Director of Growth Content at Dialpad
Search engine optimization may be one of the most exciting topics on the internet… Well, at least that’s the case for marketers, website builders, and webmasters!
When SEO first became a “thing” it was shrouded in mystery. Both the newly-trained and the so-called “experts” tried everything short of voodoo to try and coax search engines like Google and Yahoo to highlight their brands. Eventually, as with most internet-related things, we collectively began to figure things out.
However, the art of SEO is a forever-changing practice. No matter how hard we try, Google stays several steps ahead of us. It’s not like information about search engine algorithms and ranking systems isn’t out there. But, the reality is that there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to SEO.
With that being said, the best thing we can do is anticipate changes and adjust accordingly. Therefore, as we head into the new year, it’s best practice to keep your eye on the latest SEO trends of 2023.
16 SEO Trends to Look Out for in 2023:
Core Web Vitals Are Necessary Metrics
If you work in SEO, you are likely to be somewhat familiar with the importance of Core Web Vitals. These metrics help provide Google with valuable data regarding user experience on your website.
First Contentful Paint (FCP): measures how fast bits of content load on your web page.
First Input Delay (FID): measures the time delay between a user interacting with your website and the page response.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): monitors how long it takes for the largest piece of content to load and appear for website visitors.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures the visible stability of your web pages; indicates the total amount of unexpected layout shifts on a page.
As part of your 2023 SEO strategy, you can head to Google PageSpeed Insights to measure how your web pages perform for each of the Core Web Vitals. While performing an audit, the SEO tool will also suggest how to improve loading speeds and visual stability.
Core Web Vitals should be monitored regularly to continually improve the user experience and avoid any slippage in site performance.
19 Easy Ways To Improve Your Site Speed
As Google continues to evolve its algorithms for relevance and usefulness, the tech giant has maintained the importance of E-A-T. Straight from Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG) comes a three-pronged approach to building a quality website.
E-A-T stands for:
Expertise – Do you create great content that your audience loves and finds useful?
Authority – Who are you linking to, and who is citing your content?
Trustworthiness – Is your website and its content secure and authentic?
Becoming an expert is rather simple, focus on what you know and have content creators who are more than competent in their respective fields. For example, if you feature a blog post on a topic like a cloud-hosted PBX, then make sure the writer has the relevant experience to back their ideas.
Proving your authority comes down to link-building with reputable sources within your content. Easy places to start are .gov, .edu, .org, and other non-profit or organizational domains. Adding customer reviews and testimonials will also demonstrate your social proof.
Lastly, you should be using modern website designs and hosting solutions. This way, you will have a secure infrastructure that protects the data and privacy of your users.
By reinforcing E-A-T SEO practices, you will raise your click-through rate (CTR) and lower your bounce rates. That can only mean one thing, the algorithms will rank your website higher.
What Is E-A-T and Why It’s Important For SEO
Online Shopping is a Juggernaut Here to Stay
Consumers have increasingly been going online to make purchases. The COVID-19 pandemic only seemed to accelerate the process. According to Statista, for 2021, e-commerce businesses accounted for nearly 19% of total global retail sales. For 2023, that number is projected to rise to 20.8%.
What’s this have to do with SEO? Well, Google has been updating its platform to accommodate growth and improve the online shopping experience. They have made it free for businesses to sell directly through their service and implemented new technologies and tools.
One new feature that is worth focusing on is the Shopping Graph. According to Google:
“[t]he Shopping Graph is a “dynamic, AI-enhanced model that understands a constantly-changing set of products, sellers, brands, reviews and most importantly, the product information and inventory data we receive from brands and retailers directly — as well as how those attributes relate to one another.”
The main aim is to help shoppers find exactly what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Google’s Shopping Graph achieves this by leveraging information such as:
Price.Website.Customer Reviews.SKUs.Images.Videos.You can leverage this tech by optimizing your product pages for keywords and high-quality images. Adding information like SKU numbers and customer reviews to product pages will also improve your ability to reach your target audience via organic search results.
The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce SEO: How to Optimize Commercial Websites and Drive More Traffic
It wasn’t that long ago that featured snippets were thought of as mostly a novelty. Today, the importance of the featured snippet is rising to the top of most SERPs. You will notice them at the top of the results pages, especially when asking a question on Google.
Google’s algorithms feature a snippet of text that the AI feels will directly answer or address a user query. This is seen as a time-saving benefit for the end user. They may also show up in the “people also ask” section or along with Knowledge Graph information (a Google tool for answering factual questions).
[Screenshot taken from Google.com]
Complete Visual Guide to Google SERP Features in 2022: What Keywords to Use and How to Get Featured
As part of your 2023 SEO strategy, featured snippets will help you appear at the top or more keyword results. Another thing to consider is that highlighted snippet text usually accounts for 50% or more of a typical smartphone screen.
To take advantage of the components of Google’s AI, you should focus on making specific content to answer all relevant questions for your business. This includes leveraging what “people also ask” questions that relate to your target keywords.
You should also be using schema markups to structure your content for search engines. This not only helps you make clarifications to website crawlers but also lets you block out exact text for use as featured snippets.
Images have always been integral to delivering quality content to internet users. According to Moz, about 20% of all Google searches are performed in Image Search. However, it has been difficult to weigh the importance of image SEO.
Image optimizing best practices for 2023 must include auditing as part of your content strategy. Modern webmasters are well aware of the importance of properly labeling/tagging images as a best practice.
Filenames, captions, and alt-text are important to improve the inclusivity and accessibility of your content. This type of image enrichment will also let you target keywords and grab traffic from the image SERPs.
And don’t worry about using solely original images. It’s worth paying for images or grabbing royalty-free options–Google doesn’t worry about duplicates. In many cases, source images appear higher up in search results than the original image.
Image Optimization: Beginner’s Guide
The first rule of white-hat SEO practices is that content is king. SEO professionals will know the grab-bag of benefits that come from producing quality long-form content. More content means more space to target relevant and long-tail keywords. A recent report found that the average time users spend per page across all industries is 55 seconds.
Longer content also means users are more likely to spend more time on your page–this metric can help you rise in the rankings! There’s no clear definition of just what “long-form” means. For most, the definition will fall between 800 and 2000 words. A 2020 study found that the average Google first page result contains 1,447 words.
However, it’s best not to focus on length and instead focus on content. The main goal of long-form content is to address many questions with one web page. This also allows you to build on several keywords and diversify your backlink building.
Audit your content for quality and length to ensure you are putting relevant pages out to both Google’s crawlers and users. This process will help improve your SERPs for 2023.
It is also important to think about how you want users to navigate your website when reading longer-form content. Which will better suit your website: pagination or infinite scroll?
7 Tips For Creating Content That Converts
Evolution Of Link-Building
Effective link-building has long been the bread and butter of webmasters all over the world. In the early days, it was seen as a semi-cheat code for building up your page rank and authority. As Google continues to trend toward content and relevance, link-building strategies need to become more nuanced. According to Google’s John Mueller,
“At some point, [links] will drop off a little bit as we can’t figure out a little bit better how the content fits in within the context of the whole web. And to some extent, links will always be something that we care about because we have to find pages somehow.”
— John Mueller
The age of less is more is past its best-by date. Looking ahead to 2023, you and your team should conduct a full link-building audit. SEO has gone off the ramp and performed a 180° turn. With advancements like Google Penguin, it’s time to look at the quality of the links and not the quantity.
That means appealing to domain authorities and reputable websites when link-building. And as always, maintain a laser focus on creating original and quality content.
Link Building Statistics You Should Know to Improve Your SEO Strategy
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Serpstat Backlink Analysis Tool: A Comprehensive Guide
Don’t Focus on Ranking in the Top Spot
Being number one or top three for major keyword SERPs used to be all the rage. For many of the reasons we address in this article, such as voice search, featured snippets, and passage indexing, this is becoming less important.
Google’s highly evolved platform is built to deliver the most relevant content to users. The algorithms will only continue to get more efficient with time. Focus on building structured web pages to help the indexing process and leverage things like image searches or questions.
Improving efficiency is something that can, and should, be applied company-wide, not just in your SEO efforts. With this in mind, you may wish to look up ‘What is ACD?’ This is an automatic call distributor that directs your calls to the right person or department, which will increase your company’s level of efficiency and could serve to increase your customer loyalty.
When evaluating your 2023 SEO approach, use your page CTRs to determine the success of your optimization efforts. This metric will also indicate the quality or relevance of each page’s content.
As social media usage continues to grow, influencer marketing is something businesses ignore at their peril. According to a report, it was found that business were expected to spend over 16 billion dollars on influencer marketing for the year 2022. The graph below depicts an exponential rise of influencer marketing sector.
To get the most out of any partnership, you should focus on getting backlinks with those influencers that are domain authorities. That means, including influencers in your content like blogs and videos. Paid guest posts are a great way to leverage the power of influencers when it comes to optimization.
Of course, they will also advertise your products on their social media channel; however, for SEO purposes, it is best to form partnerships with influencers that have a good blog/website presence of their own.
In 2023, it will be all about using influencers as an alternative source of organic and paid traffic.
Use These 10 Social Media Tips to Skyrocket Your SEO Now
Original Content for the Win
While we’re on the subject of content, remember to keep it original as much as possible. First off, plagiarizing is a risk to your reputation with website visitors and experts in your domain. Secondly, Google has become extremely effective at eliminating duplicate content from its SERPS.
It’s a good tactic to view content from top-ranking competitors for inspiration and guidance. Your website will need to provide branded and personalized content that tells your own stories. While reviewing the competition, look for areas where others are lacking content.
If you offer e-commerce businesses a Shopify loyalty app, build a content strategy that appeals to your target audience. For instance, create how-to Shopify content and guides for other aspects of e-commerce.
If what you are serving visitors is truly unique, you will be rewarded with more backlinks! In turn, you will get more views, more engagement, and a rise in Google rankings. It’s a vicious cycle that is a one-way train to SEO success.
How to Write Engaging Content: 8 Actionable Tips
Mobile Users Are a Growing Majority
Mobile users are becoming increasingly more significant to all things on the world wide web. Statistics from 2021 show there are currently 4.67 billion internet users that make up nearly 60% of global internet traffic.
Percentage of mobile device website traffic worldwide from 1st quarter 2015 to 2nd quarter 2022:
Mobile SEO takes a slightly different approach when compared to more traditional sources of internet traffic. Fortunately, to help with this, Google has released best practice documents, as well as enabled mobile-first indexing by default for all websites created after July 1, 2019.
However, due diligence must be directed toward optimizing all of your web pages for fast loading on mobile devices. Google’s developer guide is the first place to begin. Follow the advice to help Google properly index your site and “help” you gain more traffic.
For a quick mobile-friendly check, you refer to Core Web Vitals for mobile performance baselines. Additionally, remember to build a strategy that leverages Google’s featured snippets. As previously mentioned, these text boxes will have a disproportionate prominence on most mobile devices due to screen size.
Video Content Marketing is Mandatory
Video continues to become an integral part of any content marketing strategy. Consumers are looking for online videos as part of their product search. If you have quality video content, it also means visitors will spend more time on your website.
A survey conducted by Wyzowl found that 87% of marketers say video has helped them increase traffic. The same survey found that 82% of respondents found video content to increase visitor dwell time on their web pages. As indicated by the trends of the study, marketers who don’t use video are going the way of the dodo.
You can leverage video content as part of your SEO strategy for 2023. Two areas where you can appeal to Google’s indexing are clip markups and seek markups. Clip markups let you highlight key sections of any videos. Instead of only time-stamping videos, you can label each section.
Think of these like H2s for written content. For example, if you have an explainer video for PBX hosting, use clip markups for topical sections. These can be titles likes “What is PBX?”, “Benefits of VoIP”, and so on.
Additionally, seek markups instruct google about your URL framework. In other words, it lets google use direct links to each clip markup for relevant SERPs and “people also ask” pages.
Optimizing your video content will help you with Google rankings for user queries. You will also get an extra SEO boost from increased visitor dwell time on your pages that include video content.
25 Often-Repeated Misconceptions About Video Marketing
Going Local Will Pay Huge Dividends
Another SEO tactic that proved invaluable during the pandemic is optimizing for the locality. When leaving the house became much more difficult, consumers wanted to source local products for faster and greener delivery methods.
It used to be that consumers looked for business by qualifiers like “near me” or zip codes. However, Google has found that this practice is on the decline. Online shoppers now expect local results in many SERPs.
Even with a return to normalcy, it is looking like local online shopping will continue to trend upward heading into 2023. There are an increasing number of SEO companies like Google Analytics Agency Dubai that focus on local and regional areas.
For local SEO, you will need a two-pronged approach. One is to rank for map pack results. The second is to rank for organic “blue link” results that appear below any map pack. There is only one place to get the ball rolling for both of these lists, Google.
You can build your local SEO strategy by first creating a Google My Business account. This will let you add important locality information including accurate and updated hours for any brick-and-mortar stores. You can also boost your SERP traffic and conversions by including local text in any featured snippet text.
These local SEO stats show the multiple ways that having a strong local SEO presence can benefit your business.
Local Awareness: Local SEO Tool To Increase Local Involvement
Voice Search is Gaining in Popularity
Technology like Google Voice Search is rising in popularity. One survey indicates that 112 million US adults use a voice-operated assistant. These tools let users perform search queries simply by speaking into device microphones.
It’s nothing new as the tech has been in development since at least 2008. This is part of a larger digital movement towards more conversational experiences for users.
With interfaces like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa voice search is becoming critical to local search optimization. So that means you have to consider both the medium and the content of the query to reach your target audience.
Natural language processing (NLP) powers voice search technology. This AI is helping Google learn how to interpret conversational searches versus what users normally type into a search engine.
For example, you might type “best guitar music shop” into a query box. Whereas, if you were speaking you would say something along the lines of “Which is the best guitar and music shop?”.
According to Market Research Future, the global voice assistant market will rise to 30.74 billion dollars by 2030. Consumers will be increasingly buying smart devices and speakers that use NLP and speech/voice recognition. You can’t afford to neglect the need for voice SEO. Luckily for webmasters, several tactics will have a cross-approach SEO boost.
These aforementioned strategies include the following:
Optimize for local search: many voice search users are looking for local businesses–don’t forget to claim your Google My Business listing!
Featured snippets: these concise texts can quickly address vocal queries with 40% of search results coming from snippets.
Use conversational content: it goes hand in hand with building quality and long-form content.
Use schema markups: structured data will help give better context to Google Voice indexing.
Voice Search: A Complete Guide For The Hottest Trend
The Role of AI and Machine Learning is Growing
AI is becoming a bigger player in both content generation and SEO. AI voice recognition is just one area where the rules of optimization are changing. Machine learning is also driving analytics platforms and speeding up the process of optimizing your website for both performance and SERP rankings.
One area where Google has changed the algorithm game is with RankBrain. This algorithm uses machine learning to “determine the most relevant results” to search queries. Effectively, it continually evolves its understanding of related terms, allowing it to deduce the true intent of the user with a good deal of accuracy.
Heading into 2023, you can focus on new keywords that are related to your industry. Tie content with relevant keywords and you can be confident that when a user makes a “new” search query, your pages will be ready to rise up the rankings.
Passage Indexing Is Your Friend
Another newer Google algorithm is known as Passage Indexing. This technology uses NLP to analyze structured website content. Instead of focusing on the entire web page, it highlights and ranks individual passages on the page.
Passage Indexing brings a higher granularity to content relevancy. So when you are putting out original long-form content, you can rest assured that users will be able to quickly find the most relevant sections. The image below shows how it can impact search results:
What this does mean is that it can also leverage other sections of your web pages to rise in page rankings.
Passage indexing will be especially useful when targeting long-tail keywords and answering question queries. The key is to make sure your long-form written content features concise and clear passages. In this way, they become mini-pages of their own furthering your SEO efforts.
Much as we’d like it to be, SEO for Google (and minor search engines like Bing) is a problem that will never be permanently solved.
You could invent time travel and head back to a time before the internet was created, however, an easier way to deal with SEO is to accept that it is an ongoing process. Staying on top of the trends in your niche will help guide you along the way. This includes things like content creation, keyword research, and maintaining social proofs.
Your organization also needs to stay on top of Google announcements and updates. With due diligence and concerted efforts, your team will evolve your SEO practices to help your brand rises from the ashes of your competitors.
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