It was a bustling year in the world of SEO. With emerging AI tools and what felt like neverending Google updates, it’s okay if you didn’t keep up with all the action last year. We recapped the top 7 SEO updates in 2022 to help bring you up to speed in the new year!
Google My Business changed to Google Business Profile
Last year, Google My Business (GMB) got a digital facelift and is now known as Google Business Profile (GBP). Although the name change is relatively small compared to Google’s regular updates, they also altered how you access your business profile.
Rewind to July 2022; Google retired the GMB app to encourage businesses to manage their profile through an upgraded experience on Google Maps and Google Search. This option has actually been accessible for some time; all you need to do is type in a search for your company name or, if you’re logged in, the term ‘my business’ and then click on the profile that pops up. This can be a more typical method of accessing your profile already for businesses with a single location. Whether a small or large-scale business, optimising your Google Business Profile is a fantastic way to increase your search rankings and even more so if your target client or customer is local.
Google’s Helpful Content Update
In December 2022, Google introduced its ‘Helpful Content Update’ to urge businesses to rethink content that offers no value to its readers. This truly helpful update (excuse the pun) is Google’s way of rewarding websites that produce valuable content written with a people-centred approach.
The update certainly impacted the SEO industry, with Google’s ranking system now increasing rewards for content where visitors feel satisfied with the information and experience they have received. Low-value pages and content that don’t demonstrate a people-first approach are set to be removed, and search engine rankings demoted under Google’s watchful eye. Don’t worry if you’re still wondering how Google Search works – we’re here to help keep you up to date!
Google’s E-A-T update
Launched in early 2021, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) are core values used by Google’s search quality raters to evaluate the effectiveness and quality of search results. Cut to late December 2022; Google added an E for ‘Experience’ to their E-A-T algorithm that digs deeper to evaluate whether you’re receiving helpful, relevant information when you search online.
Representing ‘Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness’, the E-E-A-T update will help Google assess its results based on a degree of real experience. This means Google will focus on rewarding content like product reviews and first-hand life experiences, demonstrating an accurate understanding of the topic. After all, you wouldn’t get a haircut from someone who has never cut hair before, so it’s important for businesses to be authentic and avoid publishing untrustworthy content.
In 2022, visual searches on Google have helped transform how we find information online.
Say you’re out on a walk and find a plant you’ve never seen before. Instead of typing ‘weird spikey-looking plant’ into Google Search, switch to Google Lens, take a picture of the plant and hit search. *Metaphorical buzzing*… “DING!” Google crawled its way through visual elements to find a match for your image, with results confirming the plant species and providing an overview on how to care for it – too easy!
But how does visual search involve SEO? Essentially visual search encourages the use of images in your SEO strategy. This means ensuring you’re optimising your images for SEO by labelling each picture with alt-tags for optimal Google crawlability.
As this strategy has grown, Google has undoubtedly rewarded those taking the time to invest in quality visuals in 2022. So, instead of a plant, it could be your business or product found through a visual search!
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
In 2022, user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) carried each other hand-in-hand, helping businesses better assess user behaviour and monitor how to enhance their experience and, in turn, improve converting customers. When your business receives website traffic, the user experience (UX) will heavily determine how they behave once they get there.
UX factors like poor design, slow loading speeds, or hard-to-navigate sitemaps can seriously hinder your chances of converting a user into a loyal customer. For example, a great UX focuses on nurturing the user to promote action, whether purchasing, subscribing, or enquiring. On the other hand, poor UX means your potential customers will never reach the next stage in their journey with your business.
Essentially, CRO focuses on assessing how users behave on your website and allows you to gain valuable insight into your business and strategically monitor and adapt to user behaviour that can improve or hurt your conversion rates. So, it’s time to get curious about how your clients experience your business and put yourself in their shoes — take a digital stroll around your website on a mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop. If you don’t have these devices handy, you can easily test how your website looks to your users on different devices on platforms like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and UsabilityHub.
The rise of AI Tools – ChatGPT, Google AI and more
The rise of Artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-generated content caused quite a stir in 2022.
With remarkable abilities to generate text, unique art, and high-quality videos with minimal effort, AI has left many individuals and businesses wondering where they stand in comparison and Google rankings.
The comforting news? Google’s AI algorithm RankBrain born back in 2015, constantly adapts and aims to penalise link spam and AI-generated content on search engine results pages (SERP).
Although Google’s AI algorithms, like RankBrain, use robots to battle robots – AI continues to provide users with great search results and constantly aims to improve the notable divide between machine learning and human behaviour.
In the age of AI, producing authentic, informative content is vital to provide rich SEO results and drive your business ahead of competitors. A machine will never know your business more than you do, so by publishing authentic, credible and helpful content; Google will reward you!
With the explosive growth of TikTok and visuals reigning in SERPS, there’s no guessing why video became the next best investment for SEO strategy in 2022 and is on track to keep growing in 2023. For example, if you Google Search ‘how to tie your shoelaces’, the top result is a helpful step-by-step video that provides the user with the visual answer in limited clicks.
Thanks to the rise of videos and visuals reigning SERPS in 2022, the term ‘show, don’t tell’ is more important for businesses than ever. However, this applies to all helpful content, not just how-to videos. A recent report found that people are twice as likely to share video content with their friends as any other type of content. But it’s not happening on TikTok! In 2022, YouTube won the title of the most widely used platform for video marketers for the eighth year in a row. There is truly no better time to beef up your channels and boost your ROI with eye-catching videos and visuals.
Your SEO specialists in Perth
And that’s a wrap! It was certainly an exciting year for SEO in 2022, with rising trends and plenty of Google updates – we hope you found some gems to help optimise your SEO strategies in the new year. If you’re looking to take a deeper dive into the world of SEO to keep your business ahead of the digital curve, check out our recent SEO tips and predictions for 2023!