The 10 Most Important SEO Trends of 2023
Please, PLEASE read the last one because this one shift in thinking about SEO could be all it takes to multiply your website’s ROI in 2023.
1. Organic Traffic Still Beats Paid Ads
According to Google’s own reports on ad revenue from October 2021, Google Search ad revenue only grew by 4.25% year-over-year. Many agencies have also reported that the average costs for a lot of bids they’re used to making have dropped, too.
That doesn’t bode well for the ROI of paid ads.
But the trend might actually get a lot worse in 2023 if the International Monetary Fund’s prediction turns out to be true. According to the major international financial agency, 2023 could definitely experience a worldwide recession that will affect millions around the globe.
If that happens, we expect paid ads to be the first place a lot of companies look to make budget cuts in 2023.
And not just because a recession will hurt their revenue. As we’ll delve into in just a moment, 2023 is going to see fewer searches overall, too – potentially making organic traffic even less valuable.
So, if you’re not already, my recommendation is to invest in organic traffic ASAP. If a recession does hit, you’ll want as many options for drawing organic clicks as possible.
2. ChatGPT and the Rise of AI
We’ve talked before about the huge role ChatGPT is going to play in SEO.
And we’ll probably talk about it again soon, too.
That’s because there’s no avoiding it: you need to make AI part of your SEO tech stack in 2023.
It’s not just that it’s going to play a role in 2023.
It’s that AI is going to become a permanent fixture of how SEO works. So, the sooner you learn how to use it, the better prepared you’ll be to embrace its evolution in years to come. The longer you put it off, the harder it’s going to be to catch up with competitors who were early adopters.
Of course, you still need to understand the basics and best practices of SEO before you start using AI to climb the rankings. As powerful as artificial intelligence is, it’s still not at a place where it can do all the work for you – yet 😊
The Easiest Way to Beat Your Competitors Using AI
While you should absolutely look for every opportunity to leverage AI in 2023, there’s also one very big important way to beat your competitors using it: YouTube videos.
I’m going to talk about using videos next, but the important thing to remember is that, as of yet, AI isn’t able to create unique YouTube videos that can help separate you from your pack of competitors.
Google Will Soon Be Using Artificial Intelligence for Search, Too
Artificial Intelligence is going to affect just about every area of our life and SEO – or marketing in general – is definitely no exception.
But one of the biggest developments we’re going to see for SEO in 2023 isn’t going to be companies using AI.
It’s going to be companies competing with AI.
That’s because Google has announced that they’re going to be using AI to augment their search results.
Again, we’re going to talk about Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in a second, but the biggest change we’re going to see with them in 2023 is that they’re going to start featuring results provided by AI.
Specifically, their announcement states:
“…you’ll see AI-powered features in Search that will distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web.”
In other words, they’re going to be competing against you for clicks.
3. Invest in Your Author Authority Ranking
We’ve always been advocates of writing SEO-friendly blog posts on your website.
And yes, this is just as important for our eCommerce clients. Blog posts are a great way to not just differentiate your website but also a pillar of the eCommerce SEO strategies we use for a lot of our clients.
But given the rise of AI, we think it’s more important than ever that business owners use their expertise to create content that is uniquely helpful.
That’s not the only reason why we think blogs will once again rule SEO in 2023, though.
The other is the idea of “Author Authority” and it makes a lot of sense in light of what we just covered regarding E-E-A-T.
While this isn’t officially a ranking factor, there’s every reason to believe Google pays attention to which names repeatedly take the byline for trusted posts that reflect expertise and experience.
So, in 2023, be sure you’re including yourself as the author for your blog posts and guest posts. Consider investing in your social media to position yourself as an expert, which could mean getting quoted as an expert in relevant posts on other sites. This would earn you a backlink and a boost to this “Author Authority” score.
This is also one more reason to do more than just having ChatGPT rewrite a competitor’s blog post and hitting “publish.” Each post isn’t just a chance at improving your rankings and traffic. It’s also an investment in improving your “Author Authority”, which could have a significant ripple effect across all of your other posts and pages.
4. Improved Content for Product Descriptions
Speaking of ways to stand out from generic AI-generated content, product pages seem like an obvious opportunity.
Far too many eCommerce companies create a product page…and then never touch them again.
In 2023, we predict many business owners will realize how weak these pages are and take steps to improve them.
Unfortunately, we think a lot of these business owners will do little more than take content on similar pages from competitors and run them through AI to spin up “new” copy they can use.
Our recommendation is to do better.
That doesn’t mean disregarding AI completely.
But it does mean putting some thought into the kind of information your customers want before making a buying decision. This can often be great inspiration for your blog posts, too.
FAQs are fantastic additions to SEO-optimized product descriptions that can help boost your traffic but also help convert your customers, too.
Consider better product images or even videos, as well. These additional features can do a lot for improving your rankings.
If you have an eCommerce site with more than 100 pages, this might not be something you can realistically accomplish by the end of 2023 – or even 2024.
In that case, our suggestion is to prioritize those with the most amounts of impressions in Google Search Console but far fewer clicks. These can be huge opportunities where simply updating your Title Tag to something similar to what your competitors are using could be enough to boost your traffic (and revenue) immediately.
Of course, adding more content to those product descriptions to make them more appealing to customers would be a good idea, too.
5. Produce Video Content to “Skip the Line”
As we touched on earlier, AI isn’t replacing actual videos (with actual humans in them) anytime soon.
Creating those types of videos and adding them to your blog posts is a good way to include the kinds of “original content” that Google loves.
But it can also be a great way to climb the ranks in Google. According to Wyzowl, 91% of video marketers say that the medium has helped them increase traffic to their websites.
Given that Google owns YouTube, it should come as no surprise that its algorithm seems to be increasingly favoring videos from that platform.
That’s why we tell our clients that YouTube videos can help them “skip the line” when it comes to Google. In 2021, video carousels were already showing up in 17% of all Google searches.
And as most companies still aren’t taking advantage of video, you could easily land in one of these carousels – right on the first page of Google – in a day or two after your video goes live. For most companies, that’s MUCH quicker than it takes to get there with a blog or eCommerce page.
Video marketing isn’t just great for SEO.
Here are two other important reasons to invest in video marketing in 2023:
- 90% say video marketing has helped them generate leads
- 87% say video marketing has helped them increase sales
And as I mention in the video above, you don’t necessarily need a huge Hollywood budget to create videos that can get to the top of Google.
Many of ours are literally just two or three of us talking about important SEO or eCommerce subjects and they do very well.
So, get started with what you can do and look for ways to improve as your budget allows in 2023.
17% of video marketers said they used video for the first time in 2022. We expect even more will this year.
Don’t get left behind.
6. Google Cares About “Experience” a Lot
Back in 2018, Google announced that it would be using E-A-T as a ranking factor, which stood for:
Describing EAT in detail would take a whole article all by itself, so click that link for more information on this very important ranking factor.
What’s important for 2023 is to understand that Google has now added another “E” to this acronym. The “E” stands for “Experience.”
According to Google, “Experience” means:
“Does content also demonstrate that it was produced with some degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person experienced? There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has first-hand, life experience on the topic at hand.”
In other words, if you want your site to rank in 2023, be sure you’re taking every opportunity to prove to Google that you have experience with the topics you’re covering.
Whether this means showing pictures or videos of the product during product reviews or proof of your experience providing a certain service to customers (e.g., a case study), make sure you prove to Google that you truly understand what you’re talking about – from experience!
7. Backlinks Are Here to Stay
For more than a decade now, many SEO “experts” have claimed, “this is the year backlinks will no longer matter.”
And just like every other year, plenty of “experts” are saying that about backlinks in 2023.
And just like those other years…
Those experts are wrong.
Backlinks still matter very much for SEO in 2023 for one very simple reason we’ve already covered: Google needs them to help establish E-E-A-T.
While we mentioned a couple of ways you can prove your Experience, how does Google know if you’re Trustworthy, an Expert, or an Authority in your field?
Sure, there may be other methods, but the best, most efficient?
You guessed it: backlinks.
Links from other websites in your industry prove to Google that others TRUST you – hence the link.
When they reference your content, they’re attesting to the fact that you’re an EXPERT.
And when you get enough of those backlinks, it’s clear that you have AUTHORITY in your field.
So, while a lot is definitely changing about SEO in 2023, one very important factor remains the same: backlinks still matter…A LOT.
8. Zero Click Traffic Is Still a Problem – Here’s What to Do About It
The bane of every SEO’s existence is zero-click traffic.
Simply put, this refers to instances when someone searches for something in Google but doesn’t end up clicking on anything.
Sometimes, the searcher simply realizes the words they used weren’t a good description of what they wanted.
However, there’s a much more nefarious reason for the increasing rate of zero-click searches over the years.
The search engine that every SEO is trying to impress is thanking us for all of our hard work by often showing users the information right on the SERPs, so they never need to click on one of our pages.
Think about the Featured Snippets and “People also ask” features of SERPs we brought up earlier.
If you show up in the “Local Pack” or your company is given a “Knowledge Panel” on Google, customers may see your contact information and have no reason to click on your actual homepage.
Whatever the case, your site doesn’t get traffic and your SEO has less to show for their work.
This problem is only going to increase in 2023.
For one thing, Google is constantly adding more and more of these features to their SERPs, but as we covered earlier, they may soon use AI to augment these pages further.
So, what can you do about this in 2023?
Understand the Problem and Make Sure Your Stakeholders Do, Too
If you’re an SEO, this is probably the most important step you need to take.
That’s because your current pages will most likely see less traffic – through no fault of your own. In fact, in the case of someone just deciding to call your company, your hard work may have delivered the exact result your company wants. It’s just that Google Analytics won’t show it.
This MIGHT be a bit of a silver lining here. The kinds of SERP features we just mentioned shouldn’t negatively affect your conversions. They should just hurt traffic coming from queries that reflect shoppers who have questions and are just in need of information – not from those looking to spend money.
Make the Most Out of the Traffic You DO Get in 2023
That being said, it would still be wise to make the absolute most of whatever traffic you are able to bring to your site.
We’ve already covered one very important way to do this: enhancing your all-important product pages so they better convert.
Improving the rest of your site with user-friendly features that help them navigate your website would be smart, too.
Another option is adding exit-intent popup ads to your blog posts – especially those with high bounce rates and no conversions. If the vast majority of visitors aren’t sticking around to make purchases, you might as well use these popups to at least try to get what conversions you can.
9. Make Room in Your Budget for Google Shopping Ads
Another reason you may end up with fewer clicks in 2023 is the rising footprint of Google Shopping on the first page.
Google Shopping Ads will put you right at the very top of any of their SERPs – even higher than a YouTube video can achieve.
But the reason we’re including this option on our list of SEO trends is that you can actually list your products in Google Shopping for free.
That makes this an absolute no-brainer for increasing your revenue in 2023, especially with the rise of zero-click traffic.
While paying for better positions may definitely still be worth it, we HIGHLY recommend you take advantage of Google Shopping this year to increase your revenue without taking on extra overhead.
10. The BIG One: Rethinking Google Algorithm Changes
You don’t have to work in SEO for long to know that Google algorithm changes are a big deal.
If the “Big G” changes the way they assess and rank websites, you need to react as fast as possible to ensure you stay in their good graces.
Ideally, you anticipate these changes so that you’re proactively improving your website in a way that will keep Google happy.
While this certainly means keeping tabs on what industry experts think is coming down the pike, there’s a really important realization that many SEOs have made within the past year – one that affects how we prepare for these all-important algorithm changes.
In short, the idea is that when Google makes major changes to its algorithm – which they do three times a year – they’re probably also using AI to reassess who the authorities are in each industry.
Why is this important?
Now You Know Why Algorithm Changes Sometimes Affect Your Unrelated Site
It explains why certain algorithm changes sometimes affect websites even though those sites are outside the stated purpose of the change.
For example, when one of the many “product review” updates came out over the past few years, many companies that sell services would report significant changes to their traffic – even though they don’t sell products.
You Need to Consistently Improve Your Website to Take Full Advantage of Algorithm Changes
This also explains why you need to constantly improve your website.
Taking a month off – much less a financial quarter – from posting content, speeding up load times, adding interlinks, securing backlinks, etc. could be all it takes to give your competitors the edge when the next algorithm change hits.
In other words, while these types of efforts may only seem to make marginal differences from week to week, when a new algorithm update hits, they can REALLY pay off if Google sees you as one of the new authorities in your space.
After that, focus on content velocity – meaning REGULARLY posting high-quality content that ranks well.
Prepare for These SEO Trends to Increase Your Traffic and Revenue in 2023
We kept our list of SEO trends to just the top 10 that we really think are going to be most important in 2023, so you’d have an easier time setting priorities this year.
But if you’d like help understanding which of these priorities to start with based on your unique website or would just like us to implement these improvements ourselves, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.