Tracking SEO trends is like hitting a moving target.
From algorithm updates to evolving innovations – it feels like the goal bar is always moving. While the goal of SEO remains the same—improving your presence in relevant search results—the strategy for achieving it looks different every year.
Here, we’ll take a look at the biggest SEO challenges for marketers in 2022 and the five biggest trends to watch this year.
SEO Challenges in 2022
A survey by HubSpot Blogs identified three major challenges for SEO marketing:
1. Algorithm changes.
The first challenge marketers face is keeping up with changes in algorithms. This doesn’t surprise me — in 2020 alone, Google ran more than 500,00 experiments and made more than 4,000 changes to search.
If you’re like most marketers, this statistic can feel overwhelming. After all, how can you be successful when Google keeps changing the path to success?
The key is to respond to these changes strategically. On the one hand, this means staying on top of industry news. If the algorithm changes significantly, the SEO industry may comment on it.
The second strategy might sound counterintuitive — and that is to wait until the dust settles after the update. Why? In some cases, Google found that the changes were not working as expected, and they reverted.
2. Not ranked.
SEO is a long game. Unlike paid search, organic search results take time to show up—and are often the result of less effort.
To use an analogy – SEO is like a mutual fund that builds up slowly over time. This is not the stock market, you can see gains and losses in real time. This can be helpful when clients expect quick results.
There are some “solutions” that address low rankings, such as technical SEO and content marketing. More important, however, is to develop a long-term strategy that focuses on three to four initiatives at a time.
3. Keyword research.
Keywords are the foundation of SEO. But today, instead of just scanning for a keyword, Google takes a high-level look at your site to get a complete picture of its tone, scope, and relevance.
This means that keyword stuffing is obsolete. Instead, the goal is to understand user intent, or the deeper problem the user wants to solve. Armed with this understanding, you can conduct better keyword research and write content based on this insight.
Check out this helpful article on how to add user intent to your keyword strategy.
5 SEO trends to capitalize on in 2022
1. Voice and mobile search.
“Hey Google, what is a good substitute for heavy cream?“
Here’s a question I asked my Google Assistant last week while baking a cake with floured hands. It looks like I’m not the only one using voice search – about half (44%) of internet users in the US use a voice assistant.
There’s no denying that voice search is becoming a part of our everyday lives. But how do we optimize our content for people to search by ears instead of eyes?
The answer is clear – optimize your website for mobile devices. Since most voice searches happen on mobile and smart devices, it makes sense that Google would prefer fast, mobile-friendly sites.
Another strategy is to revise your content to include common questions that users may ask. For example, identify long-tail question keywords and include them in your h2 or h3 titles.
2. Tighten the header.
2021, Google launched A new search ranking feature called Passages. This feature allows Google to rank specific sections (or “paragraphs”) of pages semi-independently.
In other words, instead of ranking entire pages based on relevance, Google now scores based on the relevance of specific parts of the page.
For marketers, this change is nothing to worry about—assuming your pages are in order. If not, it’s a good idea to tighten your headers to provide more context for the different sections so Google can understand your content, regardless of markup.
Remember, other on-page ranking factors still apply – so don’t skip backlinks, SEO-optimized copywriting, and other ranking tactics.
3. Emotional headlines.
Have you ever clicked on an irresistible title? It turns out that a lot of research is working on the formula for clickable headlines.
According to a recent study analyzing 5 million headlines, sentimental headlines (both positive and negative) have higher click-through rates than neutral ones. In fact, headlines with a positive sentiment had a 7.4% higher click-through rate, while headlines with a negative sentiment had a 7.2% higher click-through rate.
That said, emotional headlines can drive clicks to a certain extent. Go any further and you’ll soon be in clickbait-land. For example, the same study found that “power words” — or words designed to grab attention — negatively impact click-through rates.
Power words include the following terms unbelievable, crazyand crazy. While these may work on social media, they can hurt your organic CTR – so use them sparingly, if at all.
4. Videos in the search results.
You may have seen YouTube videos in Featured Snippets. These tend to show up in “how-to” searches where readers are looking for step-by-step instructions.
For example, let’s say you’re stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. Do a Google search for “how to fix a flat tire” and you’ll see this video:
Video clips are just the beginning – we predict that Google will continue to integrate video into search results. With this in mind, optimizing your own videos for search is critical.
Here are some ways to get there:
- Add chapters to your YouTube videos. Chapters divide your video into sections, usually by topic. This layer of context allows viewers (and Google!) to understand what the video is about. It also makes it easy for Google to use different clips from your video for Featured Snippets.
- Includes closed captioning (CC). Closed captions help YouTube and Google understand every word in your video. While YouTube can automatically generate subtitles, these aren’t always accurate, so it’s best to add your own subtitles manually.
- Optimize your titles, tags and descriptions. Videos are like web pages – they have titles, descriptions (like meta descriptions) and tags (like meta tags). Optimize these using SEO best practices.
In the end, it doesn’t hurt to embed videos on your website and blog posts – it can increase your bounce rate.
5. Adjust the content of “People Also Ask”.
While browsing Google, you may have noticed something new: People Also Ask (PAA). In fact, 43% of search queries now contain a PAA box.
With a prominent position at the top of the SERPs, everyone wants to rank in this coveted feature. Fortunately, you can increase your chances by making some small tweaks to your content.
Since most PAA boxes begin with question words such as “what,” “why,” and “when,” it’s a good idea to incorporate questions and answers into your content. You can use a keyword research tool to identify long-tail question keywords, then include those questions in your header.
Alternatively, consider adding an FAQ section at the bottom of the page. Not only does this summarize key points for the reader, but it also has useful SEO benefits.
back to you
The only constant in the SEO world is change.While it feels like these changes are beyond our control, many Yes It’s under our control — that’s how we react. Start by focusing on trends and follow the best practices in this article to help you navigate the changing landscape.