Top 10 SEO Trends & Strategies
Core Web Vitals optimization
Last year’s page experience update was arguably the biggest change to search over the past few years. Page Experience, now quantifiable by Core Web Vitals, is now officially a Google ranking factor. Core Web Vitals includes the following performance metrics:
Largest Content Paint (LCP): The time it takes to load the largest content asset on the page.
First Input Delay (FID): The time it takes for your website to respond to a user’s first interaction with a page.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How many unexpected layout changes occur during the lifetime of the page.
Of all the areas to guide your SEO investments in 2022, improving the Core Web Vitals signal across your page is bound to have the most tangible impact on your search engine performance.
This will most likely require the help of a skilled web developer, but these free tools are essential for identifying where your pages need improvement:
Google Search Console: The Experience feature of your Google Search Console account allows you to see which pages are or are not compliant with Core Web Vitals standards. It also lists the types of issues affecting your page.
Core Web Vitals report example in Google Search Console
PageSpeed Insights: In addition to Core Web Vitals data, the PageSpeed Insights report can give you further insight into how your pages are performing to users.
PageSpeed Insights report example
In the SEO industry, we’re likely to see agencies and SEO providers expand their service offerings this year, including on-page experience and core Web Vitals optimization. If you don’t have an in-house team to do these more technical optimizations, consider outsourcing to an SEO service provider.
People also ask
A recent study of 2.5 million search queries shows that Google’s “People also ask” feature now appears in about 48.6% of searches.
With its prominent position at the top of the SERPs (usually above position one), everyone wants to rank their content in this coveted SERP feature.
SEO trends 2022 – people also asked some people also asked for examples of SERP features
To get there, you need to provide answers to frequently asked questions in the content. Check SERPs or use keyword research tools to identify long-tail problem keywords in your audience
Then, provide comprehensive answers, including questions in H2, H3, and H4, or add an FAQ section.
This strategy will be a great way to gain more visibility at the top of the SERPs in 2022, even if the pages you provide answers to are ranked low on the first page (or even on the second!).
Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. But as Google’s natural language processing (NLP) technology has become more advanced, effective keyword targeting has become a more sophisticated and complex process.
Gone are the days of optimizing landing pages and blog posts for a single keyword goal. Regardless, Google ranks our landing pages for multiple keywords, which means 2022 is an even higher target year.
Keyword clustering is a more advanced keyword strategy that can boost your overall keyword rankings. It involves identifying multiple keywords with similar search intent and creating web pages targeting these “clusters”.
In the example below, we can create an interview software keyword cluster with the following keywords:
- Interview scheduling software
- interview scheduling tool
- Online Interview Software
- Virtual Interview Software
- Example of keyword clustering using a spreadsheet.
Keyword clustering is a more effective way to increase the total number of keywords your page ranks for and establish your site as an authority in key subject areas.
While more time-consuming, the results could mean Google showing the same page for hundreds of additional keywords.
The machine learning model GPT-3 (the third generation of generative pretrained transformers) was publicly released through OpenAI last year.
As a result, AI-assisted SEO content tools such as copy, Headline, Jarvis, etc. are on the rise, enabling content teams to generate more SEO-optimized content at a faster rate.
These tools can generate topics, headings, meta tags, paragraphs, and even entire articles with little input.
Example of generating blog content using SearchAtlas
Although I strongly advise against completely replacing human SEO copywriting with bots, AI-generated content can be a good place to start. In 2022, we may see more content teams integrate AI copywriting tools into their workflows.
Here are some of the most effective ways to leverage AI content tools:
Title/Subject Generation: Not sure what to write? Speed up the ideation and brainstorming process with AI-generated headlines and topics.
Meta Tag Generation: If you need hundreds of meta tags, AI copywriting tools can help you generate original and unique page titles and meta descriptions at scale.
Outline/First Draft: Again, these should serve as starting points, not replacements. AI tools can still make obvious mistakes and unnatural wording like bots, so build AI-generated drafts to save time and generate content faster.
Content optimization software
Content Optimizer can help you create high-quality, semantically rich content that ranks well on Google.
These tools use Google-like NLP algorithms to identify keywords, subtopics, synonyms, and even common problems search engine crawlers look for on a page when promoting content.
This year we may see more sites harness the power of content tools. I have seen content optimization have an almost direct impact on page rankings for total keywords and average positions.
Impressions and average positions jumped immediately after using content optimization software.
More structured data and rich snippets
Schema markup is a microdata vocabulary that helps Google better understand and extract content from your pages, enabling them to be displayed as rich snippets that are more engaging and clickable to users.
Google loves rich snippets because it helps its crawlers better show users exactly what they’re searching for, which means a better experience for users.
And with Google supporting new mode flags every year (including video modes and educational sites, it won’t be slowing down because of those anytime soon.
Businesses leveraging schema markup are way ahead of their competitors because many digital marketers still don’t use it.
Check out Google’s full list of rich search results to see which ones are relevant to the content on your site, then target adding the appropriate schema markup in 2022.
Google loves to rank high-quality content. While content length is not a ranking factor, there is a strong correlation between longer content and better rankings.
Why? Because long content is more likely to show Google’s E-A-T signals associated with quality, such as in-depth content, original research and analysis, and expert authorship and sourcing.
As Google continues to improve its NLP algorithms, it will continue to improve in recognition quality. So, take the time to provide comprehensive information about the keywords you are targeting and you may see higher keyword positions and higher average positions.
Good old boring SEO
Although Google has updated its algorithms and search engine technology has improved, the core principles of SEO have always remained the same. To see SEO success in 2022, the basics still apply:
Content Quality: Create accurate, up-to-date, original, and in-depth articles on keywords relevant to your audience.
On-page SEO: Make sure your meta titles, meta descriptions, title tags, images, and body text are optimized so Google can better understand what’s on your page.
Backlinks: Focus on getting high-quality backlinks from other websites through content marketing, guest blogging, and public relations.
Technology: Create fast-loading, responsive web pages with high-quality UI/UX and ensure they are properly indexed.
Industry-specific ranking factors: Be consistent with these factors, whether local businesses, credit, legal services, healthcare, etc.
The democratization of search
As Google gets better at identifying content quality and page experience signals on web pages, the role of authority will not be as important as it used to be in the years to come.
While backlinks and domain authority remain critical to ranking in 2022, search is becoming a more democratic place.
Existing sites won’t be able to keep ranking high for keywords solely on their authority signals, and new sites will have more chances to rank if they provide users with a high-quality, high-performance web experience.
Another search engine?
The widespread adoption of open source technologies such as GPT-3, means more opportunities for key players to create their search engines.
I don’t think Google will lose market share anytime soon, but we’ve seen companies like Apple invest in creating their own search experience for users.
Google’s dominance is arguably hard-earned as it produces the highest quality search results. However, as new and existing search engines gain access to the best NLP techniques, we may see Google’s competitors improve their products to compete better.
This is good news for the SEO industry as a whole, as more businesses and brands want to be discovered through new ways users search for content.
The Best SEO Strategies of 2022
Overall, website owners and digital marketers should stick to SEO basics this year. But be on the lookout for tools and techniques that can help your team save time and produce more impactful results.
Given the above trends, here are the best SEO strategies for 2022:
- Check your Core Web Vitals and invest in improvements.
- People who target long-tail question keywords also ask.
- Create keyword clusters to rank for more queries on one page.
- Use AI content tools but as a supplement.
- Try content optimization software.
- Apply more structured data and rich snippets to your content.
- Write high-quality long-form content.
- Keep up with boring SEO.
- Take advantage of the democratization of search.
- Keep an eye out for new search engines and experiences.