SEO is vital to our online success, yet so hard to pin down. With constantly shifting algorithms and changing trends, it’s hard enough to climb to the top of the search engine results page, let alone stay there.
However, SEO has become more critical than ever with the growing importance of having a robust online presence. We’ve found the top ten SEO trends for 2022 that will help your business thrive online.
Optimizing for mobile isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you are building a website, but what if I told you that 63% of the organic search traffic on Google came from mobile devices. Suddenly, knowing that more than six out of every ten searches are on a mobile device, it seems much more important to have a mobile-friendly site, doesn’t it? If you want your website optimized for mobile use, our team of top-tier developers can help you build an interactive, mobile-friendly website.
Think about it for a moment. When you are at home, a coffee shop, or a sitting passenger in the car, a random question comes to mind: What do you do? You reach for the most convenient device, your phone, and search for the answer.
People love convenience, and right now, our smartphones are the most convenient devices we have. The number of people who conduct searches on their phones grows every year. Until that changes, the need to have a website that functions well on a mobile device only becomes more critical by the day.
You may ask, “Why do I need to change anything on my website for mobile devices? Shouldn’t the website still work on any device?”
And technically, your website does work on any device. But that doesn’t mean your website will give the user anything less than a frustrating experience if you don’t optimize for mobile devices. Mobile and desktop screens have completely different layouts and are vastly different sizes, so if your website is built to be read on a desktop, the text probably won’t even be legible on a small screen like a phone.
Your website needs to be configured so that if someone lands there on the phone, they can easily see your text and find what they are looking for. A simple way to think about it is that you’ll want your site to look and feel more like an app than a traditional website on mobile devices.
The look isn’t the only factor, though. A growing number of people aren’t just going to your website on their phones, but they are also buying products. 40% of e-commerce is now done on mobile devices, and nearly 80% of smartphone users have used the device to make a purchase in the last six months. Your website doesn’t have to just look good; it needs to have a pleasant user experience, so customers happily make purchases on your site.
You need to make your website easy to navigate with a touchscreen, click on and fill out fields, and enter card information (or PayPal, Venmo, or however they want to pay) to make the experience as seamless as possible. Including drop-down menus, number pads, and the ability to scan a credit card for payment all make it easier for customers to make purchases on their mobile devices.
Making things as easy and convenient as possible for the user is the best way to ensure a happy customer before their product arrives. Any misstep or bugs in the user experience will turn potential customers away faster than you could possibly predict. You can’t count on them switching over to their laptop to complete a purchase or find some information on your site.
Over the last few years, page speed has become an increasingly important factor in SEO. As servers and devices have become faster, people expect web pages to load faster. If they don’t, people get frustrated and often leave your site quickly, leading to your SERP ranking sinking.
Search engines have begun to see that faster page speed improves user experience. Over 40% of people will leave a website if it hasn’t loaded within three seconds. This potential customer will leave at some point if your web pages load slowly. Then if they somehow wait and end up on your site, but they click on another link and once again have to wait, they’ll eventually hit the limits of their patience. Because search engines are all about giving users the information they want and giving them a great experience, they’ve made page speed a more prominent factor in their algorithm.
There are a few ways you can try to optimize your SEO. The simplest ways to improve your speed are removing unnecessary code, reducing file sizes, and implementing caching.
Many web pages are slowed down by excessive code. Especially if your website was built through a tool like WordPress, you might be able to remove some of this code to speed up your website.
One of the most significant blocks to a fast-loading page is massive image and video files. You want to have high-quality photos and videos on your page, but those gigantic files can take a long time to load.
To keep potential customers on your website, you can compress these files to a smaller size so that they load faster. This won’t affect the quality of the images or hurt the aesthetic of your website; it will just help these elements load faster.
Caching is the process of information from a webpage being saved on a computer or other device so that the next time a user visits the site, it remembers them. Because data is already saved on the device, the website loads faster than it did the first time.
Setting up caching for your website can help improve user experience and optimize your SEO. There will be new information to load, but reducing the amount of data that has to be uploaded from the internet will make things easier for everyone.
Webpage redirects can be necessary if you are removing and replacing webpages, but they slow down your site’s load time. It’s worse when you have to go through multiple redirects. Each one eats up time that your user could be enjoying your site and instead increases frustration. Identifying unnecessary redirects can save valuable load time and make the user experience more enjoyable.
Search engines know that users want to find local results. With some searches, you have to find local results (finding a Sushi restaurant in Hawaii when you’re in New York won’t help you out), but there has been more demand lately to find local results and businesses.
More and more people were already starting to search more for local businesses, a trend that grew even faster after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. People knew businesses were struggling, so they wanted to do their part in supporting small, local businesses. About 46% of all Google searches are for local information, and 97% of all search engine users have used search engines to look for local businesses.
This growth is only increasing with more and more people searching for businesses “near me” on their mobile phones. 78% of local mobile searches lead to an in-store purchase, and 72% of people say search engines are their first choice in how they look for local businesses.
Google even helps local businesses stand out by including a local section at the top of the first results page. It comes complete with a map displaying where businesses are, their Google rating, and phone number.
I think you’ve got the picture, lots of people look for businesses near them, from bookstores to bagel shops to recycling centers. Now, it’s time to conduct an SEO analysis of your website to see how it stacks up. Here are a few things to make sure you’ve done that can drastically affect your ranking in local SEO results.
One of the most important factors to optimize your local SEO is to set up a Google My Business account. Simply setting up a profile and including your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, website, and business categories helps Google know your business, understand what you offer, and see you as a legitimate business to turn their users to.
Keeping all your information current will help your search engine ranking, as customers will be upset if Google says your business is open until 7 pm, but they show up and find you closed at 6. 6. According to Moz, the Google My Business page is the most significant factor in determining local search engine rankings, so it’s not something that should be neglected.
If your business has multiple locations in a city or various cities, building specific landing pages for each location can help improve their local SEO results. This way, the search engine can help identify the locations and send potential customers to the store nearest them.
And we come back to keywords, one of the first things out of the mouth of any SEO expert. Using keywords for localized SEO isn’t all that different from optimizing your SEO in general, but it is more nuanced.
When conducting keyword research, see what keywords are used in your area. The highest volume keywords might be a bit different than if you were looking at the whole landscape of the internet. In Boise, ID, for example, people looking for landscapers might prefer to use more specific terms such as “local lawnmowing” or “hedge trimming services” over “landscapers for hire.”
Local SEO also benefits from using location-based keywords. Of course, use keywords that feature your city or region, but also think about where your target customers are on a neighborhood level. If your pet store is located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, you may want to include “Greenwich Village pet food” in your target keywords.
When people conduct online searches, they often look for something particular, and they won’t find it with two-word queries. They may go through multiple searches, each getting longer and more specific until they find what they are looking for. For many years, search queries have gotten longer, so you need to target long-tailed keywords for your customers to find you.
A Quick Definition
A long-tailed keyword is a search term at least 3 words long.
As keywords get longer, they have less search volume. That may sound like a bad thing, but it’s beneficial to everyone. A lot of that search volume comes from people looking for different things. If someone just searches for “cars,” we don’t know if they want to buy a car, sell a car, rent a car, or find a mechanic. And that doesn’t even begin to go into costs, make and models, mileage, car parts, and new vs. used cars. Many people will search for cars, but their intentions are going to be so varied that ranking for that term will be useless to most businesses.
On top of that, the high volume for that phrase means there will be increased competition. It will be challenging to rank highly for that keyword even with your best efforts when so many other businesses are trying to rank for it.
For help finding and implementing the right keywords for your business, reach out to us to get in touch with our SEO experts!
Meanwhile, if you focus on long-tailed keywords like “used Honda Civic Houston,” you’ll cut out many people looking for mechanics, new cars, different models, and in other areas. Sure it’s a smaller volume of searches, but the people who search for that term will find you easier and are much more likely to be interested in your business.
You may have noticed in your Google searches the appearance of a “People also Searched for” section. Even if users don’t search for your specific long-tailed keyword, it could appear as a related search in this section. Being a top result for long-tailed keywords will help you appear as the top result in this section and indirectly increase the number of searches you appear in.
A big reason searches are getting longer is the growing use of voice search. As voice command technology has improved, so has the number of people who use it.
When people conduct internet searches through Siri, Alexa, or any other voice command system, they have longer, more specific searches. It makes sense when you consider the average person types 35 words a minute and speaks 130.
The trend toward voice search skews younger, with 55% of teenagers using it daily, but 41% of adults currently use voice search daily. Even more critical to businesses, consumers are expected to spend $40 billion through voice search, or 18% of total consumer spending, in 2022.
Have I got your attention now? Good, because that trend isn’t going anywhere. To accommodate keywords for voice search, you’ll want to build them like a sentence. When using voice search, people don’t just say words like they would while typing, such as “top electrician Miami,” they’d say it as a sentence or question, like “Who is the electrician closest to me?” Accounting for natural sentences in your keyword search will help you bring in the voice search traffic and typed queries.
Search engines LOVE video content. Almost as much as consumers. And everyone’s love only seems to be growing. The amount of video content being produced and watched keeps rising every year, and it can dramatically improve your SEO.
Over the years, video content has proven to be the most engaging content that drives up your ROI. Most marketers say it is the single most impactful type of content they put out.
Sure, video marketing isn’t cheap. It comes with a lot of expenditures, both in money and time. Between equipment, sets, locations, a crew, film subjects, writing and planning a video, and editing, a high-quality traditional video is expensive. Even if the final product is less than a minute, it takes time to produce.
That said, a good video pays for itself. When a video is used on a landing page, it increases the conversion rate by 80 percent. If the word “video” is used in an email subject line, the open rate jumps by 19 percent. Not strong enough? Alright, how about if 84 percent of people have been convinced to buy a product from a brand’s video. 55% watch a video about a product before making a purchasing decision.
Video content was ramping up when the pandemic forced many things to slow down. 96% of consumers say the amount of video content they watch every day has increased, and ¾ of marketers who said the pandemic impacted their spending on video marketing said it would grow.
Video content is highly shareable. People are twice as likely to share videos on their social channels or send them to their friends via direct messages. Word of mouth advertising is a powerful tool to generate interest and buzz, and video is the best way to activate that.
The amount of time people are spending watching videos online is continuously rising. Currently, people’s average time watching online videos every week is nearly seven hours. Not to mention the total web traffic that will come from video. In 2022 it’s expected that 82% of web traffic will come from streaming or downloading video content.
Search engines see how video content holds and engages users longer. They recognize that users stay on the page longer when they visit websites with videos. 5 times longer, to be exact.
Video is also a preferred way for people to find answers. Many people would rather watch a video tutorial on how to turn on their furnace’s pilot than read an article about how to do it. Videos that answer questions generate more web traffic, conversions, and time on the page than articles.
Google has dedicated not just one, but two sections on their search engine results page to videos. In addition to showing the top videos for your search. Google also indicates key moments for videos. If you’re looking for help with a specific step in building a shed, Google can highlight the video section that will be most helpful for you. Currently, this feature is only available on YouTube videos.
With the growing trend toward data privacy, as seen most prominently by Apple and the European Union, information about your customers has become more valuable than ever. Without cookies and a tightening of privacy settings, collecting and storing data yourself has become vital.
It has been common practice for companies to use third-party data for their marketing efforts. This is data collected by other companies that you can purchase.
A typical example is Facebook, which collects information from users and sells their data to other companies who want to convince you to buy their products. Companies see you love skiing, so they target you with ads for gloves, coats, and other skiing equipment or places to ski.
Large companies, such as Google, also track data through cookies. Cookies are data collected through web browsers, storing all the user’s history, habits, and personal data. Marketers had used that data to design personalized experiences for users, understand which content is the most engaging, and create retargeting strategies. Many web browsers have removed cookies, and Google Chrome is in the process of following suite, by having them removed by 2023.
In addition to cookie removal, people and governments have become fed up with companies collecting and selling their personal information, so they’ve pushed for legislation to make it more difficult. Companies have to turn to first-party data for their online marketing strategy without this data.
First-party data is information collected and owned by your company. This can be email addresses from a list of subscribers, customer purchase histories, or call center activity. A common strategy for using first-party data is to email customers related products to ones they’ve already bought or to re-purchase something, like a favorite candle.
The transition toward and growing importance of first-party data has made SEO even more important. Without tracking users or finding them through third-party data, companies have to focus their efforts on improving SEO and collecting first-party data to bring in new customers and gather data.
First-party data and SEO work in tandem with each other. Companies can optimize their SEO to get in front of potential customers and help them become aware of your brand. Then, when they are on your page, entice them to provide contact information through incentives such as a price quote, newsletter, white paper, or free trial. Then you’ll be able to add their information to your database and use that to create retargeting strategies for your customers rather than relying on third parties.
No matter how you look at it, and whether you like it or not, A.I. will play a more significant role in SEO. As technology becomes more advanced, A.I. can become a powerful tool for analyzing SEO and creating SEO-optimized articles.
Now we aren’t talking about replacing your SEO expert. No, they are still needed to create great SEO content and insights. But, A.I. can be a powerful tool to speed up their work and create more valuable insights.
Artificial intelligence has become advanced enough that it can help optimize SEO content. It can recognize keywords and even put them into functional patterns. It can also help with writer’s block.
One thing A.I. is most useful for is generating metadata and titles for SEO purposes. If a writer is having a hard time coming up with a title, they can input the keywords and some additional information and use it to create a list of possible title ideas. Sure, technically, these can be used as a headline, but most of the time, it’s best for getting the creative juices flowing again and seeing if a generated headline sparks an idea. It also helps generate potential metadata tags for the article.
It even has the potential to create entire blogs and articles. Using these articles without touching them and editing so it doesn’t sound like it was written by a machine, because it will, is highly advisable. It can certainly, if nothing else, help you find ways to use keywords and topics for your article.
Of course, A.I. can help make analyzing SEO easier as well. You can find trends in your data more effectively and holes that aren’t being taken advantage of that you may have overlooked if you hadn’t been using A.I.
Artificial Intelligence technology can be used to recognize keywords for SEO. Finding keywords can be a time-consuming task, but software can help speed the process up. The program can find keywords, and the SEO team can go over those keywords and refine the list and add context to them.
After you’ve made and published web pages and content, you can use programs to analyze your SEO data. Instead of an SEO specialist going through everything, a program can go through it quicker, giving the expert more time and better analysis to build helpful insights.
In a recent update, Google emphasized Core Web Vitals, making it the largest factor in determining your SERP ranking. If you want to increase your ranking, improving your Core Web Vitals is the most effective way to do that.
Core Web vitals are a general check into the user experience of the page. Google wants its users to have pleasant, enjoyable experiences on the websites recommended to them, but recently said that as much as 98% of top-ranked websites had poor user experiences. So, in June 2021, Google released an update making Core Web Vitals a significant factor in determining SERP rankings.
There are three main aspects of Core Web Vitals: Largest Content Paint (LCP), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and First Input Delay (FID). If those terms don’t make a lot of sense, don’t worry, they will make much more sense in just a moment.
LCP refers to the largest content element on the webpage, measuring how long that element takes to load. This could be a photo, video, or interactive element. Google only looks at elements above the fold on a webpage, so it only measures the load time of elements immediately visible when a user lands on the webpage. If you have a large photo for your hero image and a video about your company further down the page, but the user has to scroll to it, Google will measure the hero image’s load time and not the video’s.
Measuring the load time for this element is essential to keeping users interested and keeping your bounce rate low. If an element takes a long time to load, users will leave your page or get frustrated and have a negative experience. If the element loads quickly, their experience will be seamless and positive. A good load time is 2.5 seconds or less, while a bad time is 4 seconds or more.
CLS is the time a webpage spends shifting because of slower-loading elements. Shifts in elements can be considerable frustrations to users. Shifts on a page can cause users to lose their place while reading or clicking something they didn’t intend to. Instead of clicking on your product list page link, they may inadvertently click on a video.
FID is the amount of time a user has to wait before interacting with the elements on your page. In other words, the delay before the first time they can input something into your website. Makes sense, right?
FID measures the time before users interact with buttons, drop-down menus, text fields, links, or videos. If a user clicks on a button to take them to their shopping cart and the website isn’t ready to accept that request, the user will grow frustrated the longer they have to wait. A good FID time is less than 0.1 seconds, and a bad on is over 0.3 seconds.
As I’ve mentioned a few times now, lag and slow-loading pages are major frustrations for users. If they aren’t addressed, your bounce rate can grow exponentially, and your brand perception will be hurt. People will think your brand doesn’t have it all together and may even think you are unprofessional or untrustworthy. Google doesn’t want to send its users to websites that will give them such a negative experience.
Incorporating Core Web Vitals into your SEO analysis and optimization plans leads to a better user experience. Happier customers return more frequently and will trust your brand more, even telling their friends about you, and let’s face it, there’s no more effective marketing than word of mouth.
A key aspect of SEO optimization is making the page structure simple and easy to follow. Not just for users, but for the search engines too. Search engine bots need to figure out what your website and each page are about, and markup schema can help them navigate all those pages.
Markup Schema is a type of microdata that acts as tags and directions for search engines. They help search engines know what each piece of content is about to more easily give that information to users. Markup schema can help identify everything from phone numbers to specific product categories to directly show them what they are looking for.
There are a wide variety of different types of markup schema for various purposes, but these ones will help most businesses:
Organization schema helps give users essential information about your business like your website URL, what you do, when you were founded, etc. When someone searches for your brand online, this information comes up in a box on the right-hand side of the window to give the user information about what you do and links to your social media accounts.
Breadcrumbs are the trail of how your website content is organized, shown in the specific page’s URL. So, if a customer is looking at team members on the about us page, the breadcrumb trail might look like “https://www.wesellstuff.com/about-us/meet-the-team.” It doesn’t directly affect the usability, but it helps everyone understand the website structure and go back to previous sections if they need to.
Sitelinks schema will appear as links underneath the URL to your website in search results. They are links under your main webpage that could be relevant to the user’s search. If they just search for Target, they could get links to the shoe department, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, or electronics. These additional links also make your website look more desirable to the user, making them more likely to click on it.
Product schema gives the user essential information on your products within the search results page. It identifies brands, prices, and key features to decide which products to explore more. If a user is searching for a new T.V., the product schema will show them its brand, price, size, and quality of pixel capabilities, such as Panasonic 52″ T.V. with 4K resolution for $1,000.
Review Schema is critical because 89% of customers want to see product reviews before purchasing to see what other customers think. Review schema will make it easier for search engines to provide users with reviews, helping them decide more quickly. Review schema shows customers the overall rating for a product, the number of reviews, the date of reviews, and some key text from reviews.
Markup schema helps search engines find the specific information for users that they are looking for. Suppose you don’t have a schema that identifies a piece of text as product information or the operational hours of your business. In that case, it will be harder for potential customers to find it, and they may turn to competitors who have that information available more prominently.
It allows key information to be distinctly displayed on results pages, which also helps improve CTR. When users are given specific links to click on, the CTR rises to 58% from 41%. Users would go to the specific product page or product review instead of clicking on the home page and hunting that information down. Anything that improves the user experience will help optimize your SEO.
When you boil everything down, search engines are looking for a good user experience. They want to prove their users with a good experience and come away with what they were looking for. This comes from clarity about your page’s topic, clean design, and interactive elements.
Clarity is essential to optimizing your SEO. Content, metatags, and headlines are crucial to giving both the consumer and search engine a clear idea of what you do. If there is any confusion, you can expect an increased bounce rate, less time on your site, and fewer conversions, which will drag down your search engine ranking. Consumers want to be sure you have what they are looking for. They are coming to your website for answers after all. Making those answers clear and easy to find leads to a better user experience and a better conversion rate.
When I say, your website needs a clean design, I mean a few things. Most importantly, it needs to be organized to make sense so the consumer can easily find what they are looking for. The fewer inconveniences there are, the happier a customer can be. If a consumer can easily navigate your site, a search engine bot should be able to as well.
A clean design also means an error-free site. Potential customers will be turned off by grammar errors, loading mistakes, or outdated information. If your website doesn’t look professional, they will have difficulty trusting your company. Ensuring all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted will send a great message to your customers.
You also need to make sure your website’s design is attractive and current. All websites need a refresh from time to time, and if it’s clear your site hasn’t been spruced up in a while, consumers will notice. If your website still looks like it did in 2006, it will hurt the user experience. Refreshing your design will help your website look modern and keep visitors engaged.
If you’re having trouble finding a design you like or don’t know where to start, check out our collection of current design trends to see what works for your brand.
Incorporating interactive elements into your website helps make your website more user-friendly and boost your SERP ranking. Interactive elements are eye-catching, so they get the user to spend more time on your website because they are having fun rather than just clicking around and skimming. The increased time on your site and decreased bounce rate will help raise your position on the SERP.
Interactive elements can come as quizzes, videos, interesting scrolling experiences, or unique organization on your site. Using interactive elements also helps your brand and website stick in the consumer’s mind better. They will remember having a good time on your site, so they will be more likely to return in the future.
Keeping up with SEO optimization trends is far from easy. Google will always tweak their algorithm just when we all start to understand it, and they are not obligated to let everyone know in advance. The best we can do is make websites as user-friendly as possible, continually monitor and analyze your SEO, and optimize it based on what you see. For assistance staying on top of Google’s evolving algorithm and the trends that are coming, contact us to see how our SEO experts can help you rise to the top of the results page rankings.