4 SEO Trends for 2022

2021 was a challenging year for many businesses but did help cement the importance of digital marketing. With consumers increasingly opting to make their purchases online, 2021 saw e-commerce make up 19.6% of worldwide retail sales. This growth was aided by businesses that worked to intensify their SEO efforts and aim to achieve that higher ranking that increased their visibility.

The digital landscape is however continually changing, presenting new opportunities and challenges that businesses must be able to adapt to for survival. Much of the SEO trends that have been emerging are a result of search engines altering what is important when evaluating sites for ranking.

Keeping up with these trends can have a strong influence on what sites gain prominence and those that lose it. Here is what you should focus on in your SEO efforts while remaining on track with your overall online marketing strategy.

User Experience

For a long time, marketers thought that satisfying user experience meant ensuring that online users found the shortest path to the information they wanted. Search engines like Google however made it clear that user experience factored in other broader concerns like page loading speeds, page responsiveness, reliability, transparency, and mobile-friendliness.

Core web vitals (CWV) helped identify the factors that marketers needed to pay attention to if they wanted to rank well on Google. The page experience signals that were defined were to ensure that online users enjoy a better user experience. Currently, these signals look at interactivity, loading and visual stability. Each signal has a target score that if it does not achieve, will likely impact ranking.

With CWV having been introduced almost a year ago, most sites are yet to comprehensively audit their pages and optimize them accordingly for this improved performance. Marketers will need to delve into CWV to deliver the fast and efficient technical performance that Google desires for online users.

Content Quality

While CWV focuses on the technical aspects of user experience, Google is still relying on EAT ranking factors to optimise content quality. The acronym stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. These key ranking factors form the basis of what content creation should be about.

For expertise, there should be efforts made toward creating original and useful content that online users can find value in. The more thoroughly detailed and researched the content, the greater the level of expertise that is displayed. Authority means gaining recognition from peers and other online users. This means having your content create a buzz that stimulates it to be shared and even used for building links. The better quality sites that reference your content, the more authority you will have built up.

Trustworthiness seeks to ensure that you are responsive and responsible for your brand reputation. While not all news is good news, businesses can exploit even negative feedback as an opportunity to demonstrate their responsiveness. From reviews to comment sections, it is important to keep track of your online reputation and where feedback is negative, take steps to respond constructively.

Keeping up with Google’s EAT standards remains vital to building and retaining rank. Stick to content providers or experts that have good expertise in their field, can create valuable content that others will want to link to, and are meticulous about being responsive to even negative feedback.

Mobile Friendliness

Mobile friendliness was a key ranking factor in 2021 and will likely be as important this year. For businesses, a failure to work on mobile friendliness can be detrimental when you consider that almost 70% of all retail website visits in 2021 were conducted through smartphones.

Google is still taking the optimisation of websites and web pages for mobile use seriously. Their bots are now factoring in this optimisation and are indexing the mobile versions of sites and pages. This influences the SERPs that come up for mobile users and may affect the organic results for desktop users too.

Businesses that have been more focused on the desktop results will need to make whatever necessary changes are needed to become more mobile-friendly, otherwise may lose ranking on both ends. Google has provided a helpful guide for developers on how to achieve this optimisation and deliver a quality user experience for those on smartphones.

Local SEO

Optimising your site for local SEO will ensure that customers that want to find your place of business in the community can easily do so. Keep in mind that even with the pandemic having helped grow online transactions, normal life will eventually resume, with many people returning to brick and mortar establishments. So if you have a local physical presence, you need to make it easy for online users to know you exist and trace you.

Ensure your website and local business listings provide accurate info. This needs to be updated to reflect local information on all the major search engines to avoid missing out on critical opportunities to boost visibility and gather leads. Ensure the contact information, location details, and hours of operation that appear are correct and up to date.

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