30 second summary:
- With several updates to Google’s algorithm in 2021, it’s easy to fall into a dangerous trap of misunderstanding
- One factor that remains constant is the value Google places on great content
- Core Web Vitals are not the end of all ranking factors, but a tiebreak
- Read this before creating your SEO strategy for 2022!
2021 has been a relatively busy year for Google and SEOs around the world. The search engine giant is continually improving, but in the last year we have seen a number of nice things significant updates which gave digital marketers reason to pay attention. From rewarding more detailed product reviews to canceling link spam, Google continues to think of ways to improve the user experience on its platform.
Speaking of user experience: The most talked about topic of the year was the June Page Experience update, which took place over a few months and notably included Core Web Vitals.
After that happened, tens of thousands of words were posted across the web to educate people on how to modify their websites to meet the new standards.
Compatibility with mobile devices has become even more important than before. Some more novice SEOs may have begun to consider Core Web Vitals as the new universal ranking factor for web pages.
With all this new information available to us since last year, it is possible that some misconceptions have arisen about what is good and bad for SEO in 2022.
In this post, I want to raise and then dispel some of the myths surrounding Google’s biggest and most traditional 2021 updates.
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 (CWVs) over quality content
It is no secret that Google Major Web Vitals are among the elements for which you will want to optimize your website in 2022 if you have not already done so.
As a quick reminder, the Core Web Vitals are at the crossroads of SEO and web development and are the measurements of your website’s largest content painting, first input view, and cumulative layout shift.
These are the parts of your website that load first and allow users to start interacting with the site in the first milliseconds. Logic tells us that the slower the loading times, 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 critical it is for your Core Web Vital to perform well on mobile devices, and this is where about 60 percent of Google searches come from.
Google takes its Core Web Vitals as ranking factors so seriously that you can now find a CWV report in Google Search Console and get CWV metrics in PageSpeed Insights results (mobile only until February 2022, when the metrics will be available for desktop).
That said, why am I defining a misconception that Core Web Vitals should be at the top of your SEO optimization checklist for 2022?
It is because Google itself has explicitly stated that having a top-notch page experience doesn’t win over delivering killer content. Content is still king in SEO. Being helpful and answering user questions is one of the most crucial ranking factors.
So, it’s a misconception that Google won’t rank you well unless your Core Web Vitals are all in solid, healthy places.
However, having it all is ideal. If you have great web content And optimized Core Web Vitals, you will likely get better organic search performance than a page without strong Core Web Vitals.
In 2022, therefore, definitely work on your Core Web Vitals, but develop a detailed content marketing plan first.
2. Don’t assume your affiliate product review site is in trouble
Another misconception that may have arisen from a 2021 Google update is that affiliate sites, especially product review sites, were in trouble after the April product reviews update.
Google intended for the update to prioritize in-depth and helpful product reviews over spammy and low-detailed product reviews. In other words, just like in organic search, higher quality content will win here.
If there was ever a time when someone actually made money running a shady, low-quality affiliate site that featured gibberish product reviews that were then essentially spamming thousands of people, Google Product reviews update for April 2021 started killing him.
The search engine now prioritizes detailed and lengthy reviews, the kind that builds user trust. These are the types of affiliate content that will benefit from Google’s update, while spam sites will continue to disappear from the rankings.
Therefore, we can forget the misconception that good, honest and hardworking affiliate product reviewers would be hurt in some way by the update.
As long as you’re presenting something relevant and legitimately useful to users, you may even have seen your rankings increase since April 2021.
3. Don’t assume that Google will rewrite all your titles
The final misconception I want to address here is the idea that you don’t need to commit to the title tags of your pages because Google will rewrite them all anyway after its August 2021 title tag rewrite initiative.
First, some explanations. In August, many of you know that SEOs across the industry started noticing their page titles were being rewritten, as in, not as they originally created them.
Google soon possessed to rewrite the page titles, but only those that it felt were truly below average for the user experience. From Google’s perspective, those junk title tags included those that were keyword-filled, excessively long, standard on a particular website, or just plain missing.
But SEOs still noticed that the seemingly SEO-optimized title tags were still being rewritten, and that new titles weren’t always coming directly from the original title. Sometimes, as Google has been doing since 2012, the search engine uses semantics to rewrite a title to be more descriptive or just plain better.
In other cases, the new Google titles came from H1 text, body text, or backlink anchor text.
Google saw these efforts and still does, as a great way to improve the user experience when searching.
Many SEOs, however, didn’t see it that way, especially considering that Google rewrites were sometimes responsible for traffic drops.
To put it mildly, there has been an uproar in the SEO community for change, so much so that Google he explained himself a second time just a month later, in September 2021.
In that blog post, Google said it uses marketer title tags 87 percent of the time (up from 80 percent in August). The other 13% would be rewritten to improve:
- titles too short,
- obsolete titles,
- standard titles,
- and inaccurate titles.
And now to get things back to the heart of this: it’s a misconception that you’re wasting your time writing title tags after August 2021.
Google doesn’t really want to rewrite the title tags. He stated this clearly in his September blog post.
What Google wants is for you to write high-quality, descriptive, truthful, and helpful page titles yourself. Give users what they need and Google will leave your headlines alone.
However, enter a lot of keywords or use standard headlines all over your site and you can expect Google to do some cleaning on your behalf. The problem is, you may not personally like the results.
Title tags are important in SEO, big time. Don’t think your efforts are useless just because of the 2021 change. Focus on creating title tags that matter to users, and you should be good to go.
The three misconceptions I’ve covered here can be dangerous to fall into in 2022.
Now, are Core Web Vitals, quality affiliate links, and title tags important to Google? You can bet they are. But SEOs also need to be smart when approaching these issues. 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 make sure the reviews are helpful.
And write cool SEO title tags so Google doesn’t want to rewrite them.
Following these guidelines can only help you in the year ahead.
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 and software services company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous companies. successful technologies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time titled “Search Engine Optimization: Your Visual Blueprint for Effective Internet Marketing,” which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.
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