2023 SEO Trends That Can Impact Your Traffic
The evolution in search is driving content creation, link building, and AI-generated content at a feverish pace. If you are running an MSP or other small business, this is an all-important guide showing you the seven essential SEO trends to embrace in 2023.
The Impact of SEO Trends on Organic Ranking
To better prioritize your marketing efforts and budget, the table below shows the impact of these SEO trends on rankings, social signals, and link building:
- AI Generated Content
- Google Useful Content Update
- Topical Relevance
- Content Optimization Software
- Google EEAT
- Core Web Vitals
- Voice Search is Still Growin
- Bonus – Social Listening
7 Essential SEO Trends for 2023:
Content is Still King so our first four trends are content related.
Yes, content is still king, and there are a whole new set of challenges in 2023 as it relates to creating great content that ranks and is useful for your target audience.
Content is a BIG SUBJECT, and there are plenty of articles on the web about the number of words to use, semantic relevance, and so on. For this article, we are focusing on trends and changes. So let’s discuss AI Generated Content, and the Useful Content Update.
1. AI-Generated Content is Trending
AI-generated Content is a big trend in search engine optimization (SEO), and this trend will become more popular in 2023 as Artificial Intelligence writing improves.
ChatGPT is making a huge splash among those that do SEO for a living. ChatGPT is the best AI content-generating bot on the web, but like all AI content, we do not recommend using it without significant editing. The best way to use AI Content is to generate a complete list of topics to cover in an article, and if you use the actual AI output, you should humanize it and change the sentence structure.
The following paragraph is 100% AI generated by ChatGPT when asked if Google penalizes AI Content
“It is not the case that Google punishes websites for using AI-generated content. Google’s search algorithm is designed to rank websites based on a variety of factors, including the quality and relevance of the content they provide to users. However, it is important to note that Google’s search algorithm prioritizes high-quality, original content that provides value to users. If a website is using AI-generated content and it is not of high quality or is not relevant to the users’ search queries, it may not rank as highly in search results as other websites that offer higher-quality, more relevant content.”
As you can see, the content does not match the tone, style, or personality of the article and would need heavy editing. But it does give you a good foundation to write a solid paragraph on the subject. You should not the the ChatGPT algorithm does not have realtime access to data, so fact-based assertions may be out of date.
There are a number of tools specifically created to offer AI writing services, and your hired writers may be using them
AI-powered SEO content tools like Jasper, CopyAi, and several others are built to leverage the machine learning model GPT-3 (third-generation Generative Pre-trained Transformer) via OpenAI — which was eventually licensed to Microsoft.
With AI-generated content, a computer can write an unlimited number of words in a matter of seconds.
Jasper.ai, for example, can generate a unique and almost undetectable AI-generated article for you based on a prompt.
Alternatively, people with great writing skills can use AI-generated content as a rough draft and build on it. (which is what we recommend)
While AI-generated content will continue to be a powerful supplement, it’s important to remember the fundamentals of SEO, which entails:
- Proper keyword research
- Thorough market research
- Original content that adds value
- Trusted and relevant inbound links
Ultimately, content should add value to the user and offer a unique perspective on any topic. In addition, it should feature original viewpoints or insights from a niche expert.
AI-generated Content is already being used by many big companies and brands (such as IBM, Logitech, and Qatar Airways) to create branded content.
AI writers can generate ideas and content at scale and help brands understand their competitors better.
However, AI-generated content can never capture a brand’s unique message, personality, or voice.
That is why relying on Jarvis or any other AI writer completely puts your brand at risk of being dinged by Google — since automated content creation typically fails to resonate with users because it is missing that human “voice”.
2. Google’s Useful Content Update
As content generation continues at a fevered pitch, Google needs to index it, analyze it, and store the reduced data set to present search results. All of this costs Google money. Servers, electricity, engineers, data center space, and other cost factors we can only guess at. So, one trend we noticed in 2022 that will continue into 2023 is pages getting de-indexed or ignored by Google. Google made it official with a “Helpful Content Update” in the 4th quarter of 2022.
This quote from the Google Website explains it best:
“Focus on people-first content
The helpful content update aims to reward better content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.
So, in 2023, if you want your content to be indexed, ranked and send you traffic, focus on creating good quality content that targets a specify user persona.
3. Topical Relevance
One of the most important trends in SEO for 2023 is Topical relevance.
Topical relevance refers to how closely a website’s content is related to the topic or main theme of your website. For example, if your site is about Personal Finance, Hiking, Cooking, Landscaping, then most of the content should be on one of those subjects. If you have a website dedicated to hiking, and you write an article about Derivatives, that article would not be topically relevant to your website’s main topic. Thus unlikely to rank.
In the context of SEO, topical relevance is critical because it helps search engines understand what your site is about and what it should be ranked for in search results. When your site has strong topical relevance, it is more likely to rank well for topical searches in your niche.
Four ways to improve your SEO topical relevance:
- Be sure that the main theme of your site is clearly defined and that all your content is related to that theme.
- Use relevant keyword phrases throughout the site, including page titles, headings, and page content.
- Provide high-quality, in-depth content that covers a range of topics related to your main theme.
- Link to related content on the site to form a silo of content around topics.
Focusing on topical relevance can improve your website visibility, improving your ability to attract more targeted traffic.
This trend involves ensuring that your content pages focus on different aspects of the main topic.
The best way to optimize your site for this is to focus on matching the intent of the search. If you can do this, you’ll be able to rank well for long-tail queries.
So how do you know the ‘intent’ of a given keyword before you even start writing?
Simply search the keyword in Google. Check the top #3 organic results. These pages rank very high because they have fulfilled the searchers’ intent.
In other words, users don’t bounce off these results. They stick around to reach the content. Now you know the intent!
Go a step further to make your content easier to scan, and consume. This will make a difference in usability.
Google is developing advanced algorithms to determine relevance based on user interaction signals, such as dwell time and CTR.
The result is that the user/search intent dial will go up in 2023 and beyond, forcing SEOs to shift to a more targeted content strategy.
4. Content Optimization Software
A strong trend sweeping through the professional SEO agency is using content optimization software to garner insights and improve content quality. If you want to increase the visibility of your website, consider doing what the professionals do and use content optimization software to take your SEO to the next level.
Tools such as Surfer SEO, Frase.io, BuzzSumo, and several others provide valuable insights into how visitors interact with your content, what topics (and subheadings) to use in your content, and how to optimize call-to-actions (CTAs) for users properly.
With Surfer SEO, for instance, you can analyze 500+ On-Page insights quickly. These insights can help you create better content to boost organic ranking.
It helps you find new keyword prospects and track the performance of your website over time.
Additionally, these tools allow you to see your competitors’ ranking, so you can make changes to improve your site’s performance.
Content optimization software platforms are AI-powered. They use similar NLP algorithms as Google — so you can expect to optimize content quicker and better than by hand.
5. Google’s E.E.A.T.
E.E.A.T. is an acronym for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
The EE.A.T trend is one of the most talked-about trends in SEO. It’s particularly crucial for YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) topics and websites.
In 2023 and beyond, Google evaluates the expertise, authority, and credibility of the person who wrote a piece of content. It also takes into account the entire website.
For example, an article on Chiropractic treatment by a Chiropractor or medical doctor with experience is more valuable than a blog post on the same topic by a non-medical professional.
Where the article is also published matters, if the above article is published on MayoClinic, for example, then it’ll rank better compared to when it’s published on Inc.
The former is a health-related website with authority, while Inc. is primarily focused on business.
Google is constantly changing its Rater Guidelines, and E.A.T is likely to change over time.
Pro tip: To win in today’s ever-changing SEO world, focus on your core expertise and create content demonstrating professionalism. If you’re a Fitness coach, stick to that niche and build authority around it.
6. Core Web Vitals
Google is prioritizing user experience over everything else, and this ties into the previous section. Core Web Vitals is the first E in EEAT.
In May 2020, Google introduced the Core Web Vitals and confirmed that it would use the metric as a ranking factor in mobile search results.
Core Web Vitals consist of these performance metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): this measures the total time taken for the largest content asset on the page to load. LCP is measured in seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID): It measures how long it takes for your website to respond to a user’s first interaction with the page. Measured in seconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): An important metric that measures the number of unexpected layout shifts that occur throughout the lifespan of the page.
Fortunately, optimizing Core Web Vitals isn’t that hard to achieve.
You can use tools to check your current website and identify pages that require optimization.
As you decide on your SEO budget in 2022 and beyond, it’s important to invest in improving your website’s Core Web Vitals signal. This is going to impact your search engine performance significantly.
How would you know if your website needs improvement? It’s quite simple as long as you have a Google Search Console integration.
Simply log in and click on the Core web vitals tab to access your report.
Your report will focus on individual pages. Hence, your Google Core Web Vitals report shows you:
- The number of ‘Poor URLs”
- The “URLs that need improvement”
- The “Good URLs.”
Ultimately, you want all your URLs to be ‘good’ and compliant with this ranking factor.
As you can see below, 78 URLs need improvement for this particular website:
The Google PageSpeed Insights also shows you your Core Web Vitals report. It tells you how well your pages are performing for users.
Simply plug in your website address (.e.g., seota.com) and hit the enter button on your keyboard.
The higher your Performance score, the better. I’m excited because the Seota Core Web Vitals score is high (99) and green. So our website is well-optimized for users.
You may decide to improve your page experience yourself or through your in-house SEO team.
However, if you need a professional digital marketing agency to assist you, we’re here to help you at Seota.
7. Voice Search
Voice searches are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s estimated that 122.7 million people in the U.S. will use voice search services in the next 5 years.
Currently, voice search services are used by people looking for quick answers (such as ‘what is the time zone in India’), playing music, setting reminders, and more.
Besides, searching with voice search is almost 4X faster than typing.
Voice search trends have multiple implications for businesses and consumers alike.
The increasing use of smart speakers and chatbots across the globe will drive the adoption of voice technologies.
Because people are built to talk, it is natural for them to want to ask for information via voice. Therefore, brands should ensure that their content is optimized for voice searches:
- Create content that’s informative and conversational.
- Use plenty of subheadings and bullets to break up large chunks of paragraphs.
- Write in short sentences, and answer questions with numbers.
Pro tip: Consider using video content to optimize for voice searches. Google can separate the relevant parts of a video to show ‘key moments’ in the search results.
A bonus trend for 2023
Bonus Trend: Social Listening
As SEO becomes more competitive, listening to social media conversations is becoming an increasingly important element of online marketing strategies.
Social listening takes monitoring to a whole new level. It tells you ‘why’ people are talking about a product or topic at a particular time.
Not only does it help you determine which topics your customers are talking about, but it can also help you discover new product ideas and blog post topics.
There are social listening tools (e.g., Google Alerts, Brand Watch, HootSuite) that come in handy for this purpose. You can track keywords, topics, brand mentions, products, events, news, or any information you want.
You may also find that people are asking very specific questions that you may be able to address by listening to their conversations.
Did you know that 13% of dissatisfied customers will share negative news with 15+ people? Today, it’s worse because they can share their experiences with hundreds and thousands of people on social media.
And if customers don’t think you don’t care about them, 68% of them will leave your company, according to Super Office.
You need a solid social listening strategy. Begin with the major social media channels — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
For example, a Spectrum customer tweeted about her displeasure on Twitter about an ‘outage’ and a Spectrum customer agent responded promptly to address her complaints.
This is a great way to deliver top-notch customer service and build a strong brand.
One of the benefits of social media listening is the ability to listen to your competitors’ conversations in real-time.
This can help you learn what they’re doing right and what they’re ignoring.
It can also help you spot any mistakes that your competitors may have made or criticism they’ve received from the press.
You can gain insights from customer complaints, reviews, and testimonials. These insights can form the foundation of a good article, video, podcast, or even an eBook or online course.
SEO Trends: the Future
All in all, SEO can deliver consistent traffic, leads, and revenue for your business if you know how to execute these important SEO trends.
Remember that user intent is the ultimate focus. No matter how much you listen to your audience and competitors, if your content doesn’t provide useful answers — you’ll still struggle to rank high on Google.
The “People also ask” section is about understanding the ‘intent’ of any particular keyword your ideal customer is searching for.
This section is now included in 48.4% of Google searches for a reason: Google wants you to write content for users FIRST, then optimize for the search bot to improve its discoverability.