by Raleigh Kung, Digital Marketing Manager

The start of the new year heralds new resolutions for people all over the world. At LiveEcho, we continuously resolve to fine-tune the metrics we report to our clients, in an effort to better tie into their goals and business outcomes.

A big part of that on the digital marketing front is staying ahead of search engine optimization (SEO) trends. In 2021, we saw Google make quite a few updates, and following is our perspective on how those changes will affect SEO strategies in 2022.

Page Experience has been and is now even more important.

The September 2021 page experience update was easily the biggest update this past year, putting the page score/vitals in the hot seat as one of the most critical components needed to improve a site’s ranking. To put it simply, there are now several  “minimum expectations” that each website must meet to secure good standing with Google, including:

  • Mobile Usability: Responsive design is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Completely eliminating any mobile usability errors is a must.
  • HTTPS/Security Issues: Each website now needs an SSL certificate to have a good standing/page experience status. Additionally, any security issue automatically will disqualify a website from good standing as well.
  • Core Web Vitals: A host of small factors come into play here: page loading time, blocking resources, etc. All of these can be evaluated via Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Focus on Privacy – Moving away from Third Party Cookies

In 2022, Google will be phasing out third-party cookies (specifically for Chrome). Google has already announced it will not replace these cookies with any other alternative methods, so it is expected to impact all digital marketing campaigns. With 50.46% of all internet users opting for Chrome, this is a major market adjustment that the industry at large will have to account for in future tracking/metrics.

This move follows earlier efforts from Firefox and Safari, who have already phased out third-party cookies.

It is important to note that only third-party cookies will be deactivated. The ability to track your own website visitors via first-party cookies is still intact.  This means that marketers can still use website activity patterns on their own website to inform user-experience (UX) changes, keyword changes (for both organic and paid search campaigns), and more.

Coronavirus Pandemic and its Effects on Search Patterns Mid and Post-Pandemic

Alpha. Delta. Omicron. Pandemic-related keywords are easily among the top-searched phrases in any industry, due to its global pervasiveness and wide-reaching effects. While we don’t know when search trends will shift away from the Coronavirus—either as a keyword, or a factor affecting all trends—we do know that it will (hopefully later this year).

If, when, and once coronavirus trends start to shift to a definitive “post-pandemic” status, we expect not only search behaviors to change, but keywords to change as well.  As such, consider the following tips to prepare for this eventual shift:

  • Have a mid-pandemic and post-pandemic online marketing strategy ready. While the world might not necessarily go immediately back to “normal”/offline as the pandemic subsides, search patterns will inevitably and significantly change.
    • For example, while an office furniture company will want their site and products to continue to rank for “work from home office-space ideas”, adopting a “new ideas for the new office” and other similar campaigns would be a pre-emptive tactic to consider.
  • Geo-location will matter even more than before. The fact that a company operated in a specific city may not have mattered as much between 2020-2021. However, as businesses go back to full operations, this fact will become important once again. So, if being the leading provider in a specific city/state matters to your company, consider the following tactics:
    • Conduct an audit of your office locations on Google and ensure they’re all up to date.
    • Include geo-location tags and keywords on your website to properly refine your target market.

These and more trends are expected to take shape in 2022, and at LiveEcho, we provide our clients with the proactive digital marketing services that optimize their online visibility year-round. If you need help moving your marketing ahead into the new year, contact us today!