Achieving high organic positions on Google has never been easy. With the continued evolution of consumer behaviour, and Google’s constant algorithm tweaking, it is essential that our clients stay ahead of the curve to achieve the best results.
As we look ahead to 2022, we can see a range of recent algorithm, and product updates that will impact our organic search results and should be considered for future SEO strategies. Some of the major changes from earlier in 2021 will remain relevant, whilst a couple of ‘long shots’ may be off target but pose some interesting opportunities if they come off.
It is our responsibility to constantly monitor these developments and recommend the best strategies for our clients’ continued organic search improvements.
- Major Organic Search changes from 2021 that still remain important
- Important SEO Changes for 2022
- ‘Long Shots’ – Search Engine developments that probably won’t happen, but we should be thinking about them.
Major Organic Search changes from 2021 that still remain important
2021 has seen some major algorithm changes, some of which we are still working through. We expect some of the impact of these to remain relevant into the future.
Core Web Vitals (‘CWV’)
In June 2021, Google rolled out the Core Web Vitals measurement as a ranking factor. ‘CWV’ focuses more on page and user experience than just site load speed. Many sites continue to rank well despite failing these CWV tests. Like the shift from desktop to mobile first considerations, we expect the goal of passing CWV tests to remain on next year’s agenda.
Dynamic Meta Titles and Descriptions
Google has been playing with dynamically creating titles and descriptions based on page content, skipping content crafted in the ‘meta’ fields. Whilst this isn’t strictly new (they have been trialling it since 2012) they now expect 20% of all results to have dynamic content. The good news is that most of this dynamic content is when the right information has not been added to the site. Still something to watch for as we strive for higher click rates.
Increase ‘No Click’ Search
‘No Click’ searches are when a search result stays on Google and does not link to a website. Despite this rise, our clients continue to achieve substantial growth in clicks and resultant sessions/revenue from organic search. However, with the integration of Google Business Profiles, and more content from YouTube, we could expect to see even more search real estate going to Google properties. SEO strategies in 2022 will need to consider wider optimisation.
Important SEO Changes for 2022
Localisation of International Sites
In late summer 2021 a Google update changed the weighting for international sites in their global indexes. For example, Google USA started to favour more US-centric websites than international sites that may sell to America. US subdomains and US language sites saw an increase in visibility, whereas more global sites lost out. This could point to the need for more localisation of websites, content and messages.
Endless Scrolling of Search Results
Google is rolling out the infinite scroll for search results on mobile devices. The concept of ‘page 1 and page 2’ results may soon be a thing of the past. We expect some interesting impacts on visibility (impressions) and engagement (clicks) as these mobile results become standard for all users.
Increased Focus on Content
Recent algorithm updates have focused on content/information results more than shopping results. As Google continues to provide answers, not results, we can expect to see more emphasis on websites that provide answers not just thin content to encourage sales. We expect depth and quality of content to be more important than ever in 2022.
Indent & Secondary Search results from the same site
In late 2021, Google started displaying secondary, indented results from the same website for certain keywords. We suspect this is an attempt by the search engine to provide a relevant result when the intent of a question is not clear. Supporting content around a brand, it’s mission and products could be crucial in 2022 to maximise visibility on these unclear searches.
Increased Focus on YMYL & content
YMYL has been a Google focus for a few years now. ‘Your Money or Your Life’ means content that could impact the health, or wealth of someone searching for information. With medical/health or financial information, Google has long sought additional trust credentials to separate out trustworthy content from marketing copy. With Coronavirus still a big topic and no shortage of misinformation, it is no surprise that Google will continue to tweak it’s algorithm to provide the best possible results.
GMB move to Business Profiles and greater integration with search and maps
Google My Business has grown in stature and real estate for search results in 2021. In 2022 Google has announced a rebrand to become ‘business profile’ with greater integration with search results and maps. We expect Google Business Profiles to take on increased importance in ‘22 moving away from just being a local search consideration.
YouTube videos have appeared as search results for some keywords/questions throughout 2021. In late November the company announced a new feature called ‘Search Insights’, which will show what keywords/topics your audience are searching for. A separate report will highlight relevant terms that are not well served by YouTube videos, encouraging creators to make content to match these searches. These insights will include search volumes that can help planning and bring it more in line with ‘traditional’ SEO. We expect YouTube to play an important part in our plans for next year.
‘Long Shots’ – Search Engine developments that probably won’t happen, but we should be thinking about them.
We take a long view of the search landscape, watching for signals that could impact our organic search strategies in years to come. These two long shots may not materialise, but we are watching these, and other developments with interest.
Green Credentials as a ranking factor
In October 2021, Google released ‘green labels’ on search results for flights and for home appliances. With the Google flight search, for example, Google now shows the carbon footprint of each flight, allowing consumers to make their own decisions, adding an additional criteria that is more than time and price. Similar labels can be seen on some searches for home appliances. With their Global Fibre Impact Explorer, Google is working with the fashion industry to help them understand the environmental impact of their supply chains. It’s a long shot, but could we see Google challenge the world to be greener by adding a ‘green algorithm’ to their search results? At the very least, we think brands will need to better showcase their credentials for trust and visibility in future search results. Read More.
Apple ‘Voice Search’
In 2020 Apple sold a reported 194 million iPhones, 71 million iPads, 20 million Mac or MacBook, 110 million AirPods and 43 million Apple Watches. There is no doubt Apple is a major source of internet traffic, earning a reported $15bn to keep Google as the default search engine. We still don’t think there will be a Siri search engine, but there are some interesting developments happening around audio and voice recognition. We are expecting some major announcements next year (not just the car) which could see Apple enter the search fray with a voice first approach.
— AI —
Writing this in the autumn of 2022, we hadn’t expected Chat GPT to become so big so quick. After almost four months we can see real opportunities for AI and SEO. However, we can also see some major drawbacks that brands should consider. At the time of writing (April 2023), we don’t believe Chat GPT can write your SEO content.
You can also download our free report on how AI could impact search for consumers, brands and SEO. Details below.