relevant, effective content on demand for this developing audience sector.
Voice search requires the creation of content that is optimised towards question-based keywords, long-tail keywords, and conversational content and we strongly believe this will be a key feature of content marketing and optimisation this year. To ensure your content is aligned with voice as well as traditional search, we recommend extending keyword research to incorporate both voice and traditional style key terms as well as considering your content style and adapting to embrace conversational content, here’s a bit more about those ideas.
As voice search becomes more common, users are beginning to prefer to speak search tasks instead of typing a question into a search engine, especially during free/leisure time. This is because users can ask their questions in a natural manner, as they occur to them, without stopping to find a device to search on. The key issue for marketers is that when a user asks a question, the search engine will only give one answer rather than displaying a list of search result, so if you aren’t at the top of the results, you aren’t anywhere!
Making sure your voice optimised content emphasises words such as 'who', 'why', 'where', 'what', and 'how' will help your efforts to be the top answer that users are presented with, when using voice search.
Optimising towards long-tail keywords in your content will increase your visibility to users using voice search. Currently, the competition for long-tail keywords is somewhat low, as focus is on shorter, more concise keywords more often associated with typed search. So, early adopters who proactively make voice search SEO part of their strategy for 2022 are likely to make good progress. Looking forward we anticipate it being easier to rank for these more specific and detailed key terms in the short to medium term, while the market catches up.
Users typically interact with their smart devices as though they are with another human being, and so voice search queries aren't as specific as the searches that would normally be typed into a search engine. For further optimisation for voice search we think developing content in a conversational manner will be a useful way to build rank for voice searched key terms. Moving away from the formal structure and tone often used for website content, towards a simple, to-the-point, compelling story tyle, which offers solutions to a user’s query, may well be a positive step in ranking better for voice search.
However, marketer beware, it is necessary to balance the needs of all your users, not just the different search functions. So, whether they are reading your content via desktop or mobile, voice searching for terms you want to rank for or using traditional search, your content also has to meet the needs of the user and answer their questions with relevant conversion opportunities, regardless of the route via which they find you.
3. Video Content
The consensus amongst market leaders suggests that video has yet to reach its zenith as a digital marketing tool, and we anticipate it expanding still further in popularity in 2022 and beyond. We see video as a vital component in any digital marketing strategy, be it B2B, B2C, SaaS, eCommerce, or any other business type. While a huge percentage of businesses have been using video as part of their social media strategy to engage with customers and expand their reach for some time, they have not typically taken it a step further and integrated their video investment with their SEO strategy. We are working with our clients to take a strategic, SEO oriented approach to video strategy to leverage the benefits of using video to enhance organic search results. If you’d like to talk to us about how to optimise your video content for SEO, we’d be delighted to discuss it with you. We have in-house videography and SEO specialist teams who work together to develop SEO optimised video strategies that deliver, why not get in touch to find out how we can help you make more of your video content.
When defining your 2022 SEO strategy, consider taking a video-first approach when creating content. Search engines are making video a key indicator for SEO moving forward. Not only does video content increase ranking and click-through rate, but it also has been found to significantly boost sales, by presenting relevant content to consumers at the right time and in an accessible way which answers their questions and allays concerns.
One of the key elements that video brings to a website is the ability to show up in featured snippets on search engine results pages. Obtaining a featured snippet on Google increases the chances of users going through to your website, and substantially highlights your content within the search engine results page.
4. Mobile First
It isn’t news that it is imperative to ensure that your website is mobile friendly, and that search engines prioritise websites which are optimised for mobile devices. However, what may be more newsworthy, is that in July 2022, Google will move to indexing websites which are only mobile-friendly. Over the last five years, search engines have been moving towards indexing websites which have taken the mobile-first strategy onboard, and this planned shift in July of this year will make mobile-first more important than ever. Sites that aren’t prioritising mobile-first, may find themselves penalised and see reduced traffic, conversions and possibly lost revenue too as a result.
We’ve already discussed how technology is leading users to change the way they search, but his is not just relevant to voice versus traditional search, it also related to the devices users use for their searches too. In 2021, 54.25% of device based searches were made on mobile devices and that is not a trend that anyone expects to change, particularly in terms of B2C traffic.
To deliver good user experience, not to mention ranking ability, it is a must to make sure your website is mobile-first. If your website is not optimised for mobile, you run the risk of not being indexed in Google rankings, meaning your site is likely to lose visibility, ranking and traffic ultimately reducing online conversions and revenue.
5. Core Web Vitals
Yes, we know. Core Web Vitals (CWV) isn’t new either but we’re clear that it is still going to have significant impact on SEO in 2022. Google’s Page Experience algorithm update last year included CWV, and it is has become a crucial element for consideration in any well-planned SEO strategy. However, our experience shows that a vast percentage of websites still fail Core Web Vitals analysis.
CWV analyses three website performance metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): the amount of time it takes the largest content asset on the page to load.
- First Input Delay (FID): how long it takes for your site to respond to a user’s first interaction with the page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): how many unexpected layout shifts occur during the lifespan of the page.
Similar to mobile-first, Core Web Vitals assess your website’s user experience using the three different measurement elements outlined above. Failing to meet Google’s CWV standards means that search engines are likely to penalise sites that don’t meet the standards. We see this as a key, ongoing, issue in 2022 and one that could have significant ramifications for a lot of websites. Ensuring addressing CWV in your 2022 SEO strategy has got to be top of the list in order to avoid losing hard won position in SERPs.
Planning Your SEO Strategy For 2022
While we foresee a variety of SEO themes trending on SEO, it is still vital to make sure that your organic search strategy is based on solid, comprehensive and cohesive SEO. Ensuring that you not only accommodate new ideas and changes in the SEO landscape, but also the tried, tested and reliable standards that give successful websites the visibility and engagement they need to deliver on revenue objectives year on year is key to SEO success in 2022.
See How Innovation Visual Can help
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help navigate these key SEO issues in 2022 and transform your organic search results to take you to new levels in your online space, get in touch today or call us on 0333 772 0509, we’d love to hear from you.