This is the definitive guide to search engine optimization, i.e. SEO, in 2022.
And let us be clear about something: this is NOT a mediocre publication of “SEO in 2022” predictions.
We’ll cover this year’s most important SEO trends, but you’ll also see new strategies that are working very well right now. If you’re looking to improve your SEO this year, you’ll love this updated guide.
- Core Web Vitals
According to Google, Core Web Vitals became a ranking factor in 2021. Core Web Vitals is a set of three specific web page experience metrics that Google considers very important:
- Painting with larger content
- First entry delay
- Cumulative design change
How to improve your Core Web Vital Scores
To be clear, the exact steps you should take to improve your main Web Vitals depend on your site. For example, a site running on Shopify will be different compared to one running on WordPress. That said, here’s the process you can use to figure out what you need to fix.
- First, open Google Search Console and click on “Core Web Vitals”.
- Then, watch your site’s pages accumulate.
- You really want to focus on the “poor URLs”.
In our opinion, Google will punish poor URLs rather than push good URLs. Therefore, you want to prioritize getting your URLs out of the red. Again, how you approach this depends largely on the vital core web you are struggling with.
- Google Passage Ranking
In 2020, Google announced a new search technology called “Passages.”
This feature allows Google to rank specific sections of a page (“a passage”) independently. This feature will affect 7% of all searches, which is a huge number.
Passages allow Google to rank specific, relevant passages on a specific page. Not only the page itself. So, instead of Google ONLY taking into account the relevance of an entire page, they will now also evaluate the relevance of a specific section of that page. That said, Google has made it clear that they will continue to evaluate entire pages. Therefore, backlinks, on-page SEO, UX signals and other Google page-level ranking factors will still apply. The only difference is that a single page now has a better chance of qualifying. That is, assuming the page is optimized and organized.
Organize your content in discrete sections
Yes, Google will rank your page passages semi-independently. But that doesn’t mean they can easily split a disorganized page.
Google can now view each section as a mini web page. This means that your content should be divided into dedicated sections. And each section should cover a specific subtopic. You may have already been doing this. If not, we recommend going back and organizing your content into VERY clear sections.
- Featured Snippets
According to SEMrush, 5.6% of all search results have a featured snippet. And yes: featured snippets are stealing a LOT of clicks from the #1 spot.
The question is:
How do you get your content to appear in the featured snippet? These are the steps to follow:
- Find featured snippet opportunities
Like most things in SEO, the first step is keyword research. Keywords for which you are already ranked and keywords that have a featured snippet.
Why is it important to focus on the keywords for which you already rank?
99.58% of all featured snippets come from pages that rank on the first page for that term. Therefore, if you are not yet ranked in the top 10, you have no chance of ranking in the place of the featured fragment.
How to find opportunities for featured fragments?
Ahrefs “Organic Keywords” report. It shows you the keywords you rank for… which also have a Featured Snippet.
- Add “Snippet Bait” to your page
“Snippet Bait” is a 40- to 60-word block of content specifically designed to rank in the featured snippet spot. Why 40-60 words? Well, SEMrush analyzed almost 7 million featured snippets. And they found that the most prominent fragments are between 40 and 60 words long.
- The rise of visual search
Is visual search an SEO paradigm shift? Not yet. But based on the trend of things, visual search is set to take off in 2022. Here’s what you need to know:
More and more people are conducting visual searches. To point out some data, Google Lens has been used more than 1 billion times (Google, 2020) and Pinterest has more than 600 million visual searches per month (Pinterest, 2018).
The visual search technology is incredibly good and already works VERY well. You will probably find that it can identify almost anything. Today, Google Lens can identify one billion objects. And that number is growing every day.
People WANT to search with images
Once you start using it, you will quickly notice that the visual search is very useful for:
- Identification of reference points
- Reviews of local businesses
- Nutritional information
- Much more
That’s probably why 62% of young consumers want more visual search technology.
9 out of 10 Google Lens results came from a site that passed Google’s mobile compatibility test. Considering that basically 100% of Google Lens searches are performed on mobile devices, it makes sense that Google prefers websites optimized for mobile devices, so make sure your website is optimized.
Different research shows that traditional image SEO techniques (such as optimizing image filenames and alt text) also seem to help with Google Lens rankings. And that high authority pages and sites are more likely to appear as results. We also found that Google tends to get Google Lens image results from pages with a lot of text (1600 words on average).
- Domain authority
Domain authority used to be about links.
Today, Google also evaluates your site based on expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Also known as E-A-T. In many ways, E-A-T is Domain Authority 2.0.
To be clear:
E-A-T has been part of the guidelines for years.
But E-A-T is now a more important ranking factor than before.
For example, Google’s new “How Search Works” report mentions that they want to rank “trusted sources.” That’s because Google wants to present content written by legitimate experts in their field. So if you want your content to rank in 2022, it must be written by people who know what they are doing.
- Video continues to grow
Online video is EXPLODING right now. In fact, according to Cisco, online video will account for 82% of all online traffic by 2022. And that still may not meet the world’s demand for video.
Despite more video than ever, HubSpot says 43% of people still want more video content.
If video is not part of your digital marketing plans, you’re missing out.
- Quick SEO tips for 2022
- Publish “Research Content”.
Bloggers and journalists LOVE data. And if you can reach them with a statistic, a survey or an industry study, they’ll link to your content like there’s no tomorrow. The downside of research content is that it is a LOT more work than publishing a list post or a case study. But when done right, the extra effort can pay off.
- Creating visual content (especially “Visual Concepts”)
Like video, visual content is growing rapidly. In fact, a recent survey found that 87.5% of marketers use visual content in the majority of their content marketing efforts. And thanks to social networking sites like Pinterest and Instagram, visual content should continue to grow in 2022. How can you take advantage of this trend? Creating more visual content… especially “visual concepts”.
- Publish content centers
Content hubs are essentially a bunch of related content covering a specific topic. But instead of linking random blog posts, it presents them as entries in a single “hub”. To do this, create a hub home page for the hub.
This is how we are preparing for SEO in 2022. Now we want to pass the word to you: which strategy from today’s guide are you going to try first? If you need SEO specialists, Acorn will be happy to help you. Shall we talk?