Anyone who has worked in SEO knows that the one constant in SEO, as in life, is change. 2021 saw some big changes in search and new guidance for eCommerce site owners. So we can safely assume that 2022 will bring as much change, if not more, than the 2021 search landscape has.
We have put together some SEO trends to be aware of in 2022, combined with actions you can take right now to prepare for some of these changes.
Let’s look into the crystal ball to see what might lie ahead for SEOs in 2022!
SEO Trends in 2022 – Voice Search & Accessibility
People have been saying voice search is the next big thing for years.
However, this time those people may be right. Voice search has been gradually acquiring traction over the past few years. Moving from a novelty where people ask Google “who was the actor that appeared in that film that looks like Tom Hardy but isn’t*?” to a function where users conduct searches that are of interest to a huge range of different businesses. Google reports that “27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile.” This means that businesses should be paying a lot of attention to voice queries both now and in the future.
But what is strange is that there is currently no foolproof way to track voice search queries in Search Console or Google Analytics. But there are things you can look out for and you can begin to try to capture voice search queries by using conversational content.
Shifting towards more conversational content can seem difficult. But it’s just a matter of conducting a different kind of keyword or query research. You can use Q&A sites like Quora or Reddit to see the types of conversational queries users are having in your niche and then target your content accordingly. Use these queries in your header tags (H1, H2 etc etc) to make sure that you then have a chance to appear for the query. You can also do some technical work to prepare for voice search. Make sure your ALT tags are all relevant to the query (without seeming spammy or overusing the query) and don’t forget to conduct an accessibility audit.
Accessibility will become a stronger trend in 2022 due to the fact that voice search utilises accessibility factors. So making sure your website is WCAG compliant is not only the right thing to do, it can also impact your visibility.
Actions You Can Take:
- Add ALT tags to ALL images and make them readable and relevant. It’s extra work but it’s worth it
- Make your website WCAG compliant
- Conduct keyword/query research in your niche using Q&A sites
- Tailor your content towards conversational queries
- Make sure you add the query your targeting to your header tags in the body of the content
- Use these findings for optimizing other content, such as your FAQ page
SEO trends in 2022 – Google Shopping is part of your SEO/SEM toolkit
One of the consequences of the pandemic was that online shopping became the only option for consumers. So it’s no surprise that Google has made efforts to strengthen its shopping specific offering. This is why Google is so keen for brands and retailers to share their product data, as shown in the updated eCommerce search guidelines. The new “shopping graph” and their enhanced partnership with Shopify show the overall direction Google is travelling in as they attempt to compete with Amazon.
However, this has consequences for anyone involved in B2C eCommerce. Especially when it comes to visibility.
So what is the Shopping Graph?
The Shopping Graph is an AI-enhanced shopping model that not only understands the ever shifting set of products, sellers, brands and reviews. It also integrates product information and stock data it receives directly from brands and retailers (back to sharing product data via Google Merchant Center again here). Google then relates all those attributes to one another and works in real-time, so people can shop on Google for products that are available right now just as they are searching. It could potentially give Google even more of the average purchase funnel, placing it’s shopping service right into the “messy middle”.
This will work across all the big Google surfaces such as Search, Shopping (obviously) but also YouTube and Google Images.
This will mean just about anyone who wants to sell online to consumers has to provide Google with product data for visibility purposes. It is healthy to be suspicious of that, especially in light of recent revelations. But it is ultimately about placing your brand where the consumer is and the consumer is most definitely using Google.
This should be a key part of your overall SEO and SEM strategy. You will need to provide accurate data to Google to appear in the shopping graph. Not doing that could lead to lost sales on queries with a high purchasing intent.
Loyalty Program Integration
Another announcement Google has recently made focused on loyalty programs. Soon Google will allow consumers to link their favorite loyalty programs from brands and merchants to their Google account. This could actually help brands with their personalization efforts and first-party data strategy as it makes it easier for the user to take advantage of the brands’ loyalty program while searching for related products.
Actions You Can Take:
- Share your product data with Google via the Google Merchant Center
- If you need help with that work with a technical partner (like MAQE…), you do not want to get left behind
- Be sure to maintain data accuracy on your product data feed. This is vital, otherwise you may lose sales to competitors
- Make sure your product content is strong. Google will use your images and descriptions
- Place Google Shopping at the heart of your SEO/SEM strategy
- When the function is fully rolled out, likely via the Merchant Center, help users link their loyalty account to their Google account
Come back next week for some more SEO crystal ball gazing in part 2 of our series, which will include a look at AI (including MUM), exact passage ranking and markup you can use for key moments in your video content.
Talk to MAQE
If you need some help integrating your brand with Google’s services, talk to MAQE. We’ve got years of commerce experience and can help you to improve your search visibility. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.