The future of SEO: Top 6 SEO Trends That Will Impact Your Business in 2022

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SEO / 4 February 2022

Whether you want to build brand awareness or optimise your conversion rates, SEO is a process that takes time and commitment. As search engines tinker with their ranking factors, making changes to your site is essential to preserve your position amongst your competitors. Staying on top of updates and trends that prove effective is the best way to maintain a successful SEO strategy. 

For an insight into the ranking factors that you should focus on during 2022, this article offers all the answers you need. Instead of making novel predictions that might become relevant this year, here’s our list of up-and-coming features which businesses should focus on to secure a successful SEO strategy. The future of SEO is constantly evolving, and optimising for these factors in 2022 will help you stay ahead of the curve. 

Focus On the User Experience and Search Intent

Historically, search engines functioned based on keyword matching. They would assess the search queries presented by a user and provide results with matching terms. Search results offered web pages that somewhat focused on the topic that the user was searching for. As knowledge progressed, search engines have refined their service to improve their user’s experience. Instead of offering general results that might be associated with what the user is searching for, search engines are looking to provide content that directly relates to their intent. 

In order to optimise for users, search intent, you first need to understand how search engines analyse it. When creating a search, the user’s intent can be defined as the overarching goal of the query. In most queries, the intent can be categorised into one of four groups. These include, informational, commercial, navigational and transactional. The groups correlate with certain stages of the customer’s journey and can indicate whether they are looking for a product or further information. 

In order to provide the best user experience possible, search engines need to offer the exact information that users are looking for. Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. If you can alter the tone and message of your content to meet the intent of your intended customer, search engines are more likely to retrieve your content in relation to a particular search query. 

To implement this within your SEO strategy, begin to create optimised high-quality content that matches a user’s intent. This will be far more effective than presenting content solely focused on an exact keyword that doesn’t match the user’s goal. Analyse the keyword you are focusing on to determine its intent. It can also be useful to review existing content from your competitors that ranks highly for this term. This will provide an indication of how you should direct your SEO and content efforts in 2022. 

Ensure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

Mobile optimisation can now be considered the cornerstone of SEO. With almost 60% of all Google searches being made on mobile devices, it is clear to see why search engines are giving mobile-friendly sites higher priority in their rankings. 

In 2015, Google added mobile optimisation to their list of ranking factors. The turning point then occurred in 2019 when they rolled out a mobile-first indexing algorithm. The aim of this update was to ensure that search engine results for a specific search term would be the same across all devices. This meant that websites aiming to rank for a particular term have to be optimised for mobile users, even if the query is being searched via desktop.

Ensuring that your site is mobile friendly is critical for your SEO strategy. The number of searches made on smartphones and tablets is inevitably going to increase. Consequently, search engines will continue to favour mobile-optimised sites within their rankings.

In order to optimise your site to be mobile-friendly, working with user experience in mind can be useful. Mobile users will be frustrated by text which is difficult to read, inefficient navigation and large popups. Negative experiences on your website will increase your bounce rate and subsequently drop your site lower within the rankings. Making your website scrollable on mobile devices and designing a bolder structure will boost your mobile-optimisation score and prove effective within your SEO strategy.

Consolidate Your Omnichannel Marketing Strategy

Omnichannel marketing allows you to consolidate all of your digital marketing efforts into a multi-dimensional, highly effective strategy. On average, an internet user will have six to eight points of contact with a business before making a purchase decision. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to seamlessly attract and nurture these potential leads. 

81% of users will likely make a Google search before finalising a purchase. This means even if you have created an amazing social media advert, most individuals will likely perform some research before settling on a decision. Combining this information with the knowledge that 75% of searchers never click past the first result on Google, indicates that a strong SEO and social media strategy can optimise lead conversion. 

There are several combinations of interactions that an individual could have with your company before making a purchase decision. Creating a consistent brand message across all your channels allows clients to make an authentic connection with your business. By gradually increasing their awareness of your products and presence, you will become the apparent choice when they eventually decide to make a purchase. 

Optimise Your Site Speed

With the release of Google’s core web vital tool in 2020, search engines are making it clear that user experience and site speed has a weighted influence on the quality of your SEO efforts. This tool was released to allow website owners to analyse the performance of their site speed and stability using three key factors. These factors include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint

Simply put, this term represents the average load time of the main content on your landing page. If the significant content that users will want to view takes longer than 2.5 seconds to load, you are far more likely to increase your bounce rate and reduce conversion rates.

  • First Input Delay

This focuses on the user’s experience when interacting with the site. It can include engaging with links, buttons or performing various actions on the site. A first input delay of 100 milliseconds is generally considered acceptable, however, upwards of 300 milliseconds can be problematic for your score.

  • Cumulative Layout Shift

This factor measures the visual stability of your site as it loads. This can include the jolting of images or content up or down the page. Google recognises that users could make accidental clicks which increases their frustration when using the site and would lead them to instantly leave the page they have been redirected to. 

The introduction of tools such as these indicates the significance that search engines are placing on user comfort and experience. Website owners that spend significant time and resources optimising their loading speed, interactivity and visual stability will be rewarded with higher rankings. Those that lag behind will face lower rankings, decreased traffic and reduced conversions. 

Optimise For Different Search Mediums

With the increase of voice search enabled devices becoming more commonplace in the home, users are acclimatising to the frequent use of this source of information. This creates an immense amount of organic traffic that could be directed to your website if you employ the right technical expertise and create content that search engines will retrieve. Whilst there are mixed reviews amongst SEO technicians about the longevity of voice search, optimising your website in 2022 will take advantage of the vast number of users who are continually utilising this search medium.

SEO is a constantly evolving field with fluctuating trends. Search engines are constantly changing their priorities for various ranking factors in accordance with the responses and data they receive from users.  Any company that wants to make the most of an opportunity as it arises, can’t ignore voice search. Search engines have seen a vast increase in organic traffic that has been generated through smart speakers, smartphones, wearable devices and plenty of other pieces of technology. Google has even invested significantly in their own line of smart speakers. 2022 is the optimal year to make changes to your SEO strategy to incorporate a stream of organic traffic that is on an incline for the foreseeable future.

Analysing the voice search patterns in your industry will provide a representation of the value of optimising for voice search within your SEO strategy. There are then specific techniques that you can employ to highlight your website to search engines when they are retrieving content for voice search results. These techniques can include:

  • Optimising local SEO

It has been reported that 58% of all voice searches are oriented towards receiving information about a local business. Creating natural, conversational content about your local business is the best way to ensure that search engines select your content in response to a voice search. Answering some of your customers frequently asked questions is a great way to provide concise answers for questions that are likely to be asked by your potential customers.

  • Use structured data 

Creating content about your business is a great way to give Google the answers that it needs for voice searches, however using structured data to tell search engines about the content you have provided, could be the reason your website is selected over your competitor. Metadata within the code of your website can tell search engines that you have provided information such as opening hours, brick and mortar locations, directions and contact details. This allows answers to be quickly retrieved in response to related voice searches.

Engage your audience with high-quality content

In 2022 it could be highly effective to focus your efforts on refining the quality of any new or existing content. As SEO evolves, search engines are beginning to favour highly engaging, well-written and informative writing. Google has certainly become more perceptive to content that exists for the sake of ranking for specific keywords. In order to improve your SEO strategy and gain higher rankings, you should try to create content that is useful and interesting to your audience.

Long-form content is a trend that has recently risen in popularity. Data from the previous year demonstrates that readers prefer content around 3000 words in length, rather than a short-form alternative. For businesses looking to incorporate these benefits into their SEO strategy, it is important to consider the quality of content that is produced. Search engines and readers are far less likely to appreciate content that is lengthy and difficult to read. Writers should break apart their articles using H2 and H3 tags, as well as shorter paragraphs. The content needs to be particularly informative and captivating for readers in order to demonstrate its utility for search engine rankings. 

Whilst generating content in a longer format, SEO writers might look to shortcuts to enhance their efficiency. Artificial Intelligence content generators are becoming increasingly popular for creating vast amounts of content in a short time. However, businesses in the pursuit to increase the quality of their content should reserve caution. The content created by AI tends to lack a human element within its writing. This encapsulates the emotion and human experience that is typically portrayed within a brand’s voice. As such, readers may not engage in the factual style of content that AI currently produces. A poor user engagement with this content is far more likely to hinder your SEO efforts in exchange for slightly increased productivity. 

If you are interested in an alternative form of rich content that could bolster your SEO strategy, video content is a particularly beneficial way to engage with your audience and increase organic traffic. It is currently suggested that around half of internet users watch videos to assist them in making a purchase decision. If you can create high-quality videos such as tutorials, how-to guides or product demonstrations for your long-form articles, you could enhance the quality of your content, optimize conversion rates and increase your ranking positions.

How to make the most of SEO in 2022

Significant changes are constantly being made to ranking factors as well the expectations of search engines and their users. In 2022, the shift in attention has transferred from keyword centric optimisation and instead focuses on user experience. 

Ensuring that your clients are able to find high-quality content that meets their needs is one of the most effective changes you can make to your SEO strategy in 2022. Throughout each engagement users have with a search engine; they will want to receive an experience that is efficient and enjoyable. By incorporating these five factors, you can create an SEO strategy that search engines and your future clients will love. 

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