Are you curious what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2022 is going to mean for your business?
Wondering what you can expect from organic search and how to prepare for the year ahead?
In this article, we’re going to explore the SEO outlook for 2022, so you can focus your strategies on the areas of greatest impact.
Google Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are a key component to Google’s Page Experience Update, which was announced in 2020 but continues to secure a key role in today’s organic search. The focus of Core Web Vitals is to measure a page’s load speed from a user experience perspective, but it also determines the interactivity (how quickly someone can interact with the page) and layout of the page.
Page load speed is so critical to the search user experience that Google’s John Mueller recently included it as part of the definition of content quality. That’s because page speed contributes to how Google views content quality, as it directly influences the user experience and how information is delivered to site visitors.
When Google announced its MUM (Multitask Unified Model) update earlier this year, it said the features would be rolled out in the coming months and years. But while users may not experience the entire update at once, marketers can still apply that knowledge to their SEO work for 2022 to prepare for the full release.
The Google MUM update leverages the Natural Language Processing Model to analyze video, images, and text from 75 languages, all in an effort to better answer complex search queries. MUM looks at the emotional and contextual basis of a query, with the goal of serving answers in a conversational format. Knowing this, here’s where you may choose to focus your SEO efforts:
- Optimizing text – Google has made several references this year to the importance of title tags and headings, and now bolded text (not a new SEO ranking factor, but even more important in the context of MUM), which signals to marketers that the search engine rewards text that’s optimized. This is going to help the model understand content better, including how it’s organized and what is important on the page.
- Optimizing images – The ability to understand images has always been a major challenge for machine learning, but search engines are getting better at interpreting meaning and nuance from them. Therefore, in the next year, it would be a good time to optimize images on your website in preparation for the future of search experiences.
- Optimizing video content – In 2022, it will be critical for marketers to use structured data markup to help Google understand video content. Two newer types of video structured data, Clip markup and Seek markup, were introduced earlier this year and should be included as you optimize videos for SEO. Videos will play a central role in ranking for terms that are highly competitive, whether they are hosted on YouTube or your own website.
Yet another way to rank in search for 2022 is Google Passages. Introduced in late 2020, Google Passages will assume a central role in the coming year as the search engine continues to display “passages” of a page. For marketers, this is good news. It means information from website pages can be served even if the entire page isn’t optimized for that information.
Google Passages represents the search engine’s ability to index and rank webpages for a search query based on a relevant passage within the page. For example, if your page is about running shoes, you may still rank for content on that same page about running in cold weather – giving you additional opportunities to rank in search results. To optimize for this experience, you will want to consider how to leverage headers, images, videos, and text throughout the page.
While these updates and features are not entirely brand-new to search, they are nascent and coming into sharper focus this next year. Marketers should spend time understanding how these will influence the strategies they’re planning and what it means for their SEO priorities in 2022.