2021 saw significant changes to the way we use search engines.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdown changed what people wanted to find in the search engines, with requests for locally-based businesses, takeaways and fun things to pass the time at home.
The rise in smart speakers and personal assistants also had an impact on the type of search queries people asked for, with questions and long-tail search queries becoming more prominent.
With 2022 just a couple of weeks away, we’ve taken a look at some of the SEO trends to watch for the year ahead.
Create content for people, not search engines
In 2021 Google introduced a new system for generating web title pages. If the search engine thinks a page title is not descriptive enough, it will replace it with a description it thinks is more beneficial.
What does this mean for content creators? It means it’s important to start writing content that resonates with customers, rather than keyword-loaded information that ranks highly, but is not useful.
E-A-T will be more important than ever before, making it essential for websites to create reliable content that customers can trust. Search engines like Google will prioritise accuracy and facts over misinformation.
Consider videos as part of your marketing strategy
Over the past year, more and more videos have appeared in the search engine results, both in Bing and Google. In fact, it’s predicted that over 80% of all online traffic will come from videos in the year ahead.
This means that a well-thought-out, SEO-optimised video is highly likely to appear in the search engines and direct traffic to your website.
Optimise your site for Google Discover
We recently posted about how to optimise your web content to appear in Google Discover. With more people using their smartphones to search than ever before, appearing on Google Discover can be a fantastic way to introduce your business to new customers.
Creating high-quality content that provides real value to users will increase the odds of your page being featured.
Review the images you use
Artificial intelligence (for example, like Google Lens) means search engines are beginning to understand a lot more about user intent. We predict that search engines will use this knowledge to understand when the best result for someone might be an image rather than a website.
This means it is more important than ever to use high-quality, well-optimised images on your website. Ditch the over-used stock imagery, invest in some good photography and make sure all your images are optimised for SEO.
This typically makes the SEO trend list every year… but with good reason! Over half of all website visits in 2021 came from mobile devices.
Google rolled out the Page Experience algorithm in 2021, placing more prominence on a high-quality mobile experience than ever before. As a result, websites that offer a fast-loading, responsive, consistent mobile website are more likely to rank highly in the search engine page results.
Take IndexNow into account
IndexNow is a relatively new ping protocol that has been adopted by Bing and Yandex and is currently being trialled by Google.
With IndexNow, websites can instantly tell search engines about any content changes, meaning the search engines can quickly update their results.
Websites host a key on their server and post a URL to notify search engines of any changes. Previously, it could take search engines up to four weeks to index any new amends, so it’s safe to say IndexNow is a gamechanger.
At the time this article was posted, we’re not 100% sure if Google will adopt IndexNow, but if it does, it could change the way SEO is managed in 2022.
Consider voice search
Voice search is another trend that makes the list every year, and we can imagine several SEO specialists rolling their eyes at us at this moment in time! However, the truth is that Google Home and Amazon Echo are changing the way we make queries.
Rewriting your website content to be more conversational and question-based can not only increase your chances of making the top spot in voice search, but in the regular results too.
Here are five simple ways you can quickly optimise your website for voice search
Get ready for MUM
Google has been looking into ways to provide users with all the information they need without having to type in multiple search queries.
For example, if you want to hike a mountain, you will want to know the height of the mountain, the temperature, the amenities and the right equipment to bring. This is where the multitask unified model (MUM) comes into play.
MUM uses machine learning to serve users the right results, even if they may be in another language or non-text format. It’s exciting stuff, and we’re looking forward to seeing it gradually rolled out.
We hope this article has given you insight into all the SEO trends for the year ahead.
One thing we would recommend is taking a holistic approach to your search engine optimisation. Whatever marketing you are working on, be sure to take SEO into account. When you do this, your SEO efforts will become a lot more natural and have user intent in mind from the very beginning.
Keep reading our blog to find out more about all the latest SEO developments in the upcoming year.