Do you want a jargon-free summary of all the noteworthy digital marketing updates from 2021 – 22? Well, you’re in luck. Team Echo have come together to share their expert insights on the big digital marketing changes from the last 12 months, along with our thoughts on what will happen in 2022. In this guide, we’ve created a round-up of the key developments and trends across SEO, content, paid advertising, and social media. Now that the new year is well underway, we’re looking forward to what this year has in store!
Here at Echo, there have also been plenty of in-house changes. Our content writing team grew (suggesting content is still king) and we welcomed some new team members and clients to our family. We moved to a new office too, just down the road from our former premises in Peterborough.
As per usual, there have been many developments across digital marketing and we are summing up the good, the bad, and the ugly from the past year. We’re also looking ahead, helping you prepare for the big trends and changes that are just around the corner. Let’s get started with the top digital marketing trends to watch for in 2022!
Keyword intent is kind of a big deal
Last year, we mentioned that Google was placing more importance on keyword intent – and this has certainly come to the fore over the past year. Typically, keywords are now categorised into four types: Informational, Commercial, Transactional, and Navigational.
User and search intent has become one of the primary focuses for Google’s current and future algorithm plans. Its aim is to provide users with the most relevant and useful content based not just on the search they do, but the intent behind it.
Popular keyword software, SEMrush, even factored this into their keyword research tool. Filtering by intent helps us match keywords with relevant, high-quality content that users actually want to see!
The TL;DR version: it’s now not enough to just find relevant keywords for your sector. You need to go deeper than that. Think about who is typing in those keywords and why – what answers are they hoping to find?
“The reason keyword intent is so important? Satisfying search intent is ultimately Google’s number one goal! In other words, if your web pages don’t satisfy search intent, then your page is less likely to rank, if at all. It’s no longer just about having the “best” or the “most” content, now it’s about answering the question and meeting the search intent properly.”
Lewis McCarthy – SEO Executive
Keyword intent key takeaways:
- Understanding the search intent of your users is vital
- Improving user experience will show Google you are the correct page to send people towards
- To make sure existing and new content meets search intent, ask whether the content is a good match for the intended reader. Does it answer the specific query?
- Consider search engine results pages (SERPs) when choosing the focus keyword for a page – it’s worth typing in a keyword to see what comes up and whether it’s relevant
Google went off-script with title tags
Title tags are a big deal because they are how your web pages show-up in search engines. It’s an online user’s window to your content and can affect the likelihood of them choosing to click through to your website.
In 2021, Google brought in an update which affected title tags, leaving some website owners a little flummoxed. Dubbed the ‘Titlepocalypse’, some of Google’s automatically generated titles were a little odd, to say the least. However, based on feedback from the public, Google tweaked their algorithm, meaning you have a little more control over your title tags.
As Google can still change your title tag where they see fit, it’s more important than ever to make sure your title tags reflect what’s on the page. Otherwise Google might just replace it with a sub-par title – a potential disaster for your conversion rate. To avoid Google taking apart your title tags, make sure each one is unique, accurate and relevant to what’s on the page.
Core Web Vitals now apply to desktop
In last year’s blog, we forewarned our clients about the Core Web Vitals update. From checking your website is mobile-friendly to ensuring page elements don’t ‘jump’ while loading, Google rolled out three metric scores to help website owners improve their user experience. Fall short of any one of the metrics, and you could see a drop in rankings. In 2021, the Core Web Vitals ranking factor only applied to the mobile search engine results pages. However, this has now changed! The metrics now also apply to desktop search results. The user experience ranking factors are the same as for mobile (minus the ‘Mobile Friendliness’ score). This makes Core Web Vitals more relevant (and vital!) than ever before.
Content is king. Or, at least it is when optimising your web pages for search engines. Here are our key content predictions for 2022.
Multimedia content is more valuable
Last year we reported that video and interactive content was a big deal, and that looks set to continue.
Video content is increasing in popularity on social media and is being adopted by more and more websites. This trend started in 2020 but gained traction in 2021 when Instagram started pushing more video content to people’s feeds. Google has also been looking to strike a deal with Instagram and TikTok to present video content in search engine results – further proof that video content could really take off in 2022.
It’s all part of Google’s push for more content variety. We don’t think the written word will be going anywhere anytime soon, but video certainly appears to be having its heyday.
It’s also important to not write content for the sake of content – quality over quantity. This helps boost a website’s trust. Sometimes video is the best way to present certain content and may even be preferred by your target audience. But remember to keep your content well-rounded. It’s all about offering variety and choice, while keeping everything relevant.
“There’s no sign of this growing appetite for video content slowing down as 2021 draws to a close. People seem to interact more with video than still images and text (TikTok is proof of this). Adding the right audio visual content to your site could significantly boost conversions. It helps you stand out from your competition, which is vital in today’s crowded online world.”
Peter Jackson – SEO Content Writer
Outsmart competitors by providing the best content in the best way
If you’re not the sole seller of a particular product or service online, chances are you’ll have a number of competitors hot on your tail. So, how do you outsmart your rivals?
Google’s product reviews update proved that good content is not necessarily about creating the best sales pitch. It’s more about tailoring content to the customer, and answering their questions in the most effective way possible. Accurate, informative content will be appreciated by your website visitors, and will also be favoured by Google.
Leveraging multimedia content can also boost your chances of ranking well. In short, information should be presented in the best possible way – whether that’s video, text or an infographic. By providing more content choices for your customers, they can pick and choose what they prefer which makes for a better user experience.
You should put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Ensure they have all the information they need to make an informed decision on your products or services. Also, by becoming a trusted authority on the product, this should help you achieve better rankings and boost conversions.
“To rank above competitors you should always put the customer first. Think about their needs and put over-inflated marketing language to bed when writing about your products or services. Provide an in-depth overview, and make sure all content is presentable, original, and easy to understand. By going into more detail you can help customers make better buying choices.”
Emma Gibbs – SEO Content Writer
Product content best practices:
- Include expert knowledge and research
- Show what the product looks like and how it is used
- Include unique content, beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer
- Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors
- Identify key decision-making factors and how the product is relevant
In 2020, during the pandemic, Google felt rather charitable and handed out PPC credit to small and medium-sized businesses. For anyone that was able to cash in on this, it was great news! However on the flip side, the influx of businesses using the platform created more competition, and pushed up bidding prices – not such good news.
Even though the ad credits have long since expired, competition is still high for PPC. But, does this mean that smaller businesses should write-off this channel as part of their marketing strategy in 2022? Not necessarily.
One way to keep your costs down includes tailoring your landing pages to make sure every click through to your website counts. Going into 2022, it’s more important than ever to understand your niche and deliver content that’s super specific.
Be visible in a competitive space
To stand out from the crowd, it’s more Important than ever to consider your consumer journey and know what makes your business unique. The more relevant your keywords, content and target audience, the more chance you have at succeeding with your PPC campaigns.
You can also think outside of Google. While this search engine is still the dominant player, Bing and LinkedIn also saw an increase in usage. The key takeaway: know where your audience hangs out online and research which platforms could give you the best results for your budget (it might not be Google!).
Less control over ad settings
Last year, we spoke about the rise of automation and it looks like this will be another big trend in 2022. Google announced the end of expanded text ads and combined Display and Smart Display ad settings. But what does this mean for your PPC marketing strategy?
The rise in automated ad settings ultimately means businesses have less of a say over where ads will be shown. Google is increasingly acting as an assistant that can help you tweak your campaigns to keep driving better results. The platform can even point out where you could be spending your budget more effectively, so you can pour more money into ads that are performing well, rather than wasting money on those that aren’t. Sounds good, right?
It’s important not to become complacent. While the automated suggestions can offer helpful insights, it’s not quite enough to rely on this alone. Google AI only knows so much! It’s important to keep your unique selling points and marketing goals in mind when setting up your PPC ads.
Pre-pandemic, social media had been increasing its reach as a marketing channel. With the outbreak of COVID-19 many more businesses resorted to using social media as a way to bring in revenue, especially small companies. In other words, social media has never been a more popular and fruitful channel for ecommerce businesses.
Shopping went social
In last year’s blog, we discussed Facebook and Instagram’s new digital shopfronts, aimed at smaller businesses. Since these were introduced in 2020, social platforms have opened up a world of online shopping possibilities. Instagram made shopping easier for users with the new shoppable feed. Pinterest also introduced their visual search tool.
“There are even more ways to reach customers now with Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn ads. Businesses may have overlooked these platforms in previous years, but now it’s a vital step to spread brand awareness and increase revenue.
“According to Google, adding new social channels to your marketing mix can increase your return on investment (ROI) by 35%.”
Laurissa Gould – Digital Marketing Executive
Visual search could boost purchases
Pinterest and Google Lens saw a surge of users tapping into their visual search tool to find and purchase products online. The tool allows users to upload or take an image of a product, and based on that information, showcase similar-looking products. This mode of search isn’t likely to replace text-based searches for good. But, according to Invesp, 74% of consumers reported that traditional keyword searches were inefficient at helping them find the right products online.
If your business sells products online, you too can tap into the benefits of people searching and shopping through visual search. All you have to do is optimise your images with relevant alt tags, titles and descriptions. To help customers visualise your products, don’t forget to take high-resolution photographs from a range of angles.
“Visual search will be embraced by brands in 2022. If you want to increase your revenue and remain competitive, investing in visual search will be prudent. Since 55% of online shoppers say visual images contribute to their buying decisions, ecommerce websites with visual search features are likely to benefit.”
Laurissa Gould – Digital Marketing Executive
Year-on-year conversions may have been disappointing
Let’s address the elephant in the room – many businesses will have seen a significant drop in online conversions when looking at year-on-year results. Why? The pandemic has a lot to answer for. Lockdown naturally saw people flocking online to buy goods and consume content throughout most of 2020. However, the UK opened back up for business again in the spring of 2021, meaning more people started visiting brick-and-mortar shops. This inevitably meant a drop in people shopping online.
“Looking back over the year, it would be easy to get disheartened if your traffic or sales dropped compared to the year prior. So, rather than get unnerved by possible decreases in traffic or sales, understand that a lot of this could be out of your hands. Instead, look ahead to the new year with excitement and fresh ideas on how to get your numbers back on the up!”
Will Dardis – Junior Digital Marketing Executive
Let’s look ahead to the rest of 2022
Ready to embrace the changing digital marketing landscape? We hope this blog will help you prepare for the year ahead and get your digital marketing campaigns off to a flying start.
If you need help preparing your digital marketing for any of these changes, speak to us to get your free site audit.Contact Us Give Us A Call