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31 January, 2022.
Matt Meazey & Gemma Russell.

Following the near-constant disruption of 2021, it looks likely that 2022 will bring both challenges and opportunities for businesses and consumers.
Pressure will be mounting as they get squeezed financially and logistical & supply challenges cause wider frustration. But, it is not all doom and gloom; with the world opening up, expectations of travel, seeing friends and family and looking for new experiences, all bodes well for what is likely to be an interesting year ahead.

Search is one of the key areas that consumers use to get help, advice and information. In 2021, the volume of search was around looking for local services or restaurants, exploring new areas, looking for new experiences and hobbies to try, changing addresses, charity donations or apps to help them do things – it all adds up.

Whilst Google won’t give you definitive answers about the number of searches per day, it was somewhere between 3.5bn and 5.6bn global searches per day in 2021. This is an astounding amount and therefore, it is essential that you have the best strategies in place for your SEO and PPC – ones that pay attention to the evolution of search, changing consumer behaviour and the numerous algorithm updates, and ones that allow you to adjust as these changes occur.

With this in mind, we have brought our Senior SEO and PPC Strategists (Matt Meazey and Gemma Russell) to bring this to life with four key areas to get right.

Four key SEO strategies for 2022
Great SEO has always been about optimising your website for people, not search engines, even if it is called Search Engine Optimisation – and this won’t change in 2022. With the expectation of having a great, growing user experience, search engine algorithms have changed and will continue to get more sensitive to this in 2022 as they seek to provide the user with the most relevant result possible from their search query. It’s becoming increasingly common for SEO and Conversion Rate Optimisation strategies to intersect, with both disciplines essentially aiming to provide the user with the best experience.

Writing content that resonates with the audience
This isn’t new, but it’s becoming increasingly vital if we’re to succeed from an organic search and conversion perspective. Search engines have become increasingly intelligent in recent times and will continue to become more focused on the intention behind people’s search queries. Because of this, it’s imperative that the content matches the intent.

Being creative with ‘building links’. There’s no denying that backlinks increase the chances of higher organic positions, but we must be careful about how we get them. Again, this isn’t new, but search engines are getting savvy and recognise what is considered a natural link and something that is more artificial. By investing in activities such as digital PR, you can build links ‘naturally’ through content that people link to and share naturally.

Our digital PR extraordinaire, Matt Hartley, has said the following:

With Google placing more emphasis on ensuring that links are as natural as possible, Digital PR looks set to continue growing throughout 2022, with many online marketers finally seeing the importance of crafting great campaigns that add value to relevant publications within your sector. Off-page SEO can often be the difference between your page ranking #5 and #1 for your priority keywords, as organically sourced, relevant links from websites with authority in your sector can score real points with Google’s algorithm.

Even the guys at Google have said that it is important. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google said:

I love some of the things I see from Digital PR, it’s a shame it often gets bucketed with the spammy kind of link building. It’s just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases. (Source)

Ensuring your website is fast, secure and easy to navigate
With more people than ever purchasing products online, the demand for a great user experience is fierce. Optimising your website’s structure so it’s easy for users and search engines to navigate your website is more important than ever. Equally, people want to transact through a website that is both fast and safe. All of these factors are part of the search engine algorithms, and websites that don’t tick these boxes will be overtaken by their competitors.

More Core Algorithm updates?
2021 has been dubbed the year of search engine algorithm updates; it was a bit of a bumpy ride! Could 2022 be the same? In previous years, we were used to seeing 4-5 core updates a year so we can expect to see at least that, but be prepared for more! It must be stressed that the algorithm changes multiple times a day, but Google tends to do core algorithm updates throughout the year.

How do you prepare for an algorithm update? The answer is you don’t. By ensuring SEO is done the right way, optimising for humans first, you are less likely to be negatively impacted by an algorithm update. Therefore, you shouldn’t need to worry about these core updates. In theory, the updates are designed to negatively impact websites with poor experiences, inaccurate or untruthful content, and unnatural backlinks for example.

Four key PPC strategies for 2022
As paid digital optimisation becomes more automated, the focus will continue to shift away from the day-to-day to a higher level, more strategic way of thinking. This will deliver more value and insight and help exceed your business/brand’s goals. With the acceleration of digital transformation, it becomes ever more important for brands to get support to help guide them through this process and the world of PPC jargon, to enable them to fully understand the benefits of an integrated automated/non-automated PPC approach.

Futureproofing measurement & the bigger picture
With cookies being phased out in 2023, the need to embrace new models becomes key to protecting your measuring capabilities. Brands need to look at embracing solutions that model conversions and ones that can take advantage of CRM data integrations with ad platforms. This approach will enable you to get closer to a full-funnel view and a continued focus on optimising for profitability, rather than just lead volumes or revenue.

Embracing the next generation of paid media automation
There is a host of automation that is currently happening (Broad Match-only campaigns, Performance Max Keywordless search in Google Ads, Facebook ads with greater freedom on audience targeting to name a few) and is opening huge amounts of opportunity for brands. It is essential that, as a client, you test and understand the impacts/benefits for your performance that automation can bring to you in 2022.

Upping your creative/ad copy game
Do you understand your target audience well enough to create clear testing ad copy that has impact? This has always been the case, but now with ad formats that embrace split-testing becoming the norm, it is crucial. For Fountain, it is about investing time to understand your business and to use the valuable insights gained from across the whole company, to create brilliant ad copy.

Getting the marketing channel mix right
Developing a full-funnel marketing strategy involves getting the right insights in place. Once you have the right measurement & tracking set up, you will be able to truly understand the role each channel plays in the customer journey. This insight will allow you to curate a strategy that delivers growth and profitability and enables you to focus your budget spend on the right ad platforms. Without the right data, the likelihood of success is dramatically reduced.

These strategy tips for SEO and PPC will help your brand build the framework for a successful digital approach.
Over the course of this year, we will be exploring a wide range of subjects, so why not sign up to our newsletter so you can hear our thoughts and opinions on the importance of digital, covering key aspects like:

  • The economic challenges of 2022 – supply chain, labour shortages, energy crisis, increasing cost of raw materials and how digital can help brands manage consumer expectations.
  • Brands warning of price hikes.
  • VAT changes.
  • Squeezed consumer.
  • Doubling down in digital – Unilever training staff in digital media.
  • Brand growth driven by digital – brand and performance working together.
  • The rise of ultra-convenience vs. sustainability – with likes of Getir, Gorrillas, Go Puff, etc., looking to replace the weekly shop with instant deliveries.
  • Partnerships – Currys and Uber – laptops to your door in half an hour.
  • Brands becoming media businesses – first-party data – boots media group.

If you want to speak to either Matt or Gemma, then please do get in touch as we would be happy to talk with you to see how we can help improve your SEO and PPC.