SEO is one of the youngest and most fast-paced marketing disciplines out there. The term SEO was first coined back in 1997 when search engines were making their mark on the new worldwide web. Things have changed a lot since then, and we always find it interesting to compare the SEO trends of 2022 to those of the early 2000s.
Back in the day, website designers focused predominantly on providing enough text and ensuring that their content was relevant and accurate. Now, that’s pretty much the minimum SEO requirement.
Google has overtaken the search engine market, and they hold most of the power when it comes to the latest trends in SEO. However, even the most talented marketers struggle to keep up with the changes in SEO – especially with organizational restrictions. Recent stats show that the leading SEO challenges are heavily related to resource limitations, strategy troubles, and sales/marketing alignment.
Apart from internal struggles, there’s still an overarching challenge in terms of pivoting to align with the latest SEO trends. Keeping up with the changes is the best way to ensure that you maintain or improve your SERPs rankings and attract online traffic.
Here is everything you need to know about the most important SEO trends in 2022 and how to implement them.
The Top 5 SEO Trends for 2022
Writing SEO content for a website is about finding the balance between the up-and-coming trends and solid strategies that have proven to be effective. That said, here are some of the latest trends in SEO to keep on your radar:
1. Long-Form Content Strategies
The argument for quality over quantity has always been a strong debate amongst SEO marketers. However, it seems that Google prefers to reward long-form content the majority of the time. The State of Content Marketing report from SEMRush found that longer posts (3000-7000 words) had four times higher traffic rates than posts under 1200 words.
Furthermore, longer content was more likely to be shared on social media pages and had higher unique page views overall. Essentially, the more text there is to pull from, the higher your chances are that Google will give it a top spot on the SERPs.
To generate successful SEO results, your content needs to be valuable, informative, and engaging. It also needs to be well-organized so that Google knows exactly what your content is saying.
A great tip here is to break your content into multiple headings using H2, H3, H4, etc. tags. These create subsections of content, which are fantastic for creating snippet bait to earn your spot in the coveted “position zero” spot at the top of the SERPs.
2. Website Accessibility
The internet is designed to be a place to level the playing field for everyone – including those with disabilities. Google wants to provide its users with the best experience possible and provide great results. Having a website that inhibits the user experience for this demographic of visitors can hurt your ranking ability.
Unfortunately, many websites are severely lacking in this regard. The latest stats show:
- The average homepage has 51 accessibility errors
- 86% of websites have a low text contrast that does not meet accessibility standards
- 42% of people with disabilities state they have seen no measurable changes in website accessibility since 2020
Website accessibility is not just one of the latest SEO trends – it’s an important factor in the overall design. Designers need to incorporate SEO features that do not depend on keyboards, such as voice commands, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc.
The trick is to ensure that your site is WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) compliant. While accessibility is not currently an SEO factor, improving accessibility standards can provide additional benefits.
For instance, visually impaired visitors rely on screen readers to navigate websites. To make this possible, designers need to add additional text, such as visual content descriptions and optimized sitemaps. These factors are directly related to SEO and can improve your site’s performance.
3. Video Content
Video content is still king – most people prefer visual content over text. It is also a great way to increase website visitor engagement and time spent on your site, which in turn can improve rankings. Great video content can also add a lot of value to your site and can help it get more views, social shares, and clicks.
One of the trends in SEO for video is to incorporate proper video markup like captions and timestamps. Google now automatically lists video content as a result for specific types of searches – primarily “how to” queries. They will also highlight video moments that correlate directly to the search phrase.
To do this, you’ll want to take the time with your video schema markup to provide Google with additional data. This will help to improve your video’s chances of ranking, therefore driving traffic to your site.
4. Google EAT
One of the hottest SEO trends of 2019 was the EAT score – and it seems like that trend will extend through 2022. This stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and it has changed the way marketers create websites and content.
Google is moving toward a more “contextual” way of thinking about the web. Google recently released their latest MUM update which is utilizing AI to better understand the context of searches for more relevant results.
EAT scores play a huge role in this shift, as Google is becoming even pickier about the results it picks and chooses. There are lots of little tips to improve your content’s EAT score though, such as:
- Link to highly authoritative sources
- Focus on long-form content with LSI keywords
- Clearly state the author, along with a bio for credibility
- Make site security a priority
- Update old content with new information (such as updated research)
5. Ethical Link Building
Increasing the number of links has long been associated with domain authority and ranking. This led a lot of shady businesses to conduct link schemes, creating artificial outbound links to manipulate their search rankings.
Of course, Google quickly caught on and will not severely penalize your site if it suspects you’re partaking in this scheme. SEMRush offers a free backlink analytics tool that checks your site’s backlinks to see if they’ve been flagged by Google.
To avoid these penalties, you need to make sure that your link-building strategies are focused on quality over quantity. Use tools like Ahrefs to check the domain authority of a site before including a link on your own page.
The same goes for pitching content to build out backlinks. You only want your links published on authoritative sites that Google trusts. Otherwise, it could hurt your own rankings.
If your goal is to get to the top of Google in 2022, it’s time to set more realistic expectations. There’s no guarantee that any single SEO strategy will get you there. However, keeping up with the latest SEO trends and adjusting your strategies to align with current algorithm changes can help you improve your ranking factors.
Navigating changes in SEO is tricky, even for the most experienced marketers. If you’re looking for additional support with your digital marketing strategies, give the Ayokay team a shout. We can get you connected with real experts to take your website to the next level.
Jack Shepler is a Marketing and Search Engine Optimization expert. He founded Ayokay, award-winning marketing, and web design firm in Indianapolis, Indiana that has built brands, increased sales for businesses, and helped nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions since 2011. He uses his decades of experience to educate through the Ayokay blog and through public speaking. You can follow him on LinkedIn.