SEO trends for 2022

Written by dartera
January 28, 2022

SEO for the new year: search trends to look out for in 2022

Why do search engine optimization (SEO) trends change every year? As trite as it may sound, SEO trends change because people change. Search engine algorithms are updated according to changing human behavior over the years. Search engines like Google want to improve the user experience - and that brings new algorithms, new tools, and new best practices.

Prepare for 2022 by reading this guide to search engine optimization for the new year:

1. MUM

Out with the Berts and in with the Mums. The first and potentially most important search trend of 2022 is Google's latest algorithm. The Multitask United Model, affectionately known as MUM, is a language model that is 1000 times more powerful than its predecessor, BERT.

Perhaps the biggest difference between MUM and BERT is in the name itself: MUM is multitasking. Instead of doing one task at a time, this breakthrough technology can handle multiple tasks simultaneously. To get an idea of MUM, Google Fellow and Vice President Pandu Nayak considered a hike up Mt. Fuji:

Prepare for 2022 by reading this guide to search engine optimization for the new year:

"... you would have to search for the altitude of each mountain, the average temperature in autumn, the difficulty of the trails, the right equipment and much more. After a series of searches, you would eventually get the answer you need."

Nayak goes on to say that you could ask a mountain guide just one question - "What should I do differently to prepare?" - and receive a nuanced answer. MUM won't give you as sophisticated an answer as a mountain guide, but the technology can reduce the number of searches you need to perform to answer your complex questions.

2. Passage Ranking

In February of this year, Google enabled passage indexing, giving websites the ability to rank a passage instead of an entire page. Like a needle in a haystack, this update means that the search engine can now understand the relevance of very specific questions - and answer them.

Prabhakar Raghavan, senior vice president at Google, said that passage indexing "will improve 7 percent of searches in all languages as we roll it out globally." The good news is that website owners don't need to be too concerned about this update, but should see it as an opportunity.

To have a greater chance of ranking for certain passages, website owners should make an effort to create more long-form content. You should also pay attention to on-page SEO, such as titles, headings, and anchor text. Passage ranking is definitely for well-optimized long posts.

3. Video Content

With TikTok set to reach about 65.9 million users in the U.S. by 2020, Google recognizes the importance of video content and is responding. If you haven't yet included video content in your website's SEO strategy, now is the time to do so.

Website owners can create optimized video content by adding a few useful keywords and hashtags to each video they create, as well as relevant descriptions. You can now also add timestamps and captions to video content to highlight key moments that need to be emphasized.

4. Google Shopping

There couldn't be a better time for Google Shopping than right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a consumer shift to online shopping. From laptops to iPhones to iPads, we buy it all at the tap of a finger. Pickup, delivery, sometimes even same-day delivery - who else but Google knows how best to exploit our behavior.

Google Shopping has introduced a number of new tools and features that will be the talk of the town in the coming year. Both shoppers and SEO specialists should keep up with the trends.

Shopping Graph

In 2021, Google announced the Shopping Graph, an AI-powered tool that shows consumers an ever-changing inventory of product listings and information in real time. With this enhanced technology, consumers can search for billions of products from millions of retailers that are available right now. To make it easier for merchants, Google has also eliminated commission fees and made the platform free for sellers.

Shopping Graph essentially benefits both shoppers and merchants. Shoppers get a seamless, comparative experience, while merchants get more room to be discovered for free.

Google has also expanded its partnership with Shopify, a multinational e-commerce company. Shopify merchants can now have their products listed on Google, making them more discoverable by consumers - and that's not just for shopping, but also for search, image search and YouTube.

Product reviews

Just this December, Google announced an update to its product review algorithm. This update comes after an emergence of fake product reviews that enhance the reputation of brands and companies that, in most cases, do not sell quality products.

Google Search Central announced the update through a tweet:

Google Developer Advocate, Alan Kent later clarified in a tweet that websites that publish articles with product reviews will be primarily affected by the update, such as articles like "best winter coats."

Content creators can adapt to this update by ensuring that all product review pages show expert knowledge, provide quantitative measurements, discuss the pros and cons of a product, and explain what sets a product apart from the competition.

5. UX

User Experience, or UX, is a trend that Google is paying more attention to every year. In May 2020, the search engine company announced that page experience will serve as a new ranking factor. The update was officially rolled out in May of this year.

Essentially, the UX update calls for four things: basic web vitality, mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, and no intrusive interstitials (i.e. pop-up ads). Below, we'll take a closer look at key web vitals and mobile-friendliness, the two aspects of the UX update that are slightly more important for search engine optimization.

As for HTTPS, you don't have to worry. Google has been pushing websites to switch from HTTP to HTTPS for years without penalizing them for not doing so. As for intrusive interstitials, this is especially important for the mobile version of a website. We will also discuss this further below.

Core Web Vitals

Google's Core Web Vitals is a report that details the overall experience a website provides, based on real-world usage data. The report includes three key metrics that measure a page's speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, respectively. These metrics can be considered "vital" to a website's ability to rank in the SERPs.

The three most important metrics are:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): LCP, or Largest Contentful Paint, measures the loading speed of a page. A website is generally considered good if it takes less than 2.5 seconds to load.
  • FID (First Input Delay): FID (First Input Delay) misst die Zeit, in der ein Benutzer zum ersten Mal mit einer Seite interagiert, und die Zeit, die die Seite braucht, um auf diese Interaktion zu reagieren.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): CLS, or Cumulative Layout Shift, measures the visual stability of a page. In other words, it measures how often the UX is interrupted, often by pop-up ads.

In addition to Core Web Vitals, we also discuss mobile search, another aspect of Google's recent UX update, and voice search, an emerging development you won't want to miss.

Mobile search

Every year, mobile search becomes more popular than the year before. The share of mobile search has steadily increased since its introduction and accounted for 61% of total global website traffic in Q2 2021. If you have a website, optimizing it for mobile search should be one of your top priorities.

Mobile-friendly websites offer a lot to admire. First, this is the dominant form of search. Customers are 61% likely to search for your content via mobile devices. Optimizing your website for mobile devices means not only preparing it for the future of search, but also for the present.

A second benefit is the ability to provide a better user experience. Why do more people use mobile search than any other method? Because it is fast and convenient. You can find exactly what you're looking for simply by using your handheld device. Computers and laptops may be used more often for intensive searches, but for everyday searches, customers are almost certainly using their cell phones.

Last but not least, Google introduced mobile-first indexing in 2019, which essentially means that the search engine crawls and indexes primarily mobile pages. Optimizing for mobile search is not just a recommendation for a better user experience, but an essential part of a successful SEO strategy.

Voice search

“Alexa.” “Hey, Google.” “OK, Siri.” Sound familiar? According to a 2017 Pew Research study, 46% of Americans use voice-controlled digital assistants. The study also shows that 42% rely on their smartphone to reach their voice assistant, 14% rely on a computer or tablet, and 8% rely on a standalone device like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. So how can you best optimize your website for voice search?

The key to voice search is to focus more on the content of conversations and less on format and structure. In other words, write as you would speak, similar to Featured Snippets.

These short excerpts account for over 40% of all voice assistant responses.

Long-tail queries are your best friends when it comes to this form of search. Optimize for keywords that contain answers to the questions "Who," "What," "Where," "When," "Why," and "How." You can find relevant long-tail keyword questions in the "people also ask" section of Google Search. Just do a Google search for your keywords and see what comes up.