Organic search traffic is an essential channel for lead generation, so a large flow of unique website visitors is a blue dream of every digital marketer. Search engine optimization strategy should “seal” high positions upon target search queries and increase its overall visibility over time.
With the evolution of ranking algorithms, the regard of SEO managers has switched from meta tags optimization and backlinks building towards assuring better overall website UX. This broad course gave rise to several fundamental SEO trends as of 2022.
Website search optimization has far gone since the appearance of the first search engine, BackRub (later – Google), and the earliest websites. Back in the late 90s, ranking algorithms were not as proficient as they’re now. Consequently, SEO efforts were much about hacking practices, including keyword stuffing and spammy links.
As the popularity of the Internet increased, ranking algorithms became more sophisticated. The reason was – search engines began to compete. Consequently, they were aimed to provide users with more relevant information upon their search queries in a shorter time. They introduced ranking factors, like content quality and citation, and penalties for sites that practiced dishonest promotions.
Although there are several popular search engines nowadays, such as Yandex (in Russian Federation) and Baidu (in China), Google became a common noun for the phrase “online search”. Mainly thanks to algorithm updates that help to connect users with what they want to find. Below we’ve reviewed some of the SEO latest trends with an eye on Google’s search algorithms updates.
This trend follows the acclamation of structured data. Video markup was implemented to allow content creators to “explain” what their videos were about and highlight key moments inside of the video.
There are 2 components of structured data you should enhance videos with – to boost them on Google SERPs:
This is something similar to a movie storyboard. An entire video is divided into sub-topics or key points. For example, a tutorial on “What does an SEO strategy consist of” may include the following key points:
An example of how videos with structured data look like on search results pages, image source: a snapshot from google.com upon search query “SEO strategy video”
Google can extract segments from a video automatically, but it’s better to define specific clips manually and ask the search engine to use them. To do so, navigate to the VideoObject schema and follow guidelines to create structured data.
To allow Google to refer to a specific part of your video, “explain” how the URL structure is positioned. This way, in case the web page contains many videos, the search engine will be able to navigate a user directly to the acclamation of parts of a particular video.
MUM was presented to a wide audience during the Google I/O conference in 2021 and proclaimed as an advancement of BERT. This is a language mode aimed to help people find the information they need faster. MUM represents the latest breakthroughs in machine learning and AI. Google developers say that MUM has been trained in 75 languages so it can distinguish and “understand” user search queries with unprecedented precision.
For SEO managers, this means – they should switch the focus from keywords to search intents. And – create content that satisfies user needs in information, rather than keywords-stuffed long reads.
If your blog article or landing page content includes different topics, Google may rank them independently of the rest of the content. Say, you’ve published an article about “Trends in web design” (heading 1) and included the following topical sections into it:
Thanks to passage indexing, each of the 4 paragraphs can be ranked on Google search result pages upon related search queries. The ranking position, however, will depend on the quality of descriptions and the domain authority.
Imagine that your company is about to sign a million-dollar deal on software development with a new SaaS company. One of the first things you might do is go into a future partner. You type its name in the Google search bar and… see its brand website in a 3d position, followed by no-sense publications on unknown sites. Will you assume this is a partner you can trust? Perhaps, no.
Optimization of brand SERP is essential for digital promotion as a whole. It can be handled via multiple tactics, but, in general, SEO managers should fill in the 1st results page with brand-related content on high DA websites. They must ensure the company website appears in 1st position, including ads. They can go even further and optimize knowledge panels (appears on the right side of the result page). This way the brand SERP will look as reliable as it should. An example of good brand SERP optimization, image source: Woorank.com
What are the two biggest trends in search over the last 4-5 years? The answer is unambiguous for SEO professionals – the stability of website layout and the speed at which users can access interactive content on the web page. High-quality on-page user experience is one of the most representative things regarding website “quality”.
You should assure that:
LCP shows how soon the user will see a content element on a webpage, e.g. image or video, from the time he/she requested to see it.
FID shows how soon the user will get a response from the server upon the moment of his/her interaction with the web page, for example, – after they click on a button.
CLS shows how “stable” the appearance of a web page is. Ideally, the value of an indicator should be 0.
Imagine you’ve been promoting a small online store, and then it suddenly turned into an eCommerce giant, like amazon.com. Will that influence your SEO efforts? Sure, it will.
Search optimization for big websites differs in terms of challenges and difficulties that SEO managers face. Aside from content and backlinks planning, another big part of work occurs – handling unique technical challenges and planning further development. Thus, SEO managers are expected to take ownership of the project and provide other team members with insights regarding organic growth and digital marketing strategy as a whole.
Mobile website traffic prevails the share of the desktop. This isn’t a surprise, given that people mostly use their smartphones rather than laptops to browse for information. A good website appearance on mobile is a prerequisite for good UX and – potentially higher positions on search results pages. Google has announced mobile-first indexing in 2019. As soon as a new web page occurs, it first indexes and ranks its mobile version, and only after – its desktop version. Consequently, when preparing UX/UI website design, you should pay the foremost attention to how it works on small screens. And – implement best practices of responsive design, such as responsive imagery, easy-to-find CTAs, and others.
Google Analytics, Tag Manager, and Hotjar should be at-hand tools for every SEO manager. Of course, marketing jobs like sending a follow-up email to communicate with customers or launching Google Ads campaigns aren’t the areas of responsibility of SEOs. Still, these activities’ aim is – to attract more users to the website and get more conversions. Thus, they should be aligned with SEO strategy.
Although many think SEO is about a never-ending design thinking process, e.g. developing hypotheses and testing them, repetitive daily tasks form a major part of an SEO manager’s routine. Keyword research, backlinks monitoring, traffic analysis, and others are very time-consuming jobs yet essential jobs. Luckily, you can shift them to SEO automation tools and get more free time to handle creative tasks, such as reviewing competitors’ strategies and creating plans on how to get to the top of search ranks.
There are several instruments SEO managers should use regularly:
There isn’t one approach regarding the preferable length of content, still, long-forms have gained popularity lately. And for a reason – Google “likes” unique, structured, and meaningful content. So, the longer the article is, the better the topic can be disclosed. And, potentially, the more benefits it can bring to readers.
According to Wordstream, a long-form is an article with at least 1,200 words. However, if you read top-performing articles, e.g. ones published on HubSpot, Nelipatel.com, or Snov.io, you’ll see they are 2,500 words long and more. Typically, long-forms are enriched with both high-volume and long-tailed keywords, as well as LSI words.
The first step towards voice search optimization is using questions rather than search queries. For example, if you want to rank an apple pie recipe, you should include headings like “What is the best apple pie recipe?”, rather than “The best apple pie recipe”. That is because people mostly use questions during voice searches. Also, it’s recommended to use conversational language in the article and avoid keywords redundancy on the landing page.
Website ranking algorithms become more and more sophisticated and condition SEO trends. Today’s SEO buzz is all about better satisfaction with user search needs. Consequently, SEO manager efforts should shift from exploiting loopholes and manipulating ranking rules towards creating better-than-competing websites. Primarily – creating mobile-optimized pages that engage users through high-quality content.