Search engine optimization (SEO) is always changing. From new strategies to changes to Google’s search algorithms, SEOs must stay updated with the latest trends. If you are preparing an SEO strategy for 2023, you need to know whether SEO will change and if so, how it will. Based on past trends, we can be confident that some aspects of SEO will change in 2023 and so this article will focus on the different areas likely to see the biggest changes in the coming year.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated every area of our lives, and it has been helping Google’s search algorithms get smarter over the years. A recent example of its use is in the BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update.
This update is meant to help Google understand language the same way if not better than human beings. BERT is responsible for search standards and will be going forward, helping eliminate shortcuts to ranking such as keyword stuffing.
We are also likely to see a significant shift in the realm of content creation, especially in written text. We have already seen some AI programs generate content that is as good as that written by humans. These programs can do this because they have access to a massive library of information that no one human can contain in their brains.
Even with the rise of AI-written content, the most realistic scenario is likely going to be a mix of AI and human writers. While AI might be able to write the overall content, it will take humans to add nuance, anecdotal evidence, and other elements of writing that appeal to humans instead of machines.
You might have heard the phrase search intent come up in the past year or so. Search intent is the reason why you searched. You might search to find information, a person, product, or service. The keywords and phrases you would do to search for either will be different and those doing SEO have to recognize that and optimize for it.
Intent might also mean the actions one would like to take after completing their search. For example, the phrases one would use when looking for a product to buy versus a course to enroll in will be very different.
The importance of user intent optimization is underpinned by Google’s expanded understanding of user intent. Google can determine what someone wants depending on the phrases they search and can therefore provide the best results.
Google has three main search intent categories:
- Buying search intent – For when a user wants to buy a product or service, These types of searches will yield ecommerce and shopping results
- Informational intent – For when a user is researching a topic or looking for additional information. Articles, including Wikipedia and scholar pages, will appear for these types of searches
- How-to intent – This is for when the user is trying to find out how to do something. Articles that answer a specific question or show a step-by-step process are likely to show up here
SEOs have known for a long time that being an authority in a field or subject is likely to get your content ranked higher. Google has now put in place guidelines for EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) requiring that sites that want to rank higher have high levels of EAT.
EAT is especially crucial for websites and businesses that post content about products or services affecting people’s health, money, happiness and safety. To ensure websites and businesses meet the requirements of the guidelines set forth, their content has to be written by an expert in the field or someone with demonstrable knowledge and experience in it.
These experts can then gain authority by having a lot of people read and learn more about their field or subject through them. Google also sees you as authoritative if experts and websites link to, refer to or recommend you and your content. Trust will be crucial in this new paradigm, and it will be enhanced by having adequate information about a content’s author on the website.
Until now, many businesses have not really paid enough attention to local search. From what we have seen in the past year or so, Google is starting to recommend local search results in almost all their searches. Searching for almost any keyword now will yield a knowledge section containing businesses associated with that keyword or phrase.
Understanding this, service businesses and those that serve local communities will have to focus a lot more on local SEO. The two best ways of doing so are using geo-targeted keywords in your content and websites and completing your Google My Business profile and maintaining that listing.
Completing your Google My Business profile is relatively straightforward, but using geo-targeted keywords is more nuanced. It includes adding the name of a city, town, or neighborhood where you do business into your keywords.
Experts also recommend that you create separate pages for each of these cities, towns, and neighborhoods and optimize them for relevant keywords. Doing so will ensure people are taken to a specific page with the products and services they are likely looking for depending on where they live.
Although this is not a new trend, we can expect the importance of video to continue to grow in 2023. A majority of consumers rely on videos to make purchase decisions. This is especially true for products that are confusing or that require a little bit of understanding to use. Think about the woodworking, fishing or even software niches.
As more people watch videos, you will have to start using them more in your SEO strategy. You will also need to learn how to create informative videos so that apart from watching them, people are more inclined to share them for increased reach and better SEO.