As we enter the new year we find ourselves in a very familiar position. Every tom dick and harry starts churning out a list of things you need to pay attention to over the next 12 months to succeed at marketing. Regardless of the marketing channel you'll find numerous pieces like that. For SEO this can be a particularly difficult area as every agency or consultant has their own theories about what really matters to Google’s algorithm and they often take the chance to push their theories as part of their New Years analysis. To help you get to the bottom of what areas of SEO you should be focusing on over the next year we’ve gone through what everyone else is identifying as the latest trends and highlighted the ones that are the most common appearing or generally interesting.
Trend 1: Focus on E.A.T.
It’s not a surprise that this three letter acronym has appeared on New Years focus lists. Expertise, Authority and Trust ( E.A.T) has become one of the main focuses of SEO over the past few years. Ever since the Google Medic UPdate happened in 2017 and the Google Guidelines were updated to include references to E.A.T it’s become the buzz du jour for many SEO’s.
What is EAT?
E.A.T stands for Expertise, Authority, Trust. These are three factors that Google uses as part of it’s ranking algorithm to determine where a website should appear in search results. Ultimately Google is looking to serve the user’s ultimate intent of the keyword they’re searching for and E.AT. is a part of that mix.
There’s plenty already written on E.A.T. I’d recommend you follow individuals like Lily Ray on twitter who’s one of the leading people I look at for all things E.A.T related. You can also check out a talk that I gave at Brighton SEO a few years back which highlighted our experiences of optimising for E.A.T.
Trend 2: Core Web Vitals
Last year saw the much delayed launch of Google’s Core Web Vitals Update. Whilst metrics for Core Web Vitals had been available since 2020, the pandemic and the failure of the industry to actually pay attention to the metrics and take action meant the launch of the update was delayed multiple times. Eventually it was released in May 2021, and we’re now living in a post-Core web Vitals update world where most websites still haven’t actually done enough to optimise for this part of google’s algorithm.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web CVitals are a set of metrics that Google uses to measure the user experience of a Web Page. They include:
- Largest Content Paintful ( LCP)
- First Input Delay ( FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
These three metrics are a fancy way of describing and quantifying how fast and stable your website and webpages are when being loaded by users. If you want a more indepth definition of these metrics then I recommend this guide on backlinko.
How do you optimise for Core Web Vitals?
Optimisation for Core Web Vitals is sadly a more complicated process than standard SEO optimisation. Every webpage is different and cna have different issues so it’s not a simple case of giving you a checklist to walk through. Thankfully Google has provided a number of Tools that can help you identify the issues that your Core Web Vitals have:
a) Google Search Console Reports
In Google Search Console you’ll find a Core Web Vitals Report which will identify how many pages are failing tests or need improvement for Core Web Vitals metrics, and be able to pull out the lists of URLs that need work. The Report will also highlight for you which element of Core Web Vitals they’re failing making it a good way to start your Core Web Vitals Analysis.
b) Web Dev
Once you have your list of URLs and pages to look at you should head over to Web Dev and use their measure tool. This will allow you to do an in depth analysis of any webpage and give you a list of areas for you to look at to improve your Core Web vitals for that page.
Some of the issues will be global, and when you solve them on one page you’ll solve them for your whole site, but others will be specific, which is what makes Core Web Vitals so difficult to deal with.
Once you have your list from Web Dev you’ll need to have a word with your Developer about how best to fix the identified issues.
Trend 3: Optimising for Google Passage
In 2021 Google launched an update to the Algorithm they called “ Passages”. The purpose of this update was to make it easier for Google to index specific sentences and paragraphs and associate them with specific queries that users would be searching for.
If you want to optimise for Google Passage then you’ll need to understand that it’s about helping people get quick answers to their queries. This means that it’s focused on searches where the user's intent is informational.
Optimisation for this is relatively simple, as it is in many ways just some good old fashioned content optimisation, but rather than creating a separate page focusing on every question you’re trying to answer you should instead focus on longer more in depth articles where you address the questions people are searching for within the content itself.
The best way to take advantage of Google’s Passage Indexing is to find questions that users are searching for about the topic you want to write about using a tool like Answer the Public and general keyword research. Then make sure that you organise your content in such a way as to highlight the questions in headers, and you provide a meaningful answer to the question.
Trend 4: Don’t just focus on Google Search results
The final trend we want to talk about is kind of an oddball selection, but we want you to stop obsessing over Google Search results. Yes, Google is the most used search engine, but people are utilising lots of different ways to try and find what they’re after.
More and more people are turning to youtube as a palace to find answers to questions they have about topics as VIdeo is often more engaging than text articles. Even Google knows this, as they go out there way to make it clear when a result in the listings is a Video.
Likewise Visual searches are becoming more and more important. In the USA alone there were over 600 million searches on Pinterest and Google’s own Lens image search has been used over a billion times.
Tapping into other areas of search could be essential, especially visual search as 62% of younger consumers want to use visual search more than they do currently, so responding to the market is going to be essential to your digital marketing success.
If you’d like a bespoke overview of what you need to focus on in 2022 to improve your SEO, then sign up for one of our free SEO audits and we’ll be in touch to arrange one for you!