Regulations are changing. Algorithms are evolving. And the job of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketers are becoming more competitive and grueling than ever before.
It’s common knowledge that search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking factors to deliver the best possible results for a search query. As these search engines become notorious for making thousands of algorithms changes every year, an SEO strategy that works one day may not work the next day.
Inadequate understanding or missteps after an algorithm shift can lead to a fall in ranking and decreased web traffic. So, with the uncertainty of a still-looming global pandemic and drastic algorithm changes, what are the SEO trends you can rely on to gain prime real estate on the search results page and stand out from competitors? Here’s what you need to pay attention to in 2022:
Content is still king
Marketers have long relied on a plethora of content, in a bid to be seen as thought leaders and a voice of authority and influence in their industry. But with over 7.5 million blog posts published every day, there isn’t a topic that hasn’t been discussed before. As organizations often post similar topics, search engines reciprocally have more options to choose from when deciding which web page to rank higher, for a given subject. The big burning question then is – how can a brand stand out?
Marketers need to leverage their years of expertise and experience and look at a popular topic in a different light than what is already being said in the market to provide their audience with truly value-added and in-depth insights. But remember, it’s not just about volume. Quality is key!
The image-text combo
Images contribute a great deal when it comes to user experience. In 2021, Google put an emphasis on proper image labeling and optimization with the announcement of their latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, called the Multitask Unified Model (MUM). The AI model will combine images and text into one search query. With the launch of MUM, Image-text optimization holds the key to the future, as people use photographs or images to search, buy and get information about various products, content, businesses, and more.
Tip: Optimize high-quality images by including custom file names and alt tags to your uploaded images.
Talk the talk
One SEO trend that will remain strong in 2022 and the next couple of years is voice search. With voice assistants like Google Home, Alexa, and Siri infiltrating our homes and the rise in voice-activated devices, it’s safe to say that an increasing number of people are using voice to conduct searches today. To feed this demand, businesses need to optimize their website and content to be more conversational in nature with voice searches. In practical terms, this means creating more FAQs and how-to content, ensuring titles and subheadings are written in a question format, and adjusting keywords for more conversational-based searches.
Last year, Instagram dropped its ‘photo-sharing app’ and pivoted to video sharing content, amidst significant competition from TikTok and YouTube. With the explosion of video-based platforms, and video streaming set to contribute 82% of total web traffic this year, an SEO strategy built around videos has become critical to communicate with customers and expand reach. Moreover, video content is a great tool when it comes to helping potential buyers learn more about a product with its visual element. In such videos, marketers need to address question-based queries and create ‘how to’ content to optimize zero-click searches. Beyond providing ready-to-view video content, marketers need to ensure that titles and descriptions offer a user-friendly summary of what the video is all about. Adding a few important keywords and hashtags will help your content reach its target audience.
Tip: Spoken words within a video are key as artificial intelligence tools can pick up these keywords and push the algorithms to satisfy the search intent.
As more users access online information on the go, website mechanisms can often be a dealbreaker. Specifically, mobile-friendliness, page experience, structured data, and security stand firm as the future of SEO. With its latest algorithm update, Google is essentially analyzing how much time it takes for users to start interacting with your content, how quickly they access the information they need, and how secure the website is for users once they land on the home page. Structured data is equally valuable. This data includes information like product ratings or reading time which can prove helpful for the audience, making them more likely to click on your listing.
Whether you dread algorithm updates or look forward to them, an optimized SEO strategy can position your website at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and expand reach to your target audience. Marketers must maintain a close eye on the creative and technical aspects of their company website such as page load speed, mobile-friendliness, online reviews, etc. Knowing what trends are going on in your industry allows you to keep up with the latest in marketing strategies and technology. A full audit of websites and content quarterly is a good idea – to implement updates regularly, and avoid the pitfalls of sudden and overwhelming algorithm changes.
Written by Tanisha Khanna