The more things change, the more things stay the same. When it comes to SEO and content marketing, the key is still about original, unique, quality, authentic, relevant, keyword-rich, industry-related, and interesting content that your target audience not only wants to read, they need to read. Sorry to be so redundant, but many of the following SEO trends for 2022 and into 2023 are focused on that central key thought. There is nothing more impactful with longer residual effects than content creation for your website and internet presence.
Here are some SEO trends that business owners and entrepreneurs should be aware of:
The MUM Update
As of May 2021, the new Google algorithm MUM (or Multitask Unified Model) was introduced to further expand search query functionality and to improve user experience. MUM works with artificial intelligence or natural language understanding and processing and answers complex search queries with multimodal data. In 2018, the BERT algorithm had a similar purpose to better understand the searcher’s intentions to match up content that is relevant to their question, based on past searches. In their hopes to provide the best search quality, Google releases MUM, which is 1000 times more powerful than BERT.
The MUM update has an excellent grasp on world knowledge, understands up to 75 languages simultaneously, as well as information in images, audio and video. MUM’s ability not only accesses keywords from our text-based content, but also data mines other forms of content including graphics, video, audio and images; which is an exciting improvement for your online presence. With MUM, now all of your content elements will better contribute to your SEO and page ranking.
What does this mean for content creators?
“Content managers should concern themselves less with the frequency of keywords in their content and consider the perspectives from which a topic should be dealt with.”– Search Engine Land
Write content on topics that are on the minds of your perspective buyers, and what topics that will drive preferred actions (a lead, a customer, a purchase on your store) while they are doing their research. For example, for a company offering landscaping, the thought process may go: “How can I improve the look of my property?” to “Who can help me design my landscaping and choose the best plants/trees for my space?” to “Who offers landscaping design and services in my area?” On this thought journey, your content marketing should provide the answers.
It’s first about strategy, logic and research into your target audience, and second, about well-written, unique content creation. This process is also building on another SEO strategy – User Intent.
It’s no longer just about keywords when it comes to creating content to rank your site higher on the search engines, it’s about determining user intent before you even begin writing. The User Intent is defined at the goal or intention a search engine user has when entering their search phrase into a search engine. User Intent has become the dominant ranking factor. Another example, if a user types in “gluten free pizza” … is their intent to find gluten free pizza recipes or to order a gluten free pizza from a local restaurant? While Google does its best to best match the intention of the user to the search results, it may at first not fully understand user intent of that particular search phrase. So Google may present search results that serve various intentions at first, especially if the search phrase was not specific enough. In this case of “gluten free pizza” Google provided me with local map locations of Pizzerias near me, related ‘People Also Ask’ questions about gluten-free pizza, as well as organic results of gluten free pizza recipes. It didn’t know my specific intent so it covered all the bases.
So your hope as a content creator is to do a little of all three … show up on the map (if you have a local business), answer a question for a potential customer and have your website link show up on the SERP.
To accomplish responding to various user intents of your target audience, write content that promotes your business, your brand, your location and your products and services. But also write content that answers frequently asked questions by your customers and lead, and write content that are on topics that they may search for, but may not be directly related to your products or services. For example, if you sell gluten free pizzas at your restaurant, show all the ingredients you use, your process to prevent cross-contamination, the great taste of gluten free pizza, and even the health benefits of choosing to be gluten free. That way you have satisfied all the users’ possible intents for that specific search.
With the MUM update, its more important to add quality and unique content rather than just adding content. If you’re adding hundreds of pages and posts on generic topic that have already been well covered by much more reputable, older websites, you may be wasting a lot of effort and time. Write unique content not yet covered by other websites, which may sound to be nearly impossible. With over 6 billion webpages on the internet, you may wonder what has not yet been discussed?
“True originality consists not in a new manner but a new vision.”– Edith Wharton
Write topics from your unique point-of-view, experience and case studies … on topics that may have been covered but never from your perspective and with your specific target audience in mind. You are an original, your brand is unique, and the way you conduct business is all your own. So write your story and don’t be shy to share your opinions, your tricks and tips and what you’ve learned along the way. And don’t be afraid to try new things, talk about topics that no one else in your industry is talking about (as long as it is of interest to your target audience).
Focus on Local
“Google will be focusing a lot more on the localization of content over the next year. In 2021 we already saw more websites with country-specific content outranking those that used to be top of the SERPs but are more globally focused. This will only get more obvious in 2022 even for purely online businesses with no brick and mortar offering.”– Search Engine Land
If you’re a local business serving a small geographic area, you must still put forth a consistent effort to tap into geolocation* marketing. (Geolocation refers to the use of location technologies such as GPS or IP addresses to identify and track the whereabouts of connected electronic devices.) If you’re a business serving various locations, states, countries, you have even more work to do, as the efforts for a typical brick-and-mortar location will need to be multiplied for each market you serve.
For each location, or just the one you are serving, you should have the following strategies:
- Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a must to promote your service areas, detailing exactly where you are located, who and where you serve and location-related content on your weekly posts.
- Location-Specific Pages on your website: Create a page for each county, city, state and/or country you serve to show industry-specific information on what you do, how you serve and why it’s relevant to those living in that location.
- Location Related Topic on your Blog and content marketing: Write content that address concerns, local issues, trends and news in that area. Show why the content is relevant to someone living, working or vacationing in that area.
- Run Local-specific ads on Social Media. Run location-specific ad content with your social media saved audience for each region you serve. Include pertinent content for that area’s audience. Need help? Call Startup Production.
Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business)
If you’re in business, you need a Google Business Profile, no ifs, ands or buts about it. You can’t open a brick-and-mortar business without some sort of signage … and you can’t have an online presence without a GB profile. Google Business Profile a powerful FREE tool in your internet marketing toolbox to increase traffic to your website, leads by phone or messaging, more foot traffic, and ultimately conversions (revenue). (For more information on how to setup your profile.)
“Google is an overwhelming choice for those searches, receiving about 86% of search traffic worldwide as of September 2021.”– Forbes.com
In late 2021, Google My Business changed its’ name to Google Business Profile, which was once Google+. Still the name is not the only thing that has been improved and changed:
- Better Access: You can now access, edit and revise your profile information from Google Search or Google Maps, instead of having to login to your Google Business Profile.
- Click on my profile or search for the name of your business, and at the top the following buttons will be displayed: “Edit my Profile”, “Promote” or “Customers”.
- If you manage multiple businesses or locations, you may still need to use the profile link: https://www.google.com/business/
- Multiple Locations: Google Business Profile has made it easier to promote businesses with multiple locations.
- “Google’s post also included the news that the current GMB web portal would transition to primarily support larger businesses with multiple locations.” – Forbes.com
- They have already done an excellent job promoting smaller, local businesses but the businesses with multiple locations or service areas had before struggled a bit to promote their business in the specific geolocation of the user. So this will be a huge step forward for all types of businesses, especially those with remote and online markets.
- More industry categories are added regularly but your primary category is still the most important one. The most important piece of information on your business profile is your primary business category.
- Google offers over 3,000 categories to choose from and adds new ones regularly. You can still choose up to ten, which you should if you offer auxiliary services and products, but choose the primary category with great care.
- Attributes are continually being added. Regularly check the list of attributes for your designated industry to ensure you are utilizing these special notes of added service and credibility.
- Some included: Veteran-owned, Women-owned, Wheel Chair accessible, COVID-19 related attributes, and if you’re a brick-and-mortar, curbside pickup, online ordering, and the like.
Even with the changes, your Google Business profile offers a wealth of benefits:
- You are able to update and promote accurate information about your website including location, hours, website, phone, fax and special announcements.
- You can interact with your customers with posts, updates, photos, services, products and announcements.
- You will attract new customers by showing up on the Google 3-pack, Google search results, Google Maps for your targeted searches. When your profile is found, they can visit your website, call you, get directions and read reviews.
- You can build your trust and credibility with your customers’ reviews. Have a strategy to regularly reach out to your satisfied customers to leave a review. You may even want to incentivize their time and effort of leaving the review. Have a good number of positive 5-star reviews can boost your ranking, organically and on the Map results.
The More it Changes, the More SEO stays the Same …
“In 2022 SEO professionals should stop trying to chase algorithms and instead lean into long-term, sustainable SEO strategies.”– Jackie Chu, Global SEO Lead & Intelligence at Uber
Regardless of the all the noise of SEO experts and analysts, the message has been the same … produce content that is targeted for your audience, unique, quality, well-researched, produced for user intent, easily understood, and with a dash of your brand personality. Also, make sure your content is conforming to the E.A.T. Guidelines set by Google.
What is E.A.T. and what does it have to do with SEO Content?
E-A-T is part of Google’s algorithm and baked into Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Even Google says that E-A-T is “very important.” Google E-A-T is an acronym that stands for the top three considerations Google uses for determining the page quality of online content: Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness
After various Google updates in 2019, EAT became more important when ranking content on your site, and checks content against three standards:
- Expertise: Is the author credible and trusted and does he/she have credentials to back that up? Do they have a high level of knowledge and experience in that field? This becomes even more important on any YMYL topics such as content that offers medical, financial, or legal advice.
- Authoritativeness: Is the website or blog seen as a reputable source of information on that specific topic? For example, an award-winning chef will not be seen as having authority to write an article about liability insurance for a corporation.
- Trustworthiness: Does the website have a record of providing true, accurate and honest information? Does it refrain from making false or exaggerated claims or reference erroneous statistic? Is your website transparent on the identity of the author of each page/post? Do you provide contact information with a real address of a legitimate and registered business or organization?
Need Help with Content Creation?
“What separates good content from great content is a willingness to take risks and push the envelope.”— Brian Halligan, CEO & Co-founder, HubSpot
Content marketing is an investment of time and creativity, which many business owners are not willing to give. In those cases, it may be advisable to hire a content creator. Startup Production is here to help!
We don’t write generic content and we don’t reuse or resell written content to multiple clients. After meeting with our client, we determine suggested topics and write content that is very specific to their brand, their personality, their way of doing business, and their audience. A first draft of the content is then sent to the client for approval, edited and only published once client approval is achieved. We do the heavy lifting of producing content but we work for you and with you to ensure the content is tailored to your brand and your target audience.
We write content for websites, blogs, newsletters, social media, events, team bios, product descriptions, print ads and more. Call us for a free estimate.