- 1 – Prepare for Google Passage Rankings
- 2 – Build up your E-A-T
- 3 – Go after long-tail keywords
- 4 – Update existing content
- 5 – Making way for Core Web Vitals
- 6 – Optimise for featured snippets
- 7 – Prioritise user experience
- 8 – Obtain high-quality backlinks
- 9 – Don’t forget about images
- 10 – Keep creating new content
Knowing these key SEO techniques in 2022 will help you to boost organic traffic and perform well in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The main challenge with SEO is that it’s constantly changing. With an estimated 500 or 600 updates per year, Google’s algorithm is forever being updated and tweaked, which can leave even the most experienced SEOs scratching their heads.
Unfortunately, all of these updates also mean that there’s plenty of speculation about what works and what doesn’t. This results in incorrect assumptions and myths about SEO circulating around the internet. It’s no good listening to false information and you’ll never get anywhere if you try to keep up with every individual update.
So we’re going to provide you with some proven SEO techniques to boost your organic traffic in 2022. Let’s get started, shall we?
Prepare for Google Passage Rankings
Google Passage Rankings were introduced in October 2020, so they’ve been around for some time. Despite this, they seem to pass under the radar for many website managers. Google Passage Rankings allow for individual passages to rank along with whole web pages.
This means that an individual passage of text can rank on the SERP even if the topic of the page is not directly related to the search query.
Let’s say you write an article explaining how to care for a goldfish. You might include several subtopics in the article, such as what temperature the water should be or what kind of food is the most nutritious. Google might pull out a passage from one of your subtopics that covers a specific query, such as ‘What food should I feed my goldfish?’. This means your subtopic will be ranking for a query that’s different from the main topic of the post.
So, why is this useful?
Well, the more times you appear on SERPs, the better. Google Passage Ranking gives you another opportunity to make your content more visible. Achieving this is as simple as writing clear, informative and user-friendly content. Using a question as a heading and making sure each passage explains a specific topic will help. You should also make sure that each passage makes sense as a standalone paragraph while also fitting into the overarching post.
Build up your E-A-T
E-A-T is one of the longstanding pillars of SEO. Some might think that with all the new updates with SEO, older aspects start to lose importance. But when it comes to E-A-T, this definitely isn’t the case.
E-A-T, short for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness has continued to play a major role in SEO. Essentially, it is a measure of your brand’s reputation. Websites that are deemed trustworthy and reliable will perform better than those that aren’t.
Google has never clearly stated that E-A-T is a ranking factor. However, they have said on multiple occasions that operating within E-A-T frameworks is important and will contribute to a website’s rankings.
So, how can you implement E-A-T principles?
E-A-T is all about gaining trust and showing your legitimacy. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Gaining customer reviews on reputable websites like Google, Trustpilot, Yelp
- Be active in public forums and online communities
- Show your credentials, e.g qualifications, accreditations or anything that shows expertise in your field
- Display reviews, case studies and testimonials on your website
- Engage with customers on social media by responding to reviews and answering queries
- List your company in reputable online directories like Bing, Yelp, Yahoo
- Earn high-quality links from reputable websites in your sector
This might seem daunting at first, especially if you’re a smaller business. But don’t let it overwhelm you. E-A-T will never come all at once. Rather, it’s something that is gradually built up over time. As long as you do everything you can to be transparent about your business and show your legitimacy to Google, your website will gain authority.
Go after long-tail keywords
Google has become much more intelligent in recent years. With updates like natural language processing, the algorithm can now detect and understand relevant subtopics of a specific keyword.
For example, if you were to search ‘vegan food’, Google would now recognise terms like ‘plant-based meals’ and ‘meat-free dishes’ as related subtopics. As a result, a wider range of results will be displayed, meaning there is more scope for related articles to rank for any given term.
Over time, the competition for shorter keywords has increased. With an estimated 7.5 million blogs being published every day, you can imagine that trying to rank for a term like ‘vegan food’ is going to be pretty difficult.
But going after a long-tail keyword will allow you to target a much more specific query that will be far less competitive. And the good news is that Google will still recognise that your content is related to the main topic and you’re more likely to rank higher.
So, if you’re trying to rank for ‘vegan food’ make sure you include this keyword in your title, meta title, meta description and URL. But in your actual content, you should try to include a range of longer keywords, like ‘benefits of a vegan diet’, ‘vegan food for beginners’ and ‘simple plant-based meals’. You’ll find that your post is more likely to rank for a range of different search queries.
Update existing content
This is another well-known technique that, unfortunately, is often overlooked. We understand that it’s more exciting to write something new and explore a topic you haven’t covered before. But actually, there’s a lot to be gained by updating older content.
First, you will show Google that you’re keeping your website informative and up to date. Google likes to see that all of your content, even your older posts, are relevant and show the correct information. So if you’ve got a post that contains data from 2011 that is now irrelevant, it’s worth seeing if you can update it.
Secondly, it’s important from a user’s point of view that content is accurate. People are more impatient than ever these days. If visitors on your website see that publication dates are old and content isn’t relevant to what’s hot today, they’ll leave without a second thought.
Updating old content doesn’t have to be a huge task. It can be as simple as adding in new internal links, updating external links or expanding on a topic to provide additional information.
Making way for Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are a specific set of user-facing metrics that measure speed, visual stability and responsiveness. You may not have heard of this term yet, but it’s one you should familiarise yourself with as quickly as possible.
Google will roll out its major Page Experience algorithm in May 2022, which will rank pages based on their Core Web Vitals scores. So, what are these metrics?
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – The measure of visual stability.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – The measure of page speed.
- First Input Delay (FID) – The measure of page responsiveness.
We have produced an article on Core Web Vitals that explains each of these metrics in more detail and how you can prepare for this update. There is also a wealth of information online that has been provided by Google.
Optimise for featured snippets
Sometimes referred to as the holy grail of SEO, featured snippets are the results that appear in a rectangular box at the very top of SERPs. Because they rank in position zero, featured snippets are highly valued. Their position at the very top of the page ensures that they will be viewed first by all users. And because Google has put the featured snippet there, users will trust that the information is valuable. Sounds pretty good, right?
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to obtain featured snippets. In fact, there is no way to even select the content that appears in the featured snippet box. This is done entirely by Google’s algorithm. So, what can we do to increase the chances of gaining one of these sought-after entries?
Use longer keywords
Featured snippets tend to favour longer keywords. This is because longer keywords usually target highly specific queries as opposed to broad questions that are more difficult to answer. As a featured snippet is a brief but concise answer to a specific question, it makes sense that the answer should contain keywords that match the particular query.
Use questions as headings
More often than not, users search for queries with a question in mind. By using a question as a heading, there is a chance you will hit the jackpot and answer a specific question that users are searching for.
Aim for the right length of text
Featured snippets can’t be too long because they need to fit in that nice little box at the top of SERPs. Moz conducted a study where they analysed 1.4 million featured snippets. The results show that the optimal length of a featured snippet is roughly 40-50 words, so that’s what you should be aiming for.
Prioritise user experience
Now, this really should be at the top of your list of priorities. As we mentioned earlier, users are more impatient than ever. People want to find what they’re looking for, and quickly. In fact, it seems that Google’s entire focus is moving towards prioritising user experience. As we can see from the Core Web Vitals update, having fast pages that load quickly is now essential.
So, if your website isn’t optimised to provide a good user experience, you’ll be harming your own chances of ranking well on SERPs. You’ll also want to make sure that your website is safe by using an SSL certificate. Users naturally aren’t trusting of websites that don’t have the correct safety features as their sensitive data could be at risk.
Making it easy for users to navigate your website is another important factor. You can do this by implementing internal links that directly take users along a clear journey and make it easy for them to find your important information. If you have pages with high bounce rates, then this is a clear sign that you need to review your user experience.
Obtain high-quality backlinks
Gaining backlinks is notoriously difficult in the world of SEO. There are agencies out there who have entire teams working non-stop with the sole aim of gaining backlinks, and even they don’t always get results.
Outreach is challenging, but if you do it right it does work. For example, if you’re reading an article that contains a broken external link, that’s a great opportunity to gain a backlink for your own website. You can reach out to the publisher of an article and let them know they have a broken link on their website. Then, inform them that you have produced an informative article on the same topic and politely ask if they would like to replace the broken link with a link to your article instead. And voila! You have yourself a shiny new backlink.
However, opportunities like these rarely present themselves. Other websites will be reluctant to spend the time linking to your website unless it benefits them as well. This brings us to our next point and our number one suggestion for gaining high-quality links.
If you want people to link to your website, then provide them with high-quality content. You can do this by creating long, in-depth posts that cover topics in plenty of detail. Or you can use free online survey sites like SmartSurvey to collect and publish data in your post. If a publisher of another article sees this, they might just include your data as a backlink in order to support their own article.
Remember, each and every backlink is valuable. Don’t be disheartened if you only obtain one or two backlinks in a given period of time. They all count towards boosting your domain authority and showing Google that your website is a trustworthy and reliable source.
Don’t forget about images
Images play a huge part in website performance. Large images take a long time to load, which is bad for a number of reasons. As we’ve mentioned, this can hinder user experience and cause people to look elsewhere.
Large images also place excess strain on servers as it takes far longer to load their files. This will slow your website down and require more server requests and bandwidth to fully load the page. Compressing images is a great way to cut your website down to size and ensure it loads faster.
The result of this is that your website will have a smaller carbon footprint. Not many people associate websites with the environment. But did you know that the internet is responsible for 2% of all global carbon emissions?
We believe that sustainable and environmentally-friendly websites are the future of online search. As we all look for ways to cut down our carbon footprint, attention will eventually turn to the internet and websites. By using free sites like TinyPNG, you can compress images and prevent them from increasing loading times.
Something else to remember is to include alternative text for all of your images. This helps search engines to understand what an image is, which in turn helps to associate keywords with your images. Be careful though; this isn’t an opportunity to stuff keywords in unnecessarily!
Keep creating new content
This one’s obvious, we know, but it’s still very important. Consistently creating new content for searchers is a great way to keep your website fresh and up to date. It’ll also increase the frequency that Google comes to your website to index your new content.
One good way to keep up with your content is to create a content calendar. This is quite simple to do and will help you to keep to a schedule. Just brainstorm a list of ideas you want to turn into blog topics, think up engaging titles for your posts, then input these titles and ideas into a calendar.
When writing new content, be sure to implement the techniques we’ve covered in this post. We never know what’s going to happen in the world of SEO. But the topics we’ve identified here are ones that all SEOs are confident will continue to be important in 2022.
If you’re new to SEO, it might be worth reading about some basic dos and don’ts before you get started. Either way, you don’t want to fall behind your competitors, so make sure that you keep up with the content!
Beat the competition with these key SEO techniques in 2022
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced SEO professional, these techniques will help you to perform well in SERPs in 2022. Don’t worry about keeping track of every single algorithm update. Trust us, you’ll just end up pulling your hair out trying to make sense of it all.
Instead, focus on providing the best possible experience you can for your users. Google has made it quite clear in 2021 that the user is at the heart of everything. So we know where to channel our efforts, and now, you do too!
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