7 SEO Predictions from Google in 2022

8 min read

Virtually every consumer today starts their purchasing journey by going online and doing a quick search using Google and other platforms. That is why it is essential for businesses nowadays to have a website that is very easy for search engines to find using a painstaking but necessary process called search engine optimisation or SEO.

SEO is the most effective way for brands and consumers to find each other, but this is not the only reason why business owners, digital marketers, and other stakeholders are paying much attention to it. One of the many things that make SEO a very hot topic is that it keeps on evolving. This is understandable as Google has to constantly find new ways to enhance user experience and make search results more helpful to consumers.

As the new year approaches, it’s time to take a good look at your current SEO strategies to see if you are doing the right things that will put your brand in one of the top spots of search engine results pages or SERPs and in front of your target audience. Here are seven of Google’s SEO predictions that will most likely make the biggest impact come 2022.

  1. HTML is Not Going Anywhere
    Hypertext Markup Language or HTML is a formatting system for tagging text files, which allows web browsers to display the content in a certain font and with specific colours, graphics, and effects after being retrieved over the internet. It consists of a series of shortcodes called tags written into a text file by the site author then saved as an HTML file. Writing HTML offers a way for website builders and digital marketers to communicate with search engines. By writing tags in a certain way, web pages gain top search rankings and become more visible to users. Some of the most impactful HTML tags in terms of SEO are the title tags, meta description tags, and header tags.

    • Will SEO Outgrow HTML?
      There is a school of thought in Google saying that a time will come when people won’t have to learn HTML to optimise the content in their pages. The driving force behind this paradigm is the increasing sophistication of content management systems or CMS’s, which makes them more capable of managing the technical features of the website. A CMS is software that allows its users to create, modify, or manage in any way the content on a website without the need for highly specialised technical skills. The idea is that you just type things in, format the text properly, and add some links, then the rich editor will take care of the rest.

    • A Different Take
      The voices in Google saying that this won’t be happening anytime soon, if at all, are louder. There will always be important SEO elements that require some HTML skills, including link tags, title elements, and all the other unusual things that go in the head section of the HTML. In short, if you want to maintain control of how your snippets or title would look like in search results and boost your rankings come 2022, you might want to hold on to your HTML knowledge and skills.

  2. Long-Form and Video Content Will Be the Standard
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A well-implemented content strategy is the cornerstone of SEO. Next year, businesses must include more long-form and video content in this strategy to become more visible to search engines and potential customers alike.

Google is always trying to stay ahead of the curve by coming up with search algorithm updates and other improvements on an almost regular basis. Sometimes, it means that what the search engine considers as good content may change also. This seems to be the case for longer articles.

    • The Value of Long-Form Articles and Video Content
      Long articles offer more value to users. As a result, they are shared more often, which improves their search rankings even more. However, there is a catch: as with any other content, it must be loaded with quality and be genuinely helpful to its readers. The text should be properly structured, the title and meta tags optimised, and it must have links to sites that are highly authoritative.

      The same is true for video content. It will become a more important factor when it comes to search ranking, and you should consider it as a primary form of content for your website. This trend is already evident in social media platforms where videos are already dominating. If you want to engage your target audience, you must shift the focus of your digital marketing strategy to video content. But again, you will need to optimise it. Include subtitles, use the right keywords, and make your videos relevant to the other components of your website.
  1. Optimise for Google Discover
    Another trend that is gaining some steam this year and might continue to do so next year is optimising for Google Discover.

    Google Discover is a feature designed to help users find or “discover” content that is most relevant to them based on their interests. This concept is not new as earlier versions of it already came out in previous years.
    • The Evolution
      The first iteration of Google Discover was Google Now which was launched in 2012. It eventually became Google Feed and was streamlined to show only the most relevant articles from all over the internet. In 2018, Google made another change and announced a new name for the application, and this is the Google Discover that we know today.
    • Optimising for Google Discover
      Google Discover offers a curated feed of content that the search engine considers most relevant to users based on their search behaviour. As of now, it is only available on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. However, with the rapidly growing number of mobile web users, you would be missing out on the chance to reach a broader audience if you do not engage in it.

      To optimise your website for this feature, add high-quality visuals and make sure that your content is targeted to the type of audience that you are looking for.
  1. Optimise for Semantic Search
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As search engines become more sophisticated, they will get better at understanding user intent. To take advantage of this development, you need more than just the right primary keywords. You must also optimise your content for semantic search.

    • What is Semantic Search?
      Semantic search is a data searching technique that looks beyond the keywords used and tries to understand the context or intent behind the words typed in by the user. Simply put, it allows the search engine to come up with a very good approximation of what the user really means.

      Using this information, Google is able to provide the most relevant search results that can genuinely help the user. It shifts the focus to the audience and what they really need to get an enhanced user experience, which has always been the goal of search engines like Google.

    • Semantic Search to Grow in Importance
      Come 2022, semantic search will play a bigger role in terms of SEO. It means that you should invest more time and energy to integrate it into your content strategy. You can do this by thinking of your intended audience first before search engines when creating your content. As long as you cater to the needs of your readers, Google will take care of the rest.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that you must answer the questions of your target audience as clearly and explicitly as possible. Google’s search algorithm is smart enough to understand what the user wants or needs and can determine if your content offers the best solution.

      Finally, make sure that you continue implementing structured data. By including information like product ratings, price, and even image — elements that can help users and search engines understand more quickly what is on a page — people will be more likely to click on your listing.

  1. Mobile-Friendliness Becomes Top Priority
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Mobile browsing accounts for over half of the total web traffic all over the world, at least during the first quarter of this year. This is the highest that it has ever been in the past several years, which is understandable given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is more, mobile internet usage has lower infrastructure requirements and fewer financial restraints, which make it more practical for some digital markets to skip the desktop internet phase entirely and move straight to smartphones, tablets, and other mobile internet devices.

    • The Future is in Mobile Browsing
      All these developments are pointing to the fact that more and more people will continue to turn to mobile devices for internet browsing, and businesses must pay attention. If you want to maximise organic traffic and generate more leads for your business in 2022 and beyond, your website must provide a mobile-friendly experience.As a matter of fact, Google is now implementing a mobile-first index when ranking websites, which means that they are increasingly looking at web pages through the lenses of a mobile user. Over time, this method will supplant the previous desktop-first index that Google uses.
    • Optimising for Mobile Users
      To make your site more mobile-friendly, you must integrate a responsive web design into your pages. It is a modern approach that will allow all the pages in your website to adapt to the screen of whatever device the user is on, whether it is a desktop, smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

      By providing an enhanced user experience on multiple devices, more users will be able to access your website, and search engines will reward you with higher search rankings.

  1. Third-Party Cookies Are on the Way Out

Cookies are files that a website creates whenever someone visits it. They are designed to save browsing information and enhance the user experience on subsequent visits by providing more relevant content, remembering unique user preferences, or even something as simple as keeping the user signed in. They also drive revenue for businesses by influencing how online ads are displayed.

    • Third-Party Cookies Are Waning
      One important development with regards to cookies, specifically third-party cookies, is that their use will be greatly reduced very soon. Internet browsers like Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox have already banned them. Google is not far behind, although they have delayed their plans a bit, announcing that they would not start banning the tracking of third-party cookies until 2023, instead of the originally planned 2022.
    • Get a Head Start
      If you are a business owner, it might be a good idea to get a head start in building first-party data hubs for your website. By being proactive, you could get a leg up on your competition. Once Google implements the planned changes, you can hit the ground running.

      In addition, other web browsers have already moved away from third-party cookies, so taking action now would immediately pay dividends for you. It will allow you to continue creating and launching targeted marketing initiatives that will maximise your chances of driving revenue, whatever browser your target audience is using.

  1. Voice Search Will Still Be Relevant
    While a prominent software engineer from Google recently expressed his doubts on whether keyboard-less computers driven by voice commands will be the future, voice search will continue to be relevant in 2022 and the next few years.
    • Growing Popularity of Voice Search
      Innovations like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa have not yet gained universal acceptance, but they haven’t lost their novelty yet and continue to draw interest from consumers. And as the technology governing voice search continues to evolve, however incrementally, user experience for smart speaker owners will continue to improve.
    • Promising Numbers
      Based on a study done by Google, 27% of the world’s online population do voice search using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The trend is higher if you only look at local searches, as 58% of consumers find local businesses using this input modality.

      Aside from the increasing number of voice search users, the volume of searches done using speech recognition technology continues to grow also, as 46% of current users have expressed a willingness to use it to find local businesses.

      So, if you want to improve your SEO rankings in 2022, you must optimise your website for different modalities, including voice.

Preparing for the Future

Change is the only thing that you can count on in SEO, so if you are a business owner looking to boost your brand’s online visibility in the coming years, you must always be on the lookout for the latest trends and developments that might transform the SEO landscape.

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