SEO is one of the youngest marketing disciplines out there, and it’s also incredibly fast-paced. It looks almost nothing like what it did when we started.
While the fundamental principle remains the same — SEO is about making websites easy to find and understand — the tactics involved are very different than they were 15, 5, and even 1 year ago
Here’s what you should know for 2022, as well as key steps for implementing these trends and tactics.
For years now, Google has been taking steps to become a destination, not just a discovery project. With knowledge graphs, quick answers, and interactive and visual results, Google is building an ultimate resource that can give comprehensive answers to any query.
Within one search result page, we see:
This is where the concept of “SERP marketing” lies: You need to stop focusing on organic listings and start optimizing for all the other search elements, including videos, images and “quick-answer” sections (“People Also Ask” and featured snippets).
You need to take each individual search result page as a whole to achieve brand visibility there.
There’s a lot to be done to create an effective SERP Marketing campaign. Here are some steps to get you started:
At IMN, we are building an ultimate SERP marketing tool that helps you determine all important content formats that needs to be created to dominate your target queries:
The tool uses your current rankings to show where you are missing out. Use this tool to understand your current opportunities better and optimize for those.
Content diversification brings in both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, you need to continually come up with quality content assets in various formats, which is incredibly hard to scale. On the other hand, you get to leverage more mediums and try more tools and tactics, which is pretty awesome.
Content collaboration is the tactic that can solve many issues and empower your marketing with more benefits, including natural backlinks, trust and shares. And the good news is there are great projects that help you build contacts to co-create content and scale it.
Of course, unified communication is a big part of it, especially post-covid when most companies have moved to remote operations.
BizSwipe is one example that allows you to easily build B2B connections for content co-creation and marketing collaboration. You can use advanced filters and easy connection tools to find partners and influencers who can help you diversify your content strategy:
For content collaboration and co-marketing opportunities, consider using an editorial calendar solution that will help you organize your campaigns.
ContentCal is a marketing collaboration platform that can help you organize your omni-channel content marketing strategy and boost its effectiveness:
Use its “Content Campaigns” feature to schedule your upcoming content assets and put all the ideas, goals and tasks in each campaign brief.
Creating a central dashboard for all your content plans to be visible for your whole team is key to consistent and effective content strategy. With ContentCal each team member responsible for a single piece of the puzzle will be able to see and contribute to the whole picture.
At the end of the day, content diversification lies at the foundation of omnichannel marketing that has multiple benefits (including cross-device compatibility, smoother shopping experience, creation of more marketing channels and more). So you may want to start working on it whether you are worried about your search visibility or not.
Google search results are becoming increasingly richer and more interactive.
The good news is that this gives SEOs a competitive advantage over those website owners who are not keeping up with Google’s moves.
As an example, here’s what FAQPage schema looks like in search results once you implement it:
This search snippet is interactive — you can click any question to unfold the answer, and from there, even get to the site for more answers:
There are many tools, plugins and solutions, allowing any website owner to implement structured markup with no technical knowledge required.
Check out a few options:
Obviously, mobile search is going strong, and we have many sources to confirm that, including:
Google switched its priorities by introducing Mobile-First Index, which means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of a page for indexing and ranking. In other words, if your page doesn’t look good on a mobile device, or if the mobile version has less content, you may lose rankings in both mobile and desktop search results.
Given that mobile device users often use voice search to find answers while on the go, it is safe to assume that voice search is getting popular, and these two trends are very well connected:
There’s a lot to featured snippet optimization (which deserves a whole separate article which I already did), but it all comes down to:
If you include these steps in your writing guidelines for your content creators to use, you are halfway there:
Google moved away from exact-matching keyword optimization years ago, yet our industry is somewhat slow to keep up. These days, Google doesn’t use the actual string of words that are being typed in the search box. Instead, it looks at the query context and analyzes the possible search intent to deliver results.
You can see this all around the SERPs and even in Google Suggest results. I wrote a detailed article on semantic search, and here’s one of the examples from it:
Notice how Google interprets the query on the fly to realize:
What does this tell us?
Google has got very good at understanding searcher intent, and old-school content creation methods that focus on a single keyword string don’t work.
We need to create content that solves problems. That’s what Google is after, and so are our potential customers.
Simply Searching Google to get an idea of how it is interpreting a query is a great first step. Do the same type of research I did with that cat missing query. Look for other ways Google is trying to solve the problem for the user.
Using semantic research tools is another good idea. Text Optimizer is an intent optimization platform that helps you cluster any search query into related concepts and entities. It uses Google’s search snippets to come up with ideas to expand your initial copy to provide more solutions and meet Google’s and its users’ needs:
Based on semantic research, it will even help you build sentences based on common co-occurrence analysis of the terms you select:
If you are using a remote team of content writers or Narrato, it is a good idea to run TextOptimizer before creating your assignment and provide your writers with the list of concepts to cover.
For years, SEO has relied on a low-hanging fruit: The power of a chosen domain name:
Both of those signals were pretty easy to fake: You could invest into buying a well-established domain or buy a keyword-rich domain name by sacrificing on its “brandability”.
These days, your domain name has no direct impact on your rankings. Thanks to its smarter algorithm and knowledge graph, Google can tell if there’s a real entity behind the domain and determine each page EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness).
The road to higher rankings is no longer fast or predictable. You need to keep building an established brand, work on your trustability and collective authorship. Your domain name is still important but mostly indirectly: How memorable is it and how easy is it to associate your business with your niche?
Generating a business name is more important than finding a keyword-rich domain name. Building a strong brand and becoming an entity is more important than finding an established domain name. Page experience signals are more important than clicks. It’s all about focusing on real metrics now!
SEO is moving fast — it is a very exciting industry to be in. From the earlier days on, those people who were fast to “get it” found themselves ahead of slower-moving competitors. Use the tools and tips above to get ahead of yours in 2022 and beyond!