The 7 Biggest SEO Trends for the Year 2022
Article By: Mark Spera
The 7 Biggest SEO Trends for the Year 2022
The search engine optimization (SEO) world is always changing, and 2022 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for the industry. 2021 saw numerous large Google algorithm updates, including the Core Web Vitals Update and the Page Experience Update, and there are more coming up in 2022.
The search engine optimization trends of 2022 focus on accessibility, mobile-friendliness, machine learning, and overall great experiences on Google Search.
SEO Trends of 2022
1. Site usability metrics will matter more
Google is prioritizing site performance that creates the best user experience, evidenced by their 2021 Page Experience update. They’ve shown they’re not afraid to penalize sites that don’t meet certain speed and UI/UX metrics (Core Web Vitals), or those with poor accessibility.
One way or another, almost everything having to do with on-page search engine optimization involves UX and UI. You can have the best content in the world, but if users can’t ingest it because of a poor web experience, it just doesn’t matter.
What site capabilities should you prioritize for SEO in 2022?
- Site Speed: If your site takes longer than 5 seconds to load, you can lose 40% of your traffic. Site speed is an important part of any good web experience, and the right UI design elements and technical SEO can keep it quick.
- Accessibility: The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guideline) is an internationally recognized set of guidelines for digital accessibility that are managed by the W3C, the international web standards group. Broken down into perceivability, operability, understandability, and robustness, your site organization and usage must be accessible to all users.
- Mobile readiness: The majority of users access Google search from a mobile device. As a result, Google now uses mobile-first indexing when indexing and ranking a page. This means it’s essential to check your site loads correctly on mobile and is easy for mobile users to read and navigate. Mobile friendliness is part of many of these 2022 SEO trends.
- Interstitial Experience: Interstitials (like pop-ups, ads, etc.) must not reduce the accessibility of the page or appear in an intrusive manner. Especially when using mobile devices. I’ve seen these popups be increasingly penalized by Google..
2. Content generation with AI machine learning algorithms
Artificial intelligence is changing the landscape of almost every industry, and SEO is no different. With machine learning, AI technologies can intake huge quantities of data at higher speeds than possible for humans, analyze the information, and then use it to automate a variety of marketing tasks. From chatbots to data analysis to content generation, using AI (like GPT-3) in marketing will be one top SEO strategies in 2022 and beyond.
Content generators like GrowthBar and Copy AI took off in 2021. Both tools are built atop OpenAI’s GPT-3, which is a natural language model that creates human-like written content based on inputs and algorithms—in the form of a blog post, article title, short description, social media caption, or more.
Helping save time and money, as well as beating writer’s block and providing fresh ideas, AI-supported content generators are changing the SEO game.
These tools will be a huge boon to digital marketers everywhere. Data-driven software tools specializing in content generation and SEO will continue to increase in popularity in 2022.
3. The continued importance of backlinks
The 2020 election and Covid-19 forever changed the way we consume information – and sometimes misinformation. To continue winning the trust of searchers, Google will place more and more value on backlink equity for SEO rankings. Link equity is the value a site provides by linking to your site, impacted by domain authority, current Google rankings, and other metrics.
Therefore, building (valuable) backlinks is fundamental to any good SEO strategy. They’re one of the best ways for Google to understand that your website is trustworthy enough to send searchers to via higher rankings.
Backlinks have always been one of the strongest ranking factors for SEO. A link pointing to your site from another site can greatly impact where that page or your site ranks in the search results, with the best links being from sites that are in the same space or niche as you that have a higher DA. When a site like that chooses to link to a piece of your content, it’s sending a signal to Google that your content is worth being recommended.
So though the importance of backlinks has been debated over the years, strong backlinks to your site is a 2022 SEO trend you’ll want to follow.
4. Semantic search opportunities
This phrase is oft-used and rarely explained well. Semantic search is intent and contextual meaning-based search connected to Machine Learning. It uses past data and then trial and error to improve search experience to make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for.
Google is a business, and their job is to make it as painless as possible to get answers to queries, so that consumers keep coming back to using Google. And on your end, you want it to be as seamless to find and use your site, so consumers go back there as well.
For example, let’s say you’ve read the last three books in the Dune series. Perhaps you purchased them online, left a review somewhere, or looked up information about them. Now you’re looking up “good book ideas vacation.” Now a good book to you will most likely be very different than for someone else, but using semantic search, you wouldn’t be surprised to see the next Dune book pop up first on that list, as well as some other popular science fiction novels.
For every site that pops up, they should actually be selling Dune books, and purchasing and shipping this book to the searcher should be as easy as possible. Semantic search is all about taking the work away from the searcher and putting it in the backend.
For SEO professionals, the rise of semantic search means two things:
- Secondary keywords matter a lot. Since Google can understand the intent of searches and articles, the keywords you surround your primary keyword with is important. So instead of solely optimizing for the one or two key phrases, make sure to cover various ways that searchers think and write about a topic. And think about it with voice search in mind. As more consumers become mobile-first, more consumers become voice searchers. So for this post, are people speaking into their phone:“Biggest SEO Trends for the Year 2022,” or “How is SEO changing in 2022,” or “What do I need to know about SEO for 2022,” etc.
- And of course, provide accurate information answering the entirety of these questions. Your content needs to answer the Googler’s primary question and every other question they may have about a topic. This not only helps with number one, but also provides a better experience for searchers and keeps them on your page longer. Longer posts have long been ranking better on Google, and this is partly why. You can try adding FAQs on your posts if you can’t find an organic way to include important topic questions.
5. Google will expand SERP features and the Knowledge Graph
Many times, you don’t even have to click into a search result to get the information you’re looking for. Lyrics, flight information, local businesses and so many other searches start and end in the Google search engine results page (SERP) through Google’s featured snippets.
Google’s Knowledge Graph and Passage Ranking uses algorithms to provide the relevant information for you based on user data. Google’s goal is to help searchers find the information they’re looking for while providing the least amount of content, as well as the opportunity to “go deeper and broader” into their searches.
While this can be great for searchers, businesses working on lead generation won’t love the reduced users coming to their sites.
What to do about this? Titles, headings, URLS, and quality content are all going to be very important to improve CTR when searchers can find what they’re looking for without any clicking at all. And if you don’t think your entire post will rank, try to get a passage ranked right at the top of the SERP.
6. YouTube & Video Optimization
The number of channels that earn $10,000+ per year grew by 50% last year. More and more of the Google search engine results page (SERP) is being taken by video, and I’m sure you’ve noticed companies using YouTube, TikTok, Instagram videos, and more to improve consumer engagement and attract new customers.
So if creating optimized video content isn’t part of your SEO strategy yet, you should take action on this in 2022. In addition to using keywords within the title, URL, and description of your video, there are a couple of new ways to add rich information to YouTube videos and increase their value. I like these three:
- Clip markup: Clip markup enables you to highlight key points of your video so that users can hop straight to those parts. Basically, you can tell Google exactly what timestamp and label you want to use for your featured moments, and these pop up on Google search to help provide an overview of what your topic covers. You can do this with code, or use YouTube which does it automatically for you.
- Seek markup: Seek markup tells Google how your URL structure works. This information is critical because it allows Google to display the key moments of your video automatically, instead of doing it yourself, like with Clip markup.
- Closed captioning: Closed captioning for YouTube videos enables you to make videos more accessible across languages and for people with hearing disabilities.
7. EAT Always
Though this 2022 SEO trend isn’t necessarily new, EAT is fundamental to all parts of search engine optimization.
In order to have a good user experience, create great content, build up your backlinks, and end up on the SERP–your content must have EAT: expertise, authority, and trust. The more of an expert on a topic you are, the greater authority you have on it, and the more Google and searchers can trust you. And then the more trusted you are, the more backlinks you get, the higher in the rankings you go, and the more authority you’ll have, etc. All three elements create a feedback loop of higher–or lower–rankings so it’s vital to prioritize all of them.
There has been an increased focus on E-A-T as a ranking factor for Google according to the Quality Rater Guidelines, and this will be no different in 2022.
When it comes to SEO trends and strategies, it’s important to stay up to date for Google’s algorithm changes each year.
Though these updates and tips and tricks might seem complicated, SEO really just comes down to something all businesses should be prioritizing anyway: providing helpful, accurate, interesting information to the people that are looking for it. And that’s a trend that will never go away.