Top 8 SEO Trends You Need To Know in 2022
Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to having a successful digital marketing strategy. Here are SEO trends you need to know in 2022 in order to improve your digital marketing strategy
1. User Intent
User intent, also known as search intent or keyword intent, refers to the reason and goal of a user’s query on a search engine. For example, a person might want to learn more about a topic, find a nearby place, or buy products. User intent is now a central factor in content and search engine optimization and is eclipsing individual keywords as a dominant ranking factor.
User intent can be informational, transactional or navigational. If a keyword is usually searched for with the intention of finding out more about it, then this search is informational. If the user wants to be lead to a certain site, such as with brand names, their search is navigational. If user’s intent is to buy something behind a search term, then the search is transactional.
Google recognizes user intent
Google strives towards displaying the most relevant information for the user in its search results. Search engines increasingly focus on finding out the intention of the user and improving the semantic search: Instead of the individual keyword, the search engine inspects the connection between all words of a search term. Google can now recognize the semantic meaning, the context and the user intent of a search query.
Good content satisfies user intent
This development moves good, holistic content, that satisfies the user intention, into the center of search engine optimization. High-quality content coordinated with the expectations of the users measurably influences ranking factors and allows a good ranking in Google results. This means that knowledge of user requirements is a basic condition for good content, which is considered relevant by Google. Companies and publishers must consider whether their content satisfies the requirement of their readers. They need to orient their content around keywords that correspond to the user intent that they want to serve. Technical optimization must be associated with relevant content, which is context and user-centered.
Himani Kankaria, Founder at Missive Digital, said, “Considering the updates like Google rewriting meta title tags and coming up with indented results on SERPs in 2021, it seems Google is working hard to identify the right intent behind a user’s search, irrespective of the type of queries.”
That’s where SEO professionals need to focus on bringing a holistic approach to your content strategy in 2022, she says.
“Be it video, blog, or web content, it must be planned for the keywords, users’ intent behind searching and consuming them, your intent behind creating them, and the stage at which your consumers are in the buyer’s journey,” Kankaria added.
2. Content Quality
Content quality is how well your content achieves its goal(s). It refers to the depth of information and insight contained within a piece of content.
Content quality goes beyond information to include formatting, readability, and grammatical correctness. Content quality can also include how well your content ranks in search, drives traffic, engages your audience, and converts users.
Why is quality content important?
Attracting the right audience to your website and business isn’t easy. Engaging with them and helping them see your product as the right solution for them is even harder. Without quality content, it’s nearly impossible. But, if your audience finds your content to be valuable, they’re more likely to engage with you and eventually purchase.
How to create quality content
1. Write for your readers, not yourself
If you have an ecommerce site, you want readers to know about the products or services you offer. If you’re a blogger, you want readers to get to know you and the topics that interest you. However, it is also important to take into consideration what your users actually want to read about. What interests do they have? What events or news do they follow, that you can relate to your business? And what ‘problems’ are they trying to fix that have led them to your site?
The first step in creating high-quality content is to make sure that it contains the information your audience is looking for. To find out what information your users are looking for, you have to conduct proper keyword research. This will help you determine what subjects to write about and what words your audience uses. Keyword research also helps your rankings, as more visitors and lower bounce rates tell Google that your page is a good result to show in their search results.
2. Make your content readable and engaging
If you want to get your message across and make sure that people read your entire blog post or page, make your content easy to read. What does this mean? It means thinking about the structure of your text and the words you use. Too much text without any headings or paragraphs tends to scare people off, so make sure you use them. They give your readers some air while reading. Additionally, try to limit the use of difficult words and be cautious of the length of your sentences. These can make your content harder to understand, which in turn will slow down your reader. And lastly, it’s good to use variation in your text to make it engaging. Use synonyms, and alternate longer sentences with shorter ones.
Another important thing to focus on: Have fun while writing! And be personal in your writing. This helps you write quality content that’s different from your competitor’s, and it helps users get to know you and your brand. Want to know more? In this article, we dive deeper into these tips for writing readable blog posts.
3. Think about search intent and your goal
Let’s start with the basics. What does search intent mean? Search intent is the reason why someone conducts a specific search. It’s the term used to describe their purpose. For example, do they have a question they need answered? Or do they want to buy something online? Someone’s search intent makes a difference in how they consider the quality of your content. If it fits their need at that moment, then they will stay on your page longer. But if they need an answer to a question and the page they land on only tries to sell them products, they’ll be gone before you know it.
It’s important to take search intent into consideration while you’re creating the content for a specific page. That’s why I would advise you to match your goals to the different search intents users might have. Is one of your goals to get more subscriptions to your newsletter? Then you should add that subscription button to pages where users with an informational intent land.
Does a visitor have a transactional intent (meaning: they want to buy something)? Make sure they land on the right page. If someone searches for the term “Product x”, you don’t want them to land on a blog post discussing a topic related to that product. Ideally, you want them to land on a page dedicated to “Product x”. However, a category page when you have multiple variations of “Product x” works too.
Of course, experience tells us it’s not always that black and white. Still, it’s good to consider the search intent your users might have. It will help you determine the focus of your content and what call-to-actions you want to add to a specific page or post. A great way to get started, is by adopting a content design mindset. This mindset helps you produce user-centered content based on real needs. Also, for some input, I would recommend having a look at the search results to create great content.
4. Be trustworthy
When people land on your page, it’s also important to build trust. Especially when they’re not familiar with your site yet. You have to show your audience that you’re trustworthy. How? First, by writing in a clear and user-oriented way. Second, try to stay away from stock photos, as genuine photos create more trust and give your site a personal feel. The same is true for your ‘About us’ page. Try to use actual photos of your team.
Third, add ratings to Google, testimonials to the right pages, and set up HTTPS. This will help your users and Google to understand that your site belongs to an actual business or person, which allows them to happily and safely browse your site. Do you own an ecommerce site? Then have a look at these 7 ways to increase sales by creating trust.
5. Keep your content up to date
Another key element of writing quality content is making sure it’s up to date and relevant. This means you have to update your content from time to time to make sure people are able to find the right information. But why is this so important? Because it shows your users that you’re on top of recent developments and can always provide them with accurate information. In other words: it builds trust and keeps your audience coming back to your site. Keeping your website and blog posts up to date is also important for SEO, as this shows Google that your site is ‘alive’ and relevant. So, make sure you schedule in a time to update your content regularly.
Bonus: Invest time in site structure
The five steps we’ve discussed so far will help you write content that is easy to read and user-centered. Next, I would like to highlight an extra step that is equally important: working on your site structure. This is important because it will help users and search engines find your quality content.
Site structure refers to the way you organize your site’s content. It is a vital part of any solid SEO strategy. When you structure your site well, search engines will be able to index your URLs better. It helps Google determine the importance of your individual pages and which pages are related to each other. Additionally, a good site structure will allow users to find their way around your site more easily. It will help them find your quality content in the search results and on your website. That’s why there’s quite a lot to gain from perfecting your site structure. Read more on how to work on your site structure and the importance of doing so.
3. Images & Visual Content
Visual content is online content that’s primarily image-based. Common forms of visual content include pictures, diagrams, charts, infographics, online videos, screenshots, memes and slide decks.
Why Is Visual Content Marketing Important?
Visual content is exploding right now.
Highly visual social media platforms, like YouTube and Instagram, are growing fast.
And 37% of marketers cite visual content as their “most important” type of content.
There’s a good reason for that:
Visual marketing is super effective for getting backlinks, social shares and traffic.
There’s data to back this up: an industry study by Backlinko and BuzzSumo discovered that infographics work really well for building links.
4. AI-Generated Content
The machine learning model GPT-3 (third-generation Generative Pre-trained Transformer) was made publicly available last year through OpenAI. As a result, AI-assisted SEO content tools like CopyAi, Headlime, Jarvis, and others are on the rise, empowering content teams to generate more SEO-optimized content at a quicker rate.
These tools can generate topics, titles, meta tags, paragraphs, and even entire articles with just a few inputs.
Although we strongly discourage you from replacing your human SEO copywriting with robots entirely, AI-generated content can be a great starting point. In 2022, we will likely see more content teams incorporating AI copywriting tools into their workflows.
Here are some of the most effective ways to utilize AI content tools:
- Title/topic generation: Not sure what to write? Speed up the ideation and brainstorming process with AI-generated titles and topics.
- Meta tag generation: If you need hundreds of meta tags, AI copywriting tools can help you produce original and unique page titles and meta descriptions at scale.
- Outlines/first drafts: Once again, these should serve as a starting point, not a replacement. AI tools still give themselves away as robots with obvious errors and unnatural phrasing, so build off of AI-generated drafts to save time and produce content faster.
IndexNow is Microsoft and Yandex’s proud initiative to crawl sites efficiently so that they can reduce the crawl footprint. Various engines have already adopted the IndexNow protocol.
The protocol works by allowing websites to submit URLs to the IndexNow API once, and it would be shared with all the participating search engines. So you only have to submit your site changes and URLs once, and all the participating search engines will be aware of the latest changes on your site, to crawl, index, and reflect these changes sooner in search results.
While you start submitting your URLs, search engines want to verify if these submissions are legit and come from the website itself and not from any malicious elements. Hence search engines want the websites to generate a unique API key and get it verified.
“IndexNow is changing the relationship between SEO professionals and search engines forever,” Jean Mathews, SEO Manager at GitHub say.
“It’s eliminating the frustration from IT teams at how search bots hit websites. No longer will their crawlers put a heavy load on systems,” she noted, adding that “this is especially impactful to startups that grow quickly – not to mention the many times companies have launched new pages and had to wait for search bots to find them, crawl them and rank them.”
“This is particularly useful when changes are made to a database that updates millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of URLs, and we’re having to explain to colleagues that we need to wait for the search engine to crawl the URLs and figure out that there is an update, and where there are changes,” Mathews said.
“With IndexNow, SEO pros can submit a list of only URLs with changes and/or updates through the API. Bing and Yandex immediately know about these updates and changes instantly,” Mathews noted.
On the other side of this relationship, the search engines themselves can greatly benefit from IndexNow.
6. People Also Ask
A recent study of 2.5 million search queries showed that Google’s “People also ask” feature now shows up for about 48.6% of searches.
With its prominent placement at the top of the SERP (and often above position one), everyone is going to want to get their content ranking in this coveted SERP feature.
To get there, you need to provide answers to common questions in your content. Look to the SERPs or use a keyword research tool to identify long-tail question keywords among your audience
Then, provide comprehensive answers, including the questions in your H2s, H3s, and H4s, or adding a FAQ section.
7. Keyword Clustering
Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. But as Google’s natural language processing (NLP) technology has gotten more advanced, effective keyword targeting has become a more granular and complex process.
Gone are the days of optimizing your landing pages and blog posts for single keyword targets. Google ranks our landing pages for multiple keywords anyway, meaning 2022 is the year to aim higher.
Keyword clustering is a more advanced keyword strategy to level up your total keyword rankings. It involves identifying multiple keywords with similar search intent and creating web pages that target those “clusters.”
Keyword clustering is a more effective way to increase the total keywords your web pages rank for and establish your website as an authority in key topic areas. Although more time-intensive, the results can mean Google showing the same web page for hundreds of additional keywords.
NOTE: You can try Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool to start forming your clusters today.
8. Core Web Vitals Optimization
2021’s page experience update was arguably the biggest change for search in the last several years. Page experience, now quantifiable by Core Web Vitals is now officially a Google ranking factor. Core Web Vitals include the following performance metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): the amount of time it takes the largest content asset on the page to load.
- First Input Delay (FID): how long it takes for your site to respond to a user’s first interaction with the page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): how many unexpected layout shifts occur during the lifespan of the page.
Of all the areas to direct your SEO investments in 2022, improving Core Web Vitals signals across your pages is bound to have the most tangible impact on your search engine performance. This will most likely require the assistance of skilled web developers, but these free tools will be essential to identify where your web pages need improvements:
- Google Search Console: The Experience feature of your Google Search Console account will let you see which pages are meeting or not meeting Core Web Vitals standards. It also lists the types of issues impacting your pages.
- PageSpeed Insights: In addition to Core Web Vitals data, PageSpeed Insights reports can give you an additional look into how your web pages are performing for users.
- In the SEO industry, we will likely see agencies and SEO providers expand their service offerings to include page experience and Core Web Vitals optimization this year. If you don’t have the team in-house to make these more technical optimizations, consider outsourcing to an SEO service provider.
Overall, site owners and digital marketers should stick to the SEO fundamentals this year. But do pay attention to tools and technologies that can help your team save time and produce more impactful results.