SEO strategy is naturally iterative. It’s a long-term, incremental process to see results, and Google’s algorithms are always improving (or, at least, updating). One thing that everyone has become keenly aware of is that the focus on fantastic off-site SEO strategy is the key to ranking well on a marketing channel that’s getting more crowded every day. 

In this article, we’ll break down key trends to look out for in 2022, and the best ways to scale your SEO efforts in a quick, white-hat, and effective way.

Content Is Still King

This part hasn’t changed, and it probably never will. This is the first step to success, and skipping it means the next steps won’t matter. 

Write great content. Link to great content. Get links from great content. Don’t try to game the system, and make your user experience great. 

International Links Are Being Scrutinized

In July, Google rolled out an update centered on “nullifying” link spam across sites in multiple languages. This is old news by now, but the implication for the future is more interesting. 

Google has never been known for incredible transparency with updates, but it was a bit vague on details even by that standard. What we do know is that Google is closing gaps it perceives globally and with multiple language sites. 

That means if you are not a .com, or you have multiple languages, you should pay close attention to updates. There may be more specific updates coming your way. If you’ve been squeaking by because of gaps in penalties or “nullifications”, now is the time to clean up and get best practices sorted.

Nofollow Links May Have an Important Strategic Impact

Way back in 2020, Google expanded its outdated approach to rel=nofollow by introducing UGC (user-generated content) and Sponsored (paid for) tags. In short, there are more specific ways to categorize the nature of nofollow links. 

What does this mean for your rankings? Nothing, really. They’re all nofollow, and sponsored/UGC tags don’t cause penalties. Why are we talking about it 2 years later? 

Because this was a clear response to an expanding market for links. Google lives and dies by the data it can collect and optimize its platform against. It would be shortsighted to assume this update was just a friendly high-five to webmasters who wanted better categorization. 

If you want to be ahead of the curve, be thinking more strategically this year about what you want your links to do, rather than just the finer details of the attributes. 

If you want traffic, don’t get hung up on the specifics of the nofollow category, nothing’s changing for you there. 

If you’re hyper-averse to association with sponsored content, vet your publications more. Some will label content as sponsored but won’t add the attribute, others will do the opposite. Use this as a north star to determine if the publication is the right fit for you. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, keep an eye on your preferred link building tactics. If you’re relying heavily on a site that gives you incredible dofollow links that might fall in line and adopt the UGC tag, be prepared to pivot. This is why we preach diversity so adamantly.

Sustainability is the Word of the Year

Sustainability is an important component of any marketing strategy, but especially one that’s so much at the mercy of an evolving landscape where one entity makes the rules. 

Have you been focusing on mining high DA links? Good for you, but get more nofollows, get more link sources, get a wider range of authority sources (not high spam scores, though; never do that). 

Have you gotten a ton of volume with minimal traffic or authority to show for it? Go for a few super high-value links, and work on tier 2 links that help the ones you already have do better. 

Make sure no matter what you do, all your eggs are not in the same proverbial basket. 

These are straightforward tips anyone can follow. That said, a strategic partner can be helpful. Whether you’re tight on time, lost on strategy, or just need someone to get you on the right tactical path, we’re here to help. Link building is what we do! Head over to the dashboard and send us a message.