As 2021 draws to a close, SEO experts around the world have begun their annual pondering of what trends will take shape in the year to come. As with just about every year for the last 20, we expect to see a number of developments and trends start to take shape in 2022. Among these trends are a higher emphasis on voice search, page speed, and finally further increased emphasis on the importance of Google My Business in regards to Local SEO. In this blog post we’ll touch on each of these three potential trends so you can ensure you’re doing everything you can to ensure your business moves into the New Year in good shape.
Since Voice Recognition jumped onto the scene in 2011 with IBM’s Watson, it has progressed each year in importance exponentially. In the last few years especially, voice search has consistently become more and more common. For example, have you ever been in the car and you or someone with you has asked, “Hey Siri, where is the closest gas station?” We expect that you’ve experienced this multiple times. Well now, society has become even more adept at searching for things and answers to questions simply by asking our virtual assistants. Instead of just asking Siri or Alexa for locations of businesses and other related queries when we’re on the go, we’re now asking “Alexa, what is the internal temperature of a fully cooked chicken breast?” According to DBS, recent research shows that 41% of adults use voice search at least once per day and the SEO world fully expects that to continue trending upward. In order to make sure that your site is optimized for voice search, placing long tail keywords within your content will go a long way in getting you the traffic you’re looking for. For example, if you have a blog post on your website about the best types of air conditioning units, instead of having the main header read “best air conditioning unit types” you should have it read “what are the best air conditioning unit types?” By having the header read as more of a question, you’re tapping into those people who are asking their virtual assistants for answers.
Since Google officially launched Google Core Web Vitals back in 2020, one of its main areas of focus has become page speed. According to WebFX, Google analyzes:
- How long it takes for the largest element on your page to load
- How much elements on a page move around while loading
- How long it takes for elements on a page to respond to clicks
If you’re having trouble following that, in regards to the first bullet point, if you have for example a large animation as the hero image of your home page, this could potentially slow down your page speed as it most certainly takes much longer to load than the rest of the content. At the end of the day, essentially what Google is looking at is how long it takes for your visitors to start viewing your content. If your page speed is lagging behind then Google will actually take this into consideration as it determines how to rank that specific page. Therefore, even if you have keyword rich content and well optimized pages, cleaning up your speed could be crucial in getting you “over the hump” and acquiring a better ranking. Here at Firestarter SEO, we expect that Google will continue to place increased emphasis on site speed, especially when considering that more and more people are accessing sites via mobile devices that have a tendency to load slower.
Google My Business
In November of 2021, Google announced that it plans to rebrand GMB to “Google Business Profile” in 2022. With the rebrand, it’s believed that the new platform will bring with it a number of new features that will affect how businesses manage their local SEO. One aspect of the new platform that is significant is that it will allow “single listing” businesses (one location) to easier manage their business profiles. While the Google My Business Model will remain for business with multiple listings and not change much for them, single location businesses will have a simpler time ranking on Google Maps as the new platform will have an increased focus on these types of businesses. As always though, reviews and ratings will still be the core strategy of increasing your rankings in the Google business directory.