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The Future of SEO: 9 Trends to Watch in 2022

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the most effective methods of boosting organic reach and improving brand engagement. For a newbie, SEO might sound intimidating and out-of-reach.

However, if understood and applied correctly, it can lead to amazing results for you and your brand.

Here’s a simple explanation: SEO is a set of practices that optimize the content on your website to make it easier for search engines to recommend it to relevant audiences, improving the quantity and quality of website traffic.

Various SEO practices include keyword optimization, backlinking, crawl accessibility, optimizing headings and meta descriptions, and a great user experience.

SEO trends have greatly evolved in the past few years, and below is a list of the top 9 SEO trends of 2022 that you can include in your brand strategy for the coming year.

MUM For the Win

So far, the AI model used by Google is called BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). With the help of this AI, it became very easy for Google’s algorithm to make the connection between the search query and the relationship between various words used.

However, Google recently announced the release of a new AI – MUM, or Multitask United Model. True to its name, this AI is a powerful new one that can analyze text, video, and images from over 70 languages(!) as well as aid complex search queries.

A unique characteristic of this model is that it can understand the user’s contextual search intent. So far, users have often had to input multiple queries that may or may not be answered correctly in the first go. However, with MUM, they can enter a complex question that will be likely answered accurately by Google’s algorithm.

For users, this AI is nothing but a blessing. You can now enter a query that is supported by videos, text, and images, just like the example below. Pandu Nayak, Google VP of Search, explains:

“Eventually, you might be able to take a photo of your hiking boots and ask, ‘can I use these to hike Mt. Fuji?’ MUM would understand the image and connect it with your question to let you know your boots would work just fine. It could then point you to a blog with a list of recommended gear.”

This model is currently being tested but one can expect a strong integration between images, text, and videos on the web while the algorithm answers user queries.

According to Single Grain, “….if it’s going to be similar to BERT, we can imagine an even stronger emphasis on authority signals (EAT) and an answer-centric approach to content.”

Food for thought!

A Greater Focus on UX

When it comes to boosting organic reach, User Experience gains the top spot. Focusing on a solid UX increases online presence and customer engagement (a speedy website can do wonders for your brand!).

Since the start of 2020, people have been spending more and more time online for work, leisure, purchase, entertainment, and more. Optimizing your website layout and content is your sure shot to a smoother, more positive user experience.

Various brands have jumped on the AI bandwagon and have integrated interactive User Experiences on their website and mobile applications. Including a multimedia-based approach can score you top points with your users. Alongside this, optimize your site for all network speeds and devices – a speedy UX is much, much better than a bad one.

Voice Search

In 2020, over 30% of web browsing sessions were screenless. As is no surprise, voice search is becoming the go-to feature on search engines. A few factors that have boosted the popularity of voice search are the rising need for accessibility, ease of search, improved voice recognition software, and better-trained search engine algorithms (like MUM/BERT).

What’s more, Google boasts of a whopping 95% accuracy in voice search. Including voice search algorithms, AI-powered personal assistants, and improved accessibility should all be part of your SEO strategy for the coming year.

To aid further understanding, here are a few statistics that you can study for a more integrated and accessible experience.

  • 22% of voice questions are looking for local answers provided for by local content
  • 50% of local mobile searches by a consumer leads to a store visit in a day
  • 71% of 18-29 year-olds in the U.S. use mobile personal assistants

Rise of AI-based experiences

As mentioned in earlier sections, leveraging AI-based experiences can lead to a more positive UX, better traffic in terms of quality and quantity, as well as a positive twist to your overall brand experience.

Marketers around the world are all set to use AI to:

  • Understand customer behavior
  • Develop better content strategies
  • Improve productivity

The rise of a new conceptual term: AI SEO just goes to show how integrated the two technologies are. The various focus areas of this concept are:

  • Understanding the user’s search query
  • Determining the intent of the query
  • Fetching the most relevant results

Popularity of Videos

Be it social media or corporate onboarding, videos are ranking increasingly better than text. Various brands are utilizing the increasing popularity of videos on apps like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram (remember Reels?), and Snapchat to ramp up their SEO efforts.

Here’s a secret. Video content is 50x more likely to rank higher than text-only content. This boost has encouraged many brands to include more relevant video content on their website, social media, and overall marketing strategy.

Long-Form Content Will Continue to Rank Better

There’s a reason why blogging has gained popularity as an important part of any marketing strategy. Blogs come under what is known as long-form content.

Including relevant and knowledgeable blogs on your website can greatly boost rankings – the highest-ranking articles on google range somewhere around 2000 to 2500 words (that’s Google’s sweet spot!).

Long-form content is to rank much, much higher in 2022, and following these solid SEO practices while writing long-form content can be your best bet at higher rankings and brand visibility:

  • keyword research,
  • an optimized title length,
  • an appropriate keyword density,
  • and posting on the right channels

Work On Old Content

This trend may seem ineffective, but the trick to boosting organic reach is by reworking and modifying old content. Optimizing old website copy, meta descriptions, and updating your backlinks is a sure shot at ranking higher in search results.

Here’s why. Google’s algorithm sifts through content and sorts it through their dates of modification/publications. The more recent a piece of content is, the higher it will be ranked. If you haven’t updated your website content since 2012, you can expect a very low ranking.

Reworking and adding fresh content to your site keep it relevant, up-to-date, and an algorithm favorite.

The EAT Principle

The EAT principle stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Unlike MUM and BERT, this isn’t an algorithm, but a concept that Google’s algorithm uses to rank websites. Websites that fulfill Google’s E-A-T criteria will rank much higher than other competitors.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can use this criterion to boost search rankings.

  1. Expertise

When users search for a product or service, they do so to fulfill a need. The better you can help fulfill that need, the higher you’ll be ranked. To show this credibility, you can supplement your website with various case studies and success metrics.

  1. Authority

To show your authority as a brand in your niche, include the following in your website copy!

  • Create shareable content (blogs, videos, How-To Guides, etc.)
  • Work on backlinking and collaboration with other credible websites.
  1. Trustworthiness

The best way to show that your brand is trustworthy? Testimonial and client feedbacks. Glowing reviews on your brand webpage do nothing but good for your trustworthiness in the eyes of your potential customers and the algorithm!

Better Web Content for Everyone

Gone are the days when sneaky keyword stuffing and content spinning helped boost ‘reach’.   Search engines now focus on bringing the most relevant, credible, and useful search queries to their users.

Spammy and irrelevant content is no longer considered by search engines. This filtering of content means better, safer content for every user on the web. Implementing ethical and safe practices while building website content is what is best for your brand and your users.

Conclusion

These SEO trends are your best bet at creating an effective SEO strategy for the coming year. Start by understanding each of them, and then try to put them into action.

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