“Just as brands are trying to gather first-party data, so too is Google. Search results will be more interactive, and they will cater to the full customer experience, all the better to capture this valuable data.”
“Next year promises to be a really interesting one across media in general, as we’ve increasingly found that Covid has changed the face of behavioural trends indelibly. In 2022 I’m expecting brands to focus much more on behavioural and situational search signals (device, location, demographic) to re-evaluate how consumers are interacting.
I’m going to go with a big trend, an approach, and a specific prediction:
In 2021, Google began to roll out video ‘chaptering’ – a feature first introduced in 2021 in which videos are divided up into more accessible chunks – by default across all eligible videos.

  1. MUM: Taking searcher intent to the next level
  2. The rise of video search
  3. Technical SEO
  4. Voice search: still niche, or about to have its time?
  5. PPC
  6. Other trends in search

MUM: Taking searcher intent to the next level

I’ve made scepticism about voice search (and voice apps) something of a beat here at Econsultancy, and I’m still not convinced that there are enough genuine use cases for voice that other types of search can’t fulfil well enough. Some of our commentators agree with me – but others think voice is about to break through. Will 2022 be a pivotal year?

Google will enjoy greater context for intent – but is it going to share the data?

“There is … the potential for challengers to attack parts of Google’s core search business. Google’s dependence on Search for its advertising revenues means it will always have to balance this need with the user’s best interests. Increasingly, that balance tips in favour of its own desire to increase ad revenues.
In addition to making videos more digestible to the user, chapters have an SEO benefit, as chaptered videos are eligible to appear as rich results on Google search on mobile, and enjoy more real estate when they appear as featured snippets. And our experts believe this isn’t the end of Google’s plans for video in search…
“This means fixing website errors, automatically adapting to algorithmic changes – where possible – and updating website structures. Digital marketers will have to look at new ways to embrace technology and SEO data to help provide vital consumer and business intelligence to scale their programs more effectively to take the guesswork out of campaigns to fast-track their success.”
Emma Welland, Co-Founder at digital marketing consultancy House of Performance:
Niki Grant, Search Director at The Kite Factory:
“This should create a new relationship between marketing and machines. All too often, when machines start taking over our routine tasks, we can grow complacent. In reality, this only heightens the importance of human inputs.
“The search algorithm has tried to become more and more personal and useful on an individual level for years now, meaning that two people may go on very similar paths but be shown completely different results based on their location, search history and demographic makeup etc.

A visibility opportunity for niche brands

“Automation has been important in search marketing for years now, but in 2022 it really will take centre stage for all brands. The transition to Responsive Search Ads will be complete and those that have not embraced automation will have to do so pretty quickly.
“With the advent of MUM, we expect 2022 to be a year where all forms of digital content will be discoverable. Content marketers will focus on conversational content and elements of their site like Schema to ensure the context of their content is clearly communicated. This will create a need for digital marketers to prioritize and place greater precision on the types of schema and content formats being deployed in their content strategy.

(Quality) content is king

Will Critchlow, CEO of SearchPilot:
Crystal Carter, Senior Digital Strategist at digital marketing and web development agency Optix Solutions:
Clark Boyd, Head of Strategy at Cadeera:

A more personalised search journey

“First, developments in multimodal search technology make it possible to blend image and text to form one query. This entails a subtle shift away from a keyword-only approach to search, towards a focus on attention and intention.
Lemuel Park, Co-Founder & CTO at BrightEdge:
Joe Comotto, Director of Search Experience at digital advertising agency Incubeta:

A bigger change for the user than for the marketer

“Voice search is still an area that appears as yet largely unplumbed. With the increase of voice assistants and the situational insights available through this medium it feels there’s a lot more that can be achieved here. Search terms reports within Google ads provide no insight to the advertisers as to the mode of the search. This kind of information can provide huge context to brands in terms of how consumers interact with them and when certain ‘need states’ occur. For example, we could see search campaigns optimised to voice with longer tail keywords and less formality in language.
“In 2022, SEO and Digital marketers will need to become more pre-emptive – rather than reactive – in their approach to understanding and identifying factors that will drive a search rank improvement and competitive wins. This will include utilizing machine learning technology to better understand how search engine updates impact performance and what types of content resonates with both a user and a search engine.
For more on what’s on the horizon for 2022, don’t miss Econsultancy’s upcoming briefing, Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Trends For 2022 on 26th January at 3pm GMT/10am EST. Register your place now!

Focus on multimedia content for success in 2022

“We see some evidence of this already in Google Ads, where advertisers can place their creative across a number of Google properties within one automated campaign.
“Those who are creating quality content that serves a purpose will have nothing to worry about and everything to gain. In short, I certainly don’t think that there is any reason for SEOs to panic or start proclaiming that SEO is dead.”
Niki Grant, Search Director at media agency The Kite Factory:
Will Critchlow, CEO of SearchPilot:
“Giving the searcher the option to add this context disambiguates the query, while still providing Google with the information contained in the image.
“The challenge for search marketers here is that this may muddy the waters as they try to decipher user intent from their end. Will Google share the data created by multimodal search? Or will we be left with fuzzy concepts like E-A-T, while they know exactly what our customers want?

The rise of video search

“Of the more than 750 SEO and digital marketers we recently surveyed on the Future of SEO in 2022, 75% indicated they would be increasing their SEO investments and efforts, which is a crucial area for that investment. We expect 2022 to be the year page performance and site speed truly impacts the organic channel.”
“MUM is such an interesting step for search, as the medium itself has always relied on the user having an idea of what they’re looking for before they find it. With MUM’s capability to contextualise a question and provide what may seem to be ‘peripheral’ information, it’s possible to provide the user with what they need, even if they have no idea what that is. This could open up opportunities for brands with more complex or niche offerings, providing visibility they may otherwise have not been able to secure.”

Video to the fore in 2022

Matt Read, Business Director, Head of Digital & Training, Space & Time
Matt Read, Business Director, Head of Digital & Training, Space & Time
Matt Read, Business Director, Head of Digital & Training, Space & Time
MUM helps Google to better process information in multimedia content like video, images and, soon, in audio. This means that we are likely to see an increase in visual content being shown in the SERP and being created by brands. This also means that brands should take a strategic approach to multimedia content optimisation and creation.
“[MUM] takes this AI driven approach to the next level, taking in thousands of signals to try and really get to grips with the unique context of your individual journey. The hope is to make complex, research based searching easier and create shorter and easier search journeys. Our focus should be on continuing to create content that answers these questions, but also uses multimedia to do so as Google will recognise the value to the user in all forms of content.”

Marketers will need to pre-empt, not react

“So, while I’m bullish on the technology, and on the user experience for the searcher, I don’t forecast it making radical changes to the way that search marketing works in the next 12 months.”
Olga Andrienko, VP of Brand Marketing at SaaS marketing platform Semrush:
“In local search, Google Business Profile is likely to have increased relevance as we see increased integrations across Google marketing channels like Google Merchant and Google Ads.”

“In 2022, SEOs should start thinking about how they can optimise voice effectively in their strategies. There have been some major advancements in this area and it will be very interesting to see how Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) is used to help facilitate this. While we’re a long way off from using voice in a quotidian way, there’s huge potential in its offering.”

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