What’s new in the world of content you ask? Core updates and changes in how SEOs improve page quality were the rage last year. Expect increased diversification in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) as a result of developments in Google’s algorithms and new features such as Google Lens. These changes will impact how we manage SEO now and in the future.
Why should you think about a multimedia-first SEO strategy
MUM or multitask-unified model is the latest algorithm in Google’s super-powerful suite of algorithms, allowing users to see information in new and unique ways. Although it runs alongside, it’s much more powerful than BERT.
MUM can process in more than 75 natural languages and counting. It can also process text and images of similar quality and will soon be able to process audio and video. We’ll likely see the results of this in SERPs in the future. This is the natural evolution of a digital experience that allows users to interact with content dynamically with a variety of inputs, outputs and tools, often simultaneously.
Google’s push for better understanding and ranking media such as images and videos will require SEOs to look at multimedia content with new eyes.
Multimedia optimisations to look out for in 2022
Google Lens: Visual Recognition
Google has been investing heavily in image recognition technology for nearly 10 years. However, they have just recently increased the speed and scale of its integration into everyday search.
In the past 12 months, the new improvements to Google Lens and its uses have been prominently discussed at flagship events such as Google I/O, and SearchOn. However, their plans for moving into health are heavily dependent on their visual search skills.
Google Lens was added to the search widgets for Pixel and Android phones in 2021. The Lens’s updates last year included the ability for text to be translated in more than 100 languages using AR, and targeted visual searches of screenshots. Add to this a MUM-enabled capability to “add questions” to Lens searches and you can see their plans for the future.
What does google lens have to do with image SEO?
Search engines will continue to use standard image optimization elements such as alt-text and schema markup. File names, image titles, and file sizes remain important elements, and elements like composition will be able to build on this. SEOs may need to have more strategic conversations about how images are rendered on websites and what they look like.
This is because while AI-driven image processing tools such as Google Cloud’s Vision AI or Google Lens are rapidly developing, images with clear composition will be easier to understand for visual searches than images that are messy, complicated, or partially visible.
Let me simplify this for you- cleaner images will result in your content being indexed with more relevant search results as well as give better business outcomes.
Image composition and its SEO value
Do you need to demonstrate to your stakeholders that Vision AI’s image recognition technology underpins many functions of Google Lens? Their free demo tool allows you to see how images are interpreted. This can be combined with real-time Google Lens results that will help you to determine where your image optimisation efforts should focus as MUM matures.
In practice, this means you can’t fill a website with Instagram-ready photos or lifestyle images. However, SEO is all about emphasizing clean images. This is not a new method, but the ease and integration of the “search what you see” tools into the daily search experience will make image composition considerations in SEO a priority.
AI allows Google to make similar strides in video and audio analysis. This means that SEO investments in audio aesthetics and quality could yield major dividends.
The power of 3S: Speed, Security & SEO
Both speed and security are well-known ranking factors in SEO. Many people realised that security and speed are interrelated during Google’s 2021 Core Web Vitals campaign. Server security optimisation has helped improve page performance for many clients, even at the individual level. A larger-scale project was when Wix’s CVW performance tripled year-over-year, and enhancements such as universal HTTP/2 to increase SSL times were crucial.
You will see Google prioritising security in its search services and products over the next year. Chrome promises to roll out security improvements. Privacy tools updates will include security features that allow users to move between links and make use of certain features. Sites with high-level security could have a competitive advantage in speed, page experience and conversions over sites that don’t offer this. The desktop experience ranking update will be available in February 2022. This could have an impact on many other domains.
This trend is complemented by the enthusiastic adoption of high-speed HTTP/3 by large tech players such as Facebook and Google. Legacy tech will have a hard time keeping up with bot and user expectations. HTTP/3, the newest HTTP protocol, has experienced a fivefold increase in web traffic over the past year. It is currently available on approximately 25% of domains.
Although this protocol is available on Cloudflare, and other top cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, it is not yet a standard. You may have to manually enable the CDN and main server updates to reap the benefits. This should also be considered if you are considering a new CDN partner or server partner for the next year.
SEO specialists for Google channel diversity
Google is continuing to lower friction when users use their respective apps and channels. Google is creating a niche and dynamic SERP which requires SEO expertise to gain traction. This makes rich mobile-friendly SERPs that are user-friendly.
They take users directly to high-performance apps such as Google Maps or dedicated channels like Google Travel. It also allows Google to combine and access the information users require in a highly contextualised way. Google-managed properties allow them to control multiple informational feeds simultaneously, so enhancing and connecting existing channels is essential for their efforts to provide more nuanced search results.
This has been a long-standing practice for transactional verticals such as hotels and shopping, but Google’s commitment towards multi-modality will make this more common among queries at the top. SEO efforts should also focus on optimising profiles and performance in each channel to increase visibility in the SERPs. SEO generalism will not have a significant impact due to the rapid rate of change in each channel. It is likely that teams of SEO specialists working together will see the greatest gains.
Local Inventory ads (LIA), for example, shows how optimisations from multiple channels combine to create a complex, high-value search feature. This paid and free Google Shopping feature was introduced last year. It allows users to search for products in stock at nearby shops. Google displays this information by using data and content from Google Business Profiles and Maps. Optimising for LIA is a complex process that requires expert knowledge in all of these channels. This expertise must be complemented by a variety of SEO skills.
This is all to say that having a diverse SEO team will be crucial to achieving top performance in multimodal search. You can nurture channel champions in your company and/or engage external product experts via an agency, or freelance support. This will help you coordinate for business goals in search.
E-commerce without borders and other key factors for international SEO
Three factors will be key drivers of international SEO in the next year: The rise of borderless commerce, the maturation of AI translation tools and the rollout of MUM.
Digital acceleration has made our digital experience much more enjoyable. It is becoming more important to consider the business’s location, currency and time zone. Brands are being made to go global easier by lowering their barriers to entry. While brick-and-mortar stores still have an impact on local SEO and local pack SERPs, customers are more likely to shop from overseas retailers.
Research has shown that the willingness to buy from foreign sellers, which was around 40% in 2016, has shifted to 55% in 2021. Shopify launched Shopify Markets in Q4 2021. They are confident in this global trend and the potential for sellers. This means that there will be fierce competition in the future.
Our job as SEOs is to reach customers wherever they are. This change in customer expectations can lead to opportunities for business growth. Try these tried-and-true international SEO strategies along with low-cost, low friction market entry channels such as free Google Merchant Listings.
To build trust with potential customers, optimise your landing pages and e-commerce EAT (expertise, authority, and trust) if your international growth involves selling on top international platforms like AliExpress, Wish, AliExpress or eBay. For shoppers in Asia and other emerging countries, it is important to think mobile-first, s don’t forget to cater accordingly.
Summing it up
Overall, I am optimistic. As MUM develops, we will see more content types all over the internet. Everyone benefits from speed and security improvements. Increased layers in the SERPs help demonstrate the importance and value of SEO. Building a cross-border customer base helps brands to be more resilient in an ever-changing marketplace. While some of these changes are significant, they are expected to move SEO in the right direction. So here’s hoping to change the world one SEO strategy at a time.