21 Biggest SEO Trends to Look for in 2023 (UPDATED LIST)
By: Dileep Thekkethil
Updated On: December 20, 2022
The SEO industry is unpredictable just like algorithm updates that Google launches from time to time.
If you have been following us for a while, you know that we make every effort to keep you updated with the latest happenings in the SEO industry.
SEO trends are one of the topics that we know has to be constantly updated because there isn’t another industry which is as dynamic as SEO.
The trends that worked wonders a few years ago are no longer a trend – for example, voice search – as the algorithms have become smarter day by day.
We are entering 2023 and the trends we are seeing are somewhat new in the industry and are making quite a statement. Of course, some of the trends that we listed in 2022 still remain to be a growing fad but there are some new entrants.
As SEO practitioners, it’s important for us to keep abreast of trends. While we do so, we want the community to get the hang of the same so that the industry sets new standards and gives a slamming reply to people who look down on SEO as a done and dusty industry.
But are these real trends or just speculations?
We have listened to some of the top industry experts over the last few months, and the trends listed below have been seconded by them.
However, if you’re asking for proof of success from implementing these trends below, all you need to do is check the growth projectile of Stan Ventures.
We have implemented the following SEO practices and you can be certain that we do exactly as we preach, not only for our brand but also for the countless clients we serve.
But of course, until Google reveals all the ranking factors, which they will not, SEO is half speculation and half data-driven.
We removed Voice Search from this list in 2022 as the pandemic has done major damage to the growth prospect of Voice Search.
This may be because of the wide use of masks. We aren’t sure, but the truth is people aren’t talking to computers and smartphones as much as they used to, and the only instance they use voice search is while driving.
Google Trends also shows the keyword trend coming down for Voice Search.
Without further adieu, here are the top SEO trends you need to keep in mind when optimizing your website for better rankings and traffic.
1. Updating Content
Updating content on a website is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, fresh and relevant content can help improve the user experience, which can help improve the ranking of a website on search engines. Additionally, regularly updating content can help keep a website up-to-date and accurate, which can also help improve its ranking on search engines.
In fact, if you check most of our blogs, you can find that we have updated them with relevant information consistently. Some blogs, like the Google Algorithm Update, are updated as soon as Google announces a major update.
This is an example of a page that has been performing higher just because we keep it relevant to the users.
What this means is if you have a page that’s bringing you a ton of traffic, then it’s not a job done.
It’s a job that has just begun!
Over the next couple of years, there will be sites that create better content than yours.
They may add new information, datasets and insights that will naturally attract Google’s attention.
To keep up with them, you need to update the content regularly with some nifty tips or important updates like we do here.
What I mean to say is that to make evergreen content, you need to frequently water it for more useful information and enrich it with additional value.
So, what happens to the content that fails to do it?
Over time, stagnant content will get pushed down the rankings on Google and eventually will go out of the top results.
Content that is relevant and helpful today will turn out to be junk and unhelpful in a year or two if left unattended.
That’s why we list Updating Content as the most important SEO trend to watch out for in 2023 and beyond.
2. Expect Fewer Organic CTR
We have seen a lot less CTR from Google ever since the search engine giant came up with multiple SERP features that provide direct answers to users’ queries.
With Google’s instant answers, users get the answers they need and that too without the user having to navigate away from the search results.
In fact, Google is trying to keep the users within its ecosystem as that gives it more control to provide relevant information.
Additionally, the more time users spend on Google, the search engine can sell ads and make the users navigate to its associated services like Maps, YouTube, Shopping, People also asked for etc.
Let’s take a look at one of the product-based search queries with high buyer intent as an example:
“buy iphone 14 pro max”
If you do a quick search for this term on Google, you will end up seeing ads on the first fold.
Followed by the official website of Apple, accompanied by the People Also Asked section
Below this comes the Google map pack.
As you can see here, the majority of the screen real estate has been hijacked by Google’s SERP features, making it almost impossible for websites other than the official Apple site to get click-through.
It’s estimated that the top-ranking site in search results pages gets around 43% of clicks, followed by 37% and 29% for the ones that rank on positions two and three, respectively.
However, with the new search result page dynamics, the click through rate to organic pages should be far less than this estimation. That’s because most of the traditional organic pages appear way down in the SERP rankings.
In this case, websites like digitaltrends.com, appleinsider.com and phonearena.com, which are ranking in the third, fourth and fifth positions, will receive lesser click-through than the estimated 29.90%, 19.38% and 10.95%.
We believe this trend will continue to increase as Google wants users to spend more time on its associated verticals.
In fact, in 2020, Sparktro’s Rand Fishkin had analyzed data sets from Similar Web that estimated 64.82% of searches happening on Google end up without a click.
During the last three years, these numbers should have increased even further, considering the efforts made by Google to keep users within its ecosystem.
3. AI Content
We expect more websites to use AI-based content as there are a lot of improvements that have happened in the last few years in making AI-generated content better.
In fact, what we also know is that Google’s algorithms are having a tough time distinguishing AI-generated content from human-generated ones.
There is a new war looming between Google and Elon Musk-funded OpenAI as the latter is making unparalleled advancements in natural language understanding.
While Google is using the same natural language understanding to improve its machine learning algorithms to understand the content on the web, OpenAI with its GPT3 technology is on a mission to give the power of AI content creation to the public.
Google has long been dissuading websites from using AI-based content, and in the recent past, they launched two Helpful Content Updates that were aimed at cracking down on sites that used AI-generated content.
However, what we have learned in the last couple of years is that AI content generators such as Jasper and Copy Ai, use Open AI to make content creation highly scalable.
But we don’t recommend using AI content generators to create content from scratch that too without any human intervention in between. When provided with inputs and suggestions that can add more value to the content, the AI will be able to produce content that is useful for the readers.
Open AI recently tested its ChatGPT, which intends to up the ante against Google by offering users the answers they need without having to browse through multiple pages.
Here is an example of how ChatGPT helped me understand a simple concept:
Additionally, I tested the new ChatGPT for some of the content tasks, such as creating an email from scratch with just a few inputs.
In the email written by the AI, you can see the number of emotional elements used to make it sound like a real human.
We believe this is just the beginning of something wonderful and the future of AI-based content looks quite promising.
In fact, a random AI blog generated using GPTChat was shared among 20 SEOs and writers with more than 5+ years experience in the industry.
They gave the AI generated content an average quality score 7.5 out of 10 but said the content lacked the first-hand experience which only a real author with expertise can offer.
However, we do believe that Google will continue to try cracking down on low-quality AI content. But with advanced AI generators like the Open AI Chat, the quality of the AI content is set to improve, and there may come a time when it becomes impossible to distinguish between AI and human-generated content.
By the way, we can also use AI to make the content better. That’s something we believe will be one of the widely used services. In fact, here is an example of how AI makes the content better.
If you are a content creator, this can be intimidating. But without proper input and consistent logical tweaks, no AI can produce the perfect content.
4. Google’s Dilemma to Identify AI Content Will Continue
Google’s ongoing quest to find and evaluate content written by artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to be a thrilling and dynamic journey, but it looks like it may take a few more years before they can do something substantial.
Also, we need to think about the advancements that will be made by AI content generators in the coming years.
Simply put, if GPT Chat is able to do things that are so fascinating in 2022, 2023 and beyond could see them making dramatic improvements on this front.
Here are the two major reasons why we believe GPT 3 and others are going to give Google’s algorithms a tough time.
First, we have seen Google making an effort to identify AI-generated content by launching multiple helpful content updates in 2022.
However, the impact of these updates was least felt for sites that produce AI-generated content, some even giving big statements on Twitter that their AI content is able to rank in top positions.
My new AI content site is starting to ramp up! Google is indexing and ranking lots of new keywords…and 2 keywords are already on the 1st page of Google! 104 total articles published, most this week! It will take a few days for most of those to index. Getting interesting! pic.twitter.com/n1BcSXevya
— Spencer Haws (@nichepursuits) May 12, 2022
The reality of 2022 is Google’s algorithms cannot accurately identify and classify content written by AI.
This also means that AI algorithms are capable of producing content that is difficult for humans to distinguish from content written by a person. They may still be leaving certain clues that can be detected by machine learning algorithms, but Google is yet to crack that code.
When I say AI-generated content, it doesn’t mean content created by spinners. Content spinning is something that Google can detect in the first crawl, thanks to the advancements they have made in natural language understanding.
Second, even if Google’s algorithms are able to accurately identify AI-generated content, there are still questions about how they will be able to evaluate the quality and reliability of this content.
While AI algorithms can produce content that is well-written and informative, they may still lack the expertise and perspective of a human author. But what if the content has been created and published by real people with expertise and on sites that are highly revered in the niche?
Technically, they are using AI as a tool to better convey their ideas, and I think this is something that will go undetected as there is 50% human involvement in the content creation process.
Overall, it is likely that Google’s challenge in finding and evaluating AI-generated content will continue to be a significant challenge for the foreseeable future.
5. Google to Reduce Crawling and Indexing Frequency
We know for sure that Google is cutting down tremendously on the number of times it crawls and indexes websites.
In fact, we tried looking into the crawl stats of multiple websites and found that Google has considerably reduced the crawl rate since 2021. This was one of the reasons why we introduced IndexNow as one of the SEO trends of 2022.
However, it looks like Google is yet to adopt a protocol like Index Now, which Bing and Yandex have adopted. With Index Now, search engines are informed about the content changes that happened within a page so that it becomes easier and faster to crawl and add them to the index.
This saves a lot of resources for search engines, which would otherwise have to crawl an entire website to identify new content.
We heard from John Mueller sometime back that Google may be adopting a protocol similar to IndexNow, but till now, it hasn’t materialized.
So, why are search engines trying to limit the number of crawls?
Indexing and crawling are processes used by search engines to discover and add web pages to their databases.
Basically, crawling involves using bots or spiders to scan the web and follow links from one page to another, while indexing involves storing and organizing the information found during the crawling process.
Now, when it comes to the environment, the impact of indexing and crawling is pretty minimal since it mostly involves using computer servers and other digital technology.
However, like any other form of computing, it can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems if the electricity used to power the computers and servers comes from non-renewable sources.
We are aware of how Bitcoin mining has resulted in climate damages in excess of the actual coin value. This is extremely troubling from a sustainability perspective.
In fact, Google has been committed to its carbon-neutral policy, and they are trying to reduce the carbon footprint completely by 2030.
There are only two ways through which this can be done. The first method is to reduce the environmental impact of their indexing and crawling operations by using renewable energy sources, like solar or wind power, to power their servers and other computing equipment.
The other one is to optimize their algorithms and use other technologies to reduce the amount of energy required for indexing and crawling.
We believe Google is adopting the second option because it can be implemented faster than completely moving to renewable energy.
However, over time Google will definitely try to make indexing and crawling more sustainable without compromising on the efficiency of crawling and indexing.
6. Links Are Important As of 2023
In November 2022, John Mueller, during an office hour session, said that Google would try to reduce its dependence on backlinks as a ranking factor.
In fact, we know that Google has been spreading a lot of fear about getting penalized for building backlinks. The truth about this is that Google has been continuously failing to crack down on link building practices such as blogger outreach, guest posting and link exchange.
Mostly, these strategies involve sharing quality content on highly-relevant websites. Though there are certain ways in which websites incentivize this process, it’s so discreetly done that it’s almost difficult for Google to trace down how they were built.
But that said, Google’s SpamBrian algorithm, which was added to the core algorithm back in 2018, has become much more efficient.
According to Google in 2020, the spam brain was able to keep 75% of spam results out of Google search results and coming to 2022 December, the search engine giant is confident that its spam filtering system can thwart 99% of spam results from appearing to the users.
What we have seen is that there is still high potential for link building strategies such as manual blogger outreach, influencer outreach and genuine form of guest posts.
One thing to add here is that smart SEO agencies like Stan Ventures will move towards getting brand mentions moving forward, as we know the sentiments around a brand is a key ranking factor.
Talking specifically about Guest Posts and manual blogger outreach, both of which offer value to the users without the exchange of money, will remain key to link building strategies.
I’m not talking about publishing content on sites that write about everything under the sun. Sites that you shortlist must have a target audience specific to an industry.
For example, if Stan Ventures is going to get a do-follow link by publishing a guest post on a real estate site, Google’s SpamBrain will nullify the link juice passed.
However, if we are publishing guest post content on a reputed site like Kinsta, or MarketingPros, the value of the link is so high that Google cannot ignore it.
8. Growth of Blogger Outreach and Personal Branding
We believe that personal blogs are seeing the sun setting upon them as there are very few blogs that are able to find their true audience.
As a result, most bloggers will look for reputed sites within their specific niche to publish content.
This way, they can be sure that their articles will get multifold readership and engagement.
More people will adopt this strategy as a personal branding activity as Google is showing all signs of moving towards being an entity based search engine soon.
With Google mapping each author (an entity) to a particular niche (another entity), their algorithms will be able to determine the Experience and Expertise of the writer and eventually whether to rank their content on the search engine results page.
Thus, authors and brands must ensure that they have enough digital evidence to prove their credibility and experience in a niche.
This is why we have E.E.A.T as our next trend to watch out for in 2023.
We have been noticing the term EAT appearing predominantly in the Google Quality Rater Guidelines since the 2018 medic update.
We have Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness as one of the top SEO trends of 2023 and that’s especially because Google decided to add another E for experience to this acronym.
Google has added experience as a new addition to E A T, making it E E A T.
All 4 factors are pointed at helping Google understand how accurate, honest, safe, and reliable the content is to rank on search results.
If your website is in a niche wherein your products, services, content or suggestions can affect health, financial stability, or safety or impact society, your website requires higher E E A T weightage.
The content published on such websites falls into a category called YMYL (Your Money or Your Life.)
What this means is that users accessing content from such sites may have negative impacts or consequences if they decide to trust what they see. In fact, most topics that are there on the web are not YMYL and do not require a high level of accuracy or trust.
However, if your website falls into the YMYL category, Google will seek more E E A T factors to ascertain that your site is a dependable one.
In addition to this, Google looks for E E A T factors before ranking online stores and product review sites.
For online stores, Google will check if they have secure online payment systems and reliable customer service.
When it comes to product review websites, Google will check if it consists of honest and in-depth review that helps readers make informed purchasing decisions.
Now, let’s focus more on the newly added Experience ranking signal.
According to Google, the new experience signal within EAT will help it to assess if the author, brand or website has first-hand experience with what is conveyed in the main content.
So, for example, if I’m to write about the consequences of EMI payment delay, Google checks if I’m sharing my personal experience in the banking and finance sector within the content or if that’s missing, it goes and checks external signals on the web.
To give you more context, if I’m reviewing a Stock Market app, in addition to checking my experience in the stock market, Google will now check within the content if I’ve actually used the app.
In many cases, content produced by individuals with a wealth of personal experience can be more trustworthy and effective.
For example, which would you trust more: a product review from someone who has actually used the product or a review from someone who has not?
In general, content produced by someone with personal experience may be more reliable and useful.
We could find a high correlation between what Google means by experience and the purpose of launching Helpful Content updates. So, we are expecting Google to launch more helpful content updates in 2023.
10. Welcome CALM – Google’s Answer to GPT3
Several language models, including T5, LaMDA, GPT-3, and PaLM, have shown excellent results in a variety of language tasks.
However, when producing text, most autoregressive language models generate it in a way similar to how humans speak and write, by predicting each new word based on the previous words and outputting them one after the other.
This process cannot be done at the same time on different computers because the language model has to finish predicting one word before it can start predicting the next one.
At NeurIPS 2022, Google presented a new approach called CALM (Confident Adaptive Language Modeling) for improving the speed of text generation in language models during inference.
CALM is based on the idea that some word predictions are easier than others. It aims to increase efficiency by selectively allocating more computational resources to more challenging predictions, allowing the language model to generate text faster while maintaining high quality output.
CALM is a fantastic solution that enables faster text generation with language models, without compromising the quality of the output text.
This is achieved by dynamically adjusting the amount of computation used at each step of text generation, allowing the model to exit the computation sequence early when it is confident enough.
As this language model continues to become better, we believe Google will be using it efficiently in SERPs, especially with GPT3.5 creating a lot of noise in the industry.
Google has been putting commendable efforts into improving the quality of search results using advanced Artificial Intelligence.
The biggest ever leap in that from first happened with the introduction of RankBrain and then later with BERT in 2019 . Then they introduced Multitask United Model (MUM) in 2021 and now CALM in 2022.
According to the announcement made by Prabhakar Raghavan during the Google I/O 2021, MUM is 1000 times more powerful than BERT and it’s capable of multitasking which enables it to analyze video, images, and text within 75 languages to give users the answers to complex search queries.
What this means is MUM will combine different aspects of the search query and try to understand the sentiments, context, entities, and most importantly the intent of the user to provide answers that are really close to what the user expected.
Raghavan demonstrated the power of MUM by doing a complex search query “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?”
Check out this video of how MUM performed the search and provided a result that’s far superior to the ones that we are accustomed to.
According to Raghavan, MUM can acquire deep knowledge of the word and it can understand language, generate it, and train across 75 languages simultaneously unlike the other models that work only one language at a time.
Google is still testing MUM but it’s soon expected to be out of the lab and become part of the Google Search ecosystem. The search engine giant should be keeping us informed about its integration like how it announced the rollout of BERT.
But before that, as Webmasters, you must understand how it can impact the search. We too are clueless but the community has come up with a few possibilities.
- You may start seeing a new type of results, an improved form of Google Answers that combines all the information out there to get users the specific answers they are seeking.
- This could mean more 0 click results on the search, which is something we are already witnessing.
- Make use of structured data. Google is taking all this data from what it calls the Knowledge Graph and it’s being fed by the markups within each site.
- Longform content is going to make a huge cut because if one source can provide a large share of the information that the users are seeking, such pages will make it to the top.
- Forget about keyword stuffing. Focus more on natural content that touches the pain points of the audience.
- We still don’t know how powerful the MUM will be. However, it’s better to make the content simple and highly readable. If the content is marred with jargon, there are chances that MUM may not find relevance in it.
Along with this, as SEOs you must also understand how LaMDA another Language Model introduced in 2021 Google I/) works. Even though it is a Language Model for Dialogue Applications, it’s going to have a great impact on search, especially the search that happens via Google Assistants.
LaMDA stands for Language Model for Dialogue Applications and it’s setting new benchmarks for natural AI conversations. It’s able to make conversations natural by fetching information from Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google previewed LaMDA, or “Language Model for Dialogue Applications,” at the company’s I/O event. He said LaMDA is designed to carry on an open-ended conversation with users without repeating the same information.
LaMDA is a transformer-based model, like BERT and MUM. It can be trained to read words, understand the relationship between words in a sentence and predict what word might come next.
Google has put an emphasis on training it to produce sensible and specific responses, instead of more generic replies.
11. Passage Indexing
Have you heard about the latest announcement from Google about a new algorithm called Passage Indexing?
So, if you are someone who regrets writing long-form content that fails to drive traction, Passage Indexing may be a game-changer for you.
According to Google, it will now use the natural language processing feature while indexing web pages and try to understand the meaning of each passage within the page.
What this means is if a particular section (passages) covered inside your article will now show up on search results for relevant search queries even if it’s buried inside the vastness of the primary topic.
Cathay Edwards of Google, in the Search On video released by the search giant, says Passage Indexing will impact 7% of the search queries in all languages by the end of 2020.
If you remember, a similar announcement was made in 2018 for BERT. It said BERT will impact 10% of search queries.
In the same video, Prabhakar Raghavan confirmed that BERT is now used in delivering results for almost every search query users enter.
So, the Passage Indexing is more of an internal ranking system and it will have a bigger impact on the results you see in the SERP.
It’s more or less confirmed that web pages with highly structured content will benefit from the Passage Indexing Ranking Algorithm.
What this also means is that Google in 2023 will focus more on improving the ranking of holistic content.
A holistic content strategy usually takes an in-depth look at a topic and tries to address the pressing questions that are asked by the target users.
Adding to this, Passage Indexing will have a lot of bearing on search results for long-tailed and question-based search queries.
This is natural because a pinpointed question requires a needle in a haystack approach to finding the right answer.
This is exactly what Google is trying to achieve with Passage Indexing.
How does it work?
Remember Google said daily they find 15% new search queries that were never searched before? It’s largely believed that a majority of these are long-tailed and question-based queries.
With Passage Indexing, the results of such queries will present people with the best answers from a wide variety of legitimate sources.
As you can see in the example above, Google is trying to display the best answer to a given query from a forum page rather than displaying a result that points the user to a broader page.
So, the current indexing pattern takes the context and relevance of the whole page but with Passage Indexing, Google tries to find context and relevance within individual passages of a page to find more appropriate answers.
However, Passage Indexing will not be a separate indexing process. Thanks to Google’s Advance Natural Language Processing algorithms, the process of understanding individual passages will happen as and when Google crawls and indexes the pages.
Google about Passage Indexing:
“So, for example, let’s say you search for something pretty niche like ‘how can I determine if my house windows are UV glass.’ This is a pretty tricky query, and we get lots of web pages that talk about UV glass and how you need a special film, but none of this really helps the layperson take action. Our new algorithm can zoom right into this one passage on a DIY forum that answers the question. Apparently, you can use the reflection of a flame to tell and ignores the rest of the posts on the page that aren’t quite as helpful.”
Importance of Structuring Your Content
The structure of your content is going to become as important as the quality of it when Passage Indexing is live.
It’s important to divide the content into multiple sections and each section must discuss a sub-topic.
This way you give Google a heads up about the depth of your content and how it will satiate the search intent of the users.
So, what I would recommend at this point is to make good use of Heading tags to organize your content.
Also, if you are writing a short article, the benefit of Passage Indexing may not be as evident. Google says the benefit of Passage Indexing will be felt by sites that have valuable content buried inside.
However, if you are writing short content, the chances of covering sub-topics and smaller passages are less, which means Google will of course rank you for the core topic, but not for queries that require granular answers.
If you check the top-ranking pages on Google for highly competitive search queries, 9 out of 10 are long-form content that exceeds 2000 words.
Also, considering the user experience angle of long-form content, make sure that you have a table of content right on the top or sticky.
Because users don’t link to wait and you cannot force them to read the entire content. Users abandon login-form pages with poor navigation as locating the information itself is painful and time-consuming.
To know more, check out our in-depth article on Passage Indexing.
12. Core Web Vitals
Before we heard about the Passage Indexing, the SEO community was in a frenzy about Core Web Vitals.
As you may already be aware, Google has been pushing webmasters to provide a better page experience to the users.
This was basically to ensure that any user who visits a page from Google search results shouldn’t exit the page due to poor page experience.
Page Experience Algorithm has been there for some time now and core web vitals will become a new addition to it starting May 2021.
This means it will join the existing Page Experience signals such as HTTPs, Intrusive Interstitial, Safe Browsing, and Mobile Friendliness to determine the rankings of pages.
Core Web Vitals is a set of three key page experience metrics that provide Google data about the user experience offered by individual pages on the web.
The Three Core Web Vital Factors are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CIS)
Google has confirmed that Core Web Vitals will be a determinant to rank pages starting May 2021. But in a later announcement in December via an FAQ about Core Web Vitals, Google said that the impact will be limited to mobile search results.
Adding to this, Google has also confirmed that websites that have activated AMP may not have to worry about Core Web Vitals compliance as AMP-enabled pages usually fulfill the requirement.
AMP pages are rendered from Google’s server and they have minimum elements that otherwise may take more time to load.
However, Google cautions webmasters against using heavy images and other external elements within AMP as it could affect the web vitals score.
It has to be noted that Core Web Vitals will not be a primary signal to rank pages on SERP. Google says that it will continue to rank web pages with high-quality content and links even if the site doesn’t comply with Web Vitals standards.
So, if you’ve activated AMP, that means you have saved the time and money to optimize the site for Web Vitals.
13. User + Search Intent = Helpful Content
2023 is the year when you’ll prioritize the search intent of the query and user behavior over everything else.
People’s search intent and behavior are ever-changing. They go to Google or other search engines to find answers to their queries or to learn about a topic in general.
When businesses understand what users are searching for and provide them with content that answers their questions, then the business also benefits from it along with the users.
According to Britney Muller of Britney Muller LLC, SEO experts need to move away from traditional SEO practices that hold little to no value today as the algorithms keep getting stronger.
They should rather pay more attention to search intent. Paying close attention to search queries will allow businesses to create competitive content that the online audience wishes to consume.
Mary Hynes, CEO of Marie Haynes Consulting Inc., admits that in order to ace SEO in 2023, you’ll need to be excellent in providing the right information to users.
The latest Google Helpful Content Update is a significant move from Google to ensure that only quality and useful content makes it to the top positions of Google. Announced in August 2023, the update is aimed at taking down the sites that offer surface-level content from the top of the search results. Additionally, the new signal will classify websites based on the helpfulness of the content. This means Google can now flag a website as unhelpful if a considerable number of articles are found to be less reliable.
Websites that use AI to autogenerated content, may also feel the heat of the Helpful Content update. Google recommends websites to use real people to write content for real users.
What we also know is that Google is going to get better at understanding when users are looking for expert advice and will rank the content pieces that followed the E.A.T guidelines above others. SEO experts can dominate search in 2023 only when they truly understand what users are searching for.
Brands will need to cater to audience requirements more than promoting their brand or their products and services. This means not forcing users to sign up on your site or showing them unnecessary pop-ups on your site or redirecting them to registration forms.
Steven van Vessum, VP of Community, ContentKing, believes that besides understanding what the users are looking for, they should also take note of the preferred content type (videos, podcasts, articles, etc.) and deliver accordingly.
Alexander Kesler, CEO, INFUSEmedia, gave some additional advice on search intent. According to him, businesses should analyze the on-site journey and search data of their organic leads. This will not only help them to understand the search term they used to find your content, but also on-site search keywords for all the pages they have visited within your website. This data aggregation will help brands map it to the content journey.
14. Localization of SEO
We believe local businesses are going to see more traction from Google as there is a definite push towards highly localized search results.
This means it’s time to focus on generating quality reviews on Google My Business and even on other review platforms that are authentic.
Over the past few months, we have seen country-specific content and businesses benefit from search results instead of global entities.
This means that Google wants to showcase results that will be beneficial to the users. For example, the results I get for the keyword “solar panels for home use” in the US are different from those shown in India.
That’s because the sites ranking in the US are not serving the people in India, at least directly. But, despite it having higher authority when compared to the Indian counterparts, it fails to rank.
Even though this is a macro example, Google is doing the same in the micro-level, wherein the search results (not only the Map pack) change based on the user’s location.
Moving forward, websites that want to target local audiences should include the name of the city, state, or country so that Google doesn’t miss ranking your website higher.
15. Customer Analytics, Retention & Lifetime Value
SEO has evolved a lot over the years. In 2023, brands need to work harder to bridge the gap between web traffic and SEO ROI. This year, data on behavioral analytics will become one of the major areas of focus.
With Google evolving at a fast rate, conversions and revenues have become more important than ever. Keyword volume will take a backseat this year and it will be more about behavioral analytics.
Brands have to focus on what their customers are doing, how they are doing, and what could be done to make them take action on your site even faster. You have to reverse engineer that to the content you produce.
COVID-19 has proved that keyword research isn’t always useful when the world is in constant reflux. Behavioral analytics will unlock hidden content opportunities that keyword research otherwise fails to detect.
Businesses will need to focus more on customer retention and increasing customer lifetime value (LTV). It will be all about understanding your customer best and providing them with possible solutions through content or risk losing them to some other business that understands your customer better.
Izzi Smith, Technical SEO Analyst, Ryte, encourages companies to provide improved customer services online. Brands need to establish a process with their sales and support staff to ensure that they are aware of important and incoming questions or requests by customers that can be resolved with help resources.
You should explore your Google Search Console keyword data with common question modifiers to find relevant topics that can be addressed. Ensure that these queries are answered clearly and published to relevant FAQ sections on the website.
It is easy to lose the attention and trust of the audience if you fail to give value to your customers. Brands have to retain an interest in customers by providing them content that is comprehensive, useful, and factually correct. Writing such content requires focus and commitment.
16. Brand SERP Optimization, Knowledge Graphs & Entities
This year, keeping a close watch on brand SERPs and knowledge panels will become very important. Understanding who you are, what you offer, and what audience you serve will hold a lot of value for other businesses.
We may even start to see personalized knowledge graphs in 2023. Google has so much information about you, including your search history and behavior, email, and social media, it might be able to scale up the process of personalizing knowledge graphs.
What does this mean for SEO in 2023? It means optimizing a brand’s entire digital presence like its social media profile, Youtube channel, etc., in order to influence Google to feature them the way they want.
Today, it’s not just about your website and what it showcases, but it is about your brand’s entire digital presence and how they interact with each other on SERP. SEO experts must understand how NLP (natural language processing) and entities play a role in Google rankings.
The Importance of good keywords still remains crucial but it comes secondary to understanding topics related to the query and the intent behind it.
Google Discover is the only place where there are no keywords at play. The only way to optimize for it is by establishing your entity in the knowledge graph and honing how it is connected within the topic layer, as per Jes Scholz, the International Digital Director at Ringier.
Some of the activities that Scholz suggest to focus are:
- Ensuring a correct and complete organization markup.
- Establishing a strong presence on knowledge bases such as Wikidata.
- Claiming your knowledge panel to use the posts by Google feature.
- Setting up Google My Business profile for brick-and-mortar businesses.
17. All SEO Is Mobile SEO
Ensuring that your website performs well for mobile devices is something that you must continue to take care of in 2023. Mobile device user experience will be a big focus for all SEO experts.
Simplicity is the key to a user-friendly web design. You also need to personalize your website content according to the needs of your users. Google will eventually ignore your desktop site and completely focus on your mobile site to determine your rankings.
So, if your focus on improving user experience on mobile devices has been the bare minimum to date, it’s time to shift your focus entirely on it. If you have a separate desktop and mobile site, it time to consider migrating to a mobile responsive site
18. Assess, Adapt & Execute
In 2021, thinking out of the box will be more important than ever. You need to have a better perspective of the opportunities that are there in front of you. This is the time to get organized, build a plan, and work according to it.
Shifting to a more strategic SEO plan will be critical to help you stay atop your competitors. It is recommended to shift your focus from user behavior to a dual process of understanding the market in which these consumers operate first and then take a more strategic approach to the changing demands in real-time.
You should utilize various tools, platforms, and sources available to you to understand how economic, social and psychological factors impact search demand and then look at understanding consumer behavior at a deeper level.
19. SERP Layout & Functionality Changes
There is going to be a big change in the way content is viewed or laid out on the website since Google Passage Ranking was announced. Instead of having multiple pages on a topic, why not have an entire page dedicated to that particular topic.
Cindy Krum, CEO & Founder, MobileMoxie, believes that Google identifying and ranking passages will be a huge SEO trend in 2021. Passages are really important as far as Google’s ability to extract the exact information that the audience is looking for is concerned.
Strong page and schema structure help with passage optimization along with the presence of text that has a high readability score and is easy for NLP to evaluate.
Google has been testing multiple layout changes, including more inclusive autosuggestion that gives the users the information without even having to hit the search button or scroll down the results.
Google is expected to add infinite or continuous scroll in search. Though implemented on mobile search results in the US in late 2021, we may soon see this feature in other regions and desktop searches as well.
20. Long-Form Content
One trend that will help you outrank your competitors in 2023 is consistently publishing long-form and relevant content on your website. The content should adhere to E.A.T guidelines and should be 2000-word long or more.
As long-form content continues to garner importance in 2023, well-written long-form content can even cross the 2000-word threshold and aim to standardize a 3000-3500 word mark.
21. SEO Scalability
If you want to beat your competitors in 2023, you should focus on building scalability in your SEO services.
Mark Traphagen, Vice President of Product Marketing and Training, seoClarity recommends listing all the tasks and workflow and then determining which of these steps could be automated using SEO tools.
You should also set up an alert system that monitors significant changes like ranking of your important keywords, URL changes, or changes in content. Establish SoPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for any other tasks you can’t automate.
These are the SEO trends for 2023. Implement these SEO strategies on your website and stay ahead of your competitors. Which of these strategies do you think will be the most important in 2023?