While some wonder if search engine optimization is dead, the latest developments in the area prove that SEO isn’t going anywhere.
But it is evolving.
Google and other search engines are continuing to invest in better algorithms, while content creators are stepping up their game to get to the top of the results. Stay informed on this changing landscaping with five of the latest developments in SEO.
Mobile-Friendly = SEO-Friendly
How many times a day do you access the internet on your smartphone? Chances are you’re reading this blog on a mobile device. Mobile browsing is on track to overtake traditional forms of internet access, and if your website isn’t accessible from a smartphone, you may be left behind.
For better SEO, choose your website’s theme with purpose: make it simple with easily-legible text. Make sure it’s a responsive theme, which will automatically resize to a mobile interface. When you can, avoid pop-up windows and autoplaying ads for a smoother browsing experience, and place your links far apart to avoid misclicks from mobile users.
These are just some of the ways to optimize your website for a smartphone. Still not sure where to start? Plug your URL into Google’s free mobile-friendly test and see how you measure up.
The Long Haul
In 2022, longform content like articles, white papers, and “definite guides to” are making a big splash.
This popularity is due to a few factors. Quality longform content is more likely to be shared on social media than shorter pieces. The Google RankBrain algorithm considers the amount of time a user spends on a page as a major factor in ranking. Longer content means longer dwell time. Longer content also gives you more opportunities for keywords, backlinks, and other SEO-friendly features.
You also have more room to create comprehensive content that answers all of your audience’s questions — meaning they will spend more time on your page, instead of a smaller amount of time on many web pages, including your competitors’.
Find Your Voice… And Let the Voice Find You
Smart devices with voice search are becoming a mainstay in many consumer’s homes (and pockets). Voice search optimization (VSO) streamlines your content so it has a better chance of being read aloud in response to a question, such as asking Siri or Alexa “What is voice search optimization?”
Targeting long-tail keywords and question-based keywords is the way to go for VSO. Add phrases like “how,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why” to your targeted keywords. You can also phrase blog titles or individual blog sections in the form of a question. For example, this blog could be titled What Should I Know about SEO in 2022?
You can also add an FAQ page to your website with relevant, commonly-searched questions related to your business. Use SEO research tools (which I’ll get to below) to identify what questions are leading people to your website.
Voice search tends to be a lot more casual and conversational. Consumers may even use incorrect grammar. Consider setting aside complicated jargon and focusing on keywords for phrases that a layman might come up with on the fly.
No More Tricks
In a November 2021 announcement, Google rolled out an update designed to cut down on spam from websites that don’t meet their webmaster guidelines. Among these guidelines is “avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.”
The key word here is tricks. Now more than ever, Google is monitoring deceptive SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, hiding text and links behind images or with white text, and purchasing referring links.
Although any reputable site shouldn’t be using these tricks to begin with, now is the time to crack down on any deceptive SEO tactics present on your website. The price of negligence is lower search rankings… and in the worst case, corrective manual action.
Brush Up Your Toolkit
Just like you can’t remove a screw without a screwdriver, you need the right tools to change your search engine ranking — and to measure the results. There is no shortage of free and premium SEO tools online, but here are just a few of the best ones.
Formerly known as “Google Webmaster Tools,” Google Search Console (GSC) is a free and easily-accessible tool that helps you monitor your website’s traffic and stay alert on any issues that pop up. It’s best used in conjunction with other tools such as Google Analytics, Ads, and Trends.
However, there’s one feature that makes this tool vital for 2022. GSC allows you to audit your website for the “core web vitals” that Google has been prioritizing since a 2021 update. They measure the user experience of a webpage with these vital features: loading, interactivity, and visual stability. This vitals score directly impacts your search ranking, so utilize GSC to evaluate your website and stay ahead of the game.
SEMRush is an all-in-one digital marketing tool. Although the pro version offers several SEO-related services, SEMRush is best known for its comprehensive website audit, which identifies broken links, missing or duplicate meta descriptions, and other errors. Customizable reports are another standout feature, with an intuitive drag-and-drop layout.
Ahrefs started as a backlink analyzer and grew into a full SEO suite used by big companies such as LinkedIn and Uber. Like SEMRush, Ahrefs provides plenty of data on website performance, search rankings, keywords, and (naturally) backlinks.
Of all these features, Ahrefs’ rank tracking tool shines the most. Although this tool is most useful for serious marketers and businesses, anyone interested in SEO can benefit from Ahrefs’ free educational courses and “how to” blogs.
Moz should be a familiar name to anyone in this space. This website and SEO analytics service was started by a mother-and-son blogging team in 2001 and was acquired by iContact Marketing Corp. in 2021. The best thing about this tool is its versatile offerings. In addition to the all-in-one suite Moz Pro, Moz offers three additional products with specific areas of focus.
Moz STAT is similar to Google Analytics and provides daily information on your site’s ranking and other metrics. Mozscape API goes in-depth on link data, domain authority, and more. And perhaps the most important, depending on your business, is Moz Local — a local SEO management tool that assists you in managing (and improving) multiple profiles and listings.
You may not need, or be able to afford, all of these tools, but the range of options is impressive.
Answer the Public is a newer keyword tool known for its sleek visualizations of suggested searches. Simply type in a keyword and see a range of questions pop-up. Here’s an example of the visualizations that ATP creates:
The free version offers up to three searches a day, and the pro version includes unlimited searches along with more robust report generation. Although this tool doesn’t have the same legacy — or versatility — as the other tools on this list, ATP’s laser-focus on keyword questions makes it perfect for voice search optimization.
But VSO isn’t the only benefit of this service. Inbound marketing strategy relies on gaining your audience’s trust by answering their questions, and knowing exactly what questions are being asked is key. ATP has great potential for helping inbound marketing agencies as well as businesses wanting to explore consumer concerns on their own.
SEO in 2022 may seem more complicated than ever, but as technology changes and algorithms become even more sophisticated, the best way to stay ahead of the pack is to adapt. Through the years to come, Modthink will be here to help you navigate rankings, keyword targeting, and more.