Due to the endless process of improving Google’s algorithms, any SEO strategy will always be incomplete or partially outdated. Google changed the ranking algorithm again in 2021, and SEO experts had to work hard to keep up with all these changes.
Under these conditions, preparing your SEO strategy for 2022 is a huge challenge. Google may continue to release major updates or stay away from basic updates. Regardless of the scenario, you need to be prepared for anything. However, a few key updates from 2021 will have an impact next year, and you should adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. Check out this summary of key updates from 2021 – it’s full of actionable tips for gaining more customers through organic search.
Core Web Vitals
Website upload speeds have become a ranking factor since May 2020. Since then, webmasters have done their best to speed up their websites. Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool provided by Google to evaluate the speed of a website, but in its initial phase, it did not provide many actionable data. In addition, webmasters needed some measurements to evaluate the performance of the site.
Page Experience is a two-step update in June and July 2021. Google recommends that webmasters focus on three parameters: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Although these parameters are not new, Google now offers clear recommendations on the values needed to get a positive evaluation. Webmasters have many tools and a clear idea of what needs to be done to get the green light from Google. Unlike other major updates, Google informed webmasters about this update and provided comprehensive guidance to improve the speed, interactivity, and visual stability of sites.
The announcement of the algorithm update forced webmasters to pay more attention to the upload speed, which mobile device users appreciated the most.
Passage ranking was announced in October 2020 and went into effect in February 2021. Google has stated that this update will impact 7% of all searches. Passage ranking helps users get the information they need for very specific searches. Instead of classifying long-term content, Google provides a passage of that content that contains all the data that the searcher needs. Keep in mind that Google does not classify passages, but continues to classify web pages. However, search robots have become smarter and have fully understood the content.
SEO experts call it the ranking of passages, but in fact, this Google update is not an update of the ranking algorithm, but a change in the indexing. It’s not just about the quality of your website, it’s about how Google displays search results. This update has given a boost to long format content and less optimized sites. Martin Splitt from Google announced that many websites have quality content but are not properly optimized, and Passage Ranking aims to address this issue. It extracts sections of relevant content from these sites.
This update doesn’t require you to do much. Everything you need to do is well known to any webmaster. Write the best content on the web, pay attention to long tail keywords, and most importantly, create content for users rather than search engine bots.
BERT and MUM
BERT is the acronym for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, and MUM is the acronym for Multitask Unified Model. While these abbreviations and terms may not make sense to many people, BERT and MUM help billions of people in their daily Google searches. BERT is a technology based on artificial intelligence that aims to help Google deliver consistent answers to any type of search. MUM is also based on AI but is a thousand times more powerful than BERT. Simply put, MUM is a tool designed to provide the right answer when there is no simple answer. MUM not only understands the content but also generates it. In addition, MUM is multimodal – retrieves information from text and images.
But to what extent does MUM practically improve people’s searches? In short, Google goes from providing answers to being a conversation partner. He does his best to provide the necessary answers to conversational questions. The example provided by Google in the MUM presentation article is perfect. Before MUM, you should have done dozens of searches to find out the differences between hiking on Mount Adams and Mount Fuji. Your experience would have been different from the simple question of a partner: “I went hiking on Mount Adams and now I want to go hiking on Mount Fuji next fall, what should I do differently?” Well, thanks to this new update, Google can provide a similar response to that of a professional hiker.
There’s not much you can do to optimize your website for BERT and MUM. All you have to do is publish the best content, written for users and not for Google robots.
Expertise, authority, and trust
You need actionable data to develop a functional SEO strategy while improving your expertise, authority, and credibility (EAT), factors that can be difficult to measure. EAT factors aren’t new, but Google has started paying more attention to them in 2021. They’ll certainly weigh more in 2022. In other words, there’s less chance of anyone cheating on Google. Thus, instead of trying blackhat SEO strategies, it would be better to do your best to create a trustworthy brand. It is a long process that requires a lot of resources, but it pays off in the long run.
Google has not released any specific voice search updates in 2021 and has not announced any plans to refine the algorithm to improve it for voice search. However, it is quite obvious that you should consider voice search as you develop your SEO strategy for 2022. People, especially young people, are increasingly using voice search. In addition, increasing the number of home helpers will make this voice search even more common.
Google indirectly prepares the ground for improving the experience of voice searchers. For example, most voice searches are done on mobile, and all search engines recommend webmasters improve their mobile experiences. Voice searchers use conversational queries, which BERT & MUM focuses on.
All research shows that voice search will continue to grow. While there may not be a Google update for voice search in the near future, you should still consider it for your SEO strategy in 2022. Don’t overdo it with content optimization for voice search, though. Search for long-tail keywords and questions for questions, use a conversational style, and improve the readability of your content.
Google has made many small and medium changes in 2021 in areas such as featured snippets, video experience, and meta description. Google is constantly trying to better respond to the evolving needs of users, and these changes are normal. Follow all of the above suggestions to create a more organic experience for your site users. Gone are the days when keywords, unnatural links, and spam comments were gone. It’s time to dump her and move on.