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The not-so-SEO checklist for 2022

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The not-so-SEO checklist for 2022


30-second summary:

  • With several Google algorithm updates in 2021 its easy to fall into a dangerous trap of misconceptions
  • One factor that still remains constant is the value Google places on great content
  • Core Web Vitals aren’t the end-all of ranking factors but a tiebreaker
  • Read this before you create your SEO strategy for 2022!

The year 2021 was a relatively busy one for Google and SEOs across the world. The search engine behemoth is improving itself all the time, but in this past year, we saw a number of pretty significant updates that gave digital marketers cause for paying attention. From rewarding more detailed product reviews to nullifying link spam, Google keeps thinking of ways to improve the user experience on its platform.

Speaking of user experience: the biggest talking point of the year was June’s Page Experience update, which took place over a few months and notably included the Core Web Vitals.

After that happened, tens of thousands of words were published around the web instructing people on how to modify their websites to meet the new standards.

Mobile-friendliness became even more important than before. Some more inexperienced SEOs out there might have started looking to the Core Web Vitals as the new be-all ranking factor for web pages.

With all this new information on our hands since last year, it’s possible that some misconceptions have sprung up around what is good and bad for SEO in 2022.

In this post, I want to bring up and then dispel some of the myths surrounding Google’s bigger and more mainstream 2021 updates.

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So, here it is – the not-so-SEO checklist for your 2022. Here are three of the things you shouldn’t do.

1. Don’t prioritize Core Web Vitals (CWV) above quality content

It’s no secret that Google’s Core Web Vitals are among the elements you’ll want to optimize your website for in 2022 if you haven’t done so already.

As a quick reminder, the Core Web Vitals are at the crossroads between SEO and web dev, and they are the measurements of your website’s largest contentful paint, first input display, and cumulative layout shift.

Those are the parts of your website that load first and allow users to start interacting with the site in the first few milliseconds. Logic tells us that the slower your load times are, the worse your site’s user experience will be.

First of all, this isn’t exactly new information. We all know about page speed and how it affects SEO. We also know how vital it is that your Core Web Vitals perform well on mobile, which is where around 60 percent of Google searches come from.

Google takes its Core Web Vitals so seriously as ranking factors that you can now find a CWV report in Google Search Console and get CWV metrics in PageSpeed Insights results (mobile-only until February of 2022, when the metrics roll out for desktop).

Given that, why am I calling it a misconception that Core Web Vitals should be at the top of your SEO-optimization checklist for 2022?

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It’s because Google itself has explicitly stated that having a top-shelf page experience does not trump publishing killer content. Content is still king in SEO. Being useful and answering user questions is one of the most crucial ranking factors.

So, it’s a misconception that Google will not rank you well unless your Core Web Vitals are all in solid, healthy places.

However, having it all is the ideal situation. If you have great web content and optimized Core Web Vitals, you’ll probably perform better in organic search than would a page without strong Core Web Vitals.

In 2022, therefore, work on your Core Web Vitals for sure, but develop a detailed content marketing plan first.

2. Don’t assume your affiliate product-review site is in trouble

Another misconception that might have followed from a 2021 Google update is that affiliate sites, specifically product-review sites, were in some hot water after the Product Reviews update from April.

Google meant for the update to prioritize in-depth and useful product reviews over reviews that are spammy and light on details. In other words, just as in organic search, higher-quality content is going to win here.

If there was ever a point when someone actually made money by running a shady, low-quality affiliate site that featured nonsense product reviews that were then essentially spammed out to thousands of people, Google’s April 2021 product reviews update started to kill that.

The search engine now prioritizes long-form, detailed reviews, the kind that generates trust from users. Those are the types of affiliate content that stand to benefit from Google’s update, while the spammy sites will continue to vanish from top rankings.

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Therefore, we can forget about the misconception that good, honest, hard-working affiliate product reviewers would somehow be hurt by the update.

As long as you are presenting something relevant and legitimately useful to users, you may have even seen your rankings rise since the April of 2021.

3. Don’t assume Google will rewrite all your titles

The last misconception I want to address here is the idea that you don’t need to put effort into your pages’ title tags because Google is going to rewrite them all anyway following its August of 2021 title tag-rewrite initiative.

First, some explanation. Back in August, many of you know that SEOs across the industry started noticing their page titles being rewritten, as in, not as they had originally created them.

Google soon owned up to rewriting page titles, but only those it believed were truly sub-par for user experience. In Google’s view, those junky title tags included ones that were stuffed with keywords, overly long, boilerplate across a given website, or just plain missing.

But SEOs still noticed that seemingly SEO-optimized title tags were still being rewritten, and the new titles didn’t always come directly from the original title. Sometimes, as Google has been doing since 2012, the search engine would use semantics to rewrite a title to be more descriptive or just simply better.

In other cases, Google’s new titles came from H1 text, body text, or backlink anchor text.

Google saw these efforts and still does, as one great way to improve user experience during the search.

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Many SEOs, however, did not see it that way, especially given that Google’s rewrites were sometimes responsible for drops in traffic.

To put it mildly, there was uproar in the SEO community over the change, so much so that Google explained itself a second time just a month later, in September 2021.

In that blog post, Google said that it uses marketers’ own title tags 87 percent of the time (up from just 80 percent in August). The other 13 percent would be rewrites done to improve:

  • too-short titles,
  • outdated titles,
  • boilerplate titles,
  • and inaccurate titles.

And now to bring things back to the crux of this: it is a misconception that you’re wasting your time writing title tags after August of 2021.

Google does not actually want to rewrite your title tags. It clearly stated this in its September blog post.

What Google wants is for you to write high-quality page titles on your own, ones that are descriptive, truthful, and useful. Give users what they need, and Google will leave your titles alone.

However, throw a bunch of keywords in there, or use boilerplate titles all over your site, and you can expect Google to do some cleaning up on your behalf. The trouble is, you may not personally like the results.

Title tags matter in SEO, big time. Don’t think that your efforts are futile just because of the 2021 change. Focus on creating title tags that matter for users, and you should be just fine.

Going forward

The three misconceptions I have covered here can be dangerous to fall into in 2022.

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Now, are Core Web Vitals, quality affiliate links, and title tags important to Google? You can bet they are. But SEOs also just have to be smart when approaching these matters. Everything Google Search Central does has the user in mind.

Optimize for Core Web Vitals, but still, put quality content creation first.

Run your affiliate marketing site, but ensure the reviews are useful.

And write amazing SEO title tags so that Google won’t want to rewrite them.

Following these guidelines can only help you in the year to come.


Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently Kris founded SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and is the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time called, ‘Search-Engine Optimization – Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing’, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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7 Best Content Marketing Platforms For An Effective Strategy

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7 Best Content Marketing Platforms For An Effective Strategy

“Content is everything.”

At least, that’s one variation of the saying each website owner adheres to. But in the ever-changing landscape of content marketing, content distribution is a close runner-up to the content itself.

Organizations must invest in effective content marketing by leveraging various content marketing platforms as competition becomes more fierce.

How fierce? 47% of companies plan to grow their content teams this year.

Here are seven tools to consider to take your content to new heights.

1. Exploding Topics – Best For Trending Content

Brian Dean founded Backlinko and Exploding Topics, and has been a trusted resource in content marketing since he grew Backlinko from zero to millions of users per month.

Since Dean established his site, he turned his sights on helping others by offering data on growing topics before they take off.

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Exploding Topics aggregates data and uses an advanced algorithm that provides the percentage growth of specific topics of choice.

With access to this data, you can start writing content first to gain a first movers advantage over competitors.

2. BuzzSumo – Best For Social Media Content

BuzzSumo exploded onto the scene in 2013.

Since then, this platform has diversified its service offering to become a powerhouse for serious content marketers.

BuzzSumo offers content discovery, research, monitoring, and influencer insights. The influencer option could exponentially increase the odds of virality for your content marketing efforts.

By navigating to the “top sharers” section, you can pinpoint influencers that have shared articles that may correlate to topics you have written and reach out to the influencers to share your article to expand your content reach.

3. Outbrain – Best For Native Content

Outbrain was one of the leading pioneers of native content and has gained tremendous market share over competitors.

Today Outbrain provides 344 billion monthly content recommendations in over fifty-five countries. Getting started with Outbrain does not involve a significant cost investment.

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To begin a campaign on the Outbrain network, you can set a campaign budget of $20 and a CPC (cost per click) price point of 0.03 cents.

Considering how rapidly you can expand your content marketing reach and strategically retarget users once they have navigated to your site makes Outbrain a no-brainer, pun intended.

4. Patreon – Best For Content Membership

Patreon offers a premium membership model to content creators.

Monthly pledges from patrons have provided content creators with a consistent way to provide quality content while making a living.

Founded in 2013, Patreon quickly became the go-to platform for content creators to establish a loyal fan base.

Content creators span several focus areas, which include videographers, Podcasters, Writers, artists, and musicians.

If you are a content creator that wants to earn a living without starting a blog, Patreon is the way to go.

5. Contently – Best For Content Scheduling

Scheduling content distribution is easy with the help of Contently. You can easily plan times and dates to distribute content across several platforms.

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A feature called Storybook uses proprietary technology to provide a predictive model of which topics will have the most significant impact.

Additionally, Contently provides SEO recommendations and checks the voice and tone of the content. One of the most powerful features Contently provides is access to the premium creative network.

It can be a hassle to vet writers when you are just starting.

Contently has created a premium network of writers you can leverage. Many of these writers have published articles for The New Yorker, Wired, and The Financial Times, among many other established publications.

Contently also provides access to videographers and designers to help create more impactful content through the premium creative network.

If you are looking for an enterprise content marketing platform Contently is a top contender.

6. Scoop.it – Best for Content Curation

Scoop.it is a cloud-based content management platform that discovers and researches content via the web and social networks. Over 30 million web pages are crawled from Scoop.it.

You can quickly scale your curated content needs by leveraging the WordPress integration to publish content directly to your site.

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Leveraging curated content will help establish trust and add additional value to your audience while highlighting your specific industry expertise.

You might be losing out if you are not integrating curated content into your content marketing strategy.

Hootsuite advises a ratio of 40% created and 60% curated content to boot your content marketing efforts.

7. Uberflip – Best For Personalized Content

Uberflip offers several options for content marketers, but one of the most valuable features Uberflip provides is the ability to personalize content for audiences.

As a result, content marketers turn to Uberflip to execute ABM (account-based marketing).

The content destination feature allows marketers to engage audiences with tailored messaging and provides customized layouts and personalized branding.

Given the statistics around personalization, content marketers need to be mindful of tailored messaging.

Conclusion

If your organization is not investing in content marketing, it might be safe to assume you are losing market share to your competitors.

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Content marketing is not an option but a necessity in today’s current landscape.

As a result, several content marketing platform choices exist to get started quickly.

There is no right on wrong options to get started with content marketing.

You have to jump in and get your feet wet.

Beginning with one of the content marketing platforms mentioned above is a good move in the right decision.

More resources: 


Featured Image: The KonG/Shutterstock

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