Dominating the global search engine market, Google encourages site owners and content producers to get used to the new ranking dynamics while making improvements on its search results with annual updates. In this article, you will find tips on how to prepare SEO-compatible content and bump up your ranking with user-friendly content in 2022.

According to Statcounter data, Google controls about 92% of the global search engine market. Each step taken by the great ruler of the global market is important for content producers and website owners wishing to reach out to users browsing through 200 million websites. This is because Google makes many changes throughout the year to improve its search engine algorithms and ranking process.

You may have noticed that making a how-to-do query highlights the relevant section of a related video; that a Wikipedia information card usually appears on the search results page when you wish to make a biography search and only the sections of content that exactly match your query and give you the answer you are looking for are highlighted. It's all thanks to the Google algorithm updates, which aim to provide a better search experience. The way to adapt to these changes is through search engine optimization.

Before we move on to Google's algorithm updates and SEO trends in 2022, let's briefly discuss the definition of SEO and why algorithm changes are important.

Let's jog our memory...

Abbreviated as SEO in Turkish and English, search engine optimization refers to the optimization of websites to keep pace with the ranking dynamics of search engines, especially Google. To rank higher in search engine results, website content must be created in formats that search engines can easily crawl. That is where SEO enters the picture.

Google is constantly improving its search engine and indexing algorithms to make its search results user-friendly and provide users with the most relevant results according to the keywords they are searching for. Despite the hundreds of changes and updates each year, some of them are large-scale changes that alter the fundamentals of search dynamics. Source materials are created and reminders are issued to allow website owners and content producers to adapt to these changes, which Google calls 'core updates' on its developer blog. In other words, large-scale changes remain in effect for a long time.

What has changed about Google algorithms?

According to the information compiled by the US-based SEO agency FirstPageSage, the following are in the top five among the Google Algorithm Ranking Factors.

  • 26% > Posting consistent and engaging content
  • 17% > Keywords and meta information
  • 15% > Backlinks
  • 13% > Having more than 10 pages targeting the same keywords (niche expertise)
  • 11% > User interaction

These are followed by links to websites, mobile-friendly content and interfaces, page speed, security certificates etc.

Page Experience Algorithm: With the Page Experience Algorithm successively implemented at the beginning of last year and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022, Google is starting to give more weight to the website user experience as a ranking factor. Among factors impacting the page experience are mobile compatibility, page speed, interactivity, security certificate, and visual consistency.

Passage Ranking Update: With the Passage Ranking Update in conjunction with Google's deep learning algorithm BERT, Google can now index not just the entire web page but also the specific sections within it. This way, it increases the chances of ranking in featured snippet results that appear right at the top of primary search results, with qualified content having long keywords.

Multitask Unified Model: Multitask Unified Model (MUM), which Google updated in May 2021, helps the algorithm convert information collected from various sources, such as pages and images, into a meaningful search result simultaneously. According to Google's sample, MUM matches your query of whether you can use a pair of shoes for hiking with the blog content about mountain hiking gear. It is recommended to create qualified and competent texts and use optimized images as well as videos in accordance with the MUM update.

Now that we have covered algorithm changes, we can have a look at the predicted trends in digital marketing based on user behavior, search engine updates, and new technologies.

SEO trends for 2022

As technology, content formats, habits, and algorithms change, so do the search engine queries. Although good and original content is still important for search engines, improvements in line with trends can directly influence the ranking of the content in search results. In 2022, the following stand out in terms of search engine optimization.

Do not underestimate artificial intelligence: RankBrain, the core AI solutions ranking algorithm confirmed by Google in 2015, displays the most relevant results for search queries with the help of machine learning. Although Google doesn't explain exactly how RankBrain works, it is estimated that the algorithm is based on user experience, so the dwell time and clicks on a website are prioritized. Any investment you make in maximizing reader engagement also impacts AI solutions scores.

Longer content, more traffic: CrazyEgg, a web analytics service, is known to increase conversion rates by 30% for content made up of three thousand words or much more. Because long content gives users access to all the questions they are curious about on a single page. It also acts as a tool to prove the competence of the website in its professed field of expertise. Call-to-action links placed at strategic points remind relevant users about products and services while increasing dwell time on the page.

Voice search rising in popularity: Although voice search has declined in popularity due to the mandatory use of masks with the global outbreak, this trend still continues. By 2022, smart speakers are expected to be used in 55% of US homes. On the other hand, it is known that 65% of technology users between the ages of 25 and 49 interact with a device capable of sound detection on a daily basis.

Mobile still relevant: Since 2015, mobile-friendly page experiences have been an important factor in search engine optimization. Since the announcement of mobile-first indexing as a top priority in 2019 mobile experiences have maintained their importance in terms of SEO. Considering the projections that approximately 75% of users will access the internet from mobile devices by 2025, this will continue to be true for a long time. For more details, you can check out our article 'What is Mobile-First Approach?’

Expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness: The EAT principle, short for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness, indicates the factors by which Google evaluates “quality content”. Brands that want their content to meet the quality standards that Google seeks are advised to get to know their users and potential customers, reflect their expertise on their products and services in the content and focus exclusively on reliable references.

Writing SEO-friendly content in 2022

Information on algorithm changes and 2022 trends manifests itself in practical terms, too. Regarding this very subject, we have compiled a couple of tips we consider important for writing SEO-compatible content in 2022.

Focus on your search behaviors: How do you make a search to find an answer to your question? Regardless of the services and products offered, users seek answers to the questions of who, what, when, how, where, why, and how (5Ws and 1H). Consistent answers to these questions with long keywords do not only address user needs but also increase the likelihood of ranking higher in featured snippet results, called Position Zero. The 'Similar Queries' section that appears at the bottom of search results pages is something you should also check out to get an idea of what users type in the search box for the services and products you offer.

Make each piece of content count: Headings, subheadings, introductory paragraphs, keywords... all affect the value of your content in the eyes of a search engine. Remember that users firstly interact with your headlines and subheadings while properly organized and edited content makes it easier to navigate through a web page. Check out our article 7 Tips to Improve User Experience for Blog Content if you wish to learn more.

Make useful information easily accessible: The user should not need to reinvent the wheel to find the answer to the question they are looking for. Keep useful information and the response to the search query simple and accessible. Providing useful answers, especially in the introductory sections of long content, will increase the likelihood of the user browsing through the rest of the content.

Make references: If your digital marketing strategy has long prioritized producing high-quality content, remember that older content is just as valuable. Make connections between the stories you tell, or provide links to the content you've written before.

Make on-page SEO improvements: Under algorithm updates, we listed the factors that influence search results on Google. Factors such as titles, meta descriptions, keywords, alternative texts of images and page speed are called on-page SEO. Improvements on these fronts will help Google algorithms better understand your website.

If you are looking for more tips on SEO, you can check out this article where we covered digital marketing trends for 2022.

The future of SEO and final notes

Some studies show that social media use has increased since 2011, with messaging apps becoming the main lead source for websites, coupled with a decline in the use of search engines. When one thinks about the future of SEO in the next five years, it brings up the question 'Is SEO dead?', which has been a matter of debate for years.

Of course, we cannot say that search engine optimization is still the same as it was five years ago. According to Google Trends data of last 12 months in general, queries about social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok are above the popularity value of 50. It is predicted that in the future, users will be able to access all content on these platforms, which will also allow them to make search engine queries. These projections help corroborate the assumption that digital marketing does not have a single perspective, that all channels through which users can be engaged are effective in expanding the customer base, and the use of multi-channels can expand a website's sphere of influence.