The digital world is an ever-evolving realm. The pace at which things change, particularly in the field of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and online marketing, is almost surreal. Just when you believe you’ve gotten a handle on the best practices, a new trend emerges, a significant algorithm update is released, or consumer behavior shifts, leaving you to recalibrate your approach. In this long-form article, we will delve into the key trends shaping SEO and online marketing in 2023.
Semantic SEO and User Intent
Search engines, notably Google, have been focusing intensely on understanding user intent for years. The introduction of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), a language processing algorithm, was a major step in this direction, allowing search engines to understand the context of words in search queries better. As of 2023, this trend has intensified.
In essence, semantic SEO is about creating content that deeply and comprehensively covers a topic, aligning more accurately with the user’s intent rather than focusing solely on specific keywords. Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, which highlight the importance of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), emphasize this shift.
To leverage semantic SEO, businesses should create content that’s authoritative, valuable, and in-depth, which can naturally incorporate various related keywords. Moreover, businesses should also address user questions related to their field of expertise, using structured data and schema markup to enhance their visibility in Google’s rich results.
Voice Search Optimization
The surge in voice-activated technologies, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri, has brought voice search optimization to the forefront. As of 2023, it’s estimated that more than 50% of all online searches are voice-based, according to data from Statista.
To optimize for voice search, marketers need to consider how people speak, rather than type, their queries. This shift means focusing more on long-tail keywords and natural language. Additionally, having a fast website, optimizing for local searches, and maintaining a FAQ section are effective ways to increase visibility in voice searches.
Google announced mobile-first indexing back in 2016, but the full rollout was not completed until 2021. This update meant Google predominantly used a site’s mobile version for indexing and ranking. As mobile users continue to outnumber desktop users, this trend shows no signs of slowing down in 2023.
Businesses should ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly, with responsive design, fast loading times, and user-friendly navigation. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool can provide valuable insights into how well your site performs on mobile devices.
Core Web Vitals and User Experience
In May 2021, Google introduced a new ranking factor – Core Web Vitals (CWV). This factor emphasizes the importance of the overall user experience, which includes load times, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads.
Given the continued importance Google is placing on CWV, marketers should focus on optimizing their websites for these signals. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to gauge your site’s performance and act on any recommendations it provides.
AI and Machine Learning in SEO
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are not new to the digital marketing realm. However, their roles have become increasingly critical in SEO strategies. Tools like MarketBrew and BrightEdge use AI and machine learning to provide advanced SEO insights, predict trends, and personalize content.
Businesses can use these tools to improve their SEO efforts, identify new keyword opportunities, optimize content for semantic SEO, and better understand their audience.
The Rise of Video Content
Video content has been on the rise for years, but 2023 has seen an explosion of video content consumption, spurred in part by the pandemic’s long-lasting impacts. As a result, video SEO has become a significant area of focus for marketers.
Marketers can take advantage of this trend by creating high-quality, engaging video content, optimizing video titles and descriptions for SEO, and using platforms like YouTube to reach a larger audience.
The Growing Importance of Local SEO
The pandemic also highlighted the importance of local businesses, sparking a renewed interest in local SEO. Marketers can leverage local SEO by optimizing for “near me” searches, maintaining accurate and consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information across all platforms, and gathering positive customer reviews.
Ethical and Sustainable SEO
The ethical use of technology and sustainability has become more important to consumers, affecting SEO and online marketing. Businesses that focus on transparent practices, respect user privacy, and show a commitment to sustainability are likely to win consumer trust and enjoy better online visibility.
As a final takeaway, remember that SEO and online marketing are dynamic fields. The trends highlighted above are shaping the current landscape, but things can and will change. It’s crucial for businesses to stay adaptable, keep up-to-date with the latest trends, and always focus on delivering value to their audience. With a user-centric and adaptable approach, businesses can navigate the ever-evolving world of SEO and online marketing with success.
Wayne is the lead writer for Rankability and ensures our content is on point and ready to help you navigate the world of search engine optimisation, he’s been in the SEO space for 20 years.