2021 has been a year of resilience, growth, and adaptation for many small businesses across the province. With all the dynamic and progressive changes that are occurring in the field of SEO, I am excited to enter the new year and explore opportunities in the small business world. Let’s start by taking a look at 5 SEO Trends for 2022.
Recently, Google made several important changes to its search engine algorithm, which is going to impact the way your business shows up in search results . Here are five critical SEO trends you can expect for the coming year.
Context is King
The old saying, “content is king”, is no longer true for the SEO world. Now, context is king because Google has advanced its search algorithm to better understand a searcher’s intent.
Where before, Google would match searchers to webpages purely based on the keywords of their search query, now, the algorithm attempts to match search results to a searcher’s intent In order to match a searcher’s intent, a piece of content has to thematically fit what a searcher is looking for.
Now, when you search for “most difficult hikes in BC”, you will find results with page titles such as “5 advanced hikes for experienced adventurers around Metro Vancouver” or “Top 5 Hard, Demanding Hikes Near Vancouver, BC”.
Google now understands that “most difficult hikes in BC” is related to “demanding hikes” and “advanced hikes” based on the context of the search and the content on the landing pages. To assure that your webpage appears on search results, it’s no longer about simply including popular keyword phrases- you also have to ensure that the context of your webpages fit your consumers’ search intent.
Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads. Page speed can be described in either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the webserver).
Pagespeed is critical to SEO ranking because pagespeed affects a website’s user-experience (UX), which Google takes into consideration when ranking a website for search results. As consumers continue to shift to online shopping, pagespeed will continue to be an important factor not only in the user experience, but also in separating your website from your competitors’ when it comes to search ranking and results.
There are many things you can do to improve your website’s pagespeed and search ranking, such as ensuring images on your website are under 100KB, minimizing the usage of animations, and using stable and fast web hosting.
Follow the E-A-T Principle
Everyone loves to eat, including Google. E-A-T in the SEO world is defined as Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Google introduced E-A-T inGoogle’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines which was released in 2013. The guidelines were designed to “help webmasters understand what Google looks for in a web page.”
Industry experts suggest that E-A-T plays a more vital role for more objective and serious topics compared to subjective ones.
Google refers to objective and more serious topics as YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics. As they describe it, “Some types of pages or topics could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”
For example, if you are searching for tax advice, E-A-T will play an important role in your search ranking because Google wants to show results from established, accredited accounts rather. If you are searching for a travellers’ account of a specific travel destination however, E-A-T plays less of a ranking factor because the content is more subjective, and expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness play less of an important role.
If your website is built around a YMYL topic, demonstrating E-A-T is vital:
Expertise means to show extensive knowledge or skill in a particular domain. Google is looking for content developed by a subject matter expert such as a chartered accountant or a doctor.
Authority is about reputation, particularly among experts and influencers in the industry. Generally, authority is formed when others see an individual or website as the go-to source of information about a topic.
To evaluate a website’s authority, Google may use online reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other credible information written by individuals about the website.
Trust is about the legitimacy, transparency, and accuracy of the website and its content. For example, if a website doesn’t display its email address, physical address, or some form of contact information, Google may deem the website as untrustworthy and rank the website lower on search results.
Optimize for Question-Based Queries
Approximately 8% of search queries around the world are question-based – meaning that the search query starts with “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why,” and “How”. While 8% may not seem a lot, it’s a massive volume given that there are 5.6 billion searches on Google alone. The easiest way to rank your website for question-based search queries is to create a frequently-asked-question (FAQ) page. Google sees the FAQ answers as relevant to question-based search queries and will rank your webpage accordingly.
Optimize for Category-Based Search Queries
Shoppers don’t always have a product or service in mind when they’re searching. Oftentimes, consumers will search using generic product or service categories such as “popular children’s toys 2021″ or “popular children’s toys for girls” to generate product or service ideas.
For example, general category searches such as “best affordable” have grown 60%globally year over year, according to the2021 Retail Marketing Guide by Google.
To capture searchers who are performing generic searches, you can create landing pages specifically to fit the product or service category. For example, you can create a landing page that features toys for girls and boys to appear on search results for search queries related to “popular children’s toys for boys” and “popular children’s toys for girls”.
In a changing digital world, it’s crucial to review and update your SEO strategies so you can continue to stand out in your industry. While some strategies, such as pagespeed optimization, are likely to stick around, how search engines determine which webpages should be relevant is subject to change. Working together with a qualified SEO professional will not only help you stay on top of all the changing trends, but also stay ahead of your competition. The new year brings new opportunities for small businesses operating in a digital world, and there’s no better time to start optimizing your search engine results.
Get Ready for 2022 with Small Business BC
Ready to take the next step and start or grow your business in 2022? At Small Business BC, we’ve got a range of live business webinars, free resource downloads, and one-on-one business advice to help optimize every aspect of your small business.