15 Trends And Changes In SEO That Will Impact Agency Work This Year

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Optimizing a company website for search involves a lot of variables. To remain effective, your SEO strategy must continuously evolve along with algorithm changes made by the top search engines as well as your company’s needs and business goals.

With so many moving parts, keeping your SEO game strong takes a lot of time, thought and effort, but ensuring that your site’s keywords, content and overall user experience will be effective in leading interested prospects your way is critical. Below, members of Forbes Agency Council explore trends and changes in SEO that are affecting their work this year, as well as how they plan to maintain a strong online presence and first-page search rankings.

1. Using Simple Layouts For Mobile Content

One strategy that is important to always keep in mind is how the content and layout will look on a mobile device. Having a great mobile experience correlates with stronger SEO rankings, as consumers are increasingly spending more time viewing sites on their mobile devices than on their desktop computers or laptops. When building your site’s design, focusing on simplicity is a must. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

2. Shifting From Keywords To User Experience

User experience is definitely a game changer this year. The conversation has shifted from keywords and content length to user experience and visitor engagement. All of the classic SEO indicators must be folded into a hyper-user-friendly package that delivers a UX that keeps customers coming back. Form and function matter just as much (if not more) than the content being delivered. – Bernard May, National Positions

3. Managing SEO At Every Service Level

We’ve always considered keywords for client campaigns, and now we’re baking SEO management into every level of service. Why? Because it is essential. We pick 20 keywords per quarter in addition to the core keywords that each client is focused on (which they provide or we define in a strategy session before engagement) to allow for a targeted approach. – Vix Reitano, Agency 6B

4. Writing With Search Intent And Context In Mind

Now more than ever, search intent and context are important when aiming for the No. 1 spot in Google search rankings. Internet surfers these days aren’t just looking for the “best audio speakers,” for example, they’re looking for the “best speakers for a party.” This has impacted the way content is researched and written and then found. Writers now need to produce extremely relevant and creative content for each scenario on Google. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Agency, Inc

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

5. Keeping An Eye On The Near Future

It’s been a wild ride for SEO lately. Emphasizing one vital trend is impossible, as we all know just how intertwined every SEO aspect is. There’s so much to keep an eye on in the near future—from data collection and analysis via AI tools and maintaining data privacy while personalizing UX to creating valuable and engaging content amid content hyperproduction and moving from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. – Dejan Popovic, PopArt Studio

6. Optimizing Core Web Vitals

This year, Core Web Vitals optimization is going to be one of the big trends in SEO, as they are now officially Google ranking factors. With all the scripts running in the background of a website, such as Google Analytics code, Facebook pixels and so on, optimizing the Core Web Vitals takes time and effort. Once this optimization is done, it will surely become one of the strongest parts of your SEO. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

7. Evolving Along With Zero-Click Searches

The biggest trend that continues to impact SEO, and especially ROI metrics, is zero-click searches. The algorithm can change up to ten times a day, but strategically, the biggest impact on an SEO manager’s work comes from search engines providing answers without the need to click. As habits evolve, so must content, intent mapping and, ultimately, the measurement of SEO impact in order to further grow. – Neal Patel, Bruce Clay MENA

8. Optimizing For Mobile Search

Mobile browsing plays a critical role in driving website traffic, so you’ll want to optimize your SEO for searches performed on mobile devices. For instance, blog posts play a big role in content engagement. Choose topics based on search trends, such as questions people ask in Google, to increase traffic. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

9. Prioritizing Web Usability And Accessibility

Web usability and accessibility are affecting most sites in positive or negative ways. When it comes to SEO efforts, Core Web Vitals continue to be of importance, and that kind of correlates to overall semantics and accessibility performance. The top priority of the linked data is to enable websites to do more; usable and correct data markup is crucial alongside loading speed. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion

10. Scheduling Appointments In Google

As our marketing agency continues to expand into medical SEO this year, we are paying close mind to Google’s new appointment scheduling feature. It will be imperative for medical providers to have up-to-date name, address and phone information filled out correctly and a targeted local SEO strategy in place to access this feature and remain competitive. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

11. Understanding Google’s Featured Snippets

While not new this year, Google’s evolution from providing links to providing answers continues to impact how we prioritize work. Specifically, understanding how and why Google creates featured snippets for a query can drive a lot of value. Finding ways to optimize content to trigger a featured snippet can earn an organic click without it even being the traditional first organic search result. – Gyi Tsakalakis, AttorneySync & EPL Digital

12. Measuring Page Performance From The User’s Perspective

Improving the Core Web Vitals score across your pages is the most impactful SEO change you can make that can both help your rankings and improve your user’s experience. This is because, unlike other SEO strategies and metrics, this one measures the performance of your pages from the user’s perspective. – Steve Ohanians, WebEnertia

13. Understanding Your Peers’ SEO Strategy And Updates

As everyone adjusts their sites and content to satisfy Google and social media platform algorithms, we frequently find that our backlog of content has broken links or the information we’re referencing has moved. So, not only do we have to be diligent about understanding search and ranking trends, but we also have to bear in mind our peers’ strategies and updates and then adjust accordingly. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

14. Reducing The Chance Of Google Rewriting Page Titles

The traffic you get from Google is most influenced by your clickthrough rate, not your ranking. Google’s move last year to algorithmically rewrite the majority of page title tags had a generally negative impact on CTR. We’re now identifying which pages are having titles rewritten and incorporating best practices to decrease the likelihood that Google will rewrite them. – John Keehler, RUNNER Agency

15. Taking A Behavior-Based Approach To SEO

Every SEO strategy is a bit of a moving target. No matter how good it is one day, the next day it may need to change because the algorithm it’s leveraging has changed without warning. This year, the most effective SEO strategies will take a behavior-based approach, leading to a level of personalization we’ve not seen before. Relevancy isn’t the end game now; it’s simply the entry point. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave