The Definitive Guide To SEO In 2022

This is the ultimate guide to search engine optimization in 2022.

And let me be clear about something:

This is NOT your average “SEO in 2022” predictions post.

Yes, I’ll cover the most important SEO trends this year.

But you’re also going to see new strategies that are working great right now.

So if you’re looking to improve your SEO next year, you’ll love this updated guide.

chapter 1

Core Web Vitals

According to Google, core web vitals became a ranking factor in 2021.

And in this chapter, I’m going to show you exactly how to get your site ready for this upcoming Google update.

(Including a real-life example of how I dramatically improved Backlinko’s core web vital scores.)

Let’s dive in.

grunt testimonial

Core Web Vitals: What You Need to Know

Core web vitals are a set of three specific web page experience metrics that Google considers super important:

  • Largest contentful paint
  • First input delay
  • Cumulative layout shift
Core web vitals are part of Google's overall evaluation of "page experience"

According to Google, core web vitals will directly impact rankings.

Google on core we vitals

That said, they also point out that core web vitals aren’t a make or break ranking factor. In other words, you can still rank with poor core web vitals scores.

Google on ranking pages

That said, there’s really no reason NOT to optimize your site’s core web vitals.

So it makes sense to set some time aside to work on them.

Here’s how.

How To Improve Your Core Web Vital Scores

To be clear:

The exact steps you take to improve your core web vitals depends on your site.

For example, a site that runs on Shopify will be different compared to one that runs on WordPress.

That said, here’s the process you can use to figure out what you need to fix.

First, pop open the Google Search Console and click on “Core Web Vitals”.

Google Search Console – Core web vitals menu

Then, take a look at how the pages on your site stack up.

Google Search Console – Core web vitals report

(I basically ignore the desktop scores. Google’s mobile-first index means that mobile scores are what really matter.)

You want to really zero in on “poor URLs”.

Core web vitals – Report – Poor URLs

In my opinion, Google is going to punish poor URLs more than boost up good URLs. So you want to prioritize getting your URLs out of the red.

Again, how you tackle this depends a lot on the core web vital that you’re struggling with.

For example, a bunch of my pages had a poor CLS score.

Core web vitals – Report – CLS issue

So we worked on improving the stability of pages as they loaded.

How We Improved Backlinko’s Core Web Vitals

When Google announced their upcoming page experience update, I realized that we needed to make a change.

You see, Backlinko’s load times were slow. Very slow.

Backlinko – Old page speed score

It wasn’t for lack of trying. We used a lightweight WordPress theme. Compressed our images. And more.

But the fact was: Backlinko’s pages were HUGE. Some of our posts had 40+ high-res screenshots. Plus visuals, embedded videos and animated images.

The thing was, this didn’t seem to hurt our rankings at all. Which makes sense considering that our search engine ranking factors analysis found no correlation between page speed and rankings.

Page loading speed does not correlate with first page Google rankings

But this update was different. Google wasn’t just looking at page loading speed. They were going to try to directly measure user experience.

In other words: this time they weren’t messing around.

So I got to work.

Specifically, I hired an agency to overhaul Backlinko’s code. It now runs on Next.js.

It wasn’t cheap. Or easy.

But in the end, this significantly improved our core web vital scores.

Backlinko – New page speed score

And our overall load times.

Webpagetest – Backlinko – Scale content post

Fortunately, you probably don’t have to completely overhaul your site’s code. Backlinko was kind of in a unique situation. This is why we had to take drastic measures.

But 9 times out of 10, you can improve your core web vital scores using the tips that I outlined above.

And with that, it’s time for chapter 2.

chapter 2

Chapter 2 Sample

This is main desc of chapter2