Organic traffic is still one of the most valuable and stable sources of leads for businesses, despite the constantly changing nature of search engine algorithms. Milestone published research showing that 69% of all digital traffic was generated by search engines. This includes both generic and local results.
It is important to look ahead to 2022 and recognize the importance of a systematic, research-based approach in SEO. This will allow for consideration of a wide range ranking factors. This post will discuss five key considerations for the next year.
In September 2021, Google’s market share was 87%. This article will therefore focus on Google, the industry’s acknowledged giant. However, well-rounded strategies will have an impact on rankings in secondary search engines such as Bing, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo and Ecosia.
Let’s dig in.
1. Trust, Authority, and Expertise (EAT)
“EAT” is a combination of three ranking factors that determine the quality and authority of content on a website. EAT is listed in Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines and is also included in the highly-respected Search Engine Land Periodic Table.
This position has been supported by many experts. Danny Sullivan , Google’s Public Search Liaison, tweeted that “We…use a range of signals as a proxy for telling if content seems like E-A-T in the same way humans would assess it.”
Here is a quick overview of each factor.
- Expertise– Expertise is the ability to accurately and timely present information. Expertise can be boosted by hiring experts, regular auditing of your site, and adding author bios.
- Authority – Authority refers to the quality or quantity of citations of content, usually in the form social media shares and links. This centrality highlights the importance of content promotion in 2022.
- Trust– This refers to your overall brand perception and website’s trustworthiness. Trust is a combination of brand authority, past adherence with quality standards and references from top-tier domains.
Google’s BERT (2019), and MUM (2021), updates show Google’s commitment providing users with relevant content based only on limited keyword information. Companies that concentrate on maximizing EAT will be better placed to meet Google’s content quality criteria.
2. Desktop Page Experience (UX Driven SEO) and Core Web Vitals
Google’s page update is one of the most significant algorithm changes in 2021. It is expected to have long-lasting ramifications into and after 2022. Google stated that it will add page-experience ranking signals to desktop websites by February 2022.
Google described the update as follows: Page Experience is a set o signals that measures how users perceive interaction with web pages beyond their information value.
The many other factors are also addressed in the update. It also targets three aspects of user experience collectively known as “Core Web Vitals”, which include largest contentful paint and first input delay. Ensure that all these elements are taken into consideration when optimizing user experience beyond EAT-based criteria.
3. Link Building and Citations
Link building remains a crucial ranking factor. It is one of the oldest and most fundamental ways to establish a site’s credibility. Citations are the local equivalent of links.
Link building is an integral part of any SEO strategy and there are no signs this will change in 2022. When you are actively building links (which is typically done through outreach), there are three factors that should be considered:
- Quality – Trusted sites with high-quality links are more valuable than those of lower quality.
- Quantity Generally speaking, you should acquire more links than you have.
- Anchor text You should strive to create a varied and relevant profile of anchor text.
The same principles apply to citations in local business directories. They are a crucial ranking factor for local companies.
4. Spam, Cloaking and Stuffing, Low Quality Links, and Other “Toxins”.
Google is redoubling its efforts to reduce sites that use spammy optimization strategies. November 2021 saw the spam-related update. This was preceded by several algorithm rollouts that targeted low-quality content like the June and July core update.
These misleading SEO techniques are known as “toxins” and violate Google’s webmaster guidelines.
These are the five strategies you need to be careful about:
- Cloaking – Displaying search engines content that is different than what users see.
- Keyword stuffing Overloading your content using keywords.
- Link Scheme – Link programs allow you to pay for links from third-party websites. These sites are usually of low quality.
- Do not repost content you don’t have the rights to. Add the appropriate canonical tags if you’re using duplicate content.
- HTML heavy on ads – The user experience is the most important. Avoid cramming your site with promotional materials and ads.
Poor quality content is something that should be avoided, given the anticipated significance of EAT factors by 2022.
5. Voice Search
Google’s increased focus on voice search is due to user activity regarding IoT (Internet of Things). While voice search is not as dominant as many had predicted, data from Adobe Analytics clearly demonstrates that voice-based interfaces are growing.
Google’s “latest research breakthrough” was announced in September 2021. It took the form advanced voice technology LaMDA (Language Model For Dialogue Applications). LaMDA stands out because it is a sign of Google’s ongoing efforts to streamline search results by changing user habits.
To cater to voice searches, you can structure content to include featured Snippets and target long-tail keywords (especially local ones) as well as optimizing for mobile.
It is easy to believe that SEO is static. Ranking factors can change more slowly than most businesses realize.
Since the inception of Google, the fundamental principles of user-focused design, high quality content and trust based on citations have remained virtually unchanged.
This is an important point to remember when you are creating your SEO strategy. Although technical priorities might change, a well-constructed foundation that places customer experience first will guarantee success long term. This is true in 2022 as well as beyond.