Essential Guide to SEO Optimization in 2022
Search engine optimization has changed a lot over the past few years, bringing new ways to increase your site's visibility for relevant searches.
Keeping up with SEO changes introduced by search engine updates will give your website better visibility in search results, and it's more likely to garner attention. Search engine-optimized sites are also more likely to attract prospective customers and retain existing customers.
This guide will cover everything to know about SEO optimization and how to keep up with search engine algorithm updates that can impact your website's ranking score.
Key SEO Components
SEO is classifiable into three primary components; technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. To optimize your website's SEO score, you will have to pay attention to each component and apply the latest optimization techniques we will cover later in this guide.
Technical SEO refers to the technical aspects of your website's performance that affect its SEO score. These include the site's loading speed, how easy it is for search engines to crawl the site, and mobile-friendliness. Having a low score in any technical aspects will lead to a lower rank.
On-page SEO refers to all the standard optimization techniques on your site and on the content to gain a better ranking score. These include keyword research, generating high-quality content, having the proper keyword density, and optimizing page elements like alt tags and title tags.
Off-page SEO is all about improving your website's authority and reputation. This involves creating guest blog posts on other popular sites and having quality backlinks to your content from popular websites. Without further ado, let's see the essential SEO guidelines for 2022.
Optimize for SERPs Features
The search engine results page (SERP) is the page that presents your search results after performing a quarry on a search engine.
SERPs constantly change, and it seems with each search engine update, they gain more features and opportunities to present unique results from varying websites.
Featured snippets are the first listing on Google's SERP; it features an excerpt from the web page holding zero.
When optimizing for featured snippets, you will need to consider which type you[ are dealing with:
- Paragraph featured snippets: these provide search results in text, and they can be featured as a text box with an image inside.
- Table snippets: these provide search results in a table
- List snippets: these provide the search query results in the form of a list
When optimizing for featured snippets, you should target informational intent and answer questions immediately.
Research keywords and long-tail queries related to your content and identify queries you already rank high on.
You should aim to answer each query as concisely as possible. While writing the content, ensure that the questions appear as subheadings and immediately follow up with a single paragraph answer before elaborating further in the article.
While optimizing for featured snippets, you can include eye-grabbing images. These have a significant impact on user retention. Update your content with the most recent image uploads.
Suppose you are having hard time sourcing images. In that case, you can use third-party plugins to visualize content or create branded images and banners by editing existing templates.
Strategize for zero-click searches
As of 2020, more than 50% of Google searches were zero-click searches. Search engines constantly streamline their SERPs resulting in search queries getting answered directly from the SERP.
With all the high-ranked websites optimizing for snippet features, more answers are answered without the users clicking on the results.
The first step for optimizing zero-click involves conducting thorough keyword research to identify zero-click queries.
You can then create a content strategy to develop eye-catching content optimized for zero-click keywords.
Ideally, if you have any pages already ranking well for zero-click features, you should optimize them and add refreshed content to the pages. Streamline the pages to improve page loading times and add metadata for images and other digital assets.
While optimizing for zero-click searches may result in lower visitor counts, it improves your referral traffic and brand visibility. You should also register your business with Google Business to increase visibility for local searches. Having a detailed business profile often leads to better chances of getting featured in SERPs.
Perform regular site audits
It's common knowledge that Google often punishes websites out of touch with current SEO standards.
Performing regular site audits is a great way to identify how every page on your website performs. Older content that is no longer performing well should be optimized and refreshed before republishing to increase organic search views.
Site audits can reveal technical SEO issues such as broken 404 pages, broken redirects, slow pages, redirect chains, and duplicate HTML tags and content. These issues can then be addressed to improve website performance.
Backlinks to and from your site also require regular audits to evaluate their quality. You should focus on adding natural backlinks to your pages and avoid going for quantity over quality. This will ensure that your domain authority keeps on increasing, which improves your website's rankings.
Keep track of your competition.
Keeping track of your competitors can give you an exact idea of which keywords to target. This involves keyword research to get a view of specific keywords that your competitors are using.
Essentially, you will identify a high rate of return (ROI) ranking opportunities for your website and high search volume keywords that your competitors haven't targeted.
The information gained from keeping track of your competition allows you to grow your site's traffic exponentially with little to no expenses. It's important to remember that you will have to go the extra step to conduct thorough keyword research, not just the usual keyword ranking plugins.
Remember to keep track of your competitors' other metrics beyond organic keywords; these include organic monthly traffic data, an estimate of their traffic, and the domain score that ranks their overall authority.
Keep track of link sources that link back to the competitor site to measure their overall SEO performance. You can use follow.net to keep track of these metrics and find out what your competitors are optimizing for at each part of their customer funnel.
Attract natural backlinks
Building up quality backlinks automatically gives your website higher ranking scores when it comes to off-page search engine optimization.
You can request quality websites to link back to your website or use your social links to garner backlinks.
Avoid link buying, as this will quickly get you penalized by search engines.
Guest blogging is a great way to drive visitors back to your site and build quality links in your niche. You can also engage with online forums and communities in your industry to build up brand awareness and accumulate natural backlinks.
Don't be shy to ask your website visitors to link back to your content; you can include a 'link to us' page with the HTML code, badges, and banners that visitors need to link back to your site.
Search engines put a lot of emphasis on mobile optimization when determining your rankings. Make sure that your content is optimized for mobile viewing.
With this in mind, it's advisable to rely on a mobile-friendly website architecture to improve user experience and faster loading times.
To start, you can perform a quick scan with Google's in-house tool to see if your website is mobile-friendly. Ensure that all pages on your website are mobile-friendly, including old posts.
While at it, add easy-to-find calls to action (CTAs) and that all text is in legible fonts, even on smaller screens. Pop-ups can draw attention to specific actions, but they can quickly become frustrating and drive your visitors away when misused.
Prioritize on brand building
Your journey to building up your site's rankings should not be just for the click-through rates; it should be a chance to grow your brand.
Prioritizing brand building while optimizing for SEO can be seen in how users respond to your new and refreshed content and the overall user experience.
When you focus on providing practical, valuable, and credible content, your brand is more likely to become desirable and findable through referrals.
Ensure that your brand constantly provides usable and accessible content, and you will notice significant improvements in SERP rankings.
Master search intent
While conducting keyword research, you should keep in mind that every search has an intention behind it. This will come in handy when generating the content, as it will have to match the search intent of your future visitors.
Mastering search intent allows you to publish precisely what users are looking for in your niche. This, in turn, results in higher rankings.
Old content should also be re-optimized for search intent to improve user experience and boost your on-page SEO.
Optimize for audio and video content
As video and audio content continues to surge, there's a greater need to optimize such content with alt text that detail what is going on in the content.
The video featured snippets are increasingly getting highlighted by Google. Ensure that your content is organized into discrete sections in the video to give search engines clear sections to work with.
Always provide text transcripts of audio and video content on your websites. You can also go the extra step of relying on SEO-optimized scripts for your video content, increasing your rankings.
Re-optimize old content
Your old content should be re-optimized to better fit your search intentions and improve your on-page SEO.
Having updated older content also improves the overall user experience as your visitors don't feel like they are stuck in the past while going through the older stuff.
Avoid leaving old broken links in your refreshed content while publishing, as this will affect your rankings and overall usability.
Search engine optimization is an ongoing process that requires you to stay on top of search engine updates and changes in SERPs.
Remember, at the end of the day, all search engine optimization is based on search intent; therefore, understanding your targeted audience in your niche is the most significant edge you can have.
And if you need SEO guidance from a professional team, feel free to reach us today at email@example.com.