Search Engine Optimization (SEO) might seem less relevant in 2022 than it used to be, but the reality of search is continually evolving, with content marketers having to adapt to Google's changes and vice versa. It's all now more complex than ever, but also more organic and natural. And it works. In fact, last year 61% of B2B marketers said that SEO traffic was generating more revenue than their other marketing techniques.
The practice we know as SEO actually predates the popular search engines which gained popularity in the 2000s. In 1997, the idea of ranking your website high on a search engine was still a new concept, and it was also directory-driven.
Ranking high was very easy at the time. If the highest-ranking website had 50 keywords, all you had to do was use the keyword 100 times throughout your web pages and meta tags. Nowadays, the practice is known as spamming, which affects your ranking.
As Google entered the scene with its web crawler and PageRank algorithm, it revolutionized the informational retrieval sector. They included both on-page and off-page factors that factored in the quality and quantity of external links redirecting to a website.
However, the linking tactic became heavily abused, forcing Google to address the issue. Over the following months, Google updated its index regularly, resulting in vast ranking fluctuations. SEO became more challenging since it was no longer about having a certain number of keywords or links.
Since then, the Google SEO algorithm has grown to include Google AdSense, local SEO, personalization, and a major update called Vince and Caffeine in 2008. Google placed more weight on trust in the algorithm to ensure websites were properly branded. Google constantly keeps on updating its algorithm every day.
Throughout the year, Google releases core updates every time there has been a change to its algorithm, as well as some broad core algorithm updates. The main goal of the updates is to keep on improving the search experience for the user with more accurate and believable search results.
For example, in 2018, the company released a broad core algorithm that was looking to benefit "under-ranked" web pages. After a month, they rolled out another broad core algorithm update that targeted content relevance.
While the updates are regular, every once in a while, Google releases broad core updates that will impact search results globally. In 2019, there was another broad core update that was targeted to boost sites with overall optimal performance.
Here is a list of every huge update since 2020:
BERT Expands (October): The Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) update did not have much impact on SEO. It was a critical point in Google's history and its search algorithm. The new update helps Google understand the content of search queries to serve up better search results.
Core Update 2020 (December): This was the final major update in 2020 and the first since May of the same year. The update had wide-reaching effects, directly impacting websites and SEO across all languages.
Passage Ranking (February): Google started implementing new changes on ranking specific sections or passages from a web page in search results. According to Google, the update would impact up to 7 of all search queries.
Product Review Update (April & December): The update targeted product review pages that went above and beyond to produce in-depth and unique research with insightful analysis. Google claimed such web pages would be promoted in their search results rankings.
Multitask Unified Model (MUM) (June): Built on a transformer architecture, MUM is 1,000 times more powerful and capable than BERT at multitasking to connect the information to the user in different variations.
Page Experience Update (June): The company also started using a new set of metrics known as Core Web Vitals to understand how users relate to the experience with a specific web page. The three metrics for Core Web Vitals include cumulative layout shift, which assesses visual stability, largest Contentful plant (LCP), which calculates loading performance, and first input delay (FID), which evaluates interactivity.
By now, most B2B companies should be aware of SEO and how it can be beneficial to their business. SEO should have top consideration for an effective demand generation strategy. More than 90% of all online interactions begin with a search engine, which is why B2B should pay close attention to its SEO strategies.
With proper SEO, search engines will drive traffic to your web pages, while call-to-action links will generate more leads. This improves your search profit potential, which your business stands to profit from if a conversion is made.
In 2022, the foundation of your SEO campaign will involve a technical SEO audit, which should look something like this:
However, that's only a fraction of what's involved in the process. You will also need to develop an effective list of keywords relevant to your B2B audience. You also need equally-relevant content on your Hub that includes those keywords naturally. This not only includes your core content but any other types of content marketing.
Finally, you need to link back to your Hub to promote your authority and expertise. Look for opportunities to build relationships and create links naturally, but don't overlook the power of a business directory or community forum for a little link-building boost.
As Google continues to adjust the levers, SEO and its best practices continue to evolve. At Layup Content, we help those in the fintech and finance B2B sector stand out from the crowd. We partner with clients who have deep institutional knowledge and use our journalistic skills to convert that experience into articles that resonate with your clients. Contact us today to learn more.