2021 was undoubtedly a year when the Google team tested SEO society's ability to rapidly transform the way it thinks, prepares and operates SEO magic.
Google pulled three major updates out of the hat, all intended to embrace the user experience. And for the seasoned SEO geeks, new updates almost always mean new ranking factors to consider!
2022 is 100% the year of the consumer, so of course you need to be ready to deliver stellar content to boost your rankings as much as possible. But how much impact will these updates actually have on your website's Google ranking? And how can you best prepare to comply with Googlebot's new way of rating your content?
I try to help you on your way in this blog post, where I review the most important new updates and 2022 trends that you should keep a close eye on.
2023 update: My tips in this post are very much still relevant in 2023. But if you want even more tips for best practices in 2023, you'll find a great section on this in Webamp's great SEO guide.
Last August, Google rolled out its Page Experience Algorithm. The update will affect several user experience factors, most notably their Core Web Vitals, which is the overall assessment of the user experience on a website.
The update was initially applied to mobile versions of the website, and is expected to be applied to desktop searches by the end of March this year, when Google rolls out the final part of the update.
That said, we can expect user experience to be a key ranking factor.
User experience is not just about mobile-friendliness and responsiveness. It's also about page speed, interactivity, visual stability and HTTPS - all an important part of the Page Experience Algorithm.
But what can you do to improve your website?
It is said that by the year 2025, up to 72% of all internet users will exclusively use their mobile to access the internet. Therefore, it is more important than ever to enhance the mobile version of your website.
In March 2021, Google released its long-awaited Mobile-First Indexing (MFI) update. In short, this means that Google now prioritizes indexing and ranking websites that are mobile-friendly.
If we combine this update with their Page Experience Algorithm, we can predict that non-mobile-friendly websites that provide a poor UX experience will suffer major losses in their rankings.
Last May, Google released its Multitask Unified Model (MUM), a language learning algorithm that Google says is 1,000 times more powerful than BERT (its previous language algorithm).
MUM helps Google intercept information on websites that can provide more comprehensive answers to complex questions. It's a big upgrade from their Passage Ranking Update, which they released in 2020, because MUM is multimodal; meaning it can simultaneously understand information from different sources (images, landing pages, videos), thereby providing a more complete answer. It also aims to overcome language barriers.
Google used an example about MUM:
You can take a picture of your boots and ask Google, "Can I use these to climb Mt. Fiji?" and Google will answer the question - and then give you recommendations for what else you should take hiking.
In addition to the major updates that have been implemented by Google over the past year, there have also been some smaller improvements to their algorithms - for example, the Passage Ranking Update.
With the implementation of the Passage Ranking Update, Google indexes not only entire landing pages, but also smaller passages from the page - also known as featured snippets.
This is particularly useful for very specific searches and voice searches, as it makes it easier for the user to find exactly what they are looking for. Searches are becoming more intentional over time, and featured snippets will become more and more important in searches in the coming years.
Thanks to innovations like SIRI, Alexa and Google Assistant, voice search technology is evolving rapidly and has become much more popular in recent years.
Households across Europe are starting to take notice of smartspeakers, and every year the number of smartspeakers in households is increasing dramatically .
To improve voice searches, focus on long-tail keywords, as voice searches tend to be longer keyword combinations and phrases. When users type on Google rather than voice search, there is a tendency to shorten the query down.
I hope you feel totally in tune with the new 2022 SEO trends, which will undoubtedly have an impact on how your website ranks in the future! Would you like to learn more about how to improve your website's user experience so that you can maintain or even increase your ranking? Then read our SEO guide or contact me or one of my colleagues at Webamp via 70 60 50 28 or email@example.com. As a SEO agency, we always have our finger on the pulse when it comes to best practices in the industry.
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