One hard truth about SEO is that its rules, technologies, and techniques keep changing. For example, did you know Google updates its algorithm 500 to 600 times annually?
So, you can expect to see many new things in 2022. Technology and customer experiences impact it. These are many new things or old-getting-advanced techniques like backlink analysis, competitive intelligence, featured snippets, and many more.
To make things easier for you, we've compiled this list of best SEO practices in 2022 while clearing out the clutter and focusing on the most important.
Let's check these out:
Focus on Featured Snippets
In 2021, Google updated many ranking algorithms, one of them being featured snippets. It is also known as an "answer box." It offers short answers to readers' search queries inside a small box. They can be tables, lists, videos, or a single paragraph.
Grabbing an answer box certainly gives the business advantage. According to Ahrefs, keywords with featured snippets take 8.6% of all clicks. Here are some recommendations for it:
Long-term keywords: According to SEMrush, using long words in a search query will increase the chances of returning a featured snippet.
Use questions: Most often, people do Google search in the form of a question. So, writing content with these questions and answers in mind will help you earn featured snippets.
Proper format: There are four main featured snippet formats – paragraph, list, table, and video. Google always wants to display the information quickly and distinctly to the searchers looking for a quick answer.
Prioritize Brand Building
Your brand reflects how your customers or users feel about you!
A strong brand reputation enhances the organic search results and can lead to more traffic to your website. With a more customer base, the chances are high that people will be talking about it and sharing related content with backlinks. In addition, it can send a great signal to Google that the brand is authoritative.
Also, having a strong brand means you become instantly recognizable. Furthermore, building a brand will differentiate you from your competitors. Do not dismiss the SEO for later when you want to launch your brand or website. It is because Google cares about web design, high-quality content marketing, site speed, mobile-friendliness, and so on.
So, as a building brand, offering a great user experience should be your priority.
Competitor Research Before Campaigning
If you want to achieve real success in 2022, you need to watch your competitors' activities regularly. Do not let your competitors win over you! So, it would be best if you had the right SEO competitor analysis and research.
Competitor analysis will help you know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and identify threats and opportunities to your business. Based on this, you can establish a great plan of action for your brand to stay ahead of your competition. With this, you can get a higher ranking in the Google search results, better brand awareness, and increased web traffic.
Keyword Research/Rank Analysis
Rankings are essential – but only when they drive business value, i.e., traffic, conversions, and revenue. Therefore, keyword research plays a critical role in improving Google's ranking.
Knowing which terms people use to find your website, how your pages rank for various terms and queries will be a pillar of SEO in 2022. Many SEO platforms offer keyword research tools to help you find the keywords that drive traffic to a competitor's site.
But, before using a keyword research tool, think like a customer and ask, "What is the purpose of my website, and what problem am I going to solve for readers?"
Rank analysis has become more complex as Google uses more dynamic and visual SERPs. Now, you can no longer be satisfied with your page's numeric rank for a particular query.
Understand Search Intent of Your Target Audience
With the evolving digital world and people knowing what they want, search intent has become a crucial part of SEO for businesses. It refers to a reason behind the searcher's query on the Google search engine. Both mobile and voice search adapts to the audience's short attention spans. It means the faster your content answers readers' queries, the higher the chances are they'll stick to your page.
Creating material to satisfy the search intent has become one of the biggest goals for Google to give the best user experience in 2022. Keep in mind that Google's search algorithms focus less on keyword matches and more on search intent.
Recent algorithm updates have reduced the value of keywords in SEO. So now, SEO vendors are developing more "search-intent" based tools to create compelling content.
Perform Custom Site Audits
With content quality becoming the most important thing for many marketers' SEO strategies, you can not ignore site audits. It is a process for assessing the search engine friendliness of your website in various areas. Please take it as a comprehensive evaluation of your site's overall performance.
Performing custom site audits will tell you what's working on your website and what's falling short. You can use audit tools for site audits that offer optimization recommendations for keywords, page structures, body tags, and meta tags.
Audit the site for the following elements:
Site health audit: It can assess the architecture and usability of your website. Many use Google Analytics to evaluate the overall health of their site.
Security audit of the site: This can identify the vulnerabilities to security breaches of your website.
Conversion rate optimization audit: It can help you understand how visitors or readers move through your website.
Google penalty and recovery audit: Identify penalties (manual or algorithmic) and offer solutions for the site recovery. With this audit, you can unveil issues with site speed and the performance of mobile pages.
Content and SEO audit: This type of site audit can help you know how your website performs.
Track and Leverage Social Signals
Many social factors can impact the rank of your site or content piece. Keep in mind that Google wants to display every content engaging and informative way. Quality, as well as popularity of social signals, impact SERPs, such as:
- The number of backlinks a content piece has
- Number of views your content has
- Bounce rates of visitors on your page
To leverage the power of social signals, you need to create quality content. Moreover, it should add value to the page as visitors will attract the desired social attention and share your content with friends.
Here are some points that you need to focus on for attracting more traffic on social media:
- Know the trending topics on social media
Try to leverage social media tools to know what topics are trending. Also, understand people's interests to gather ideas about good topics to post. Monitor the metrics of your post or content as you decide to integrate social signals into your strategy. Try to use the dashboards to check your progress and compare it to your competitors to know the areas to improve. Then, refine your techniques to offer your customers the best and increase revenue.
- Optimized content for social signals
For your content or post to attract more views on social media, make sure you optimize it for viewing on different platforms. The use of the right keywords and images, for example, can impact how many people read your postings.
- Measure, revise, and improve.
Monitor the metrics of your post or content as you decide to integrate social signals into your strategy. Try to use the dashboards to check your progress and compare it to your competitors to know the areas to improve. Then, refine your techniques to offer your customers the best and increase revenue.
Google officially finalized mobile-first indexing in March 2021. The search engine giant took this decision because more than half of overall global web traffic comes from mobile devices. So, to rank well in search engines, your website needs to be mobile responsive. If your website is not mobile-friendly or you don't have the mobile version of your website, your business may lag.
As a result, mobile-friendly sites are rising to the top of SERPs, giving tough competition to brands. So, marketers more and better local and mobile data and analytics to optimize their websites for mobile users.
Fortunately, many SEO platforms provide features such as mobile audits, rankings, and metrics by device and location. Therefore, you can collect insightful data using these platforms and craft your mobile SEO strategies accordingly.
Best practices for mobile SEO are:
- Improve page load speed. Mobile users are less patient compared to browser users. People may abandon a mobile web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. When the speed of a mobile site improved by 0.1 sec, it resulted in increased page views, higher conversion rate, and increased average order value.
Use concise and relevant page titles and meta descriptions to catch people's attention.
Content Marketing (Trends 2022)
In 2021, 43% of brand marketers had to increase their content marketing budget, and 66% expected an increase in 2022. Paid media, videos, in-person, hybrid and digital events, owned-media assets are areas that seek higher investment than other strategies.
Besides, top content marketing trends in 2022 are:
- Quality, relevant and trustworthy content makes your brand discoverable in search engines.
- Intense focus on consumer intent helps connect with your audience in meaningful manners.
- Align your strategies with SERPs and Google Guidelines to convince Google in your favor.
- Marketers are resonating with their audience using different forms of content – text, videos, voice, and visuals via social and mobile.
- Fusion of content formats such as AR & VR, audio, and text help create more engaging content than ever before.
Content marketing is here to stay forever; only the formats may keep evolving. Therefore, marketers need to rethink their content marketing strategies in 2022 to increase the discoverability of their web pages.
SEO is just one aspect of a brand's overall marketing strategy. Also, paid media affects search traffic up to a great extent. In light of these facts, marketers need to embrace cross-channel attribution to drive visitors and sales.
Cross-channel attribution refers to the strategic coordination of all various marketing channels that a brand uses. It provides a holistic, top-down perspective of marketing campaigns. Using this approach, companies can understand touchpoints that deliver excellent results.
The most common channels are:
- Digital advertising
- Broadcast advertising
- Social media marketing
- Mobile advertising
- Organic (SEO and public relations)
And many more.
You can use a mix of these channels/strategies based on your brand requirements, needs, and budget.
International Search Coverage
In today's age of technology and globalization, international search coverage has become critical for businesses. It helps expand your business beyond geographical boundaries and reach a global audience.
Fortunately, most enterprise SEO platforms facilitate international search coverage that crosses borders, alphabets, and languages. Using these tools, you can access various capabilities, including international keyword research, integrating global market data, integrating global CPC currency data, etc.
Important Note: International SEO isn't worth your time and resources if your target is local markets.
But if you want to expand beyond borders, international SEO is entirely worth it. A staggering number of companies compete for top ranking on search engines. So, it would be best if you had a comprehensive strategy to stay ahead.
Some quick tips are:
- Decide your target audience.
- Decide between DIY SEO or hiring an international SEO agency
- Conduct international keyword research
- Choose the proper global domain structure
- Optimize content for region and language
These are all going to rule the SEO landscape. So, if you are an online brand or a marketer, it is essential to keep a tab on these best SEO practices to grow your business in 2022.