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The future is now. Google is setting the pace for 2022 with a complete set of updates that aims to bring the user to the top of their priority list. We have gathered the most relevant updates by Google in 2021 and how they will shape the way we do SEO in 2022.
Make sure you are aware of these trends and that you are ready for a SEO revolution.
Google SEO is Changing in 2022, And You Need to Know How
With a clear commitment with their users, Google is looking more than ever at improving its capacity to look into the information displayed on its SERPs beyond its technical compliance.
Google wants to guarantee that the data they rank is not only SEO-friendly, but also sound, truthful, and safe.
With that in mind, they have developed some new tools that change the way we look at SEO.
#1 EAT Principles Will Become a Must
While many people are just becoming familiar with the acronym EAT, the term was part of Google’s algorithm update back in August 2018!
The acronym refers to expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, all three characteristics that Google considered essential to guarantee that the information displayed on their search was not only relevant, but also accurate.
Barry Schwartz, search engine marketing journalist, referred to it as the medic update since Google’s main aim with that update was to protect users from popular but potentially incorrect information that could be detrimental for the public.
Google is putting special emphasis on these principles, making sure that their SERPs are safe to navigate through.
#2 Latest AI Milestone, From BERT to MUM
In 2018, Google introduced a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers or, simply, BERT.
This model could process words in relation to each other, rather than one-by-one, and could consider the full context of a word by looking at the full sentence.
Pretty cool, right? Well, BERT is evolved since then and, in fact, it is about to be replaced! Google has just recently launched a new technology called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM (I know, they like their acronyms in Google, they really do…).
MUM not only understands language, but also generates it. It’s trained across 75 different languages and can also “read” images!
#3 A More Sophisticated Approach to Ranking with RankBrain
There is no way around it, algorithm is a buzzword that SEO marketers love. And it is quite catchy! But things rarely depend on one algorithm… Algorithms work in teams!
And those teams have supervisor algorithms! This supervising technology is called RankBrain and, basically, it is a hand-coded AI algorithm that Google uses to sort the SERPs and process and understand search queries.
RankBrain will tweak other Google algorithms based and will direct those algorithms to increase or decrease the ranking relevance of backlinks, content, and domain authority for specific keywords.
Through RankBrain, Google wants to leave behind a one-size-fits-all philosophy and look at keywords in a more individualised way, to make sure that best data is always available.
10 SEO Tactics You Need to Apply in 2022
But, what do these updates exactly mean for SEO? We are witnessing a clear shift of paradigm in search engine optimisation.
The user is being placed in the centre, with Google launching elements that make online search more human. Writing content solely for search engines to rank it will no longer cut it!
#1 Focus On Long-Tail Keywords
Did you know that 72% of people who use voice search devices consider these tools part of their daily lives? With revolutionary innovations like Google’ Voice Search Assistant, Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, Google will be looking at longer keywords that resemble conversational semantics, also called long-tail keywords.
These tend to be more specific and are 3-5 words long.
Considering that 20% of mobile queries are done with voice search, it is essential that your content is optimised for conversational queries, thinking about how your content could answer to a question that someone asks to their mobile device.
“How to”, “Where”, “Why” or “What” questions are among the most frequently asked when using voice search.
#2 Optimise Your Content For Passage Indexing
Articulating your content in question form has additional perks aside from voice search optimisation, particularly after the launch of MUM.
Through this technology, Google will be able to look at content within its context, rather than literally or word-by-word. As a result, Google can understand passages within your content and how they can be relevant to answer a question.
If your content is considered an accurate answer to a specific question, regardless of its position on SERPs for other keywords, Google will index that passage and feature it as a snippet.
To make sure that Google considers a passage within your content relevant, it is important that the question that you aim to answer is not only present in the content, but also within the metadescription of the page.
#3 Bullet-Proof your Titles and Title Tags
Ensuring that your content answers the questions users might have does not necessarily mean that you should always write that question in the title of your pages.
As CoSchedule recommends, your title should gather emotional and powerful words, making sure that your message is clear and that readers can skim through it and understand it at a glance.
Google’s algorithm recognizes the title as a major sign of the page’s purpose and relevance, but the page’s title is not the only title tag that Google will look at!
H1 and H2 tags also contribute to SEO rankings and, since they are not the main title of the page, they allow you more room to refer to specific parts of your content, ensuring that Google understands the structure of your page.
#4 Understand Video As Part of your SEO Strategy
To increase the visibility of video in Google’s browsers, Google will be looking at videos in a more structured way, expecting videos to be organised in clear sections or marked up.
With a clear alliance with YouTube, Google understands the relevance video content has for users currently, with 72% of users explaining they would rather learn about a product or service by video content.
For videos to be optimised for Google’s search engine, they will need to present their key moments either through click markups or seek markups.
Click markups refer to specific timespans in a video that need to be coded into the page where your video is being displayed. Seek markups, contrarily, are markups automatically determined by Google’s AI after analysing your content.
#5 Produce Original Media
If Google Assistant prompts a change in the way we understand voice search, Google Lens does something very similar for image-based searches.
Google Lens is a set of vision-based computing capabilities (AI, augmented reality, and computer vision), that can “read” visual content and compare it to other images available online based on their similarity and relevance.
Google Lens focuses on text and objects within an image, particularly important when speaking about logos or brand names!
Google Lens is used over 3 billion times per month, making it more important than ever to make sure that you produce not only written content, but also original and branded visual content optimised for visual search.
#6 Prepare Your Content For Google Discover
Google Discover is one of the latest attempts of Google to personalise, even more, the content that is broadcasted to a user after they have conducted a particular search on the browser.
Ironically, while SEO refers to search engine optimisation, Google Discover is being presented as a searchless feed where you get what you are looking for… even before you know you are looking for it!
Content shown on Google Discover prioritises relevance over time, putting forward pages that, despite not being recent, have similar characteristics to those visited by the user in the past.
Pages are usually featured with images or videos and are associated to a company, looking at high-quality visual elements and logos when offering new content to the user.
#7 Prioritise Local SEO
Since Google first launched Google My Business, it has become a crucial tool for any marketer.
Having a Business Profile on google allows you to personally connect with customers, post updates, list your products, and curate your online presence, guaranteeing that the information about you available on Google is always as accurate as possible.
A piece of information that you want to make sure is perfectly stated on your Google My Business account is your location, since Google will display Maps results for businesses around the area from which a user might be conducting a search.
Similarly, ensure that your services are correctly listed on your profile, so Google can recognise those words and match them with similar queries.
#8 Keep Looking Out for Backlinks
Not everything in Google is changing! Together with content, backlinks will remain as one of the main factors for ranking, but Google will make sure that all backlinks are genuine and relevant.
Google understands that, if external pages link to your content, it is because your page holds valuable information that they have found useful and, consequently, it will improve your domain authority.
With backlinks, Google wants to create a trusted network in which the user can find accurate information.
Obtaining genuine backlinks is known to be a task with seldom quick wins but that, nevertheless, can help people build a community in which they exchange information, learn from each other, and take part in collaborations that produce a valuable body of research.
#9 Update Your Existing Content Consistently
These SEO tactics do not only refer to new content, but also content that is already available on your website!
It is essential that you go back to your existing content on a regular basis, either to update it, or to optimise it, making sure that your page contains information that is still relevant and that includes content that caters for more recent technologies like voice or visual search.
When auditing your existing content, you will need to pay special attention to any broken links or inaccurate information, that could deteriorate your authority and jeopardise your ranking efforts.
When optimising your content, focus on applying one tactic at a time, giving Google the time to acknowledge the changes you have done on your page and re-index your content.
#10 Make Sure Your Site is Accessible and Responsive
While accessibility should always be a priority on the list of any marketer, Google has underlined its commitment with making online experiences something that anyone can enjoy.
Only in the UK, 7 million people have digital access needs, making it more important than ever to make sure that your website is available for anyone that tries to access it.
Any efforts that you make to improve the accessibility of your page could be hindered by a lack of responsive web design to mobile devices.
Google will be favouring sites optimized for people using tablets and smartphone devices, guaranteeing the user experience they get is flawless and that your content is keeping up with technological advancements.
5 SEO Mistakes You Should Leave in 2021
Google has a clear goal in 2022, bringing users back into the spotlight. It has been more common than ever to see marketers writing for search engines, rather than for people and, unfortunately, that has been in detriment of the quality of the content available in SERPs.
2022 will the year in which genuine connections are encouraged, making sure we leave these SEO mistakes in the past.
#1 Avoid Keyword Stuffing
With Google focusing more on the semantics behind the content available, trying to fit as many keywords as possible on a page will no longer work to improve SEO.
Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of including a number of keywords as high as possible to try and trick Google into thinking that a page is more relevant for a particular topic.
In fact, the RankBrain update that we mentioned above will pay special attention to pages that have gotten into SERPs using these type of techniques and will eliminate them from the result pages, making sure that the content available for a particular query is valuable, high-quality, and relevant!
You might want to outsmart the AI but… why not trying to write genuinely good content?
#2 Watch Out For Duplicated Content
Repurposing content is a reality. Content marketers and copywriters are wonderful professionals with an incredible capacity to come up with valuable content, but they have a limit!
Duplicated content does not refer to content that you might have recycled, reworded, or, simply, inspired yourself in. Duplicated content points out to blocks of content that completely match.
For Google, duplicated content is never a good sign. If Google spots duplicated content across domains, chances are some content has been plagiarised.
If the duplicated content is within the same domain, it is possible that that particular page is trying to manipulate search engine rankings to win more traffic, for example, by enlengthening the content of pages with the same information.
#3 Ensure You Are Not Your Own Competition
In SEO, we refer to the phenomenon of having various blog posts or articles on a site ranking for the same keyword as keyword cannibalisation (I know, not the nicest but, at least, it is not an acronym!).
This phenomenon is problematic because it will split the traffic that you are attracting for a specific keyword and, consequently, jeopardise your SEO efforts.
Reducing keyword cannibalisation on your site will require you, most likely, reduce the number of posts on your site.
Audit your content and analyse its performance. Once you have spotted two pages that are a little bit too similar, choose the page that you would like to keep, preferably the one ranking higher, and merge the content of any duplicates.
#4 Put User Search Intent First
If you have not yet done so, ask yourself why. Why are people looking for what they are looking?
Any content that you publish on your page should answer a question or, at least, provide with helpful information that can help users develop an answer. Making sure that you understand the intent behind the users that get to your page will allow you to better plan your content strategy.
If this information is not straightforward, it might be advisable to run a user insight analysis with your past clients, asking them about their experience not only with you, but even before they first reached out to you.
Focus on their research experience, what their goals were when they first started seeking for similar solutions to yours, and how they felt when they finally found your brand.
#5 Do Not Spread Too Thin
Pick a topic! Google loves content that is specific and knowledgeable. It is basically encouraging you to become an expert in your field.
There are countless tactics that you could use to structure your content around a topic, from creating topic clusters, to outsourcing your content creation strategy to technical copywriters that can produce extensive texts on a particular topic.
Trying to speak about to prove your knowledge on too many areas can prevent you from providing truly valuable information that visitors to your website could find insightful.
Prioritise your research and aim to obtain in-depth information that, in contrast, you should be able to offer in an approachable, accessible, and affordable way.
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