In this blog, we’re going to discuss the SEO trends to follow in 2022 and the likely changes that will affect your small business SEO. No one could ever have predicted that everything would change back in early 2020. However, everyone gradually had to come to terms with the ‘new norm’ and most of us were ushered swiftly into isolation, sanitising their hands and maintaining social distancing measures. Changes in all aspects of life were felt worldwide and this had a huge effect on areas as diverse as music festivals, to restaurants, bars, clubs, public transport, working in the office and even holidays.
One thing that remains constant from all this upheaval is the way that the technology around search engines and social media networks continues to thrive and be ever-present in our lives – especially these days. Surely, there is no longer a need for the question as to whether technology and internet giants such as Google will keep on innovating. It is clear that looking at current trends and trying to adapt those predictions into the future – internet use and the number of users who rely on it will only increase. But what will SEO look like in 2022 and how will it change?
The steep climb in reliance on the internet has led in many ways to the success of social marketing. The vast majority of transactions and purchases are done online these days, such as making appointments and buying essential items like food and drink. Even the consumption of information occurs most often online in today’s content-rich landscape. The implementation of business in the online world does not only benefit large organisations and companies but also gives opportunities to small, local businesses and brands to win customers. Social marketing is certainly a current trend and a proven technique in awareness and business growth. Every small business in Australia that sees the potential in digital and online marketing knows that SEO features at the core of that growth strategy.
As you know, search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of well-researched predictions of what internet users frequently search. The old methods of ranking have improved vastly in ways that are more user-friendly and advanced. For example, the archaic and black hat method of keyword stuffing will no longer increase your traffic in search engine results. Google ranks the results based on the relevance of the content based on the user’s query and the trustworthiness of that information.
Results Will Show The Most Relevant and Accurate Contents:
This is the content to answer that question:
Misleading titles with irrelevant content (as I’ve deliberately written above in italics) will no longer win the desired ranking position on the page results. Google’s algorithm is getting much more sophisticated at recognising content with the most relevant and reliable response. What are the SEO trends to follow in 2022? We predict that SEO rankings will be even more competitive, providing hyper-relevant content that is of the highest quality and adds value to the user’s Search Journey will also continue to play heavily. Content that merely aims to lure their audience by linking unnecessary content sources will no longer be as effective as it is today. Google’s algorithm will also identify the credibility of the link inserted in the content.
User intent and search intent are everything!
With concepts like user intent, search intent and the buyer’s journey becoming increasingly important, Google has remodelled its algorithm to better understand what users are actually searching for when they type in or say a phrase or question (using voice search).
However, when Google announced their new update a few years ago, nobody expected that they would not only be altering their algorithm, but that they would actually be changing the way we think about user searches and search history altogether.
This is where ‘Search Journeys’ come in.
Why did they change to Search Journeys?
With this change, Google uses AI to better understand the language that users use when they search and the context within their query. Search Journeys uses that contextual meaning to display content that is most relevant to where users are at in their journey rather than simply giving them an answer to a question.
Google’s AI looks at where users have been, what they have searched for previously, and what they are likely to search for or do next.
This paradigm shift challenges the way that we have previously viewed web search. It also demonstrates how Google uses prior search history in a whole new way in order to serve users with better, highly tailored results.
The Problem with Answers:
When users want to look something up online, they turn first to their preferred search engine and type in what they want to find out.
This could be “how to make a face mask” or “flower shop in Sydney.”
Previously, Google focused on providing users with the best answer to their question. What was ‘best’ was determined by numerous factors, like keyword match, relevancy, local proximity, and others.
But the old algorithm didn’t account for what a user intended to do. Instead, it simply tried to find the best answer to their query.
Additionally, Google wasn’t predictive in what they showed users next based on their prior search history or where they were in their Search Journey.
The Purpose of Following the User Search Journey:
Today, Google realises there can be a variety of things that users are after when they type in a certain term, and that there can be many different phases to that process.
Here’s an example of a Search Journey playing out:
A user begins their search for a flower shop in Sydney. They Google some similar terms, such as “flower shop in Sydney” and “buy flowers near me.”
After visiting a couple of flower shop websites, they decide to think about it a bit more.
The following week, they Google the same terms again. This time, however, Google knows which sites they’ve visited and for how long. The algorithm knows that they aren’t looking to explore new options but are likely choosing between those they found in their first search.
So, Google may show the user reviews of the flower shops they already visited or present them with content focused on how to care for your flowers.
You can see how this aligns with our existing knowledge of the buyer’s journey.
Users will often begin by looking for a solution to a problem, then they consider their options, and finally they are ready to purchase.
With Search Journeys, Google’s algorithm considers user history to establish where a user is in their journey and then serves them up the most relevant content.
How Does Google ‘Search Journeys’ Work?
The foundation is a similar concept to the Knowledge Graph – technology that looked at the links between people, places, things and facts. Search Journeys added AI to this in order to understand how these links are made and how the connections increase over time.
Essentially, Search Journeys uses this information to glean how user intentions change the more users learn about a topic that interests them.
Search Journeys uses something known as Activity Cards to flag articles and webpages that users have visited after searching a particular subject.
This Activity Card shows at the top of a user’s search feed. It tells users the pages they have previously visited and when was the last time they viewed that page.
From a user perspective, this is phenomenal, because it jogs users’ memories of their previous search and why it was relevant. Also, it gives Google critical data for which content to show users next.
There is a lot more to Search Journeys than the seamless consolidation of previous search history into search feed. It helps Google produce results that are more likely to match where users are in their journey – rather than merely serving them with an answer to a question.
Along with Search Journeys and Activity Cards, Google has also developed ‘Collections.’
Collections allow users to store pieces of content in a Collection in order to later reference it. It’s similar to Boards in Pinterest, but far broader.
Users can store articles, webpages or pictures in their Collection. They can then view the Collection later, rename it, edit it and delete any unwanted items…and even share it with others.
Furthermore, within the search results, Google will serve users with even more content relevant to what they have already stored. This is down to the algorithm having greater contextual information to understand where a user is in their Search Journey.
Users are then shown content that widens their knowledge around those subjects they’re interested in.
How Does This Affect SEO?
For SEO Pros and digital marketers, Search Journeys offers a new pathway to understanding search; ultimately, the Why behind users’ searches. This helps them understand which keywords and synonyms their clients should be going after.
Google Search Journeys uses AI and advanced data to establish which phase users are at when they carry out a search.
You don’t need to be a robot, though, to apply this to your own SEO strategy.
We can learn a lot from Search Journeys – from how to carry out keyword research to creating hyper-relevant content that matches a user’s intent.
What Does This Mean For The Future of SEO Trends in 2022?
Personalised Results Based on Previous Searches:
Current results display the most searched for topics based on accumulative information and activities from all internet users. However, Google is now working to improve the search experience of every user to match the information that’s presented based on the history of the pages visited and frequent queries. So – in the future – we believe this is how SEO will evolve in 2022: search results will match the pages to users according to their interests, a lot like how YouTube displays recommended and suggested videos to individuals.
If you look at the section at the top of organic results (and below the paid Ads) that shows a quick description, list or images of the search result – you’ll see these featured snippets as ‘position 0’. It is particularly helpful, especially when scanning quickly for information. However, featured snippets often only show incomplete information. In the last year, Featured Snippets have dropped dramatically (16%) in SERPs and by 2022 this could be reduced even further. This could be down to Google’s Featured Snippets algorithm not being as sophisticated yet as for the rest of Search, but it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for this sought-after piece of real estate. I can’t see it going altogether, at least for a while.
New Ways To Search
Voice Search and Enquiry:
In 2022, keyword searching will yield more practical results. Since the dawn of voice recognition on mobile devices and internet software, casual-conversation-type questions will be much more widely used by those performing a search. Voice search has increased in popularity massively, so we will see even more prevalence online.
Keyword stuffing is an archaic form of SEO from years ago. It won’t help you increase traffic. Google is becoming smarter at identifying high-quality content that they will consider the synonyms or related words from the keyword in the ranking. If you’re doing this even in 2021, you will be penalised for it.
Online video is predicted to make up 82% of all online traffic by 2022. That’s a staggering percentage, and one you shouldn’t ignore.
Local SEO will Dominate Search Results
Since many people are trying to limit social contact, numerous online services are emerging to cater for home delivery or pick up with zero contact. Local SEO will become more and more prevalent as the pandemic goes on.
Local SEO will be even more effective in online marketing in 2022, and studies show that people prefer to work from home, which they’ll likely continue to do for the foreseeable future.
See more of our SEO blogs here.