SEO (search engine optimisation) is a marketing tactic that constantly evolves. What improved a website’s search rankings on Google last year, might damage search rankings this year. This means that brands need to stay up to date with all of the latest SEO news, trends and best practices. If you would like to find out more about SEO and other digital marketing techniques, you can take part in the University of Cape Town (UCT) online marketing courses – just click this link to find out more: http://www.commerce.uct.ac.za/com/gs/Marketing_Online_Short_Courses
Here is a list of some of late 2022’s SEO best practices and emerging trends:
Core Web Vitals
Google is constantly finding new ways to encourage website owners to provide a better user experience. ‘Core Web Vitals’ is a new addition to Google’s ‘Page Experience’ algorithm, which determines the quality of web pages and how to rank them in search results. Core Web Vitals joins other metrics like mobile-friendliness, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. According to Google Search Central, Core Web Vitals “are a set of real-world, user-centred metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads”.
There are 3 Core Web Vitals:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): the amount of time it takes to render the largest content element visible in the viewport, from when the user requests the URL
- First Input Delay (FID): the time it takes from when a user first interacts with a page to the time when the browser responds to that interaction
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CIS): the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page
Google believes that its Core Web Vitals are critical to all web experiences. As a result, the search engine is committed to analysing these metrics in its tools. Brands can assess their current Core Web Vitals using Google tools like the Chrome User Experience Report, which provides real user measurement data for each Core Web Vital.
People Also Ask
Google’s search results pages are ever-evolving, and new elements and sections are constantly arising and providing new opportunities for organic traffic. One of these relatively new additions is ‘People Also Ask’, which is a section on the results page that lists additional related search terms. This section reflects potential buying journeys and provides brands with previously untapped keyword ideas. When a brand is conducting keyword research or choosing which keyword to target, it should click through several questions in the “People Also Ask” suggestions. Then, the brand can create new pages or blocks using these keywords, or it can feature the terms in FAQ lists.
EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. These attributes are what Google uses to determine if a webpage is providing good quality content. Brands can improve their EAT by creating unique and relevant content, citing their sources, adding author biographies to posts and avoiding content that is overly sales-focussed, letting topic experts review content and getting links and mentions from trustworthy high-value sites and sources.
Properly Formatted Long-Form Content
High-quality content ranks highly on search engines, and longer content is usually the best way to provide Google with the key elements it’s looking for, including original research and analysis, depth, high-quality citing and more. Pages and blogs on a brand’s website should be in-depth and cover all the topics and subtopics related to a search query. These posts should also be formatted correctly and take advantage of H1, H2, H3, and H4 subheadings and bullet points.
Although localised SEO has been popular for a few years now, it is becoming increasingly popular. Here are some statistics from a 2017 article published by Google that highlight the importance and ever-growing nature of local search:
- Over the last two years, searches for local places without the qualifier “near me” have grown 150%
- 88% of people who conduct a local search on their phone visit a related store within a week
According to a recent 2022 Hubspot article, to make the most of local search, brands should create and verify a ‘Google My Business’ page, use local SEO keywords, source local PR opportunities, add location pages to their website and participate in the local community.
Learn More About SEO
If you would like to further your knowledge of SEO, the University of Cape Town’s digital marketing online courses are a fantastic place to start. These courses will enable you to learn more about both traditional and digital marketing, and give you the tools and skills you need to create digital marketing strategies for brands from all industries.
Google Data, U.S. Jan.–June 2017
Google Search Console, “Core Web Vitals Report”, date unknown
Search Engine Journal, What Exactly Is E-A-T & Why Does It Matter to Google?, September 2021
Forbes, Powerful SEO Trends That Are Dominating 2022, May 2022
Google/Ipsos Connect, GPS Omnibus, n=2,013 U.S. online respondents aged 18+, March 2016
Hubspot, A Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO in 2022, July 2022