Back To Basics. What You Need To Know About SEO in 2022!

2 February 2022
Back To Basics. What You Need To Know About SEO in 2022!

We have somehow survived another crazy year of this coronacoaster groundhog day. Businesses endured lockdowns, restrictions, staffing issues, and more as we continue to battle this pandemic. Some struggled. Many thrived. Especially those that catered to a market where people were stuck at home, bored, and trying to enjoy some sort of resemblance to normal life. Having an online presence for brands was more important than ever. SEO strategies are key to making this happen.

SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimisation — the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results. We know every business needs a website to survive in 2022, no matter what you do. This website needs to be optimised with best SEO practices so your target audience can find you. Most marketers focus solely on Google as the only search engine, because if you ain’t first, you’re last! Google gets 80% of enquiries. The others don’t come close.

Make Tech Easier put together a list of other Search Engines here;

  1. Google: 80% The rest are just not worthy.
  2. Baidu: 11% As Google is blocked in China, this is the Chinese-language-only search engine used instead. It makes sense this would be the second most popular search engine.
  3. Bing: 5% (In USA this is up to 33%)
  4. Yahoo: 3% (11% of US market share)
  5. Yandex: 0.6% (It’s Russian so it has over 50% of the market in Russian-speaking regions)
  6. Ask: 0.19% (Who knew these guys still existed?)
  7. DuckDuckGo: 0.18% (Apparently these guys don’t track you so they are dominated by users wanting privacy)
  8. Naver: 0.11% (Has up to 74% of the South Korean market)
  9. Dogpile: 0.05% (This is giving me early 2000’s vibes)
  10. AOL: 0.03% (No free internet CDs nowadays though.)

Google Search Engines
For this reason, it doesn’t make sense for most businesses to spend resources on other search engines. But if you’re not ranking on Google you’re losing potential customers every minute of every day. Your target audience is looking on there for your product or service and buying off your competitors because they can’t find you. While Google doesn’t share their search volume data, it’s estimated they process 5.6 billion searches per day. That works out to be 63000 search queries every second and more than 2 trillion a year! Holy McGoogle.

If your key demographic is younger generations from 16-24 year olds, you might tempt customers to your site from social media platforms. 42% of Generation Z are likely to conduct product research on socials. A solid PPC strategy or paid ads (you know the ones you see highlighted at the top of ad results) can see you get quick results at a high cost. While SEO requires a considerable and consistent effort, it draws more conversions than social media marketing. It also has a significantly higher amount of traffic compared to Adwords, at a lower cost per acquisition.

Here Are Some SEO Statistics For 2022 To Consider

SEO Statistics For 2022
The guys at https://terakeet.com/blog/seo-statistics/ have done the hard work so we don’t have to. They’ve correlated a heap of SEO data, so we can understand the benefits it has for every business wanting to reach their online goals. Here goes;

  • Search engines are the starting point for 68% of online experiences. (BrightEdge)
  • Google search, Google Images, and Google Maps account for 92.96% of global traffic. (SparkToro)
  • It is estimated that a #1 organic position in Google can result in a click-through rate (CTR) of 34.2%. (Sistrix)
  • THE SEO return on investment can be as high as the 12.2x marketing spend.
  • SEO can reduce the cost of customer acquisition by 87.41%
  • SEO can increase the business value of a blog visit by 429%
  • Organic search drives 53.3% of all website traffic. (BrightEdge)
  • Organic traffic from SEO is more than 1,000% higher than organic traffic from social media. (BrightEdge)
  • More than 90% of all website pages receive zero organic search traffic from Google. (Ahrefs)

SEO is always evolving and the start of each year is a good time to reflect on your current strategy. Or begin a new one. We know there are over 200 rankings factors Google considers when deciding where to place results. It also has what’s known as search “algorithms” that make ongoing updates to how they retrieve data and deliver results. Google experts estimate these change 500 to 600 times each year. That’s somewhere between once and twice each day. I can relate to this as I too change my mind several million times when making any simple life choice, so #same.

If you’re a small to medium business this might be a lot to consider. Especially as you try and juggle multiple marketing strategies over different mediums, as well as the day-to-day running of your brand. Throw in the fact we’re in the middle of a pandemic and facing challenges like being trapped in our house prisons whilst home-schooling kids and dealing with covid positive staff. What are you supposed to do and where do you even start?

Where To Start With SEO In 2022

Start With SEO In 2022
It’s more essential than ever in 2022 to get back to basics. At the start of each year, we tend to look at SEO trends and try to prepare for them. There will be exciting things happening in this world like interactive experiences, artificial intelligence, videos, and more. But if you don’t have your basics right for your website, it doesn’t matter what steps you take to prepare for SEO in 2022. You will not rank without a technically astute website and other quality sites linking to you. And most importantly, without consistent content published on your site.

Repeat after me. Content, content, content. Content is, and will always be the number one ranking factor and key to your SEO success. You will not show up on Google without it. Not to be dramatic but if you don’t create content for your website your SEO strategy won’t work, your business won’t survive and you’ll die. Ok, not really. But it is impossible to reach your SEO goals without providing consistent high-quality and targeted content on your site. Google even mentions it in their SEO Starter Guide:

“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other [SEO] factors discussed here.” According to HubSpot, businesses that consistently produce blog articles receive 350% more traffic than those that do not generate content on a regular basis.

What Makes Good Content In 2022?

Good Content In 2022
It’s not any content thrown together. Google demands you share the highest quality articles about your niche, targeted towards the right audience. Content should be created with a goal or purpose in mind. It must answer the questions your audience is seeking. It should be enjoyable to read. It helps, guides, or entertains your readers. It is well-written by an expert in your field and edited to ensure there aren’t any grammatical errors. It should be made digestible with headings, bullet points, multi-media like images, graphs, and videos.

Some Quick Tips For How To Create Great Content Include;

Follow Google’s EAT Principle

To make this easier to understand, Google created a guide in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines of what quality content is called EAT. EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. While EAT is not an algorithm, it is what Google bases its algorithm updates from. So it’s important to take EAT into account every time you create a content piece.

Let’s Break This Down

Expertise – Does the author have the credentials to back what they are saying up? Expertise means different things for different websites. If your website is a gossip site your “experts” are going to be different from a government site. You don’t have to have a “formal” education or training in this field as sometimes that’s impossible. But Google will look for whether the creator of this content can be considered an everyday expert on the topic of the content.

Authoritativeness – Same as in everyday life. This means the author’s authority is recognised across the board. Do people look to the author as a leader in your field? Do they accept you as a quality source of information?

Trustworthiness – Can we trust the creator, the content, and the website? Is the “expert” someone that we believe will provide honest and accurate information?

Length Is Important

Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about content length here. Google has been incredibly clear over the last ten years their algorithm prefers longer content to shorter content. So, what are we talking, here? You might want to grab your emotional support alcohol of choice and sit down. Articles that are most likely to rank in the top ten places are approximately 1,760-2,400 Words. HAHAHAHAHA THAT’S FINE. HAHAHAHAHA, WE’RE FINE ( we were not fine!).

The reason for this is longer content has more opportunity to include the keyword phrases you want to rank for, naturally throughout. It provides an exceptional amount of detail in one location because Google understands its users prefer this as opposed to finding several correlating sources. Your audience will spend more time on your site when they are digesting longer articles. And it has a higher likelihood of providing the answers they are looking for.

Outsource To Expert Copywriters

If you don’t have the resources available in-house to start creating EAT content for your website, then seek out either an experienced SEO agency or a copywriter who is an expert in your field. It’s tempting to look at saving money with cheap overseas options, but it’s petty o’clock in the Google offices. You will be penalised for something as simple as spelling mistakes, grammar issues, or more. Suddenly that writer on Fiverr charging $10 per 3000 words is not looking tempting after all.

If you are a repeat offender of creating low-quality spammy content, you could be penalised by the Google Gods so much you’ll lose all your rankings altogether. Traffic may take years to recover, if at all. It’s called a manual penalty and if you suspect it’s happened through a dramatic drop in your current positions you can check in your webmaster account by choosing “Manual Actions” in the Search Traffic.

Back To Basics. You Want Sites Linking To You!

You Want Sites Linking To You

Name a better duo than high-quality content and link building for SEO. I’ll wait. According to a whole lot of smart SEO experts, the combination of EAT content and quality websites in your niche linking to your own is the holy grail of getting content to rank on search engines. The more backlinks a site has, the more Google sees it as an Authority. It trusts authority sites and ranks them high. But link building is notoriously one of the most challenging SEO techniques to successfully pull off. Where do you even start?

Tips For Creating Backlinks

Create Great Content As Above

The best way for small to medium-sized businesses to get backlinks is to focus on creating the EAT content mentioned above. If you’re creating this high-quality content consistently and sharing it across your social media and other marketing channels, chances are it’ll start ranking and people will start engaging with it. Then you’ll be seen as an authority on the subject matter and other sites will link to you or source your content over time. You could write how-to articles, create guides, list posts, and run quizzes.

Create Even Longer Articles (10000 + words)

If you’ve still got post-traumatic stress over 2500 + plus word suggestion, look away now. But one of the most effective ways to get good websites linking on your own is creating an extensive guide for your niche, packed full of the information and detail needed to cover all aspects of the topic. This is what’s known as Skyscraper content and it normally has over 10000 words. Sorry, not sorry.

On the plus side, you’re not starting from scratch. The idea behind it is to search for content that currently exists and has a ton of backlinks linking to it. You then use this to develop your own guide that’s better than the original. It’s easy to search for a topic in Google you want to write about. Find the number 1 result. Then check their backlinks. What’s not so easy is allocating the time and money needed to make a 10000-word guide that’s better.

Employ SEO Professionals

There are several other strategies SEO experts use to get websites backlinks. However, most of these should be left to experts. Similar to creating low-quality spammy content, having low-quality, spammy websites link to you can land you in Google jail. The sentence won’t be light, either. Using several bad backlink techniques over time can also land you with a manual penalty as above.

SEO agencies often have relationships with other sites they can use, or techniques to increase backlinks. Or software that helps in a number of ways of getting links to your site. They have the ability to understand what sites they should get linking to you or recognise sites that are spammy that definitely shouldn’t be linking to your own. They know how to check the domain authority of a site, which is a score to predict how likely that site will appear in SERPs. And can recognise things like link farms & other black-hatted techniques that’ll land them in the naughty corner for using.

Have A Technically Healthy Website

Technically Healthy Website

It doesn’t matter if you create unicorn content that blows people’s minds. Or you have a number of authority websites linking to your own. If your site is unhealthy, you’ll never get the SEO results you desire. Because with an unhealthy website the Google bots can’t crawl it properly. If they can’t crawl your site, then they can’t understand what your site is about and they won’t rank it well.

There Are Many Factors That Make A Healthy Website

Title tags and meta descriptions:

SEO metadata is what communicates to search engines important information on the page or the specific actions of that page. It helps the search engines understand what the webpage is about, and lets Google algorithms understand whether the content on these pages is relevant and valuable. Your metadata can be optimised to highlight the most important elements of your content and make your website stand out in search results.

Your Content Needs HTML Heading Tags In Your Headings

Heading tags that range from H1 to H6 help the Google bots understand the hierarchical structure of your page. Your H1’s are your priority keywords and subject matter. The H2 breaks up content using similar keywords to your H1’s. And H3 and below are subcategories.

ALT Text Tags For Your Images

“Alt Attribute” or “Alt Description” tags are more HTML code applied
to images so the search engine knows what the image is. An example would be of your team member and the alt-text would be their name + team member photo. When relevant adding alt texts that include the keyword can help rank the image or page, or product images with the correct alt tag can positively impact eCommerce sites.

You Need An XML Sitemap

Basically, an XML sitemap is a file, similar to a map, that shows Google what your important or priority pages are, so it can understand the structure of your website. It helps show Google every essential page you want to be crawled. A sitemap will boost your SEO efforts by speeding up your content discovery.

Page Speed & Site Speed

Having a good Page Speed and Site speed is more crucial than either. The speed of your site dramatically affects how you are going to rank on Google. In May Google released an algorithm called Core Web Vitals to measure and evaluate the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a site. It followed this with a broad core algorithm called The Page Experience which prioritised pages that had fast load times and a non-shifting stable page.

If your site or pages are running slow there could be several reasons; You could have javascript (the code that makes your website functional & interactive) preventing the page from loading quickly. Your Server or web host has poor service performance. Your media files might be too large and not optimised properly. Flash content can be bulky in size and slow your pages down. Crappy coding throughout the site Plus many other reasons.

Your Site Needs To Be Mobile-Friendly

If your site is not optimised for mobile, you will not rank. Mobile-first indexing has been implemented since July 2019 and means that Google will use your mobile site to review your content for indexing and ranking. Most users use their smartphones to access information now, so it no longer makes sense to prioritise desktop searches.

Your Website Needs To Be Secure

If you want your customers to feel safe while making purchases online, you need to create a safe and secure website. This is where SSL Certificates come in. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a bit of code in your website that provides this security through enabling an encrypted connection. If you’ve seen those little green padlocks in the URL bar, this indicates the website has a SSL Certificate.

Fix Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicated content is what it sounds like. Copy that matches other copy on your website or others, or content that is incredibly similar to another source. Google hates it because it confuses them as it doesn’t know which piece of content it should rank first. If that’s the case all pages with the same content will be ranked lower. Once again, if you have a lot of word-for-word copied content, Google’s coming for you with a penalty you may not recover from.

Work With A High-Quality SEO Agency

Even if you are getting a more thorough understanding of the technical elements of your website, often the changes that need to be implemented take a qualified web developer or SEO expert to do properly. When it comes to SEO it’s likely to be more budget-friendly to get an expert digital marketing agency to do all parts of your strategy. Rather than trying to hire a copywriter, a person to create backlinks and a web developer to do your technical onsite optimisation. At Mash Media we have a range of packages that include all three to get you the online visibility to grow your brand.

SEO can be the difference between whether your business is successful or not. Getting back to basics and concentrating on the three pillars of SEO of content, backlinks, and technical optimisation gives your website the best chance of achieving your goals. To see how we can get you seen online, get in touch with our friendly team on 1300 OO mash or click here today!

Author: Vanessa Tobias

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