When it comes to defining trends for the future, one cannot be totally objective and complete. Each SEO consultant has his preferences and will tend to emphasize certain areas of expertise more than others. But we will still try to give you the most important changes in the SEO panorama.
There are several underlying trends in SEO that will impact the practices of digital marketing experts and especially natural indexing. The good news is that SEO will become even more important in the long run. The new changes envisaged by Google reinforce the ‘firepower’ effect of long and qualitative content. We tell you more about the SEO trends in this article, so you can anticipate the upcoming changes and plan your strategies ahead of time!
Trend 1 – MUM: a revolution?
Google announced on May 18, 2021 the birth of its new algorithm, nicely named “MUM”, for Multitask Unified Model. It is a contextual artificial intelligence that is supposed to be a thousand times more powerful than its predecessor. Its main objective is to answer complex questions more efficiently by requiring less research from the user. It aims to better understand the link between the words used in the queries and the user’s intention. This allows for smoother and faster responses to user queries.
What changes with MUM?
Google gives the example of a person wishing to organize a hike by typing “I already hiked Mount Adams, how to prepare myself differently for Mount Fuji”. Until now it would have taken 8 searches to find an answer (climate comparisons, altitude, equipment needed, etc.). The new algorithm would answer it all in one question.
Another novelty is that it works in 75 different languages. This allows it to better understand the context of the information sought and to automatically translate the answer to the query. It doesn’t matter if the answer is on a page in another language.
The other aspect is the increasing inclusion of image-based searches. This is very practical when you have difficulty formulating your question and, above all, it is very quick to arrive at the result. Let’s say you want to repair the chain of your bike without watching the whole video of a tutorial, Google will take you directly to the part you are interested in. Sounds attractive on paper.
What are the consequences on content structuring?
These changes will have a direct impact on how to optimize pages to perform in terms of SEO. It is important to pay attention to the points on which the new algorithm would be particularly attentive. It is not revolutionary but mainly points on which it will be necessary to be even more vigilant in the future. Aspects sometimes neglected due to lack of time or resources:
- Use and add images to illustrate texts: if the content lends itself to it, it will be useful to embellish its texts with illustrative images. They must be optimized with image file names that match the content, precise alt descriptions, etc…
- Add subtitles to videos: to help robots understand them and better reference them
The other important point is to understand and consider the change that we observe at Google. The search engine confirms that it became an answering machine for the users. It is necessary to create content that can answer them. This once again highlights the importance of quality content, with MUM leaving aside what it deems ‘non-qualitative’. The announcement of this change is not new, but its effects will be worth watching in the coming months.
Trend 2 – Editorial content: the longer the better?
Qualitative content has always been important. The days of ‘keyword stuffing’ are long gone. However, it was still possible to rank well in the SERP with shorter blog texts (300-400 words). With the advent of the new MUM algorithm (mentioned above), and already long before its advent, Google favours long and quality content. For your article or even your category page to appear at the top of the search engine’s results, you should now count on writing at least 1000-1500 words. However, it is not a question of writing long content for the sake of it. It must make sense, be structured and coherent.
Longer content to answer the new Google
As Google turned into an answer engine, the content must be adapted to it. It is necessary to consider users’ questions and anticipate them. Tools such as People Also Ask allow you to see the requests of Internet users on keywords or themes. This is a good starting point to structure your articles or content. By lengthening your content, it is easier to deal with themes from several angles and thus reach a wider audience. Answering several queries or questions in the same text can attract people from different starting points. You broaden the semantic field of your content and thus the possibilities in terms of audience.
It is always useful to gather content on similar themes in what is called a ‘semantic cocoon’ with pages linking to each other. This organization gives even more ranking potential to the pages. We transfer the “link juice”, a bit of the authority of the pages, to the ones you link to.
Google has announced the launch of a function “things to know” in its search tool. A way to better anticipate the needs of Internet users who would make use of short-tail keywords in their searches. Pages with adapted content, such as FAQs, articles structured with different steps (such as a blog article for a DIY task), or lists on specific subjects, will have an advantage. Content containing long-tail keywords will be favored by Google.
Trend 3 – Thou shalt not neglect the SEO/SEA synergy
Artificial intelligence and ‘machine learning’ will take an increasingly important place in terms of natural referencing. It is essential to anticipate its effects for the future.
SEA automation highlights the importance of SEO
In the next two to three years, SEA will tend to increase its automation and rely (even more) on artificial intelligence. It is interesting to note that it is already possible, thanks to Dynamic Search Ads, to let Google create ads almost by itself. You ‘just’ need to indicate the target audience; the budget and Google does the work. The search engine uses what it understands about the page to generate the ads. This is where the importance of SEO comes in. If the page is optimized, it will be easy for Google to create relevant content. The ad will match what is sold or offered on the landing page. Non-optimized pages will not be as easy to use to create advertising and will require more work.
The SEO/SEA synergy is already a reality
Beyond this aspect alone, SEA is already an important tool for SEO. It has the advantage of giving quick results and at the same time getting express feedback on the effectiveness (or not) of certain keywords. Once the relevant keywords are identified they can be used on the pages of the site. This way, the user finds a semantic universe close to the one that brought him to the page. This has an effect not only on the eventual conversion rate but also on the Quality Score. If the keywords used in SEO and SEA are close, Google will tend to improve the Quality Score of the website and therefore by extension, the Ad Rank. In the long run, this can help to be better positioned and reduce the CPC (Cost-per-Click). Google favors websites with a high-Quality Score. This is a significant advantage, especially when you want to position yourself in SEA with a small budget.
Trend 4 – Automatic content generation tools: they will have their place in the sun
Automation tools in content creation tend to take an increasingly important place in SEO strategies. A trend that is likely to continue in the future. Artificial intelligence already allows us to obtain interesting results on several aspects of natural referencing, if well optimized.
Content automation to facilitate writing
Platforms offering content automation services allow, for instance, to facilitate keyword research. They can make suggestions for the creation of content based on a specific topic or a web page. They also offer help to identify interesting keywords according to the global theme of a site or a section of it.
Some platforms also allow you to generate content directly, with more or less convincing results. They are based on the keywords you give them and generate content from their database. The quality is to be taken with care but sometimes it can save time.
Others allow you to optimize the internal linking of your webpage by identifying the pages with the best authority on your site. It is then easy to connect the new content to these previous pages to benefit from their aura.
Tools for content optimization
The ‘SEO Writing Assistant’ tool from SEMrush proposes to give an overall score to your content based on:
– The originality of the content, compared to sites and URLs that are best positioned on the target keywords of your text
– The readability, i.e. the repetition of words, the size of paragraphs or the length of sentences as well as the overall length of your text
– The tone of voice
– The SEO score of the text, i.e. the quality of the links you include in your text, the relevance of the keywords or keyword variations used in relation to the search queries made on the subject
An interesting tool to use for marketers. It also offers recommendations in terms of topics or keywords to include in your content to increase and optimize its relevance. The section on the tone used is unfortunately only available in English for the moment but the rest is already a useful basis for work.
These tools should be used with caution but can save time if well optimized and monitored by a competent marketing team. They facilitate the creation of content by saving time on the creation itself. The main advantage is to give time to marketing experts to focus on SEO optimization of content.
Trend 5 – E-commerce: Google goes all in with the Shopping Graph
It is undoubtedly one of the big winners of the Covid-19 crisis. It is of course the development of e-commerce, which has sometimes been the only option for some Internet users to buy certain products. But it has not only benefited Amazon.
Google places its pawns in e-commerce
Until recently, Google’s Shopping tool did not get much credit. It has been around for a long time but has never been as popular and used as Amazon, far from it. The launch of Shopping Graph was announced by Google in May. This tool has been integrated directly into Google Search and thus it brings up product pages directly linked via users’ searches. Helped by an AI, it will reference the product pages of e-commerce sites by itself. Merchants also have the possibility to put their products online on the “Merchant Center”, as it was already the case until now.
Another advantage of this tool is that it shows available products, user comments, and ratings and includes product information. It also highlights the available stocks, based on inventory data, updated by the retailers or brands.
In addition, the platform announced that it has reached an agreement with Shopify, as a result of which it announced a 70% increase in its product catalog. This has also resulted in an 80% increase in merchants and stores offering their products on the platform. These products are now accessible from Google Search, YouTube, Google Images, and other search engine tools. Great visibility that any store can dream of.
SEO trends: the importance of preparing your online store for the future
Other new features have been announced by Google, which may turn the e-commerce ecosystem upside down. It now allows its users to link their loyalty programs to their Gmail account and thus enjoy the related benefits from the Google ecosystem directly. In the same way, on mobile, it offers the possibility to users to find the baskets of abandoned or unfinished purchases. Google has therefore taken e-commerce very seriously; it is essential not to underestimate it for your online strategy.
Historically, Google has always been preferred by Internet users for their searches on specific products (via Search or YouTube). But the final purchase was made on Amazon or elsewhere. Google’s idea is that all stages of the transaction take place within its ecosystem.
It is important for sites that depend on e-commerce and sell their products online not to miss the boat. There is no guarantee that this functionality will overtake Amazon, but it is better to be prepared to be one step ahead of the competition. Thus, the ‘product’ descriptions and pages related to them must be optimized to the maximum to be easily visible by Internet users.
Convinced by the importance of natural indexing for your digital strategy in 2022?
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