Where We Stand: Revisiting 2022 SEO Predictions and Preparing To Succeed


The SEO space is constantly changing, especially in the past two years, and digital marketers must keep up. Since we are more than halfway through 2022, this article by Jim Yu, co-founder and CEO, BrightEdge, summarizes how this year’s SEO predictions have held up, the current trends, and how marketers can achieve optimal SEO results.

At the beginning of 2022, marketing experts predicted that this year SEO would focus on a higher volume of omnichannel interaction, CX-driven strategies, and transforming data into tangible business insights through machine learning (ML) and AI technologies. SEO saw a remarkable evolution in 2021 after the business world and marketing industry experienced unprecedented changes due to the aftermath of the pandemic.

BrightEdge research found that SEO investment is still on the upswing, with no downfall in sight. A vast majority (89%) of marketersOpens a new window will invest more in SEO this year than the previous year as a catalyst of customer experience spend, reaching an all-time high of $641 billion by the end of 2022, according to IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Customer Experience Spending Guide. 

By examining these current SEO trends, one thing holds true: a winning SEO plan for 2022 and beyond requires innovation, achieved through omnichannel interactions, data collection, and CX-focused strategies. Let us look at these current trends to understand how marketers can accelerate innovation and achieve optimal SEO results as we move into the second half of the year. 

See More: Demystifying Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

1. Omnichannel Interactions

In May 2021, Google announced its Multitask Uniform Model (MUM) deployment, the natural evolution of its language processing AI Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT). MUM uses and improves upon BERT’s multilingual capabilities, allowing users to contextualize search results between multiple searches and across 75 languages (and soon to be more). 

Google’s new AI-driven tool raises the question: how can marketers apply modern SEO tools to their non-textual content? Because MUM’s rollout made data mining modern content like video and audio possible, marketers are scrambling to figure out how to capitalize on this new opportunity. 

The key to maximizing MUM opportunities lies in AI and ML technologies, which enable a better understanding of concrete data from trends and keywords. Marketers can use these insights to determine the performance rate of various types of non-textual content. 

MUM’s language-based search element will continue improving semantic SEO’s traction. Thanks to semantic searches predicting a user’s frame of reference and intent, content marketers can give potential customers customized content options at the most optimal time.

2. Emphasis on Data Analysis

A key theme going into 2022 was the importance of data analysis. According to HubSpotOpens a new window , 88% of companies are now using market research to make business decisions. From demonstrable ROI to campaign performance, empirical data can help marketers justify spending to C-suite executives and provide knowledge on the type of content their users prefer. 

Justification has become particularly important as the marketing industry continues to experience layoffs and budget cuts in response to the volatile economy. Because of this, it is vital marketing leaders obtain data that proves their initiatives’ outcomes, including SEO, to stay viable when leaders assess budget allocations. This means investing in the right toolset to do so. 

For example, advanced forecasting tools can assess an organization’s potential profit, website traffic, and other KPIs, but AI and ML are crucial to searching for this data. These tools can also provide critical information such as website traffic metrics, potential revenue gains and other data tailored toward measured KPIs. 

As a result of the need for increased data processing, marketing leaders will require a more diverse and advanced toolset, particularly AI and ML, to determine actionable insights from tasks such as user intent modeling and on-site analysis. The industry can expect this growth to happen over the latter half of 2022 and into 2023. 

3. CX-focused Strategy

Providing superior online customer experiences has become a key differentiator for businesses, giving them a competitive edge in an ever-changing landscape. According to SuperOfficeOpens a new window , 86% of consumers are inclined to pay more for a great customer experience. So, while content creation and personalization have always played a vital role in customer experience, SEO is now an essential piece of that puzzle. 

As of March 2022, Google’s Core Web VitalsOpens a new window determine what mobile and desktop users see on their search engine results pages (SERPS). This determines the search engine’s page experience rankings, directly scoring the user experience on their websites. 

Google engineers determine rankings through several factors, such as mobile friendliness and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measure unexpected movement while scrolling through a page. The higher the CLS score, the lower the CX’s quality (thus, the score). 

Through Core Web Vitals, such as CLS, marketers can better understand their ranking, and with these actionable insights, they can improve their CX. Marketing departments that took advantage of Core Web Vital monitoring early will see a renewed interest in CX-driven SEO. 

In early 2022, Google also launched Google Discover, which combines users’ content on their mobile devices based on browsing history, helping evolve query-less searching. Google Discover features old articles in their search functions, meaning new and old content can coexist in optimizing CX and SEO. Consequently, moving into the end of the year and next, innovative search marketing will include an entire web presence rather than just timely content. 

See More: 9 Must-have Skills for SEO Managers

Looking Ahead to 2023

This growth is not expected to come to a halt in 2022. Despite the significant improvements this year, SEO will continue to evolve alongside search engines. As such, so will the toolset that marketers use to contribute to the SEO journey. Marketers can expect to see an increase in AI and ML tools, alongside the development of platforms like Google Discover and MUM, along with the SEO journey to help uncover customer data and insights. 

While the economic downturn continues to be a topic of conversation, it will not derail the steady growth of SEO. Luckily for marketers, search is durable. Regardless of the market, consumers are still making purchases and will still turn to search engines to find the answers to their questions. Because of this, marketing departments should formulate strategic SEO plans to leverage omnichannel interactions, collect data through automated tools, and double down on the customer experience before heading into 2023. It is imperative to recognize and make these changes now to stay ahead of the competition. 

What actions have you taken to achieve success in SEO in the coming year? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .

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