The Most Important SEO Updates From the First Quarter of 2022

SEO Stairs Q1 2022

A staggering 61% of marketers prioritise SEO as their first line of inbound marketing. As we move into the second quarter of 2022, it is important to understand and evaluate SEO updates from the first part of the year.

SEO is the marketing strategy for today and will stick around in the foreseeable future. However, with constant updates, users need to readjust their strategies on the regular.

Are you ready to learn the latest SEO news? Keep reading!

Google Algorithm Updates: January 2022

Google took a small break in the first few weeks of the year. But as soon as they were back, the SEO community saw some unconfirmed updates that have since received confirmation.

Desktop Report

Google launched the Page Experience update in April 2021 for mobile-only. Since then, they started developing a desktop report as well.

This new report shows the LCP, CLS, and FID, also known as Core Vitals, of your desktop site and the HTTPS security. This report helps the user identify any pain points and fix the issues to build a better website.

Below, we will discuss what to look for in these metrics and provide a few tips to improve your ranking.

URL Inspection API

At the end of January, Google announced that they launched the new URL Inspection API. At the time, the user could only check the URL of status pages, not live ones. However, you can now inspect live URLs to see if they are indexable.

However, this update does give you valuable data to debug any issues the API will find. It allows developers to pinpoint exactly why the URL  is not ranking as high as possible.

You can use the URL Inspection Tool here.

New Meta Robots

Finally, on January 21st, Google introduced the new robots tag, “indexifembedded.” This allows you to control when your website and pages are indexed.

It is only effective when the page is embedded with the “noindex” tag.

SEO Updates: February 2022

In February, we saw the start of some major updates that got the SEO community buzzing. Unfortunately, many websites saw a decline in traffic when the first update rolled out in 2021. However, with Google’s tools, one can overcome this dip and provide a better UX (User Experience).

Page Experience: Desktop

The search signals for desktop pages started rolling out in February, promising that the update would be complete by the end of March.

Together with the Page Experience Report, this new update will rank the metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals mentioned above.

These metrics measure the loading, interactivity, and visual stability of a page. Note that this is not for the entire site but individual pages.

The signals, just like the mobile report, will also take HTTPS into account. The only item omitted is the Mobile-Friendly metric.

Strengthening of Pirate Update

Google launched the Pirate Update, also called the DMCA Update, in 2012. It strengthens the update by decreasing the rankings by 89% of stolen content.

Make sure you check your content, including pictures, videos, and written content, to avoid getting hit.

Shopping Experience Scorecard

Google also updated the eCommerce experience for those who sell products online. If you score well on the shopping experience, you may be eligible for a ranking boost and a badge.

The program is only available in the USA, and you must participate in “Buy on Google.”

The metrics on the scorecard include:

  • Delivery time
  • Shipping Cost
  • Return policy
    • Window
    • Cost

The badge will show that you are a trusted source. The ranking boost will also put you higher on the list. There is no penalty if you do not participate, as you simply will not receive the benefits.

Google announced that this new update promotes an excellent customer experience instead of penalising poor experiences.

Changes in SEO: March 2022

In March, we saw the Page Experience Update fully rolled out. However, there were other updates that may affect your rankings.

Let’s take a look.

Product Review

Google started launching the Product Review Update. The first update launched in April 2021, and again another update in December 2012.

At this time, only English pages are seeing an impact, but the reviews will soon support other languages.

The update focuses on high-quality products. The Google algorithm aims to identify these products for the consumer by crawling the reviews.

While this will set apart stores that aim to provide the best service, many websites will likely see a hit in traffic. However, you can eliminate a bit of the impact by reviewing your content right now.

Create valuable content for each product review; tell the consumer why they should choose your product, what sets you apart, and what benefits it will provide.

Page Experience: Update Rolled Out

On March 3rd, Google finished with the Page Experience Update for desktops. Many experts are seeing only a small change since the update. They reported that if you do see a drastic change, it likely has little to do with your Core Web Vitals.

Local Search Update

The Vicinity Update, released late last year, had some issues. Experts mentioned that keyword-rich businesses were seeing issues in their ranking if other businesses had similar names.

This update was the biggest update in five years and mainly aimed to target proximity when considering rankings. As a result, local searches will be more applicable to the searcher.

Even though Google has not confirmed this update, users see a reversal in the rankings in local SEO.

Ranking High with the Newest Updates: Google SEO Guidelines

New updates will likely affect your ranking most of the time. Thankfully, some small tweaks can bring your rankings up again.

To find out what you need to change, first perform an audit of your website, pages, and content.

Some items haven’t changed. For example, backlinks, keywords, and meta title tags are still key factors in your ranking. However, Google now also considers your site’s performance with the Core Web Vitals metrics.

As mentioned before, these include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint
    • LCP
      • Ranks loading time
      • Less than 2.5 seconds
  • First Input Delay
    • FID
      • Ranks interactivity
      • Less than 100 milliseconds
  • Cumulative Layout Shifts
    • CLS
      • Ranks visual stability
      • 0.1. or less

Now, what does this mean? While these are advanced SEO terms, we can quickly explain them.

Have you ever stared at a blank page of a website, waiting for the content to load? That is poor LCP. Google considers a loading time of fewer than 2.5 seconds good. Therefore, if your website has a higher loading time, you will likely see a decline in ranking.

FID refers to when the page loads but is not yet interactive. Google ranks pages based on when the first content is loaded and when the user can interact with it. As you can see, there is not much room for error.

Finally, CLS is a term used to measure the layout of a page. Think back to the time when you are reading an article, and you click on a button and the entire page shifts. This is when the CLS is poor, which will frustrate the user.

Latest SEO Trends: A Look Into the Future

The industry is often unpredictable, including updates and trends. However, SEO in 2022 focuses solely on improving the consumer’s experience.

Google wants to offer its audience the best services, from shopping scorecards to product reviews. However, Google is frequently hesitant in confirming updates, making the industry all the more mysterious.

Looking forward, Google advises marketers and business owners to keep putting forth high-quality content. In addition, they will crack down on links, spam, and content theft—all good changes for those who wish to offer the consumer the best content in the business.

Furthermore, it is important to continue optimising your site for mobile-friendliness. If your site does not meet the standard metrics, it will rank lower as time goes on.

Finally, experts recommend changing up the content and giving viewers a taste of different creativity. Include infographics, videos, and images in your content, but make sure that the descriptions of these include keywords and any written content you put forth.

SEO News: Stay Up to Date

Staying up to date on the latest SEO news is a great first step in a healthy marketing strategy. However, it doesn’t stop there. While Google and other search engines will continue to update their algorithms, it is important to keep updating your website.

If you struggle with driving traffic to your website and eCommerce store, look no further. Contact one of our SEO specialists today to see how we can help!

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