The search landscape is constantly changing and 2021 saw various algorithm updates that introduced new nuances to the SERPs. Whilst there are numerous factors that Google takes into consideration before ranking a page, here we have taken a look at what will be important for your SEO strategy in 2022.
1. Page speed and SEO
Page speed has been a ranking signal for desktop since 2010 and was introduced as a ranking factor for mobile devices in 2018. In 2021, Google rolled out the Page Experience Algorithm and the three Core Web Vitals metrics quickly became the pillar of good page experience.
Google will continue to focus on user experience in 2022 and reward websites that provide both good quality content and fast loading web pages that don’t cause the user to bounce off the site. They have already confirmed that the Page Experience Algorithm will be rolled out on desktop in February 2022 and we know that the Core Web Vital metrics can change in the future. Google is already developing a new responsiveness metric that could be a replacement for First Input Delay, which is why it’s important to always follow best practices and work on the overall page load time of your site to improve both page rank and conversions.
2. Search intent and SEO
Choosing the right keywords is vital for your organic strategy and search volume is not always the best indicator of how valuable a keyword is. After all, there is more to each keyword than simply search volume. For every term we analyse, there are also a number of organic and paid clicks, CPC, keyword difficulty and search intent. This means there is a lot more to consider before deciding whether a particular keyword is worth targeting and if so, what type of content will best meet users’ search intent.
Search intent has played a major role in keyword research for years but it will be even more prominent in 2022. Why? Because one of Google’s primary goals is to satisfy search intent and their latest algorithms, MUM, is designed to take this to another level by sprucing up the SERPs with ‘Things to know’, 'Topic Zoom’, and ‘Visually browsable search results’.
SEMrush now reports on search intent, but how can you infer this if you don’t have access to this tool or want to carry out the analysis yourself? Search intent can be broken down into four main categories - informational, navigational, transactional and commercial. Based on an educated guess, we can place keywords in the following categories. For example, we know that long tail keywords that begin with ‘Why’ or ‘What’ tend to have informational intent - the user is trying to find out more about a particular topic. On the other hand, key phrases that contain words such as ‘top best’, or ‘review’ or look to compare two products or brands have commercial intent, meaning that the customer wants to buy a product or a service but they are still at the research stage. The table below can help you quickly define search intent for some terms.
- Informational - Why, What, How, Who, When, Where, Tutorial, Resources, Lessons, Examples, Guides, Best way to
- Navigational - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Analytics (specific website)
- Transactional - Free, Cheap, Buy, Purchase, Coupon, Voucher, For sale, Near Me, Ikea Pax Wardrobe, Fitbit Versa 3
- Commercial Investigation - Best dishwashers for 2021, Top best running shoes, Nike vs Adidas running shoes
3. Video content and SEO
Video optimisation has become more important in 2021 and we will see this trend continue in 2022. We see more keywords that produce organic video results than before, especially for long-tail terms that focus on customer queries such as ‘How to bleed a radiator’, ‘How to cook steak’ or ‘how to make pancakes’. Earlier this year, Google was even testing a short video carousel on mobile and video responses to recipe related questions.
Studies have shown that video content cant boost average time spent on site, conversion rate and overall engagement. Not to mention platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels have provided a stage for content creators and have shown that we as consumers engage with video content and that it should be part of your marketing mix. As with your on-page content of course, you should take time to produce high-quality video content that meets your target audience needs and brings value.
4. Site accessibility and SEO
Google has made it clear that providing good user experience will be rewarded in the SERPs. Page Speed and Mobile Friendliness have been and continue to be ranking factors, but page and user experience doesn’t stop here. Clearly, this vast topic encompasses more than just a handful of factors and involves UX, UI and CRO specialists to ensure user interaction and conversion. However, sometimes, good page experience boils down to the basics - is the content and the buying process easily accessible to all users?
Ensuring websites are easily accessible to everyone should be a primary concern for anyone working in digital. When we talk about accessibility, we mean content that is available to people with disabilities so they can understand and interact with it whilst navigating your site with ease. This also includes people with temporary impairments, for example people on a moving train, users with bad Internet connection, or customers who are not able to play the sound of your video content.
Besides high bounce rate and customer dissatisfaction, site accessibility may also have legal implications. In the US, site accessibility is covered under the ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act) and in Europe the European Accessibility Act ensures that different products and services are presented in a format that is appropriate for all users. Why do we care? Domino Pizza and Beyonce got sued over having websites that do not comply with the ADA. In 2019, Beyonce’s company Parkwood Entertainment got sued because the site did not provide alt text, accessible drop down menu and keyboard access, all of which prevented screen readers from accessing important information. A lawsuit was filed against Domino’s for similar reasons, their website was not accessible via a screen reading software and the customer wasn’t presented with the option to customise their pizza and take advantage of online discounts.
As SEOs, we focus on making websites discoverable in search and a lot of the areas we work on have an impact on accessibility. Let’s explore further and see how SEO can actually improve site accessibility.
- Alternative text - Ensuring your images have alt text means that the content will be available to customers using a screen reader.
- HTML Sitemap - The sitemap will help users find all of the content on your site easily and quickly.
- Page Titles & Headings - Meta Titles and Headings have always been really important for SEO as they provide vital information about the page and about the keywords the specific URL is targeting. Screen Readers rely on that content to explain to users what the pages are about.
- Video Transcriptions - If you have a lot of video content, adding transcriptions will ensure that people with hearing impairment will be able to access your content.
- Links & Buttons - Screen readers will use the anchor text you have added to your links and buttons to announce a link to a different page. It is important to present valuable information so that users can choose their next steps.
Readability -Our target audience may include people who speak different languages or people who are reading content whilst they are distracted. To improve readability, your content should be easy to digest, avoid jargon where possible and make use of listicles.
5. Local SEO
COVID-19 changed the way we behave and shop online. As social distancing was put into place, people embraced online shopping and the e-commerce industry saw a turning point. There is no doubt, however, that small businesses have suffered through the pandemic and have had to adapt to the rapidly changing marketplace and consumer expectations. Local SEO has become more important as businesses compete to be found in their local area. A study shows that consumers want to support local businesses more than before the pandemic which is why you can’t ignore your local SEO strategy. Whether you are a national brand with presence in different cities or a small local business, being found online is key to driving new customers. Find out how to optimise for local SEO in our guide.
Website’s technical health, backlink profile, crawlability and content are still and will always be important for SEO so don’t overlook the overall health of your website. Focus on providing a good user experience, whilst bringing value to your customers and consult with your SEO to strengthen your online presence.
Looking for an SEO agency to help your business evolve in 2022?
We are Adido, an SEO agency based in Bournemouth who can help you to improve your business’s online visibility, drive more organic traffic to your site and boost your ROI. Why not get in touch with us today to see how we can help?