Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, which can significantly impact a website’s traffic and rankings. 2022 was no exception, and 2023 is expected to be the same.
SEO Performance in 2022: What Did We Learn?
In order to understand the state of search engine optimization in 2022, we need to explore the major Google algorithm adjustments and how they have affected rankings and, by extension, SEO methods. In 2022, major improvements were made to desktop search results pages, relevant content, and user reviews. Let’s go about each of these points in depth.
Page experience has emerged as a significant factor in desktop search engine rankings in recent years.
To better represent the quality of the page experience people were having when landing on a site, Google modified its mobile ranking signals in 2021. After being tested on mobile and deemed successful, these revised ranking signals were introduced for desktop use in early 2022.
As a result, the following aspects were given greater weight by Google in the ranking process:
- Absence of intrusive interstitials
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS)
- First input delay (FID)
- HTTPS security
- Largest contentful paint (LCP)
In a nutshell, Google started giving more weight to sites that load quickly, are secure, and don’t contain annoying pop-ups.
Of course, that was not the only major change that took place in Google, as more relevant and helpful content also began to appear.
The Helpful Content Update, released in 2022, is one of the most consequential changes since it implemented a new algorithm that determines whether a website was created for humans or bots.
A site-wide audit is performed by the helpful content algorithm, which then classifies each piece of material as either “the page is useful” or “this page isn’t helpful.” Site rankings improve if they have more of the latter type of page.
Since a website’s content is the best indicator of how user-friendly it is, this revision might be interpreted as a “useful site” revision. Rankings for content developed only for the purpose of increasing rankings fell (ironically) as a result of this modification, while rankings for content created to improve the user experience rose.
Finally, various product reviews changed the tide when it came to product rankings online.
In 2022, Google prioritized product reviews by rolling out four separate upgrades over the course of a year to increase the weight given to these ratings. In short, Google wants visitors to be presented with the products that have delivered the best experience for prior buyers rather than the products that have been featured on the highest authority sites with the best SEO in the class.
Since Google’s own research—the Messy Middle report—found that “social proof” plays a major component in consumers’ purchasing decisions, it makes sense for the company to prioritize showing products with the highest “social proof” to users. Here we see Google learning from its users’ needs and adjusting its algorithms accordingly.
What More Can We Expect from SEO This 2023?
1. Improving Content Ranking Algorithms Is a Long-Term Goal
Because of the significant role played by the Helpful Content Update in reshaping search in 2022, it’s likely that Google will keep refining the criteria it uses to evaluate web pages. Since a new algorithm was introduced with the release of the Helpful Content Update, we should anticipate, at the very least, more iterations of this algorithm in 2023.
Nonetheless, as the volume of AI-generated material grows, Google will likely roll out new improvements to better identify such content and prevent it from ranking highly.
2. Relevant Results Will Be Required to Compete for Audience Share
With the introduction of infinite scrolling, the days of intense competition for first-page search results are numbered. Instead of having to reach the bottom of the first page before selecting whether or not to continue, users can simply keep scrolling until they reach the content they’re interested in.
Given that it will be easier to identify results in positions 11 and beyond, we may anticipate that they will receive a higher volume of clicks than would normally be the case. Having a listing that stands out is crucial if you want to attract a larger share of visitors. Fortunately, fruitful outcomes are the norm.
3. There Will Be a Need to Optimize Content for Voice Searches
Voice search is expected to overtake text-based searches as the primary method of query input due to the proliferation of voice assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, etc., and the enhancement of voice search’s capabilities on major search engines.
The progress of SEO in 2022 and 2023 is expected to be driven by the continued advancement of mobile technology and the increasing use of voice search. In addition, the trend toward personalization is expected to continue as search engines strive to provide more relevant and targeted results to users. As a result, we can expect to see more targeted and relevant ads and more personalized search results.
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