5 key SEO changes from last year that will continue to have an impact on your SEO strategy in 2022

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing how people interact with online content

For many years, SEO’s have been able to rely on updating meta titles and descriptions as a fail-safe exercise in improving rankings on target landing pages for specific keywords. Writing custom meta titles and descriptions for your pages has been a quick win in the SEO world, ensuring that your content is written to satisfy Google’s algorithms by placing your keywords in the content, all whilst giving the website visitor an insight into the content of your page.

However, in August 2021 Google launched its title tag update, causing outrage as they are now using AI to rewrite title tags. In a blog post from Google, they stated “One of the primary ways people determine which search results might be relevant to their query is by reviewing the titles of listed web pages. That’s why Google Search works hard to provide the best titles for documents in our results to connect searchers with the content that creators, publishers, businesses, and others have produced.” They went on to explain, “Overall, our update is designed to produce more readable and accessible titles for pages. In some cases, we may add site names where that is seen as helpful. In other instances, when encountering an extremely long title, we might select the most relevant portion rather than starting at the beginning and truncating more useful parts.”

Whilst many SEO’s have been left frustrated and confused by this update, which was initially showing often unwanted and irrelevant titles, we can take direction from Google’s update. They’re not looking for a one size fits all title tag, more one that appeals to the nature of the search, that could provide benefit in including the company name or by being shorter and to the point. They pointed out that currently, often titles tags are too long, are stuffed with keywords and contain boilerplate language.

Going forward, we recommend continuing to create your own meta titles and descriptions but put more consideration into how to make these more valuable and relevant to the search terms you expect your page to appear for. If Google continue to change your meta titles and descriptions drastically, then it could be time for an overhaul or to review the relevance of your title tags to the content of the page.

Google Core Web Vitals

This actually first started creeping in during 2020, but the major impact of the Core Web Vitals update was seen in 2021. Google’s Core Web Vitals was one of the biggest core updates from Google in recent years, with the focus being on user experience.

Core Web Vitals can be broken down into three key areas; Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). If you’re not familiar with this terminology, we know you’re probably scratching your head thinking – huh? We agree that Google really pushed the boat out here in making what could have been easy to understand language, quite difficult for the layman to interpret. Put simply, these terms relate to the loading, interactivity and stability of your page. In a blog post by Google, they said “These signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to our ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.”

From May 2021, Google’s Core Web Vitals became part of the ranking factor of your website. So, what is the actual impact of Core Web Vitals on your SEO? If your website takes a long time to load or has any performance related issues that affect the page experience, then this will affect your page ranking in Google searches.

Core Web Vitals will continue to be a leading area of focus for SEO in 2022. If you want to get up to speed on what Core Web Vitals are, this blog post from Yoast does a great job at explaining it. We also wanted to share with you the tools below from Google’s Web Dev platform that you can use to get started with Core Web Vitals as part of your SEO strategy.

If you’re not including video as part of your SEO strategy, do it now before you lose out

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, but you know that already. Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world and generates more searches than Bing, Yahoo, AOL and Ask.com combined (Forbes). Not enough to make you think twice? Not only does Youtube receive 3 billion searches every month on the platform, but Google SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages) also pull through Youtube videos when relevant to the context of a search. Video consumption is only going to grow with the accessibility of this type of content on our mobile devices and the ease at which it can be consumed.

Your SEO strategy for video optimisation should contain multiple layers, as would any successful strategy. Your keywords are just as important on Youtube as they are on your website, and help people both on Youtube but also on Google to find your content. Create long, in-depth descriptions regarding the content of your video and include your keywords in both the title and description. Add video content from Youtube to your target landing page, all the while making sure it is relevant to the content of the page, just the same as you would ensure written content or imagery is relevant. Landing pages with video on are 100% more likely to convert than those without video.

It also goes without saying that the content within the video should continue to be relevant, trustworthy and high quality. You may want to refer to the Google E-A-T model we discuss later in this blog and apply that strategy to your video marketing.

Longer-form content performs better

As we’re writing this blog, our focus is not just on creating additional word-count for the sake of the Google algorithms, but to provide additional value to the reader that in turn benefits our search performance. It’s now believed that blog posts from 1,000-3,000 words are likely to perform best, so get your content writing head in gear. The theory behind longer form content performing better comes back to value; longer posts are more likely to be providing far more value to the reader, and in turn this content becomes more shareable, generates more engagement, more dwell time and more referrals. We have seen with the continued rise of Featured Snippets, and the way it is able to jump to a specific point in an article, that long form pieces of content, even if written years ago, continue to provide more value than ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ content pieces.

We also know that search engines are reviewing page count and are unlikely to rank highly websites with less than 30 pages. We advise having a strong SEO content strategy, that produces long form content linked to your keywords and continues to attract quality visitors to your website.

Google loves an acronym like MUM and EAT

As mentioned earlier in this post, Google are now heavily focussing on AI to deliver a better user experience in searches. Google MUM is a brand-new AI model allowing them to do just this. MUM stands for Multitask United Model and allows the search engine to understand deep meaning and context in your search, on multiple layers. In a blog post from Google, they stated “MUM not only understands language, but also generates it. It’s trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models. MUM is multimodal, so it understands information across text and images and, in the future, can expand to more modalities like video and audio.”

The focus of MUM is to be able to understand human language on the same level as we do, being able to not just listen and understand searches and context but communicate and interpret information. As MUM gets more advanced, the relevance of your content to real-life scenarios and experiences will become more common and will likely fade out content that is written from a keyword stuffing perspective, without providing any real-world value.

As the context and relevance around content online continues to grow, Google are referring people back to their E-A-T model, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. EAT has been closely linked to Core Web Vitals in many recent publications, however, is a lot more focussed on the content side of SEO rather than technical SEO. Using the EAT model, you can ensure you are meeting Google’s guidelines when it comes to creating content on the web. If you don’t feel confident that your content can tick these three boxes, then you should prepare yourself for a decline in rankings over time.

We hope you’ve found our round up of these key SEO trends for 2022 useful! If you would like to know more about any of the individual areas covered in this blog, please contact us today.

At Trio Media, we’re specialists in SEO and getting your website to the top of Google through our in-depth SEO strategies that include on-page, off-page and technical SEO. Ask a member of our team for a free SEO audit and put our services to the test.