There’s nothing as constant as change, and this is just as true in the world of SEO as anywhere else. It’s so important to keep on top of trends and changes to maximise the impact of your SEO efforts. And there’s always that nagging feeling that there are updates and changes that you’ve somehow missed.
So to help you get 2023 off to the very best start, here are ten quick tips to get your SEO where it needs to be to achieve success in 2023.
Ten SEO tips for 2023
Keep on top of algorithm updates
Google’s algorithm can feel very dark and mysterious. Especially if a change can impact adversely on your search engine results. All the more reason to keep on top of algorithm updates. But it’s important to understand that updates are an essential part of Google’s ongoing journey to improve the accuracy and authenticity of the search experience.
The Google algorithm is fluid, and includes over 200 different components. Some of these – for example, keywords, links, URL length – will be familiar concepts but there are many others too.
The best way to keep up to date is by creating an alert with Google via Google.com/alerts and entering the keywords Google algorithm. This should then alert you to any new content related to Google algorithm changes.
Whatever changes are happening to the Google algorithm overall, it’s always a good idea to follow the Google guideline E-A-T. This is an essential part of the algorithm, which Google stresses is very important.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and is a key internal guideline that helps Google evaluate the quality of a site.
So it’s always essential to check the quality of the content of your site against E-A-T criteria, ie:
- Expertise – of the creator of the content.
- Authoritativeness – of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.
- Trustworthiness – of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.
Content is still king
Leading straight on from E-A-T is the fact that content is still king of the rankings. Whatever else you do with your SEO, make sure that your content is up to scratch to score higher in the rankings.
As well as running it through E-A-T criteria, you can also boost your Google rankings by:
- Updating content regularly.
- Using titles and headings to structure your content.
- Linking to high quality sources.
- Covering all viewpoints.
- Checking spelling and grammar.
Make sure your content provides answers to the questions or issues that visitors are looking for help with so that your site deserves to rank highly.
Focus on UX
Another increasingly key aspect of SEO. If a user searches for a company / product / service just like yours, you need to stand out from the crowd. Give them a reason to click on your site rather than another.
And if they do navigate to your site, you need to make an excellent first impression. Your site needs to load quickly – Google’s ideal is under half-a-second. A 2-second delay in load time resulted in abandonment rates of up to 87%.
So make sure that your technical SEO is in place to maximise UX and that your site is quick to load and easy to navigate. Design everything with your ideal customer in mind so that when they arrive at your site, they decide to stay there.
Bear in mind that over 60% of searches are now on mobile devices, and Google uses Mobile-First Indexing which prioritises the URL of the mobile-friendly version of your site. So you need to make sure it is excellent, and loads quickly : 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.
You can check how mobile-friendly your site is by entering its URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test here.
The best way to make your site mobile-friendly is to use responsive coding so that your site adjusts its appearance depending on the device being used to access it. We will cover this topic in more detail in a future article.
Harness the power of short form video
Video has always been a popular form of content, and short form video is particularly growing in popularity. As a guideline, any video under 60 seconds is considered short-form, with the optimal length thought to be between 31 and 60 seconds.
This trend is definitely one to watch (no pun intended!). People are spending more time watching video, so are likely to search for video too – particularly for “how to” searches. So incorporating video into your content, and ensuring that it is optimised for search by adding titles, tags and descriptions will be an important SEO tactic in 2023.
Aim for featured snippets
Another key SEO tactic for 2023 is to aim for featured snippets. A featured snippet appears in position zero on a SERPs page, above the organic search results, with the content on top and the URL at the bottom.
Featured snippets aim to answer a searcher’s query in the easiest and quickest way possible, without them having to click through to the website. So it’s a huge advantage to get onto featured snippets.
You can learn more about featured snippets and how to use them in our article So you want to get into Google’s featured snippets?
Optimise for voice search
The growth in smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant has also led to an increase in the number of voice searches over recent years. So it makes sense to optimise your site for voice search too.
One of the key aspects of this is to think conversationally and include phrases and answers to questions that would be helpful to people genuinely interested in your product or service.
Our article Is voice search the future contains lots of helpful information about making voice search work for you.
Understand the impact of AI on keywords
Because Google’s algorithm is getting smarter, you need to use keywords differently. Recent algorithm updates such as BERT enable Google to better understand conversational language. So your content will fare better if it is written / presented conversationally rather than by engineering keywords into the text.
This does not mean keywords can’t be used, but it does mean that well-prepared content, aimed at users rather than search engines, is increasingly important. Otherwise, well-meaning use of keywords could backfire.
Local SEO is as important as ever. In fact, the 200 ranking factors we referred to earlier take this into account, for example looking at the location of servers when returning local search results.
As well as using keywords with local significance – such as place names and local landmarks – you can improve your local rankings by maintaining an updated Google My Business listing.
Our article Do you Google My Business? contains more information about how to use Google My Business effectively.
We hope that this brief guide has provided useful information on your SEO priorities for 2023. We will explore many of the above aspects in more detail over the next few months so do visit us again here soon at Xcite Digital.