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SEO is a vital marketing channel for modern businesses. For other marketing efforts to reap dividends, users need to be able to find you—or at least see you in their list of options. Good SEO practices give that visibility by making websites rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Does that mean marketers need to spend countless hours on research, watching webinars, or attending events to understand SEO? Not always. But as marketing professionals, you should have your eyes and ears open to major trends in the SEO world if you want to rank on Google and make your marketing effective.

From the continuous scrolling mobile update that allows users to scroll to the bottom of a search page and receive the next batch of results to indented results that show a domain's most relevant pages to a user's search query, SEO experienced significant changes in 2021.

Those changes had a direct impact on site interactivity. Websites on Google's page two and beyond that rarely get a second glance could find themselves in the big leagues of the first (and only) SERP, thanks to continuous scroll. And with indented results displaying multiple webpages, more traffic can hit pages that otherwise wouldn't have received that traffic.

In 2022, expect more updates from Google that will affect SEO, ranking, and the user experience (UX). Here are three predictions for trends marketers should have on their radar.

1. Google Discover takes center stage

Although Google Discover has been around for three years, it surprisingly hasn't made many waves in the SEO world—yet.

Its feed experience works similarly to Instagram's: The content users like and show interest in surfaces to their feed (as articles) for them to interact with. Google takes it one step further by curating feeds based on users' search queries.

Google Discover is some sites' best-kept secret. Why? Because, in many cases, it drives significantly more traffic than organic search. Users see articles that appeal to their specific tastes and searches, and they visit the corresponding websites for further engagement. I foresee that Google will take advantage of that by integrating promoted results into Google Discover to capitalize on its traffic.

To be featured, sites have to meet four requirements:

  1. Schema markup: Sites should feature a code that tells search engines precisely what the site's content means, allowing for more informative results.
  2. Focused topic: The more focused the site, the easier it is to make the site clearly relevant to subjects that a user has displayed an interest in.
  3. Click-worthiness: Sites with clickbait titles reel users in and get them to click on the articles.
  4. Speed: Fast-loading site pages are imperative, especially on lesser-known sites.

Expect to see Google Discover make headway in 2022. Marketers who haven't started using Google Discover but have a blog or other noncommercial pages need to get on the train or risk getting left behind by their competitors.

2. Core Web Vitals becomes increasingly important to ranking

Part of Google's Page Experience update, Core Web Vitals—new metrics that prioritize the user experience by analyzing a webpage based on three signals—wasn't met with open arms when it rolled out in 2021. But I expect Google will still aim to increase the importance and improve the quality of that part of its algorithm in 2022.

Again, marketers don't want to be stuck in just getting going while their competitors are on their final lap. To keep up with SEO, they'll need to perform well in each Core Web Vitals signal: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift.

However, marketers shouldn't focus on those metrics at the expense of overall site experience, especially because Google is likely to introduce more nuanced metrics over time.

3. Title tag rewrites are here to stay

Google is always looking for new ways to up the ante on traditional search, but not all of its updates go smoothly—as was the case with title tag rewrites. Google will now replace a site's title with its H1 tag or with text from another site page. Despite the bumpy reception, Google will likely double down on its mission to write "better" titles and will keep refining rewrites in 2022.

Titles are imperative to ranking on SERPs; if Google decides to rewrite a site's title, that could influence the page's ranking for the worse. Although there's no way to prevent a site's title from being rewritten, there are ways to improve a title so that Google will be less likely to alter it.

My colleague Dr. Pete Meyers covered the main types and causes of rewrites in 2021; The post can be instructive as you aim to minimize or understand the behavior.

* * *

A new year brings new SEO trends to keep up with. It's fair to assume that the three topics featured in this article should be included in any good SEO plan for 2022.

More Resources on SEO Trends in 2022

Marketers' Top SEO Priorities in 2022

Eight SEO Strategies to Consider for 2022 [Infographic]

How to Use Google Search Console Insights for Your SEO Strategy

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image of Tom Capper

Tom Capper is the senior search scientist at Moz, an SEO software company.

LinkedIn: Tom Capper

Twitter: @THCapper