10 SEO Trends For Better Quality Traffic in 2022

Cat with glasses

If you open a novelty store in a busy location, but nobody comes inside to buy anything, then you aren’t going to be able to keep that shop going.

It’s not that you’re selling something nobody will buy. It may be that you’re selling something lots of people want, but they don’t know that you’re there, or never pass by your store’s location. 

If you aren’t targeting the right audiences, then it doesn’t matter how many people see your shop. You still won’t be successful

By keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in a client’s industry, we were able to double their traffic and increase conversion rates by 46% in the first three months of working with them

In today’s article, we’ve gathered 8 of the most important SEO trends for you to follow in 2022.

We asked experts on Indiehackers, SEO Facebook groups, Linkedin, and other online communities which trends they’ve noticed over the last 12 months that they think marketers should pay attention to. 

This list has the trends that won’t just get you more traffic - it will get you better, more qualified traffic to your site

These trends will help you with content creation, targeting the right audiences, the importance of design for SEO, and more.

Top SEO trends for 2022

The 10 SEO trends that you should consider for your strategy are:

  • Voice search 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Video marketing 
  • Core web vitals and Mobile-First
  • Local SEO
  • Intent-driven SEO content
  • User experience
  • Decreasing tolerance for black-hat SEO 
  • Accessible frameworks and Schema markups
  • E-A-T

1. Voice search

1 out of 4 Americans owns some form of voice assistance technology. That means that optimizing your content for voice search can make quite a difference for your SEO strategy.

Websites can optimize for voice-activated technology, often taken straight from segments optimized for featured snippets, by writing content and definitions out in Q&A format on each blog post. 

This can be as easy as a definition section at the beginning or including an FAQ in each blog post. By making content simple and easy to understand, it is more likely to be dictated to users. 

Imagine that you’re writing your definitions to be optimized for Alexa to read aloud: “Alexa, what is X?” “X is …” This optimizes your piece for SERP features as well as search.

Armel Theurillat, SEO marketer at Business Web Agence says “Content strategies will have to shift from written keywords (“ecological toothbrush”) to more natural and spoken requests (“what is the best ecological toothbrush?”).”

This image shows two different styles or result which come up depending on the search query entered related to flying cat marketing

Principal marketing consultant at Aveli by WSI, Peter Berson says “Improving page experience is vital for SEO rankings now that Google has implemented its latest algorithm change...optimizing for voice search will become important

Voice search will continue to grow but not at the predicted rate that was being talked about in 2020.”

One interesting 2020 statistic showed the number of digital voice assistants is expected to reach 8.4 billion units by 2024.

Stockbridge Truslow, Technical SEO expert at WSI Digital Marketing of Connecticut, says “with voice search (and voice response to questions), and Google generally trying to make sense of what role every code block plays, the aria labels, semantic tags, and accessibility markup all go toward making that easier for Google, too. 

Many of these elements are already used and affect your search appearance from basic alt-text in images all the way up to nav roles and header/footer/sidebar declarations. 

Other elements could be used, but Google's not quite there yet.”

Optimization for voice search is not going to become the most important ranking factor overnight. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take it into consideration.

SEO content manager at Modyo, Adriana Conde says “AI-assisted voice search is becoming more and more important as Alexa and Google Assistant devices are becoming more popular and present at homes worldwide.

2. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Search engines like Google use AI and machine learning to provide the most relevant results for any search. 

For instance, BERT is an algorithm that was introduced in 2019 and helps Google better understand searches, influencing search rankings and featured snippets.

Ginte Vėžauskaitė, Marketing Project Manager at Calconic, says “[BERT’s] contextual algorithm will improve even more so you really have to target not just a general keyword but really build a context around it to rank best.”

BERT analyzes billions of sentences to predict a random selection of missing words from the sentences to understand the grammar behind sentence structure.

It helps Google process words in search queries relative to all the other words in the search.

2021 also saw the addition of algorithms like the Passage Ranking, which helps Google better index and considers passages on web pages an additional ranking factor.

There have also been the three Core Updates to Google’s algorithm in 2022, which were all designed to improve the search results regularly. 

This image was taken from Google's support website and shows a small crab-looking bot looking up amidst several avatars with speech bubbles.

Even though Google and other search engines don’t reveal exactly how their AIs operate, understanding the clues that they do provide can help you better optimize your content for the AI systems.

There are also AIs that can help webmasters and writers optimize content while they work, speeding up the process and helping with writer’s block.

Jonas van de Poel, Head of Content Marketing at Unmuted, says “SEOs should really ingrain the importance of user signals in their content creation workflows...Using GPT-3 based AI writing tools to supplement the writing process in order to produce SEO content at much higher rates than usual.”

GPT-3 stands for generative pre-trained transformer and is a language model AI that uses deep learning to write text. Jarvis is an example of this - an AI assistant that helps writers work faster and generate topic ideas. 

Other companies and sites have started to use tools like Clearscope and Frase during the copywriting process to help optimize content as it is written. 

Screenshot from the website for the Jarvis AI tool that helps copywriters

Jarvis, an SEO tool that helps copywriters while they write content.

3. Video marketing

Video is the primary form of marketing media being created in 2022 and platforms like YouTube act as free tools to help promote your website and content.

Theo Dufort, owner of Hitz Boost says “The 2 trends that I would see growing are Youtube SEO and Podcast SEO. 

“We've seen both of them being pointed to by Google, who now allows podcasts to rank. 

For the Youtube part, keywords, descriptions, and things like that need to be optimized to get good rankings, as well as multiple tools such as TubeBuddy and SocialBlade that are developing fast.”

This image is red with white icons of a laptop and an increasing trend. Within the screen of the monitor / computer is the flying cat marketing logo and a 'play' button

Ginte Vėžauskaitė, Marketing Project Manager at Calconic, says “I think video content will still boom and we have to learn even better ways to apply SEO there.”

Aatif Mohd, Organic Marketer at Razorpay, says “I am convinced that Video Marketing is one of the most effective, underinvested opportunities - not just for B2C but also B2B brands post working at Razorpay.

The number of SERP queries that have started to show Youtube videos has increased significantly over the years and there is still very little demand met.

Your YouTube strategy goes hand in hand with your ability to dominate the SERP. Investing in both written and video content can be an unfair advantage which very few marketers are leveraging.”

Screenshot of the google search results for the search term 'how to video market'

4. Core Web Vitals and mobile-first

Core Web Vitals are a set of three metrics that Google uses to score a user’s experience when loading your webpage. 

These three SEO metrics include visual load time, stability, and interactivity with First Input Delay (FID). 

Michal Hajtas, CEO and Founder of Overhorizon Media, says the most important SEO trend to watch for is “user interface. It is already a very important aspect of SEO, but still, in my opinion, does not influence the rankings that much. 

I believe Google will work hard to rank lower the pages that are full of pop up windows, shifting layout and disrupting ads.”

Head of Content at Perrfy, Ben Guzovsky says “My most contrarian take: Core Web Vitals will only get more important. Now that Google has raised the bar, a race to perfect performance is coming. This race isn't about ranking factors, it's about chasing better UX.

As more and more searchers default to their mobile devices, adopting a mobile-first approach becomes a more impactful SEO bandwagon to hop on. 

Creating high-quality content that is meant for mobile-first indexing can help improve a site’s search rankings.

Ginte Vėžauskaitė from Calconic explains “Core Web Vitals, and especially mobile experience optimization. 

Lots of tools fail to notice that bit by bit mobile traffic is taking over desktop and if the mobile version is not optimized it can really affect your bounce rates and rankings.”

Andy Killworth, Head of SEO at iTech Media, also says “increasing maturity of mobile users. As mobile tech and connections improve (and mobile user numbers grow), people are more demanding and more impatient.

As digital marketers, we need to ensure we take a 'mobile-first' approach to our work and put our customers first.

Karissa Mae Paradeza, a freelance SEO Expert, agrees. “Strict mobile-friendliness and mobile site speed optimization. 

Based on different studies, organic traffic, marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, and successful transactions and sales come from mobile phones, with the increase of the number of people using smartphones, it is a no-brainer that Google will see this trend and ask websites to better improve mobile UX, navigation, and speed.”

5. Local SEO

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google searches saw a surge in local searches with keywords like “available near me” and “curbside pickup”.

Jesus Meca, Founder Real Focus Marketing, says “I've seen multiple companies with ‘near me’ pages targeting national search terms like "plumbers near me" lose against localized companies.

I don't see that many in the ‘near future’, but I see Google blending their results to be more close to a combination of a search engine, social platform and data provider. 

The current landscape for searches with featured snippets, knowledge panels, ‘also asks’ (FAQ) sections, video, images, data, etc., seems that it won't slow down.”

Screenshot taken from the Google My Business webpage showing a phone and including text highlighting some of the features and benefits of using Google my Business for promotional purposes

6. Intent-driven SEO content

Providing content that best satisfies a user’s search intent is Google’s main goal. Optimizing so your content acutely satisfies your audience’s search intent is a sure way to improve your ranking.

Ishaan Shakunt, Founder and Head of Marketing Strategy at Spear Growth, says “We're moving away from just keyword difficulty and volume. Context is more important than ever. It always was, a lot of SEOs are only just realizing it.

The keyword difficulty metric, it's not that great. It looks at only a couple of ranking factors. Based on things like the website standing and industry, we need to come up with newer metrics to prioritize our content opportunities.”

Christopher O., B2B Brand Copywriter & SEO Strategist, says “From ensuring the curated/ created content matches the intent (informational, transactional, or otherwise) of the user, to optimizing the content delivery channel such that the user is not obstructed in their consumption of the content, everything counts.

Search engines will use these signals to determine whether or not it wants to risk sending users to a page - or if they are better off on another page that gives them a better experience.”

7. User experience

User experience (UX) is an element that Google looks at to determine how users feel when visiting your site. 

CEO and Founder of Overhorizon Media, Michal Hajtas, says the SEO trend to pay attention to is “the simplicity of the article. 

The majority of people reading articles might not be native in English, therefore, the article needs to be easy to read and understand.”

One main factor of the user experience is a website’s user interface.

On-page elements like the way that the pages are organized, how easy it is to navigate, and how pleasant the overall site design is to visitors contribute to the overall UX and page ranking.

Christopher O., B2B Brand Copywriter & SEO Strategist, says “the shift to UX [is an SEO trend to watch out for].

UX is no longer something for the design-focused teams alone, but important for SEOs alike.

This graphic shows three phone interfaces with different designs using the same flying cat marketing color scheme in order to demonstrate the differences in user experience that can occur as a consequence of the interface

8. Decreasing tolerance of black-hat SEO

Any site using black-hat SEO strategies always ran the risk of getting penalized or taken down, but recently search engines like Google have grown more and more alert of these tactics being used.

For example, in 2021, Google launched a Link Spam algorithm update that finds and nullifies link spam - a black-hat strategy where an account (sometimes a bot) will flood forums and other spaces with unrelated links to their content.

As Google continues to crack down on this behavior, it becomes a growing risk to your SEO efforts.

Aatif Mohd - Organic Marketing at Razorpay - says that “the future is not looking good for sponsored/guest posts used to earn links. Over the years, Google has stressed the importance of avoiding this.

With Google's recent Link Spam Update, this is only going to make them better at detecting and nullifying these links; they won't send any link juice or PageRank to them.”

The best option is to steer clear of these tactics entirely and to abide by the search engine guidelines and choose different best practices to apply to your SEO strategy.

9. Accessible frameworks & schema markups

Stockbridge Truslow, technical SEO expert at WSI Digital Marketing of Connecticut says “accessibility and use of semantic markup” are the trends to keep an eye on. 

“Properly marked up elements, labels, and so on all help machines understand your content so they can be understood and used screen readers, tab-key navigation through the page and site, and so on.

So many of the current themes and visual builders ignore or confiscate things - especially (in the case of the page builders) if the person creating the page or elements aren't aware of the signals that these special tags send. 

With a little effort, and knowing what to look for when choosing a theme, you can generally build a site that hits around 75% compliance right out of the box.

The other 25% are things that need to be done on each page (like image alt tags, not manually messing with font sizes and colors to prevent fails, and so on).

Even if the content team follows nothing, having a good accessible framework both helps rankings a bit and, maybe more importantly, helps Google understand and properly rank a page quite a bit faster than without.

So, while any push for accessibility nowadays tends to come out of the legal/compliance department, it really should be a big part of any SEO plan.”

Fernando Cordeiro, Founder of Pluckd, says “Explainability: with the invigorated demand for transparency (especially surrounding ML), search tools will start adding explanations to end users on why a page was ranked first.

[The same way] the abundance of no-code tools to create web pages made "technical" SEO optimization (sitemaps, having the right HTML elements, mobile performance, etc) become a given, watch out for the emergence of content creation tools that level the field for content strategy.”

10. E-A-T 

E-A-T is an acronym for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google uses E-A-T to determine how useful your page is to users. 

The E-A-T helps measure the user experience quality on your site. It shows you’re a trusted source that publishes a lot of high-quality content on a certain topic. 

Josh Spilker, Head of Marketing at Friday.app says “expertise/authority on a subject still has a lot of value. Publish as fast as you can. The traditional editorial calendar is broken.”

Senior Content and SEO Manager at IDnow Gmbh, Jonathan Bluemel says the SEO trend to follow is “topical authority because brands and websites need to become edgier (and only a few will). 

Users and search engines try to filter out in all the noise who is an expert on which topics. Blurry, generic website profiles will lose both users and search engines.”

Andy Killworth, Head of SEO at iTech Media agrees. “Sites which blanket cover a given topic from as many angles as possible (commercial, non-commercial, blog, news etc.) are rewarded by Google. 

Choose the niche and focus for a site or section of a site and double down on it.

Ben Guzovsky, Head of Content at Perrfy, says “Specialists are outranking generalists: Google is prioritizing specific, expert-written content over more all-purpose results.”

This image shows the acronym E-A-T in white on a background the color of the flying cat marketing red, with the E=Expertise, A=Authoritativeness, and T=Trustworthiness. The flying cat marketing Buddy logo is positioned in the bottom right

According to Christopher O., B2B Brand Copywriter and SEO Strategist, SEOs should focus on “the shift to information-based content. This sounds like such a small thing, but a number of signals point to this being huge very soon.

For example, in the past few months alone:

✅ Google has rolled out a 'product review' update which hit thin affiliate sites with regurgitated, top X-style product reviews while favoring those affiliates with info-backed content.

✅ Google has rolled out a spam link update, geared at nullifying spammy links (which are used to rank "money pages," so to speak and rarely used on info content anyways)

✅  The high rate of underserved topics in the info category, especially with a new age of maturity on the internet where there are more beginners in any given niche than there are experts... among other things.

The brands that will do well in the few years to come are those who start investing heavily in info content now, so much that they gain that E-A-T that they so need to command a powerful, targeted audience and gain favor in the SERPs.”

Takeaway

There are a lot of different SEO trends building steam, and different efforts will give you better results depending on your target audience. 

That said, if there were any to really keep an eye out for and try to integrate into your strategy, this post has you covered.

Any of these trends in 2022 will not just drive traffic - they’ll drive better, more qualified traffic to your site.

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