“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Mark Twain may not have been talking about search engine optimization (SEO), but his quote is still relevant. Every year, there is another article or blurb suggesting SEO is dead. Well, it’s not. It is alive and quite well.
As we approach 2023, SEO is as important as ever. In order to continue implementing successful SEO strategies and campaigns for your business, we are sharing some important SEO trends to consider.
Did you know almost 40% of internet users in the United States regularly use voice search? With Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant becoming common mainstays in the house and on mobile devices, those numbers are going to increase in 2023 and in the future.
If you are not currently optimizing your website for voice search, then you are going to miss out on a lot of potential clients and their business. There is a different methodology for voice optimization. Users generally ask questions as opposed to typing in queries. Think of it this way — for voice search they may ask, “What time does Home Depot open?” In a regular Google search, they may just type Home Depot and find the nearest location on their Google Map Pack or a Google Business Profile listing.
For voice search, the optimization and keywords need to come in a long-tail form. It helps to target keywords in the form of a question. By doing this you can drive users to your website and business.
If you are not already prioritizing local SEO, it’s a good idea to start now. This is one of the best methods to get a competitive edge over your competition.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, local search exploded. Everyone started searching for businesses with terms like “local” and “near me” at a far greater rate than ever before. Not surprisingly, this trend has stuck around and does not appear to be going away anytime soon.
Having a fully optimized Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) listing is one of the strongest factors in a successful local SEO strategy. Being engaged with users as they leave reviews or submit questions can boost your business in many ways.
Optimizing your content to be locally focused can also add to your success. Specifically, you want to incorporate geo-targeted keywords into that content. Geo-targeted keywords simply mean adding the name of the city or neighborhood to the keyword you are targeting. For example, “HVAC services in San Diego” or “Des Moines furniture store.”
As the song goes “video killed the radio star,” and we’ve seen how imperative video is in marketing to prospects. Video marketing, especially for SEO, is becoming a necessity. Having a YouTube channel and optimizing it is great, but it needs to go beyond that too.
Simply put, users love video content. It is more engaging than regular photos and text. An engaging video will lead to users staying on the website longer. This can affect Google search rankings because Google is seeing this interaction as a quality video. This means there will be a better user experience on the website and, over time, that website may start to rank better as a result of that video.
Having a great user experience via video on your website is key. But expanding your digital footprint into YouTube and TikTok can also improve your SEO. In six years, TikTok has grown to more than a billion active users worldwide. It is not slowing down and is expanding into a search engine, especially among Generation Z. YouTube SEO and TikTok SEO are going to become regular offerings in digital marketing agencies in 2023.
EXPERTISE AUTHORITY TRUST (E-A-T)
Content is still king. Google has been saying that forever. But they have leaned into EAT for all websites.
Just in case you are unclear about EAT:
- Expertise – are you an expert in your field? Is this conveyed on your website?
- Authority – are you a leading authority in your field? Meaning, are others referring to your business when associating with a product or service?
- Trust – are you trustworthy in what you are expressing on your website? Are users coming to you for accurate information?
Essentially, if your website sells products/services or gives advice, EAT is critical for your SEO success. Achieving EAT can be tricky, but it is doable. Crafting original and high-quality content is where you need to start. Having a true expert in your field craft the content can truly help your rankings over time. As more users come to your website, Google will start to see you as an authority in your field. Throw in quality reviews and a secure website, and Google will start factoring in trust for your website.
CORE WEB VITALS
Google, more than ever before, is emphasizing the importance of a great user experience. This has always been a ranking factor, but now Google is emphasizing how important it is in their algorithm.
It breaks down like this — if users don’t have good experiences on your website, they won’t return. In fact, they may even leave a bad review or tell others and word of mouth could spread. A bad user experience over time will cause a drop in rankings.
Making sure your website is fast is vital. If it takes more than three seconds to load, then 53% of all users will leave. This is where Core Web Vitals (CWV) come into play. Your website will be fast if it can pass the four Core Web Vitals.
- First Contentful Paint (FCP) – measures how quickly the bits of content load on website
- First Input Delay (FID) – measures how quickly a webpage processes an interaction after a user interacts on the webpage
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – how long it takes for the largest piece of content to load on website and materialize for users
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – measures the number of layout shifts that occur on website without a user interaction
Google factors these Core Web Vitals into their algorithm. Keeping an eye on your CWV on mobile and desktop will be essential for delivering a great user experience and improving your rankings.
2023 will be an interesting year for digital marketing and SEO. As always, you can expect Google to throw a wrench into the system and update their algorithm with a major ranking factor that will require adaptability to reoptimize websites.
SEO experts have always had to be knowledgeable, flexible and innovative, 2023 is going to test those skills and prove their value.