SEO in 2022 is gonna be a lot different than it’s ever been before. So what does the future of SEO in 2022 look like?
In this post, I’m gonna be sharing my top nine SEO predictions for 2022. And most importantly, what you should do to prepare for these changes.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of working on your website for a great search engine presence, so you can get free traffic from various search engines.
At any given time, I have at least 50 websites under SEO management. I’m also consistently running single variable SEO tests to uncover the nuances, patterns and trends of the Google algorithm.
And I’m about to share nine SEO predictions that I’ve come up with based on my own experience, plus from networking with the best in the industry.
Bear in mind, I’m not gonna be giving you generic SEO advice that you typically hear in videos like these.
Stuff like “Google is gonna take more of your organic clicks so they can make more room for paid ads.”
“Voice search is gonna dominate in 2022.”
By the way, it’s not.
That stuff is obvious and you deserve better than that.
You’re gonna be getting some insightful predictions that will actually make a difference in your SEO strategy, in 2022.
But first, let’s talk about why it’s so important to get ahead of these changes.
According to the Search Engine Journal, Google releases thousands of algorithm changes per year.
Most of them go completely unnoticed, but nonetheless, you feel them.
And many of them are publicly announced as “Google core algorithm updates.”
And that’s when you see SEOs running around like their hair’s on fire.
The point I’m trying to make is that ultimately, you can count on SEO changing significantly in 2022.
9 SEO Trends for 2022 (and How to Prepare for Them)
SEO is about staying ahead of the game.
When you’re able to understand the direction Google is going, you can prepare your website beforehand, and you end up with nice, steadily improving traffic graphs like these.
And then at the dinner table, you can tell your wife or husband, “I’m a (beep) genius” repeatedly.
But if you ignore the trends, don’t be surprised to see a declining traffic graph that descends into the bells of hell itself.
And you end up on the streets, just thinking about the glory days when you actually had a website that was on page one of Google.
The thing is you can pretty much guarantee that your competition is doing everything that’s considered current industry standard knowledge.
And the way you get ahead is by future-proofing.
That’s what this post is for, preparing you for 2022 and beyond.
Prediction #1 Artificial Intelligence Content Will Rise
My first SEO 2022 prediction is that AI content software will get better and better. And its adoption will grow exponentially.
Since OpenAI’s GPT-3 deep learning language model came out, a whole slew of AI content generator software has entered the market.
Some of the most popular ones are Jarvis from Conversion AI, Article Forge and Rytr. And in 2021, even in the first iterations of this type of software, it’s already getting deployed by SEOs around the world.
Jarvis AI Tool Quick Links:
People are using AI content for easy stuff, like product descriptions on eCommerce sites, for guests to post content, and often even on their own rankable websites.
I’m running a fun experiment myself, building a website from scratch using 100% AI-generated content. And I’ve already completed some very interesting single variable tests.
There’s a concept called topical authority.
In a nutshell, the more coverage your website has on a topic, the larger the chance that Google will deem you an authority on the topic, and thus rank you higher.
So for example, if you wanted to be an authority on apples, be like Healthline and write 81 articles on them.
To learn more about topical authority, check out my interview with Koray Tugberk after you watch this video.
Back to AI content, I ran an experiment creating 12 new articles with Jarvis AI, for a website on a topic like apples, added them to the site and monitored the rankings and traffic.
This is the result of the SEO testing software.
If the black line is above the blue line, that means that my apple content increased ranking compared to the control group of oranges.
To some, the result, the AI content was good enough.
That said, in my opinion, the technology hasn’t matured enough to deploy completely. The process is clunky and doesn’t come out too great without a lot of handholding.
They also don’t write SEO optimized content that’s driven by a powerful technology like Surfer.
Jarvis is leading the pack on this and is currently working on developing integration with Surfer.
Jarvis AI Tool Quick Links:
But in 2022, my prediction is that the tools will continue to mature.
They’ll get more user-friendly, the content will get better, and they’ll integrate better with content optimization tools.
And because of this, people will start using AI content more frequently on critical content pieces on their website, such as rankable content that has the goal of conversion.
So what should you do to prepare for this?
Start playing around, get a free trial license of the content writer of your choice. Read this post on the best ai writing tools.
Get familiar with these tools because I truly believe they’re gonna become mainstream in the SEO workflow.
Prediction #2 Sites with High Backlinks Authority will continue to Reign
My second SEO prediction is that Google will continue to put backlinks up on a pedestal as one of the most important ranking factors, if not the most important.
It’s blatantly obvious to anyone who’s looked at Google results for high competition queries.
Page one of Google is dominated by sites with huge backlink authority.
This keyword, best coffee machine, doesn’t have any coffee websites ranking on page one. It’s all high authority media sites. Authority trumps relevance
in today’s algorithm, and I expect this to carry over into 2022.
Last year, going into 2021, I had actually predicted that relevance would get a comeback, but we saw none of that going on and I don’t expect that to change.
And the reason relates back to my first prediction. If AI content improves drastically and runs rampant, then Google will need to scale back the ranking weight on content and apply it to other places, like links.
So what should you do about this? Continue to put an emphasis on link building. This table illustrates where I’m putting my backlink efforts.
30% of the links I build are in the category of white hat link insertions.
I’m manually outreaching to websites I want to link from and asking to get a link placed into existing articles, preferably with some links going to them. 5% of my links are coming from directory citations, even for my affiliate sites.
And for that, I’m using SEOButler and Citations Builder. 15% of my links are coming from editorial level sites. We’re talking DR 70 and above. For this, we’re using HARO, link exchanges with high authority competitors and digital PR campaigns.
And lastly, the main bulk of my link building at 50%, is coming from guest posting through Authority Builders.
Prediction #3 Parasite SEO will Continue
My next SEO 2022 prediction, is that parasite SEO will continue to work.
What is parasite SEO?
It’s when you put content on another website or platform, leverage their authority and start to rank for keywords. Check out the search result for the best male enhancement pills. No one ranking has any sort of relevance on the topic of p*nins*s. They’re all huge authority sites. And with the exception of Amazon, it’s all sponsored content. In other words, parasite SEO.
This has been around for years now, and I believe this will carry on into 2022.
Mainly because Google will continue to value authority.
On this one, let’s see though. I’m like 60% confident with this prediction.
- Are you sure about that?
- It seems like something Google would really want to fix.
And what can you do about this?
Unfortunately, I think for US parasite SEO, you might be a little late to the party, if you haven’t already started.
Many of the media outlets that will sell placements, won’t publish twice on the same topic, and they’ve already been rinsed.
So what I’m doing is turning my own sites into mega authorities just like these.
If you can’t beat them, join them.
Prediction #4 SERP Experiments and Changes
My next SEO prediction for 2022 is that Google will continue to experiment and change the search result page more and more.
In 2021, we already saw a lot of this. For example, the SEO community blew a fuse when Google started rewriting title tags, and for good reason.
In this case that Lily Ray found, Google was displaying a freaking anchor text instead of the title tag. We also saw stuff like Interesting finds, which shows up on mobile, and displays personalized recommended content, based on what you’re searching for.
We’ll talk about personalized content later. Then we have the local top sites or things to do feature that gives you suggestions on what you can do in a local area.
And also visual stories, which comes up a lot on mobile searches. Expect these experiments to continue. Some will go away and some will stick.
But the writing is on the wall, you’ll see more different types of content on the single search result page. Like here where there are video results for a query. The video seems to be the biggest thing that Google wants to push.
In my humble opinion, what you should do is ride the wave and start producing video content.
In 2021, I’ve added significant effort to YouTube for both this channel and the channels for my affiliate sites. The synergy is great.
You get discovery traffic from YouTube through their amazing discovery algorithm. Then you can send that traffic back to articles on your website.
You can then take your high traffic pages on Google, embed videos into them from your channel, then grow your channel at the same time.
And let me tell you, YouTube definitely converts.
Make sure to check out my interview with “Nick Nimmin”, to learn how to elevate your YouTube game.
Prediction #5 Personalized Content Will Increase
My next SEO prediction for 2022 is that the amount of personalized content you see in your search results will increase.
When you’re logged into Google Chrome, Google can track what you’d like to read, watch and consume.
Doesn’t it make sense that what I get for certain queries, might look completely different to what you might get from the same query?
In my opinion, Google is learning a lot from the success of YouTube, which is an extremely personalized experience.
I mean, if you really want to get to know someone, take a look at their YouTube homepage.
Preparing for this is easy, you should be doing this anyway.
Prediction #6 User Engagement Becomes Even More Important
The solution is to focus on my next SEO prediction of 2022, which is that user engagement will increase as a ranking factor. This goes back to once again, the success of YouTube.
The YouTube algorithm is almost entirely based on engagement. Namely, how long people watch your videos and how much they interact with them.
My prediction is that the Google Search algorithms will increase the amount that engagement, time on page, and goal completion have in the ranking algorithms.
What do I mean by goal completion?
If someone lands on your page, reviewing the best wireless routers, and they’re only on your page for one second, but they click on one of those buy now buttons, that’s not a bad thing.
That’s called a happy searcher who got their goals met. And it’s not what some people incorrectly call a bounce. What you do want to watch out for is pogo-sticking.
This is when someone lands on your page, doesn’t like what they see, then goes back to the search result and clicks on something else in search of their answer.
This is not a good thing, and it’s the opposite of what you want your users to do.
It’s a terrible signal to Google. Here’s how to prevent pogo-sticking. As soon as someone lands on your page, let them know they’re in the right place by showing imagery and a big headline related to their search query.
Next, you want to hook them with a strong introduction paragraph. Check out my video on intro paragraphs in the description.
After that, use trust signals to show that you’re legit and that you’re an expert on the topic.
And lastly, give them the answer they’re looking for, right away, as fast as possible.
Prediction #7 Topic Authority Strategies Become Standard
The next SEO 2022 prediction is that the concept of topical authority will become standard SEO practice. We touched upon this a bit earlier. The more you write on the given topic and “cover it,” the more that Google thinks you’re an authority on that topic.
But it doesn’t stop there. The articles need to be linked together in an intelligent way. And each article in itself needs to be optimized
with all the entities and phrases that are expected in a top-ranking article for its query.
Many SEOs have been operating like this since the Stone Age. But many SEOs are just learning about it now.
It’s my prediction that in 2022, it’ll become widespread. One of the most challenging parts of the topical authority strategy is creating a topical map, which is basically a list of keywords that need to be covered in order to completely blanket a niche.
At my companies, LeadSpring and The Search Initiative, we personally have been working on in-house processes to automate the topical map generation process. And whether it is us or some other tool provider that brings a solution like this to the market, or if and when we share this technique in The Affiliate Lab, the adoption of topical authority will grow.
And as a result, I expect SEOs to put fast publishing at the forefront of their efforts. The people who can publish quality content the fastest and cover their niche completely will win.
What can you do to prepare for this?
If you’re in the fishing niche, start experimenting with publishing, with the goal of complete niche coverage on your website.
Publish everything you can about fishing, not just the topics that’ll make you money, like the best fishing poles. Even publish content that will have zero search volume.
We’ve seen excellent results with this strategy, and so have members of The Affiliate Lab.
Why? Because it works.
Prediction #8 More Frequent Google Core Algorithm Updates
My next SEO prediction in 2022 is, and I hate to be a party pooper, but the frequency of Google core algorithm updates will increase.
As mentioned in the intro, Google releases thousands of updates per year. Most of them are completely unannounced. Or they’ll release them in secret and announce them later.
This is what I think happened with the Google product reviews update. This was announced on April 8th, 2021, but I truly believe that it was released in some shape or form in the December 2020 update, which had a profound effect on affiliate sites.
Expect the frequency of these updates to stay the same or to increase. And expect at least two of them to be about something that doesn’t (beep) and affects
literally, no one you know, but the entire SEO industry will react to them like they’re the biggest deal in the universe, and every SEO conference will have at least one presentation on it.
I’m talking about you, Core Web Vitals. Anyhow, to prepare for algorithm updates, in The Affiliate Lab, we have a motto, “Do all the things.”
SEO is really a holistic endeavour.
Make sure to get your website up to scratch in every SEO department. Your technical SEO needs to be on point with no loose ends, with regard to site speed, redirect issues, crawl problems, etc.
Your content needs to be on point.
Each page needs to answer its search intent perfectly.
Content should interlink in an optimized fashion.
And your backlinks should be diverse, clean, and authoritative.
“Do all the things.”
Prediction #9 SEO Is Dead!
The next SEO 2022 prediction is that SEO will finally completely be utterly dead. Just kidding, SEO can’t die.
It’s been dead already for years.