SEO has evolved quickly over the past few years, and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. If you want your website to continue to rank well in the search engines, you have to stay up-to-date on the latest SEO trends, especially if your business’s primary focus relies on search engine traffic, as most online businesses do these days. Here are some of the top SEO tactics you should utilize in 2022 and how they will improve your current search engine optimization strategy.
Optimizing Your Keyword Research
Ongoing keyword research is a critical component to ensuring your SEO is improving as search trends change. It is easy to create a static list of keywords that you think your business should rank for and focus on those for all of your ongoing content. This is not efficient for growing and can lead to discouraging results as many times you can end up focusing on things that do not result in a reasonable return on investment. Whether you are trying to build things organically or focus on paid performance keeping an ever-changing list of keyword targets is important. Here is a couple of helpful tips to consider as you set up or update your keyword list.
Focus on setting obtainable goals for keyword ranking and performance. Going after highly competitive keywords or heavily searched terms can mean that most of your work and money is for nothing. Specifically for organic search rankings, the first page is the only place to be. With mobile and voice searching becoming the growing majority of user searches, if you are not in the top 3 or at least the top 10 positions the likelihood of seeing a strong return on your work will not be likely. Instead, try targeting more intricate and less trafficked keywords and phrases. Users are more likely to change their search than move through multiple search pages, so try to focus on the lower trafficked word combinations or phrases that a user would go to as they are looking for you and ranking there vs. fighting for a top spot of shorter and more competitive words.
Start everything you do by thinking about what’s local. You are more likely to find people who interact with those kinds of results and search engines recognize that. Internet search engines are now taking local content into account, so you should take care to also use local keywords in your content. In other words, work on owning your own backyard before growing.
Structuring and Optimizing for SEO
Structuring your content properly and marking it up with schema (AKA structured data) can help search engines better understand your website, making your products and services easier to find by Google. As more customers turn to digital channels for their product research, competition has grown fierce. For example, if you’re a fitness studio that offers yoga classes, you might want to add schema markup around all of your yoga class descriptions. This will tell Google that these are yoga classes and allow them to display information about each class on mobile devices.
Accessibility, Mobile First Design, and Site Speed
In 2022, three pillars of good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are accessibility, mobile-first design, and site speed. In order to maintain a high ranking on search engines, your website must be accessible to all users and appear appealing. Mobile-first design is key to appeasing users that browse from their smartphones as well as ensuring that your website is still easily navigable even when on a small screen. Site speed can be improved by making sure that loading time is low on any device and reducing page size.
When considering the issue of accessibility, we must account for all users. Even with a well-designed website, you can still be penalized by search engines if many users are unable to see or use it. Ensuring accessibility requires you consider a number of different details. For example, if you have video content on your site, make sure that there is an audio alternative and that captions are available for people who have trouble hearing. If you have text content on your site, make sure that it’s easy to read and navigate even without images. While ensuring universal access might not seem like an immediate way to improve search engine optimization, ensuring access for all will keep more users engaged with your website which will improve its overall quality.
The second pillar is mobile-friendly and responsive design. Your website should be easily navigable on any device, whether it’s a smartphone or a desktop. However, it’s important to keep in mind that mobile devices have less screen space, and navigating can be harder when pages have a lot of details. Designing a clean and simple interface that users can take action with any device will help ensure that users can find what they are looking for and SEO performance continues to grow. Specifically for smaller screens, make sure you limit clutter, avoid overloading pages with text, and include descriptive headers so users can scan through content quickly without getting lost. For example, if you have an ecommerce store you might want to consider highlighting product information toward the top of the page and ensure it is broken into simple sections that utilize short bullets to quickly convey information.
Site speed is quickly becoming one of the most critical factors as Google places a high value on fast loading times and penalizes sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load. Additionally, site speed is also tied to your bounce rate and how long users are spending on pages. All of these factors affect your rankings, so improving site speed through code optimization or Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can be an important part of ensuring that you provide users with a high-quality website experience.
Don’t Forget Your Content
With all of this, don’t forget that easily readable content is the key to building SEO. We don’t know exactly what the future of search will look like, but Google and other major search engines will be adding more ways to gauge the relevance of a website. These tactics are always changing, but new quality content that is engaging for users will always be the most important thing for your site. All of the latest tactics and optimization methods can only work with a consistent flow of strong content.