We started gazing into our Google Search crystal ball last week in part 1 of our SEO trends in 2022 series. Last week we took a deep dive into voice search, accessibility, conversational content and changes that are happening on Google shopping.
But this week we are looking even further into the future. We’ll be looking at the upcoming Page Experience update, AI, passage ranking and video key moment markup. We will also speculate a bit about how all these changes may indicate how Google is shifting it’s search strategy.
Let’s look for some clues to see what lies ahead for 2022…
SEO Trends 2022 -Page Experience Update Coming To Desktop
Earlier in 2021, around June to be exact, Google rolled out its page experience algorithm update on mobile.
The page experience algorithm update takes into account a set of signals that measure how a user could perceive the experience of using the web page. It is just user experience factors that are measured with this update, not the value of the information on the page.
We have talked about the Page Experience update before so we will not delve into specifics on the update again here. But the desktop version of the algorithm will roll out from February 2022. So if you haven’t optimized for core web vitals, mobile-friendliness, https or interstitials now is a good time to start.
Actions You Can Take:
- Optimize for “Core Web Vitals”, which are largest contentful paint, first input delay and cumulative layout shift. Read our Core Web Vitals post for more details
- Ensure your site is mobile friendly
- If you have not already, start thinking about https migration right now
- Do not use intrusive interstitials. If you are using them, stop right now
SEO Trends 2022 – AI, MUM & LaMDA
Google has invested a lot of time and resources into AI in search over the years, which is a trend that will only expand and increase over time.
But two specific announcements have been made that will be of interest to SEO observers; MUM and LaMDA.
We have discussed Google MUM in depth before. But MUM (Multitask Unified Model), when it’s fully rolled out, will help Google to deal with very complex queries. Eventually MUM will help Google to integrate text, images, voice and maybe even video into search queries. Giving users more tools to help them conduct searches in a more natural way. For example, your washing machine is broken. With MUM fully integrated you may be able to point your smartphone at your washing machine and verbally state your problem. Google will then be able to serve highly relevant results with a solution.
For brands and retailers this potentially opens up even more contextually relevant ways to appear in the purchase funnel. Though, at the time of writing, MUM has not been rolled out and it is highly unlikely there will be specific ways to optimize for it. But we can guess that conversational content and accessibility factors could be involved, so maybe start there!
The next big recent AI announcement from Google is LaMDA. This is where eCommerce brands might want to start paying attention…
What is Google LaMDA?
Google calls LaMDA (short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications) its “breakthrough conversation technology”. LaMDA is a transformer model, like BERT. Unlike previous models, which focused on the intent behind search queries, LaMDA is unique as it is focused on conversation.
If you think about the conversations you might have with friends you often start with a topic and then veer off into a lot of digressions which may only be tangentially related to the topic you started off with.
Chatbots do not handle that kind of meandering conversation very well at all. But LaMDA is designed so that it can talk about an almost limitless number of topics in a natural, conversational way.
So while it is not quite Skynet, it could certainly be a huge deal for brands and retailers that use chatbots. LaMDA could help eCommerce brands to deal with more complex queries with chatbots, freeing up support agents to handle the hardest jobs or to support the customer more effectively.
LaMDA isn’t something you can “optimize” for and it seems like it might be a while before we see more. But both MUM and LaMDA indicate Google’s direction of travel. Google is already good at “queries” as we currently understand them. What Google wants is to have a more conversational human relationship to its users. For brands this could mean chatbots that people actually like to talk to which should, in theory, mean higher conversions. In turn, this probably leads to more data for Google which will make their AI better.
Actions You Can Take:
- You cannot specifically optimize for MUM or BERT
- Focus on conversational content, accessibility factors and schema markup
- LaMDA could be the future for chatbots…but we do not know yet
SEO Trends 2022 – Passage Ranking
Technically passage ranking has already happened, it rolled out in February 2021. It might use the BERT model previously mentioned and it helps Google to answer very complex queries.
If a query is complex, the answer or solution might lie in the middle of a thousand word article on a website. Passage ranking enables Google to find and display a specific passage of text to answer a very specific and complex query.
It is obviously part of Google’s wider move towards “conversations” with users rather than the “queries” that we are so familiar with now. Which is why SEO’s might get more and more frustrated/obsessed with this in 2022.
Moving towards more conversational content is the obvious way brands and retailers can optimize for this. Focus on the specific phrases and sentences your key demographics use when shopping for your products and create content that addresses those phrases.
Actions You Can Take:
- Look at the phrases/queries your key customer demographics may use
- Examine the needs your key customer demographics may need to solve
- Create conversational content around those queries and needs
SEO Trends 2022 – Video Key Moments Markup
At Google I/O in May 2021 John Mueller, a Google Search advocate, announced some new video structured data that can be used to increase the visibility of your videos in Google Search.
The two new types of markup are called “clip” and “seek”. Structured data markup is something that is very much in your control to change and optimize so if you use video assets on your website it’s a good idea to try to implement this markup.
But what are “clip” and “seek” and how do you make these changes?
Before we start, take a look at VideoObject schema markup. If you use YouTube to host your videos this process is a lot easier. You can use the YouTube interface to markup your videos by using timestamps in your video descriptions.
If you do not use YouTube, it takes more time to implement video markup. Familiarize yourself with video schema markup and ask for some help from your development team. Or talk to us here at MAQE, we are happy to help!
Clip markup will help Google to pull index data around key moments in a video and display it in Google Search for relevant queries. Key moments in videos are not new. But this markup gives you control of the moments Google decides to display in it’s search results.
Clip markup gives you more control as you can add the timestamps and labels that you specify for your video. Instead of the video segments that Google decides to automatically show for your video.
A full guide to marking up your video assets with Clip markup is available in Google’s documentation.
To tell Google to display from your videos in search, seek markup can also be used. Seek markup tells Google how your URL structure works so that Google can display key moments identified in your video asset.
A full guide to marking up your video asset with Seek markup is available in Google’s documentation.
As part of Google’s SearchOn event Google posted an article around AI that specifically mentions video key moments…but it was in relation to MUM. In the future it might be safe to assume that marked up videos will be used by Google to suggest other relevant videos to users (using the new MUM model).
The post states “Using MUM, we can even show related topics that aren’t explicitly mentioned in the video, based on our advanced understanding of information in the video.” So, as always, bear in mind that Google’s priority here is Google. Google wants to keep users in their ecosystem and an AI model that keeps people watching videos that are relevant to their query is great for Google but maybe not for your eCommerce site. So make sure your video content is engaging and makes people want to “add to basket”.
Actions You Can Take:
- If you do not use YouTube to host your video content, make sure you can manually implement video markup on your website
- It’s much easier to implement video key moments markup if your video content is on YouTube
Talk to MAQE
If you need help adapting to new SEO realities in 2022, talk to MAQE. We have helped brands in many different industry verticals adapt to rapid change. Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org