Page Experience, Core Web Vitals, and Link Spam, oh my!
Those looking for a little peace out of the 2020 chaos have found more of the same in 2021 than the ongoing pandemic and a series of significant Google updates and announcements have kept the SEO industry on our collective teeth.
Now that we’re flipping the page and 2022 is well under way, where should you focus your SEO resources, talent and time?
What SEO trends do you need to keep on your radar to confirm your future strategy?
Miranda Miller, our Managing Editor, joined our search engine host and host of The Search Engine Journal Show, Loren Baker, to chat about the SEO trends that our expert contributors call the most impact for next year.
In the SEO Trends 2022 ebook, you will discover what 44 industry experts think and plan about content quality, search engine optimization, evolving SERP features, smart automation, and more.
Catch Baker and Miller’s commentary on their favorite SEO trends, news on specific Google features and updates, and more in this episode of the Search Engine Journal Show.
Read on to learn the top 10 trends you need to know for 2022 planning from our panel of search marketing experts and get the complete ebook (free download) for more from each expert.
1. User Intent
One of the most talked about topics for 2022? User intent. It’s a trend that is here to stay.
Kristina Azarenko, SEO Consultant & amp; Founder of MarketingSyrup Digital Inc., believes that it’s time for people to finally “stop thinking about ‘SEO content’ and create content for users with intent and keywords in mind.”
Himani Kankaria, founder of Missive Digital, said: “If you take into account the updates as Google overwrites the meta title tags and come up with indented results on SERPs in 2021, it seems that Google is working hard for the right intention behind the Search to identify a user, regardless of the type of query. “
This is where SEO professionals need to focus on bringing a holistic approach to your content strategy by 2022, she said.
“Be it video, blog or web content, it must be planned for the keywords, the intent of the users behind the search and consume, your intention to create behind them, and the stage on which your consumers on the journey of Buyers are, ”Kankaria added. .
Suganthan Mohanadasan, Co-Founder & amp; Technical SEO Lead at Snippet Digital, true.
“Search intent will become increasingly important in 2022,” he said. Understanding search intent is becoming more important than ever, especially with the introduction of Google’s Multitask Unified Model (MUM) update.
“I think we will see more search engineers rethinking their approach to content creation by understanding the search intent more intelligently,” Mohanadasan added, noting that keyword research remains an important cornerstone of organic search strategy.
Nevertheless, we need to be able to look beyond keywords in their raw form and draw meaningful insights from them.
“Understanding the relationship between your keywords and knowing how to target them to achieve search intent is already the key difference between an effective and ineffective search strategy, but by 2022 it will become even more vital,” Mohanadasan said.
Mordy Oberstein, Head of Communications at Semrush, thinks that 2022 will be the year it finally pays to take user intent seriously.
“In 2022, we’ll take it to a new level. I do not mean just divide things by information or transaction intentions, etc. I mean, if you consider everything that the intent takes into account for the different user profiles, the same piece Find content useful, “said Oberstein.
“It’s the ability to adequately empathize with your audience to provide a comprehensive experience that addresses their implicit concerns,” he added.
2. Content Quality
Brodie Clark, SEO Consultant at Brodie Clark Consulting, said marketers need to look at what he calls “the site-wide content quality effect”.
“One aspect that I regularly see for large sites when conducting audits is many pages that are categorized as ‘Discovered, not currently indexed’ in the Google Search Console. Familiarize yourself with this exclusion type in the coverage report in GSC and look at the patterns of Google trying to mark, “said Clark.
“Google has said in the past that you should be sure that published pages (which are indexable) should be fantastic,” he said. “Stick to this as your SEO mantra, and you have a future-proof SEO strategy ready for 2022.”
“Many make short-term SEO efforts mainly to get links and awareness of digital PR, add hundreds of content or just address specific technical SEO fixes,” said Motoko Hunt, President of International Search Marketing Consulting | AJPR.
Hunt explains that these work well for quick profits, they are not long-term solutions.
“This trend has also created so much similar content on the Internet. When you consider the MUM update, it’s important to publish unique content that covers specific topics that are not covered by other websites,” Hunt said.
“Instead of adding hundreds of generic content to the site, it encourages the overall interest of the target audience, organizes these entities according to the theme, and prioritizes them through relevance to business goals,” Hunt added. She advises marketers to focus on information that is unique to others and highlight your specialty in the subject area.
Jesse McDonald, Global SEO Strategist at IBM, shares a similar outlook.
“With recent improvements to Google’s algorithm in the way of BERT and MUM, I think more and more SEO professionals are focusing on the quality of their content and site structure,” McDonald said.
While content has always been a focus of SEO professionals, with these updates, it will be easier to talk about the quality of the content is something that deserves the focus, McDonald added.
Jamie Indigo, Senior Technical SEO Lead at DeepCrawl, said: “To be successful in the post-paradigm, you need to focus on creating content that is factual and useful. The big winners are the sites known for their contributions to their targeted topic.
And Kelsey Jones, senior director of content for Awesome Motives, suggests that marketers stop silencing content and SEO.
“I thought this was not a problem in today’s workforce, but I found that it is rare to find a writer with SEO expertise and vice versa. This signals a great knowledge gap between content and SEO that goes both ways,” he said. Jones.
“Of course, it’s great to specialize, but being a writer without SEO experience or being an SEO pro who does not understand the nuances of content writing can be really detrimental to the performance of your content,” she added. .
Jones advises that if you can not better integrate the roles (e.g. pay more for a writer with SEO experience), it is important to work hard to better integrate the teams so that they are both more involved in the creative process and cross-trained sinn. in all steps.
“It’s also always worth paying for training, books or resources for teams that want to learn SEO or write better,” she said.
3. Localization Of SERPs & SERP Changes
Indigo reminds us that “Misinformation pushes Google to create a fact-oriented SERP. Search results are powerful. Simply seeing an idea that is repeated across page titles in a SERP can reinforce a belief.
“Google is often experimenting with changes to the mobile layout specifically for local purposes,” said Amanda Jordan, Director of Local Search at LOCOMOTIVE Agency, adding that they anticipate further testing and changes in this area, particularly for growth in online shopping. Ratings, trust signals, and brand awareness.
“My recommendation is to focus the reputation on third party and industry sites as well as wikis, GMB completion, site markup and knowledge panels,” Jordan said.
Helen Pollitt, SEO Manager at iTech Media, also discusses the localization of SERPs and how it relates to content.
“Google will focus a lot more on content localization next year. By 2021, we’re already seen more websites with country-specific content that are more globally focused than those that used to be at the top of the SERPs,” he said. of Pollitt. “This will only become more apparent in 2022 even for pure online stores without bricks and mortar offerings.”
For sites that are not limited to one country, it will be increasingly necessary to create locally focused content, she said.
Look at your keyword keywords that show some local intent. For example, ‘[x Online Service] Canada’ – if you see search results serving the obvious keyword target for ‘Canada’, you may be in an industry where Google shows more localized SERPs , “said Pollitt.
“In that case, you need to look at creating Canada-specific pages where you may have previously focused globally. You also need to show local relevance in your content,” she added.
4. Images & Visual Content
Baker believes that the dependence of the marketing on the images on the images will decrease.
“Sites with unique images will see a huge boost in image, product and normal search,” Baker said. “This is also a user behavior / intentional reaction as young users identify or resonate with unique lifestyle images and can immediately tell if something is real or staged.”
“By rewarding sites that use original images, more will be created. Google Lens will then learn more,” he added, noting that this stimulates the growth of original content by creators while being more about areas, people, products, etc.
Indigo reminds us that at Search On 2021 Google announced a push to make SERPs more visually browsing and intuitive.
“This means that larger image blocks are displayed in the results for some queries. The bond of good image assets is not limited to SERP,” she said. “Google Lens allows buyers to search for a product with a photo found on their device or on a website – essentially a reverse image search with a solid use case for image optimization.”
Google Discover also uses images, Indigo notes. She added that a recent Google-published case study showed that sites that use the max-image-preview: large meta tag increase click-through rates by 79% and increase total clicks by up to 333%.
“While Discover has largely been ignored as an SEO opportunity, the inclusion of discovery data in the Search API shows that unified data sources and best practices continue,” Indigo said.
She adds that we reasonably hypothesize that with the new 4-page scroll of the SERPs on mobile and the increase in images, normal search begins much more than Discover.
Eli Schwartz, Growth Advisor at Eli Schwartz, believes that AI is designed to make search much richer.
“Google Images will not just be a secondary search engine,” Schwartz said. “AI will allow Google to recognize when an image or video might be the best result for a user.”
Google has already uncovered some of the skills they have in this area.
“And with Google Lens now a primary search action on Android devices, instant image search is expected to grow even more,” advises Schwartz.
He also thinks there will be another search option by the end of the year.
“It could be growing market penetration from DuckDuckGo or Bing or something completely new, but all SEO pros should be smart about the potential growth of another search engine and not just focus on Google,” Schwartz said.
Andreas Voniatis, the founder of Artios, notes that the automation of SEO practices – whether technical audits, competitor analytics or search engine analytics – has already begun this year and will become even more widespread in 2022.
“As more SEO professionals worldwide become more and more Python-intensive, we will see more automation, especially in agencies where more of the technical audits, analytics tools and other research areas are automated, as much as possible,” Voniatis said.
He added for those who started this year or earlier: “We will see the automation of technical audits to teach the machine to segment technical issues by content type, making the automation of technical audits more ‘intelligent’. does. “
Aleyda Solis, International SEO Consultant & amp; the founder of Orainti, believes that marketers should benefit from SEO automation for quality assurance.
“Implementing real-time SEO validation and alert systems within our platforms to avoid generating issues in the first place or monitoring them in real time to be alerted as soon as they happen will become more important to avoid very general SEO horror stories “said de Solis.
Mark Traphagen, VP of Product Marketing and Training at seoClarity, agrees that we are looking at automation.
“The pace of change in SEO has continued to increase exponentially, while at the same time enterprise SEO professionals are dealing with ever larger and more complex site,” he said. “The need for better automation to overcome gaps in technology, skills and resources to scale execution is rapidly becoming a ‘nice to have’ and a necessity.
Traphagen added that the data is now widely available and becoming a commodity.
“The challenge is to reduce the time of data acquisition on insights and action. SEO professionals (and the tools they use) need to invest significantly more to develop automation next year,” he said.
Traphagen advises that specific areas for research include the use of Edge technology to implement changes more quickly, AI-driven analysis to reach signals from the noise of data, and highly customizable intelligent alarms.
And Miranda Miller, Managing Editor at Search Engine Journal, believes that SEO pros and content creators should explore their potential for automating content creation.
“We can get an assistant in competitive research, analyze existing SERPs, and understand related entities and concepts of technology,” Miller said. “But I do not foresee a point in the next decade where automated content creation will meet user and search engine requirements without the help of the editorial process and human creativity.”
“The possibility that one day I will soon be able to train my own language model (s) and thus expand my efforts is exciting. For SEO professionals who focus on content and on the page, this will be a growing area of opportunity in 2022 and beyond, ”she added.
6. Natural Language Processing & Machine Learning
Michael King, Founder & amp; Managing Director at iPullRank, does not believe there will be any major changes in 2022. But he said: “… there are many more subtle changes we are seeing that point to the same two things: natural language generation and data pipelining”.
“Google’s evolution of multimodal search suggests that there is a greater focus on search queries rather than individual queries,” he said.
“This has interesting implications with respect to how we need to assess things like co-occurrence and named entity recognition when we do our own optimization,” King said.
“Google’s move to broaden the scope of broader content is an indication that more robust content has a better chance of performing in the long run than it did before,” he added, noting that Apple and Google continue to push us March towards. their data monopoly with the eventual death of cookies.
According to King, this further indicates a need to collect first-party data and print the data in a data store like BigQuery so that you can take advantage of it for a variety of optimizations.
“People who capitalize on this data collection and find ways to combine it with advances in natural language generation and understanding entity and keyword relationships can scale the creation of robust content that is positioned to rank,” he said. the King.
Alexis Sanders, Director at Merkle, reminds us that iterations on machine learning have naturally improved language models continuously several times each year.
“Best-in-class models used on the SQuAD dataset exceeded human performance and precision in early 2020. The commoditization of machine learning solutions for content generation (as a means of supporting writers) and categorization is something that inspires our team, ”Sanders said.
Bill Slawski, director of search marketing for Go Fish Digital and editor of SEO by the Sea, expects to see federated machine learning, “… where information from your mobile device is uploaded to the cloud once a day, and then d ‘Data back into your device after it has been processed along with the search selection and browsing information of many other mobile device users to support a machine learning model,’ ‘he said.
“Google has blogged about this and released a patent on it, and Apple Search has also patented federated learning, and how local and network computer information can be combined under that approach,” Slawski notes.
7. Mobile & User Experience
Jori Ford, Chief Marketing Officer at FoodBoss, expects changes related to mobile page experience. “Last year, Google introduced new tools to support mobile optimization as well as page experience,” she notes.
Ford added, “With those pieces that are mature, I think the experience of the mobile side, as it relates to core web vital because content leads the charge.”
As SEO professionals, we tend to look at pieces, she said, adding: “But based on recent tooling, resources, and analytics updates, it’s clear the whole mobile experience of discovery through how easy it is for users to interact. , engage, and use will come together as the content experience in recent years.
“This affects not only mobile UX, but Core Web Vitals on mobile, mobile usability, mobile-first indexing, and mobile security, too,” she said.
Jackie Chu, Global SEO Leadership & amp; Intelligence at Uber, said that “by 2022 SEO professionals should stop trying to follow algorithms and instead rely on long-term, sustainable SEO strategies.”
“The noise is so endless that to focus on the job, you have no choice but to think about the merits of your site and brand – not the latest industry news or Google update,” Chu said. “And that’s probably a good thing.”
“Enterprise ecommerce brands should increase their focus on sustainability SEO objectives (as approved by their legal team) to support corporate social responsibility,” said Renee Girard, Associate Director for SEO at Crate & amp; Barrel.
“Google has already added performance improvements to stimulate sustainable choices in shopping, maps and nest. Even though search demand has not yet reached its peak, consumer appetite should continue to build through 2022 and beyond,” Girard said.
Isobel Smith, Technical SEO Team Lead at Ryte, offers a different perspective on sustainability and search.
“Reducing the carbon footprint of our websites and digital infrastructures is not only a real step forward to reach zero, but it could even be a defining factor in user search behavior,” she said.
Smith added that as Google begins to show carbon emissions from flights and eco-friendly hotels, “it is not absurd to believe that Google could even show the ecological impact of the websites.”
This could encourage greener attitudes online, especially when you consider that websites and their support systems have a similar carbon footprint to the airline industry, she said.
“While the creation of more sustainable websites could improve similar tactics for performance (e.g., improve availability, optimize performance), carbon emission reductions could quickly become an important metric worth reporting,” advises Smith.
According to Jenn Mathews, SEO Manager at GitHub, Microsoft, and Yandex are leading the way with IndexNow.
“This allows websites to easily inform search engines when their website content is being created, updated or deleted. With this API, search engines are informed of updates so that they can quickly reflect website changes in their index and search results,” she explains.
“IndexNow changes the relationship between SEO professionals and search engines forever,” Mathews said.
“It eliminates the frustration of IT teams over how search bots hit websites. No longer will their crawlers put a heavy burden on systems,” she notes, adding that “this is particularly affecting fast-growing startups – not to mention about which many times companies have launched new pages and have to wait for search bots to find them, crawl and rank them. “
“This is especially useful when making changes to a database that updates millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of URLs, and we have to explain to colleagues that we have to wait for the search engine to crawl the URLs and find out that there is a Update, and where there are changes, “Mathews said.
“With IndexNow, SEO professionals can submit a list of only URLs with changes and / or updates via the API. Bing and Yandex know directly about these updates and changes directly,” notes Mathews.
On the other hand in this regard, the search engines themselves can benefit greatly from IndexNow.
“Fabrice Canal from Microsoft, Chief Program Manager at BING, leads the IndexNow charge, and I was happy to work with him when I was at Groupon and now with GitHub as one of the early adopters of the Bing API Tool (the predecessor to IndexNow ), “sot si.
Kevin Rowe, Founder & amp; VP of Strategy at PureLinq, believes that the growing importance of E-A-T is a trend to consider in 2022.
“Whatever your approach to SEO, understand how to demonstrate an appropriate level of E-A-T in your on-site content, link building, online PR, and even technical SEO,” he advises.
“This does not mean you need a PhD to be the expert on shoe repair blogs,” he added. “But being a theme expert or hiring someone who produces, edits or consults content is no longer optional.”
Rowe recommends that at least marketers hire writers with a passion for the subject.
Andrew Shotland, founder and CEO of Local SEO Guide, refers to E-A-T as “Content Usefulness.”
“The challenge we’re always had with E-A-T is that it’s not really measurable. So we came up with our own metrics, content usefulness (aka ‘CUssing’) that we can measure,” he said.
Scotland explains: “For example, when we look at the types of pages / content ranking for a large number of related queries, we can analyze these pages on a scale and compare them with the pages of our site.”
The difference between ranking pages and those that do not rank – often a specific type of content (e.g. reviews, phone numbers, videos, topics, etc.) – can illustrate what kind of content searchers, and therefore Google, find useful, he said. .
“Finding these kinds of things and how you apply them to your site will probably not only be an SEO trend for 2022, but for the foreseeable future,” notes Scotland.
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