Let’s face it, SEO is not a new topic. It is written about very often. For example, on this website alone, previous articles about SEO have included:
- Ten Top Tips on how to write better for SEO
- How to reboot your SEO strategy
- Optimising images for SEO
. . . . to name but a few!
But, as with any other area of digital marketing, it’s important to keep up with developments in SEO. To stand still is to fall behind.
So in this article we look at five key aspects of SEO that we think are the ones to watch in 2022. They are:
- User intent.
- Mobile UX.
- Original imagery.
- Effective automation.
- Sweating the small stuff.
User intent is one of the biggies for 2022. Back in 2019 we ran an article about Optimising for user intent, and all the useful information in that article remains valid today.
But in 2022, more than ever before, a major key to effective SEO is to dedicate time and effort into understanding the intention behind a search query. Not just the mechanics of what they are looking for, but the reasons why.
By shifting your main focus onto user intent, you will not only be concerned about how well your technical SEO works but also the quality and relevance of what the results will present to the searcher. Whatever format your content, it needs to resonate with the user that is consuming it, and be a welcome step forward along the consumer journey.
This ethos is helped by Google’s increased use of natural language models. Their most recent release – MUM (Multitask Unified Model) – enables the simultaneous use of content in different formats (including visual) to return more relevant answers to search queries.
Empathising with the intent and motivations of the user will inform a variety of content that is increasingly likely to meet their underlying needs and attract them to your brand.
Mobile device UX is a big focus for SEO in 2022. Google’s move to Mobile-First Indexing (MFI) now prioritises the URL of the mobile-friendly version of your site for indexing, whichever device a user is currently using. The time will come when Google will ignore your desktop site altogether, and solely use your mobile site to determine your rankings.
It therefore makes sense in 2022 to pour resources into improving your mobile UX. Users need to have a high quality mobile experience at every touchpoint, and need to be able to interact and engage fully throughout.
It is also time to consider migrating to a mobile-responsive site if you still run separate desktop and mobile sites. If your site is either not mobile-responsive, or offers unsatisfactory UX, you are likely to see a hit in your search rankings in 2022.
One factor that can contribute to UX is page load speed. And one factor that can improve page load speed is optimising images. But there is another significant factor to take into account when considering your images.
Let’s take a look . . .
In 2022, people are beginning to get bored with stock images. To portray the uniqueness of your brand, you also need to have leading edge unique images.
A unique image is simply an image that has not appeared on the internet before. Using original images not only creates more user interest, it can also create traffic to your site through reverse searches on your image.
If you are stuck for inspiration, then by all means use stock images to get some ideas. But then create your own versions using tailored and personalised content.
By using original images, you are likely to experience a significant boost in general search results as well as specific image search results. Bear in mind that Google is now displaying larger images in many search results. Also, tools such as Google Lens enable searchers to find you through one of your images wherever it may be displayed.
We can expect the amount of automation of SEO processes to continue to grow during 2022. There are two main ways this can happen:
An increasing number of SEO professionals are becoming more confident about using elements of coding – for example in Python – to automate aspects of their SEO tasks such as technical audits, on-page SEO issues, and competitor analysis. There are also many industry-leading tools available to help.
It’s also important to keep track of automation options offered or used by search engines. For example, Google is about to join other search engines using the IndexNow protocol. IndexNow enables websites integrated with the IndexNow API to push information about updated content to the search engines, reducing excess crawl load.
By keeping a watchful eye on what can be automated, you can achieve aspects of SEO in a more time and energy efficient way. However, relying more heavily on automation does not absolve you from every aspect of SEO . . . .
Do sweat the small stuff
As regular readers will know, we are all for working smarter not harder. But even if you automate as much of your SEO as is currently possible, there will still be “stuff” to do.
Let’s face it, SEO is a daily grind. And no matter what array of tools you have at your disposal, there is still no substitute for keeping your eyes open and staying on point.
This means constantly checking that everything is working as it should, and constantly producing content that meets Google EAT – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – guidelines. Content for humans, not bots.
It means blocking out all extraneous noise, not being distracted by rumours of Google algorithm changes, but getting on with the short term basics, in the hope of longer term gain.
Lots of food for thought, but we reckon if you give time and attention to at least some of the above, your SEO strategy will shape up nicely during 2022 and keep you ahead of the competition.
At Xcite Digital we are with you every step of the way, so do check back here with us soon for more hints and tips about digital marketing in 2022.