SEO Predictions 2023
As the new year approaches, Booyah once again looked inward as a means to anticipate the coming trends, changes, and strategies that will shape the year 2023. We decided to survey our experts to see exactly what our clients and readers should keep their eyes open for.
Perhaps no team is more used to chasing the whims of Google than our SEO team. Supervisor Mariena Dearman and Managers Ryan Reichl, Emma Dell, Anthony Pappalardo, and Erin Westermann below chat about the keys to keeping a site ticking and your performance metrics in the green.
Booyah asks: ‘What predictions do you have for SEO in 2023?’
Mariena Dearman: The removal of the third-party cookie is a big opportunity for SEO! While some look at this as a pitfall, collecting data directly from your website about your audience is a HUGE opportunity to gather insights and hone in on your audience. If you are doing this, I’d expect to see a MAJOR shift in audiences in the next year due to inflation. People who once shopped for home goods exclusively at Target may start to find themselves shopping at the more affordable competitor, Walmart *Target shopper gasps in disbelief and disgust*. Shifts in the online shopping experience may make image alt text optimizations more relevant for SEO also.
The Google Lens app allows users to search for products by taking photos. While only available on Android, this could be a great audience insight to collect to understand if users are finding you through images BC they have androids.
And lastly, it’s not a new idea however, optimizing pages for semantic keywords is increasing in importance with Google’s machine learning updates like MUM. This makes writing for multiple topics, think topic clusters, extremely important, and all sites should have content that is relevant to their product/service and is concise but thorough. Verbose copy and passive language can take a hike.
Ryan Reichl: UX and site speed will continue to be a high priority, especially on mobile since users are less likely to be using wifi. Google will continue to tweak the algorithm, which has shown to focus on penalizing technically-insufficient and spammy sites as of late. There is a reason our client sites didn’t see negative impacts from recent algorithm updates, and that’s because they are technically sound and follow best practices when it comes to Google and SEO. We have also seen glimpses of “people also ask” queries being shown next to the search query predictions in the Google search bar. It’s not something that is shown consistently but could be a sign of Google making it easier to capture user intent. This would put more of an emphasis on content that answers questions, like FAQ and how-to copy.
Emma Dell: Increase in featured content and universal results within the SERPs will be a major factor in 2023. Optimized YouTube videos/channels will play a much larger role in getting your brand noticed. Also, I am very intrigued by expanded options for optimizing local search (not sure how, but it seems like Google is going in that direction and I’m excited to see it).
Anthony Pappalardo: As Google further integrates more AI and machine learning into its algorithms we can expect current SERP features and elements to be expanded and potentially new ones to be released. As this happens “zero-click searches” are going to become a disrupter to how we track KPIs and the overall success of SEO efforts.
Erin Westermann: Search engines will continue to build upon enriched search capabilities for users, like voice search and visual search. Privacy and security measures will continue to be increasingly important to users and search engines. Google Business Profile recently added features for certain businesses to communicate their sustainability practices and eco-certifications, helping businesses express their values to consumers. More capabilities like this that display values in search results are likely on the way.
Booyah: Good stuff. But what about trends, tactics, or strategies that you’ll be recommending to your clients in 2023?
Mariena Dearman: Google continues to fill the SERPs with “zero-click” results.
1. create content that gives your site some visibility in the SERP for these results
2. understand how this will affect your reporting.
There will be more impressions but you may see fewer clicks to your site. Optimizing for these types of results could help you get visibility in the SERPs but you may not see ‘traffic’ per se. Google has said time and time again that, the user experience is what is most important. I would expect clients to be more interested in behavior metrics than ever before, knowing this. While traffic and keyword rankings may still be KPIs that clients look to, it may make sense for some to shift their primary SEO KPIs to behavior metrics as these may be the factors that influence the amount of traffic and keywords ranking.
Ryan Reichl: Include more FAQ, how-to, and video content to increase time on site, decrease bounce rates, and expand your position on the SERP by ranking for multiple result types. With the combination of these content types and marking up the page with structured data, a high-quality page can rank on page 1 for several result types (video, people also ask, regular listing, results) and own the top fold of the SERP. This can be important for product pages that are limited in space for copy. FAQs, tutorials, and how-to content can fit into more condensed sections of the page and do not require long-form copy.
Emma Dell: Clients should structure their content in such a way that it provides succinct answers to longer-tail queries, which I can see becoming increasingly valuable with the “useful content” updates as well as the increased emphasis on featured content within the SERPs. It’s like getting in the listicle mindset without making every page into an actual listicle. This easy answer format to longer queries could also pay dividends in optimizing content for voice search.
Anthony Pappalardo: Focus on total SERP dominance owning not just listings, but also SERP features. Look at what SERP features are associated with each keyword then optimize existing content with schema, images, tables, definitions & explanations, etc. to bait Google into showing our content in a “zero-click search”
Erin Westermann: Prioritize user experience and the user journey through your site. Search engines are getting better at detecting website content that’s created solely for the purpose of ranking, so it’s important to always keep the user top of mind when making site changes.