SEO trends come and go, some change the game, and others get left behind fast.
With constant algorithm updates and new digital marketing channels and tools hitting the market every day, it can seemingly be difficult to map out which direction SEO will head next. In 2022, many industry experts feel there will be a few SEO trends that will continue to grow in the coming months and years.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this post—the SEO trends of 2022.
Top SEO Trends in 2022 To Watch Out For
What are the top SEO Trends 2022 to watch out for? With so many big search algorithm updates and tools released recently, it can be intimidating to know what is going on. Don’t worry; we’ve done our homework and dug deep to find out what are the most important trends in SEO that you should know about.
1. The Rise of Topical Authority
What do you know about topical authority? Chances are, you are not that familiar. We’re here to tell you that now is the time to get to know it better because it’s one of the biggest SEO trends in 2022.
Simply put, topical authority is the depth of expertise, and you can achieve this by creating high-quality, original, and comprehensive content that covers a specific topic.
Consider this an effective way to build authority, besides link building for your web pages. As the search engine becomes smarter about semantics, link relevance will likely decrease over time; and this makes topical authority more important than ever as it delivers more depth.
Moving forward, companies that provide more in-depth coverage on industry specific topics will likely see a considerable increase in their future traffic flow for related searches.
Some of the best ways to establish topical authority are:
- Topic clusters: This is a group of connected web pages that you can add to pillar content with the use of hyperlinks. Doing so will enable you to produce content that is all interrelated and provides it with more depth.
- Answers to all possible user questions: What sets topical optimisation apart from keyword optimisation is that you don’t only target a focus keyword. Instead, with topical optimisation, you create content on all possible questions, even those with low keyword volumes.
- Thorough research: Researching the main topic is one thing, but to achieve topical authority, you need to do more than that. This involves researching subtopics and creating more content out of them.
2. An Increased Focus on Engagement
How well do you know how users behave on your site? A little, average or above average? Nonetheless, user engagement is one of the most important SEO trends this year and will probably go beyond 2022.
When it comes to user engagement, the first thing to look into is your search engine engagement metrics, which are:
- Mobile optimisation: With half of the online searches coming from mobile devices, it only makes sense that your website is accessible online as well. Therefore, Google recommends websites to have a responsive web design that can adapt across all devices. In turn, it will reward these websites with higher rankings on the SERPs.
- Semantic search: Google’s Hummingbird update, along with other systems, such as RankBrain, and BERT are all pivotal in understanding the user intent behind searches. With all of these, semantic search is Google’s attempt to ensure users get the most accurate SERP results by understanding based on query context, searcher intent, and the relationship between words.
- Dwell time: This is the amount of time users spend on a page before they return to the search engine results page. Google users this to determine page relevance to the user’s query. That said, if a user stays on a page for a considerable period before going back to the SERP, then it’s likely that page is more valuable compared to others.
Now you know all the vital metrics to look into to know the level of user engagement you provide, it’s time to know some ways how you can boost it.
A good way to do this is to make your website more interactive by implementing Augmented Reality (AR). In fact, the global AR market is projected to grow, which will likely reach $97.76 billion by 2028. This is also in light of the significant increase in the number of businesses that are implementing AR on their websites.
A good example of a brand that uses AR is Sephora via their Virtual Artist Tool that is made available in 2017 on their main app. Up to this day, it is still one of the best examples of how AR can transform brands in the beauty industry.
3. All SEO Is Mobile SEO
As mentioned, mobile-friendly websites are more important than ever. In fact, this has been going on for years and has become even more vital when Google switched to mobile-first indexing in 2017, yet it’s worth noting on our SEO Trends 2022 list that this is something marketers and business owners should continue to maintain in 2022 and beyond.
Mobile devices are set to overtake desktop usage globally. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly important to develop a strategy to rank well on Google’s mobile search results.
Speeding up your site is one of the first steps you can do for Mobile SEO. Ideally, your website should load within two to three seconds on mobile. You can check your mobile speed through Google’s Mobile Speed Test.
Next, optimise the design elements of your website to ensure your site is mobile-responsive and delivers a seamless user experience.
4. More Focus on User and Search Intent
Let this be your year to really prioritise the search intent of the query and user behaviour. We have already talked about the importance of user behaviour in your SEO strategy. In 2022, user and search intent is one of the important SEO trends 2022.
You should always keep in mind that search intent and user behaviour are constantly changing. Therefore, it does make sense to always ensure you have the right focus on these two things.
A Google search query is typically of one of these two types:
- Transactional: When a user is looking to purchase a product or take a specific action.
- Informational: When a user is looking to find solutions to specific problems or learn more about a particular topic.
Transactional queries are typically longer and more complex, while informational queries tend to be shorter and simpler.
As Google has become smarter over time, it has shifted its focus from content to intent. Rather than simply looking at the keywords and topics in a piece of content, Google is starting to look at the interests of the searcher; the searcher’s intent.
5. Long-Form Content Will Be Pivotal
Google considers various ranking factors when ranking web pages, and one of them is the content quality on your website. Specifically, long-form content, which Google has consistently shown searchers with longer content.
A study by serpIQ, in which they used over 20,000 keywords, showed that the average number of words for the top URL was 2,416. Although other factors come into play here, the correlation to longer posts on web pages is very apparent.
Additionally, long content is more likely to earn more backlinks. Backlinks are one of the main ranking factors of Google, which is why it’s vital in your SEO.
Aside from quality, long-form content, there will be more focus on content with the user and search intent in mind. As mentioned, Google is now more equipped to understand a person’s user intent, so your website should be the one displayed on the first page of the SERPs.
To determine the user and search intent for your content, you need to study the different types of keywords your target audience use. Take advantage of Google Search Console to find out the type of content your readers need–all you need is to access it via your Google Search Console account.
It’s like putting on the shoes of the reader, and from there, you’ll discover their intent. In turn, you can use this to create content that will align with that intent.
6. A Close Watch on Knowledge Graphs and Entities
Paying attention to knowledge panels this year is very important, and it will come as no surprise if we start seeing customised graphs in 2022. But what does this mean for your SEO?
Fully optimising your brand’s digital presence is one of the things you should do that will influence Google to feature them. We have reached a time when it’s not only about your website anymore, it’s also about your online presence as a whole and how they interact with each other on the SERP.
Brands and marketers should also work on establishing a presence on a knowledge base site. While brick-and-mortar businesses should create a Google My Business (GMB) profile.
7. Core Web Vitals As an Important Ranking Metric
Core Web Vitals is a recent update by Google that is developed to ensure websites are more responsive and enjoyable. Surprisingly, when it was first launched, 98% of top-ranking sites did not pass Core Web Vitals standards.
Therefore when thinking about SEO trends to implement, Core Web Vitals are crucial ranking metrics to consider; and with that, professionals must improve their website to satisfy the Core Web Vitals metric. Even more, Google representatives announced that this new metric will be significant in how they will rank websites for many years to come.
Core Web Vitals work by giving the website’s a sneak peek of their usability and page experience via three indicators:
1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The time it takes for larger content on the page to load.
2. First Input Delay (FID): The time it takes for a site to respond to the first interaction of a user with the page.
3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): The number of unexpected layout shifts during the page’s lifespan.
So, does your website meet Core Web Vitals standards? The only way to find out is to conduct an SEO audit.
8. The Launch of Multitask United Model (MUM)
It is no secret that Google is continually working to improve the quality of search results. They use different systems and tools to do this, and one of them is advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Following RankBrain and BERT, Google introduced the MUM, a new NLP that is more powerful than BERT. MUM can multitask, which allows it to analyse video, images, and text within 75 languages. As a result, the search engine is now more capable to answer complex search queries.
What MUM does is it combines various search query aspects and understand the context, entities, and the user intent to deliver the right answers.
Although MUM is still in testing mode, it is expected to be out soon and will be a huge part of Google Search. Therefore, this is one of the SEO trends 2022 you should definitely prepare for.
It’s still unclear how this will impact the search, but it’s a good idea to focus on simple and highly-readable content for starters as part of your SEO strategy.
9. Two Structured Data for Video SEO
With the prevalence of video content these days, there are more individuals and business owners who use video to boost their search engine rankings.
Last year, Google has announced Seek Markup and Clip Markup—two new structured data that will help video content to appear on the SERPs with the Key Moments.
The Key Moments are displayed on the SERP for videos where the search engine can determine the sections of video timestamps. This will help users jump to a certain video section directly from the search results.
Now, the Seek Markup will tell Google how the URL structure works to enable the search engine to display key moments that are identified for the video automatically. Using the Seek Markup will enrich the video results on the SERP, which will further improve your CTR. On the other hand, the Clip Markup tells the search engine about the video timestamps.
IndexNow is changing the relationship between SEO and search engines, which is why this is one of the SEO trends 2022 to watch out for.
IndexNow is an open-source protocol that lets the website publishers index across participating search engines instantly. It’s like a “ping” sent to search engines that notify them a URL has been added, deleted or updated.
Currently, Bing and Yandex are using IndexNow, while other search engines are still testing the protocol. Additionally, Content Management Systems (CMS) are also using it, such as WordPress. However, Google has some concerns regarding the protocol, which are its efficiency and sustainability.
Still, with the number of search engines testing it now, it makes sense to anticipate it as it will have an impact on SEO. IndexNow will make it easier for search engines to discover websites; so, it’s something to take into consideration when planning out your SEO strategy for the upcoming years.
11. Sustainable SEO Trends & Strategies
It seems like the days of ranking websites by chasing algorithms will soon be over, and a new trend in SEO will replace it, and that’s where taking a sustainable approach to SEO strategies comes in.
A sustainable SEO strategy, also termed ‘Sustainability-contents SEO’ is focused on reducing the carbon footprint of digital infrastructure, which can also be a defining factor in search users’ behaviours.
This is in light of Google’s recent display of hotel web pages that are labelled eco-friendly and the carbon emissions of flights. It’s not impossible that Google will also start showing the environmental impact of every webpage.
As a result, carbon emissions may become a vital metric this year and in the coming years.
12. More Voice Search
Voice search will level up yet again in 2022, and will continuously change your SEO strategies. This is due to the convenience of voice search assistants, such as Alexa and Siri. Both have become helpful in day-to-day activities. Also, 31% of mobile users globally use voice search at least once a week.
The rise in voice searches is also driven by emerging SEO trends, such as smart speakers, voice AI and machine learning, and mobile voice search devices.
Significant Google Algorithm Updates
Google is known to release certain updates that are significant to SEO, in 2020 alone, it has made 4,500 changes to search and this has made many marketers and business owners on their toes (Hello, controversial Google Panda update).
The search engine giant is known to announce core algorithm updates but is very secretive when it comes to proprietary information, which makes a lot of experts more mindful of any changes on their end that they (thankfully) share on various social media platforms and groups to spread awareness.
In 2021, Google released core updates that seems more like an infrastructure update and had now a disruptive impact. The release of the core update in November 2021 also coincided with a Google research paper, FLAN, which stands for Fine-Tuned Language Net was released in October 2021.
FLAN solves different tasks and generalises methods to implement a wide variety of tasks through natural language training.
The Google research paper FLAN is one of the few examples that algorithms published don’t necessarily mean that they are applied to Google Search.
Also around the time FLAN was published, Google announced Pathways, a new AI Architecture that can handle many tasks and learn new tasks quickly. However, there’s a huge chance that the things Pathways will build weren’t in the most recent core algorithm update.
Clearly, these most recent updates didn’t have a profound effect on SEO, but some did, such as Core Web Vitals, MUM, safe browsing standards, and Google Passage Ranking.
A more profound algorithm update was in 2013, which is the Hummingbird that has put some SEO practices at the forefront, such as topical authority.
These updates have a strong correlation with SEO trends 2022 and will influence search results, keyword research, and more. Luckily, there are many tools to help evolve with these SEO trends, such as the Google Search Console, Google Discover, and other free tools you can find online.
Keeping up with SEO trends these days can be a puzzle with many moving pieces, and market trends will change often and quickly. In general, it seems clear that there’s plenty of room for SEO in 2022. We expect to see a continuation of the combination of content creation and optimisation that has driven SEO for years.
Use these SEO Trends 2022 as rough guidelines for where the SEO industry is going, but also keep in mind that your success will ultimately depend on many factors, including your skills and expertise.
More than anything, though, there’s no substitute for common sense—when it comes to SEO and digital marketing, the old adage holds true: the more you know, the better off you will be.