Every business, marketer, and website owner must keep their eyes on the latest SEO news. This will help implement a successful SEO strategy to your site and ensure your website generates high volumes of traffic.
Making SEO strategy adjustments based on the following ten trends will give you an edge over the competition for the second half of the year and beyond. Let’s dive in.
1. Core Web Vitals and Page Experience
If you’ve been following SEO news for a while now, you’ve probably heard of Google’s core web vitals and page experience update. This has been generating buzz, as Google has given webmasters plenty of time to prepare for the changes.
Core web vitals are three new ranking factors included in Google’s search signals for page experience—loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
These new ranking signals officially rolled out in May 2021, and the final update was completed in August of 2021.
Since Google’s initial announcement of the update, they’ve seen a 70% increase in the number of users using Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights. There’s also been an uptick in webmasters using Search Console’s Core Web Vitals for finding areas to improve.
What’s this mean for your website and your business?
Clearly, other websites have been proactive about the update. So if you haven’t made any changes to address Google’s Core Web Vitals, you should prioritize this ASAP. While the new ranking factors won’t necessarily make or break your site’s organic traffic, it’s always in your best interest to make adjustments when Google gives you this much time to prepare.
2. Mobile-First SEO
It’s no secret that mobile has been dominating marketing trends for the last several years. But the use of mobile devices in our daily lives has changed the way websites need to think about SEO for today and the future.
According to Statista, roughly 55% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices.
Major search engines, like Google, have recognized this trend and reward websites for having a mobile-friendly design. That’s nothing new.
The new concept here is that websites are beginning to prioritize mobile SEO over general SEO practices for desktops. They understand that the user experience is different when they browse from mobile devices—so the SEO strategy needs to change as well.
Typing errors are more common with mobile searches, and the key strings are typically shorter when users search from a mobile device as well. These are just a couple of the differences you need to keep in mind if you’re going to implement a mobile-first SEO strategy to keep pace with the trends.
3. SEO Automation
Automation has been a huge trend in the business world for nearly a decade now. New software and business technology have been changing the way companies operate across every industry.
So it should come as no surprise to see automation penetrating the SEO world.
In simple terms, SEO automation uses technology to automate tasks that would normally be done manually. This helps you save time, money and boosts productivity—which is crucial for websites and business owners without a dedicated team of SEO experts.
Some common examples of SEO tasks that you can automate include:
- Website crawls
- SERP tracking
- Backlink profile quality
- SEO reporting
- Brand mention monitoring
- New backlink alerts
- Keyword intent analysis
This is just scratching the surface with what you can accomplish with SEO automation. There are even AI tools out there that can help you generate meta descriptions at scale.
If you feel like you’re spending too much time doing tedious SEO tasks, run a quick search for software to see if those tasks can be automated. It will make your life much easier.
4. Long-From Content
Blogging has historically been one of the best ways to generate organic search traffic for nearly a decade. Websites that publish blogs on a regular basis tend to have better success than those without a blogging strategy.
But each year, the way blogs get published has changed. I’ve been an advocate for long-term content for quite some time now. But with each passing year, the average length of a blog post continues to rise.
Orbit Media recently conducted some research that analyzed the last seven years of blog posts. Here’s what they found:
The average length of a blog post is 1,269 words. As you can see from the graph, there’s been a steady rise in word count every year.
But that’s not all. The research also discovered that bloggers are publishing less posts with fewer than 500 words and more posts with over 2,000 words.
It doesn’t stop there. Bloggers that write the longest posts tend to see the strongest results.
Even when you look well beyond the average, blog posts with 3,000+ are more likely to see traffic.
At a minimum. You should aim for 1,500-2,000+ words on every blog you write. If you’re in the zone and feel like you can cover a topic really well, don’t put a cap on yourself.
Continue to write. I’ve read some excellent posts that even eclipse the 4,000 or 5,000-wordmark. While those will likely be a bit much for your standard weekly posts, you can still mix super long blogs into your content strategy.
5. Voice Search
We’ve already discussed the latest trends and news surrounding mobile-first SEO. But voice search is another driving force in that category.
Rather than typing into smartphones, lots of users opt for voice search.
Beyond our smartphones and tablets, the rise of smart speakers and other smart devices has coincided with the spike in voice searches.
Recent studies suggest that 41% of people use voice search at least once per day. Last year, more than half of all smartphone users leveraged voice technology using their devices.
As voice search technology becomes even better, we’ll continue to see more people taking advantage of its functionality. So your SEO strategy must take this trend into consideration.
6. Fewer Page Two Clicks
You probably know how important it is to rank on page one of Google. So I won’t sit here and bore you with statistics or numbers that you’ve been told dozens of times.
But ranking high in the SERPs has become even more important than ever before. So far in 2021, ranking on page two of Google isn’t getting the job done anymore.
Check out this graph that shows the staggering drop off of clicks from page one to page two:
Less than 1% of all searchers click on a link on the second page. The number one position on the first page gets nearly 32% of all clicks.
7. Google BERT and Google SMITH
Google’s BERT (bidirectional encoder representation from transformers) was released back in 2018. Google started using this technology in 2019 to get a better understanding of user intent in searches.
SMITH (siamese multi-depth transformer-based hierarchical encoder) is a newer algorithm for natural language processing.
There has been lots of speculation that SMITH will replace BERT, although this hasn’t been confirmed. As a matter of fact, the SMITH model isn’t officially live yet.
According to Search Engine Journal, the newer SMITH algorithm outperforms BERT. So this is something that we’ll need to keep our eye on for the second half of the year.
8. Video Marketing SEO
Marketers and websites have been using video content to engage users for quite some time now. But these videos are having a bigger impact on SEO than ever before.
Since Google owns YouTube, it should come as no surprise to see more videos appearing in the SERPs.
According to a recent study, videos are 50x more likely to get an organic search ranking compared to pages with plain text results.
Furthermore, Google shows a video thumbnail next to 26% of search results.
So for those of you looking to take your SEO strategy to the next level, you need to incorporate video marketing into your content strategy.
9. Influencer SEO
The concept of using influencers to create brand awareness, sell products, and drive website traffic is nothing new. But now, businesses and websites are using influencers to help with SEO.
It’s been long disputed whether or not social media has an impact on SEO. The official answer is no, but experts in the industry beg to differ. While there isn’t necessarily a direct impact on your search ranking, things like brand awareness and website traffic all indirectly enhance your online visibility—therefore positively impacting SEO.
Using high-profile bloggers to build backlinks to your site is another way that websites are leveraging influencers for SEO in 2022. We’ll see these trends continue in the future.
10. Quality Backlinks
Piggybacking off of our last point, most of you likely know that your backlink profile will have a direct impact on your search rankings.
But those links need to come from authority websites to actually move the needle.
John Mueller, Google’s senior webmaster trends analyst, recently discussed the importance of quality backlinks back in February 2021.
When asked what matters the most, the backlink itself or the total number of links to a website, Mueller’s answer was crystal clear. He essentially stated that a relevant backlink could be worth more than millions of irrelevant backlinks.
Mueller has historically given fairly ambiguous answers to questions about Google’s algorithm. But for this SEO news story, the answer was clear—quality over quantity.
Here at McDougall Interactive, we’re constantly keeping an eye on the latest SEO news and trends. Continue checking our blog and sign up for our newsletter to be one of the first to hear about new updates and noteworthy news.
If you need help applying these trends to your SEO strategy, book a free marketing strategy session, and we’ll be happy to assist.