How Google’s 2021 Updates Will Affect SEO Strategies in 2022

24 Jan, 2022 Google

It’s fair to say that 2021 was a very busy year for search. The year saw Google Search making many system changes including major core updates and smaller algorithm adjustments. For some marketers, this was a real challenge, with many finding it difficult to regain lost rankings following the updates.

It’s not all doom and gloom though! While many have been negatively affected, 2021 must be taken as an important lesson for SEOs, as growth and recovery are by all means viable, moving into 2022.

It is important for SEOs to know which areas to focus on this year in order to create successful SEO strategies for good ranking results.

The Importance of Page Speed for End User Experience

The Page Experience algorithm, rolled out in June 2021, was developed with the aim of being the ‘backbone’ of the end user experience, although the process was slow and didn’t actually culminate until September 2021.

The algorithm will be available for desktop from next month (February 2022) and Google is said to be currently developing a new responsiveness metric that may replace FID (First Input Delay). It is thought that Google will keep prioritising UX (User Experience) and reward sites with fast loading pages that prevent a high bounce rate from visitors.

With this in mind, SEOs would be wise to make sure they are complying with Google’s load time expectations, which is under 2.5 seconds.

Considering Search Intent When Researching Keywords

The manner in which we do keyword research has always been influenced by search intent but has never been as vital as it is today. In May 2021 Google launched MUM (Multitask Unified Model) as a way of satisfying search intent and answering complex queries. The MUM update signifies the importance of search intent over search volume when it comes to choosing keywords.

Search Intent can be broken down into four categories: informational, commercial, navigational and transactional. End user search intent can be easily identified by the words they use in their search queries. So, for example, words like “what” and “why” would be used to find information, therefore informational; whereas “buy” and “purchase” would show an intention to shop and therefore, commercial. This works vice-versa where SEOs can create intent-specific keywords in order to be found by people with the same search intent.

A method SEO professionals can use in response to the shift in Googles search priorities, is to not concentrate so much on search volume, but to put the efforts into optimising landing pages to fall in line with user intent. So, for users looking for information, you want to avoid them landing on a product page and vice-versa, people ready to buy should not be landing on a page giving product information.

In-Depth Content for Product Reviews

This one is only for sites that offer product review content. There were two updates, one in April and another in December 2021, that affected product reviews. The purpose of the update was to ensure that Google was only promoting the most relevant content relating to a product reviews, aiming at showing the most insightful and useful results for the end user.

Google’s recommendations include:

  • Include visuals and audio in product reviews which will add authenticity and credibility
  • Add links to multiple sellers and sites to give the end user the opportunity to choose who they would like to buy from

All of the suggestions we have discussed have the central theme of making the end user experience as great as possible, with the emphasis on high quality, valuable search results. With Google making this a priority, it is vital that marketers react to the changes to keep ahead of the game in 2022 and beyond.