2020 unleashed a historic disruption on a global scale. Pandemics. Shutdowns. Civil unrest. In the aftershock of all this, an unprecedented number of American workers quit their jobs.
Remote work, uncertain company futures, and more contributed to many people taking the risk of starting their own business.
With this influx of small businesses and the need for companies to set themselves apart from the competition, SEO is more important than ever. It can help to:
- Earn higher search engine ranking placements (SERPs) that lead to increased visibility.
- Drive more traffic to your website, leading to higher conversion rates.
- Develop brand loyalty and keep customers coming back for future purchases.
Every day, people conduct more than 3 billion searches on Google. To maximize your digital marketing strategy and succeed in the fast-paced, ever-changing marketplace, every small business should know current SEO trends in 2022.
Why SEO is More Important Now Than Ever
It isn’t enough for a company to simply offer quality products at affordable prices. Today’s consumers are more discerning. With the world at their fingertips, shoppers can conduct their own research to find the product that best meets their needs and provides the most enjoyable experience. That’s why SEO is so crucial to your business’s success.
SEO is a robust marketing strategy that aims to improve multiple aspects of your online business. SEO forensically examines website performance through crawl-ability, speed, and indexation. Off-site, SEO serves as a form of digital PR that connects websites to other publications and circles of influence.
Ultimately, SEO ensures you’re creating meaningful content that resonates with consumers’ needs and provides the best user experience.
This helps earn you higher SERPs, which is critical to the success of SEO. As you can probably relate to, 75% of online users won’t scroll past the first page of Google search results.
SEO has far-reaching effects on numerous aspects of your business and your bottom line. It strengthens credibility, increases visibility, and ensures that you provide a positive user experience.
To capture your share of the market and appeal to today’s judicious consumers, you can see why SEO is more important now than ever.
8 SEO Trends to Follow in 2022
Today’s face-paced market is packed with consumers with desires and expectations that are constantly changing. Search engine algorithms are ever-evolving.
Here are eight SEO trends every small business should know in 2022.
1. SEO-Related Google Advancements
Google continues to find ways to improve the ranking process, and its most recent significant update is BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). It utilizes machine learning to understand search intent through natural language processing.
In the past, directional models had to read an entire chain of words to understand their meaning. BERT can scan a series of words and instantly recognize their contextual relationships.
This update enables bots and spiders to be more conversational, making it quicker and easier for them to realize the aim of a search.
For example, if a user were to search “algebra books for adults”, their listings would include a general listing of books for a range of ages.
With BERT, the listings still include those results, but a book actually entitled “Algebra for Adults” would be ranked higher.
What does this mean for you? Your content must be created around users’ search intent. If not, Google may find that your competitor’s site contains more relevant information for their users’ queries. So while we already know content is crucial, BERT affirms the need to create content thoughtfully.
To maximize this opportunity, you should:
- Write naturally focusing on users and the way people would speak.
- Keep sentences short and sweet, simple and conversational.
- Identify the questions people are asking online.
- Make the content relevant by answering users’ questions and addressing their problems.
By keeping your audience in mind, you’ll create content that meets their needs and satisfies BERT’s requirements.
2. Organic SEO focused on User Intent
Organic SEO is built around a company’s website and refers to unpaid methods of earning high SERPs. It focuses on on-page content like metadata, meta titles, descriptions, internal link building, and outbound links.
Organic SEO gives businesses a platform to communicate relevant and meaningful information to their target market by developing content that resonates with users and search engines alike.
To succeed at organic SEO, you must:
- Know your target audience and understand their motivators.
- Conduct in-depth keyword research
- Study your competitors.
- Develop a content strategy with informative material that addresses the needs of your target audience.
- Build relationships with reputable online sources and build healthy backlinks.
With organic SEO you can better position your brand and earn higher rankings in search engine results.
3. Local SEO
Local SEO focuses on the use of a geographic brick-and-mortar location. It’s an ideal digital marketing strategy for businesses looking to increase traffic, leads, and brand awareness from local searches.
Local SEO capitalizes on the foot traffic of shoppers searching online within your area via their mobile devices. Oftentimes, these users are in a purchasing mindset and are actively looking for businesses like yours to solve an immediate need.
To establish a strong local presence, you need to understand how Google’s local algorithms work.
Local algorithms are based on 3 primary signals:
Google’s Business Profile Manager (BPM) is the best place to start if you want to improve your local SEO and build a local brand. Simply create an online profile that includes all the essential information about your business, like your name, store hours, address, and phone number.
Optimize your profile to help your brand become visible in nearby results from Google Search and Maps. If your business profile is engaging and meets the geographic reach of the user’s search, your location will appear among the top results. This drives foot traffic to your building and website, increasing sales opportunities.
Recent updates to BPM have made updating and maintaining your company’s profile easier than before. Business owners can now access their profiles directly through Google Search and Maps.
This allows you to see whether your profile is visible to consumers and make whatever edits are necessary. More importantly, you can better understand your performance and how to boost your online presence for maximum results.
Here are a few tips to optimize your local brand to dominate the competition:
Claim and update all local listings: Not just GBP, but also claim and update Bing and other secondary platforms like FaceBook, Yelp, Apple, Foursquare. Make it a point to have a consistent Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) for all claimed listings.
Publish content on GBP frequently: Posting regular updates to your profile is a great way to boost visibility. Be diverse in your approach by promoting a product, highlighting an upcoming event, sharing a new feature, or providing a special update and offers.
Also maintain your media library by uploading photos regularly. Use quality images that accurately reflect products, services, and team culture to your online audience.
Build and manage your reviews: Encourage and welcome feedback from your customers. Interact with customers who leave reviews – especially the bad ones.
Most people will skim through good reviews. But they will read bad reviews – and how the owners respond.
By responding to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. Be prompt in your responses.
4. Bing Webmaster Tools
When people think of search engines, Google is usually the first company that comes to mind. But Bing handles around 12 billion global search requests a month and shouldn’t be overlooked as a valuable SEO opportunity. A free Microsoft tool, Bing Webmaster, helps businesses add their websites to Bing’s index to ensure they can appear on Bing Search and gain more organic traffic.
Bing Webmaster offers a suite of tools that helps track performance and identify areas for optimization improvement. These tools include:
- Keyword research: find new words or phrases that searchers are using to find sites like yours.
- Backlinks: identify sites that are linking back to yours.
- Site scan: locate any technical issues on your website that could be impeding SEO results.
- SEO reports: pinpoint errors quickly with a prioritized list of issues to resolve.
With Bing Webmaster, you can manage your content easily and effectively. Take advantage of this tool and:
- Remove pages you don’t want to be included in search engines’ index.
- Monitor your website’s performance and manage potential security issues.
- Submit your own content to be crawled and see how Bing indexes your site.
With total transparency, Bing allows you to see what you need to do to improve optimization efforts and boost your rankings.
5. Authentic Backlinks
Link building serves as an effective inbound marketing strategy. It provides an opportunity to generate traffic back to your website from other authoritative online publications and resources.
This helps give credibility to your website and online material. When a reliable outside company links to your website as a source of information, it’s like receiving a vote. The more votes (backlinks) you get, the more search engines will recognize you as a trusted and valuable source of content for their users.
When it comes to creating backlinks, authenticity is key. Not only do links alert readers and search engines of your credibility and establish you as a leader in your field … they also help search engines gain a better understanding of what your content is all about.
Sites like Google and Bing find relationships between web pages, so it’s more beneficial to receive backlinks from companies within your industry.
In an effort to combat link spam, Google has implemented an update that identifies spam links and disregards weak or low-quality backlinks.
As a result, businesses using link spam on their site earn lower rankings (if ranked at all). To build authentic backlinks, you should:
- Watch for companies or individuals who mention your brand.
- Reach out to them and ask about exchanging backlinks.
- Rework your current content to include shareable lists, guides, videos, and infographics.
- Repair broken links and alert external websites about those updates.
- Create guest posts for relevant sites.
- Post links on social media to reach an audience that could benefit your site.
These are just a few of the numerous ways to maximize backlinks in your SEO strategy.
6. Video Content Marketing
Research shows that 83% of internet users are compelled to watch video content, making it a powerful digital marketing tool.
Video is engaging, entertaining, and allows people to consume information while multitasking. It’s also an effective way to earn backlinks and is highly shareable, which is great for boosting SEO.
To maximize this opportunity, follow these best practices to ensure your videos provide a positive user experience for your audience:
- Integrate a variety of videos throughout your web pages, but embed the one you want to rank first.
- Write enticing headlines and descriptions that include valuable keywords to improve user engagement.
- Use a quality video hosting platform like Youtube.
- Include video transcripts for people who don’t want to watch the full clip, but still want to receive all the information.
- Choose a compelling thumbnail image that attracts users’ attention.
Video provides an opportunity to create engaging, informative content that is tailored to your audience. Platforms like FaceBook and Linkedin allow direct uploads to help businesses expand reach.
With a strong CTA, video can the likelihood of earning higher SERPs and strengthening your brand loyalty.
To determine whether online content delivers value to its readers, Google’s Search Quality evaluators assess three main focal points of online material:
- Expertise: is the writer knowledgeable on the topic?
- Authoritativeness: is the writer an authority in their field? Is the content commanding?
- Trustworthiness: is the writer and information reliable, accurate, and convincing?
While E-A-T isn’t necessarily a ranking factor, it does impact a company’s SERP indirectly. By providing companies with guidelines for producing quality content, Google is revealing what it considers important in its ranking process.
As you craft custom content, be sure to:
- Write about topics you’ve studied and researched and link to other knowledgeable sources.
- Take an authoritative stance to present yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
- Fact check, confirm sources and be sure all data and links are current and accurate.
Keeping E-A-T in mind will ensure you’re providing relevant, meaningful information that delivers value and quality to your audience.
8. Core Web Vitals
Since user experience is a high priority for consumers, page experience is an essential element of SEO. Core web vitals ensure a user enjoys the best browsing experience possible.
As you assess the page experience your site provides, consider the following vitals:
- First Input Delay (FID): how long it takes for a web page to respond.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): how long it takes for a page to reach visual stability.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): the amount of time between a user’s click to when they can see the majority of the content on-screen.
By improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your website’s performance, you minimize user frustrations, reduce pain points, and help deliver a positive experience.
This not only boosts your rankings through SEO, but also positively impacts your bottom line. After all, 80% of people who have a negative user experience are less likely to return to a company’s website.
To earn higher SERPs and build a loyal following of satisfied customers, attending to your site’s core web vitals is imperative for SEO..
Hire an Expert Austin SEO Company
At this point, you may be feeling overwhelmed. We understand. Most small business owners want to invest their best energy in what they do best. Which is usually not SEO.
We can help. Our team of experts at JS-Interactive knows that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO.
As a digital marketing, web design, and SEO company in Austin and Milwaukee, we help people build their dreams by helping companies build targeted, sustainable, and relevant web traffic.
From local SEO to content marketing strategies, our team knows what it takes to generate qualified leads, establish you as a leader in your industry, and help earn higher SERPs for maximum success.
Reach out today for a free 30-minute consultation and let us help you reach your goals.