In this episode of “Priority Pursuit,” Victoria Rayburn shares her testimony and why she finds her worth in Christ instead of her work.
Episode 035: Why I Find My Worth in Christ & Not My Work (AKA My Testimony)
December 8, 2021
Victoria Rayburn explains 11 time-saving gifts to ask for this Christmas as a creative entrepreneur in this episode of “The Priority Pursuit Podcast.”
Episode 037: Five Tips for Preparing Your Business & Heart for the Holidays as a Small Business Owner
December 23, 2021

December 16, 2021

Episode 036: 8 SEO Trends for 2022 Small Business Owners Need to Be Aware Of

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Small business owner friends, just like you do your best to serve your customers well and meet their needs, Google does the same for its users. As the world’s leading search engine, Google’s goal is to help its users find the information they’re looking for as quickly and as directly as possible. As a result, Google is constantly making improvements and updates to its algorithm.

If you’ve listened to past Priority Pursuit episodes about SEO, you know this is a topic I’m very passionate about and that I firmly believe I’m able to be a full-time wedding photographer because of SEO.

Every year, 40% of my couples find me through Google, meaning SEO is responsible for 40% of my income. And, while it took time to get my website to the first page of Google, every lead I receive from Google is (1) 100% free and (2) highly qualified because these leads are already actively looking for my services and content.

I’ve been working with SEO in one capacity or another since 2012, and in the last 10 years, I’ve witnessed countless Google algorithm changes. And, I can honestly say that I’m really excited about what Google is doing in 2022, because these changes are truly beneficial to you and me as both Google users and small business owners.

If you’re sweating thinking about these changes, take a deep breath. As of right now, in my opinion, there are eight SEO trends for 2022 small business owners need to be aware of, and they’re all positive.

1. Google has switched to the “MUM” update.

Just when we thought Google could do it all, had all the answers, and knew all the things, its newest algorithm change is going to make this search engine even more helpful.

MUM, which stands for “Multitask Unified Model,” will brings three major changes to Google:

1. MUM will provide answers as if you’re asking an “expert” on the topic. 

Google already provides us with a lot of great information, but with MUM, Google will essentially become an expert on every topic.

You can learn more about the MUM update directly from Google, but here’s the gist and the example Google continues to use when explaining this aspect of the update:

“You’ve hiked Mt. Adams. Now you want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, and you want to know what to do differently to prepare. Today, Google could help you with this, but it would take many thoughtfully considered searches — you’d have to search for the elevation of each mountain, the average temperature in the fall, difficulty of the hiking trails, the right gear to use, and more. After a number of searches, you’d eventually be able to get the answer you need.

“But if you were talking to a hiking expert; you could ask one question — ‘what should I do differently to prepare?’ You’d get a thoughtful answer that takes into account the nuances of your task at hand and guides you through the many things to consider.”

This element of MUM has yet to officially roll out, but when it does, my understanding is that you’ll be able to more or less text or chat with Google and will be given immediate responses via AI. According to Google, as a Google user, “you’ll need fewer searches to get things done.”

2. MUM will remove “language barriers.” 

Google has been translating web pages for years, but with MUM, Google will be able to translate and understand information in other languages even faster. As a result, this update will give users access to more helpful content that language barriers used to prevent us from being able to access.

3. MUM will understand information in different formats. 

What I think is most exciting about MUM is the fact that it will understand and be able to read and analyze more than just copy on webpages. MUM will truly look at and understand images, videos, podcast recordings, and other mediums to provide users with answers.

I know MUM might sound a little scary and futuristic, but as small business owners, this change is really exciting if you’re prioritizing the creation of content. With this update, Google won’t just be a written-word search engine any more. It will be looking at the photos and videos we share of our products and services; it will be listening to the audio of podcast episodes; and it will be sharing our content—no matter the medium—when it’s helpful to Google users.

2. Load speed matters more than ever before.

As of May 2021, Google has been especially user focused by allowing Core Web Vitals to play a major role in how well a website ranks.

If you aren’t familiar with Core Web Vitals, you can find yours within Google Search Console. And, if you aren’t familiar with Google Search Console, don’t panic. This is essentially a Google tool that allows you to see the performance of your website.

Within Core Web Vitals (which you can find in the sidebar of Google Search Console), you’ll find a review of how well and quickly your site loads on both desktop and mobile.

Ideally, every page of your website will load in 2.5 seconds or less. Speed has always mattered, but Google is now placing a heavy emphasis on load speed like never before. Essentially, if your website doesn’t load quickly, there’s a good chance that your SEO rankings will be negatively affected.

3. When developing content, make “user intent” your top priority.

Like we discussed before, Google’s goal is to answer its users’ questions and help them find the resources and information they’re looking for as easily and as efficiently as possible. As a result, Google puts the most helpful, relevant content at the top of Google search results.

With this in mind, creating helpful, relevant content needs to be your top priority in your SEO strategy. In other words, you want to make sure you’re creating content that (1) your ideal client is actually looking for and (2) actually answers your ideal clients’ questions.

This might seem like common sense, but at one point, Google used to rank pages by keywords and keywords alone. Meaning, if you stuffed a page with keywords, it would likely rank well—regardless of whether the content was helpful or not.

This was frustrating to users, so Google made changes. This is not to say that there aren’t other aspects of ranking well on Google or that keywords don’t matter. (Keywords are still important for the record, and you can learn more about keywords in “Episode 009: How to Identify & Use Strategic Keywords to Improve Your SEO.” But, creating helpful content arguably matters most and should be your top SEO priority.

To determine what kind of content you should be creating, simply think about what content would be helpful to your ideal client. What questions do they have? What information are they looking for?

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer in Portland, your ideal client might want to know the average cost of a wedding photographer in Portland. Or, maybe she’d love to have her wedding at a winery. You can easily write blogs about these topics. And, Google will love these pieces of content and likely rank them well, because these are things that their users are actually looking for.

4. To be featured as a “direct snippet,” you need to answer questions clearly & concisely.

Speaking of answering your ideal client’s questions, you’ve likely noticed that Google has started displaying “direct” or “featured snippets”—direct answers at the top of search engines results pages.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a screenshot of an example.

Essentially, Google is once again striving to make its users’ lives easier by proving what they call a “zero-click answer,” meaning at the top of a search results page, Google will give a direct answer pulled from an online resource—possibly preventing the searcher from needing to scroll or click on any listing at all.

According to Search Engine Land, earning a featured snippet is desirable because 8% of clicks go to the snippet and the snippet alone.

According to Convince & Convert, using a question as a header and then directly answering that question can help you earn a featured snippet. That said, there’s no way you can guarantee that your content will be featured as the featured or direct snippet. But, if you’re directly answering questions and providing helpful information, it could happen and help you build a relationship with a prospective customer looking for your product or service.

5. In terms of SEO, mobile experience matters more than desktop experience.

Google started “mobile indexing”—ranking pages based on how they appear on mobile devices rather than desktops—a few years ago. But, the mobile experience you provide your customers is only getting more important—from both a usability and SEO perspective.

Right now, it’s predicted that 73% of Internet users will access the Internet solely by mobile devices by 2025. With this in mind and because 68.1% of all Internet use is already happening via mobile devices, you need to ensure that your website functions well and loads quickly on cell phones and other mobile devices for both SEO.

If you aren’t sure how your website is doing on mobile, be sure to check out your Core Web Vitals, which offers an analysis of how your site is performing on both desktop and mobile.

6. Begin optimizing new content with Voice Search in mind.

Chances are, you’re already asked Alexa, Siri, or Echo a question today. And, whether you realize it or not, Voice Search could be beneficial to your business!

As AI continues to improve, we’ll all likely ask our devices even more questions. In fact, it’s estimated that in 2022, 55% of US households will own a smart speaker of some kind.

With this in mind, as you develop new content, think about how you would ask Alexa, Siri, Echo or whatever your question. Your question would likely make an excellent long-tail keyword, this will increase the chances of your content being shared via Voice Search.

7. Video is going to play an even bigger role in SEO.

Just like video has become important on Instagram, it’s becoming more and more important with SEO simply because Google knows that its users like consuming video.

You’ve likely already noticed this update, but Google has already started including “video snippets”—videos that appear at the top of search results.

With this in mind, arguably one of the most effective things you can add to your SEO strategy in 2022 is video. Video is beneficial to your SEO strategy for four reasons:

  1. Google likes videos because its users like videos.
  2. With the MUM update, Google can now crawl videos and better understand their content.
  3. When you include a video on your website, your website users will likely stay on your site longer, which is great for SEO.
  4. Few people are going to take the time to make video part of their SEO strategy, meaning you have room to shine in this space.

To get the most out of videos for SEO purposes, I highly recommend adding videos to YouTube, embedding them in blog posts, and then transcribing the video. This is going to give you the benefits of both video and written text. Plus, it will allow your website visitors to consume your content however is best for them.

8. Your Google Business Profile matters.

Chances are, when you started your business, you made a Google Business Profile. However, if you’re like most small business owners, you haven’t touched the profile since.

However, as a small business—especially if you have a service area—giving your Google Business Profile a little attention can be huge for your business! After all, when you Google a service, a map of local service providers—which are pulled from Google Business Profiles—are typically the very first thing you see when you search for a local product or service.

To get the most out of your Google Business Profile, I recommend doing three things:

  1. Make sure the information in your profile is up to date. This includes a description of your services, your contact information, your hours, and a few other things Google will ask you to share.
  2. Post to your Google Business Profile. Google Business Profile operates pretty similarly to Facebook, and posting to your profile helps Google see that you’re active.
  3. Ask your clients to leave you reviews on Google. This also helps Google see that your business is active.
  4. Add photos to your profile. Regardless of what you do, this will help potential customers see your work and—once again—let Google know that you’re active.

If you’re reading or listening to this episode and are feeling nervous, don’t. SEO is one of those topics that feels more overwhelming than it is.

The items we discussed today are simply SEO trends for 2022 you should be aware of as a small business owner, and you simply need to remember three things:

  1. Google’s goal is to help its users, and these updates are designed to do nothing more than better serve Google users and help them find the best content.
  2. The most important part of SEO is creating content that’s relevant and helpful to your ideal client. If you keep your main focus on serving your ideal client well and take a few steps to optimize this content for search engines, you’ll likely do really well.
  3. SEO takes time, but it’s arguably the most effective free way to market your business and to get your website in front of people who are actively looking for your product, service, or content. Plus, it’s free!

Want one-on-one help with your SEO?

Now, if you’re listening to or reading this episode and either feeling overwhelmed or really fired up about SEO and you’re wanting to up level your SEO game with some one-on-one assistance, I do offer SEO coaching for photographers.

You can learn more about SEO coaching here, but coaching includes a four-hour SEO coaching session where we walk through the 14 things you need to do to optimize your website for search engines as a photographer. We specifically walk through:

  • The most important technical aspects of SEO
  • How to choose and use strategic keywords
  • How to develop SEO content based on your business goals

These sessions can take place in person in Lafayette, Indiana or virtually. You can learn more about SEO coaching and schedule a call to determine if SEO coaching is right for you here!

Right now, I only have information on my website about SEO coaching for photographers, but over the years, I’ve handled SEO for colleges, law offices, bakeries, wedding planners, and countless other kinds of businesses. If you aren’t a photographer and are interested in SEO coaching, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Depending on your industry and goals, we can get something worked out!

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Learn the EXACT marketing strategy we use to help small businesses grow: The Flywheel Marketing Method.

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

Is outsourcing a marketing director something new?

What do fractional CMOs do?

Who needs a fractional CMO?

What are the benefits of hiring a part-time marketing director??

When should you partner with a fractional CMO?

Are there limitations to a fractional CMO?

How do I find a qualified fractional CMO?

How much does it cost to partner with a fractional CMO?

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