Changes in Google’s search algorithm are leading more publishers to question whether keywords will matter for SEO in 2022.
Keyword rankings have become an obsession for some digital publishers. Within the B2B, lifestyle, regional, and parenting magazine niches, ranking on the first page of Google results for high-value keywords is an important metric of success. Keyword rankings are how many of today’s biggest digital publishers prove the value of their SEO strategies.
While there’s no doubt that search rankings are important, the bigger question is why. What is the value of a keyword, and why should keywords still matter for SEO in 2022?
Keywords, or key phrases, are the terms most likely to be used by people to find what they are looking for on search engines. Most key phrases are made up of one or two keywords that describe what the person is looking for. Among the different types of keywords, you’ll find branded (the name of a magazine), non-branded (the topic of the magazine or the article), location, or brand + location.
Keyword rankings only matter when they lead to actual results. Increased website traffic, higher conversions, greater numbers of newsletter sign ups. You get the drill. When it comes to SEO in 2022, what you’re likely to see is that keywords only matter in the context of the results they generate. When keywords drive value, they’re important to the publisher. Keywords that don’t drive value don’t matter from an SEO perspective, even if they help land the publication on the first page of certain Google results.
Google’s algorithms are smarter today than they were last year or the year before. Search algorithms now understand context and user intent. Because of that, we’re seeing fewer instances where publications rank on the first page of Google results for irrelevant keywords. Keywords still matter in the context of Google’s indexing system, however more intelligent algorithms mean publishers can focus less on SEO-driven strategies and more on producing high-quality content to get on the first page of Google results.
How Keyword Research Will Help Publishers in 2022
Don’t let Google’s latest algorithm updates fool you. SEO strategy still has a big role to play in ranking for high-value keywords, even when algorithms are smart enough to discern intent. The keywords a user searches for should clue Google’s algorithm into the user’s intent, just as the keywords embedded in a publisher’s content are a clue to the relevance of an article.
When it comes to SEO in 2022, publishers will want to pay close attention to the vocabulary they use. What that means is that there are multiple ways a person can ask a question or enter a search into Google. Publishers should be prepared for those variables. A solid strategy for SEO in 2022 is one that considers all the different ways a person can ask a single question.
Timestamps that are appended to keywords in the index also offer a clue as to the recency or freshness of an article. Google is more apt to return a recent article when a user searches a relevant keyphrase than an older piece of content. This was true previously, and it will continue to be true in 2022.
Competitive analysis is expected to get even more important for those publishers that want to look at keyword visibility in 2022. Competitive analysis can uncover a content gap at a publication, and that’s something publishers will want to keep an eye on. If another publisher isn’t serving content about a relevant topic, or the content they are publishing isn’t optimized, then that presents an opportunity for publishers who are ready to pounce.
After looking at competitor visibility, you may discover that competing publications don’t have the appropriate keywords placed in page titles, headings, or body content. Those mistakes, while relatively minor, can lead to pages not ranking for the relevant terms. Once again, this presents an opportunity for publishers who want to move in on those high-value keywords.
To learn more about how to ensure your website is optimized for SEO, contact the digital publishing specialists at Web Publisher PRO.