A couple of weeks ago, I looked at whether blogging was still relevant in 2023 (if you didn’t read that one, you can here), and another marketing tool often being thrown around as “dead” is SEO. But it’s absolutely not. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s the one marketing tool that should be top of mind for every business owner wanting to make their marketing successful.
In this article, I wanted to share exactly why SEO is the most important tool in your marketing arsenal as well as some key trends essential to start implementing this year.
So let’s dive in…
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is the process of optimising a website to make it more visible and rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). It aims to increase organic traffic to a website by improving its relevance and credibility to search engines.
This is achieved through various on-page and off-page optimisation techniques, such as using relevant keywords, creating high-quality content, optimising website design and architecture, and building high-quality backlinks.
SEO may take some time and effort to learn, and it’s an ongoing process. Still, it’s well worth the effort and will lead to consistent quality traffic that increases leads and sales, making it a valuable investment for businesses looking to improve their online visibility and reach their target audience.
What are the benefits of having a good SEO?
Higher rankings in search results and improved credibility
Search engine rankings refer to the position in which a website appears on search engine results pages. A higher ranking means that your website is more visible and credible, which can lead to increased traffic, sales, and brand recognition.
Increased website traffic
Good SEO can increase website traffic by making your website more visible on search engine results pages. By optimising your content with relevant keywords and providing high-quality and valuable information, you can attract more organic traffic from users who are actively looking for your product or service. This targeted traffic will more likely convert to a sale, increasing business growth and credibility.
Additionally, a well-structured, uncluttered, and fast-loading website can further improve your SEO and attract more relevant visitors.
Improved user experience
In 2023, improving the user experience (UX) for mobile devices will be critical to any successful SEO strategy. Google’s focus on mobile user experience means that websites must prioritise simplicity and personalisation to meet the needs of their users.
A mobile-responsive site is essential to ensure users can easily navigate and access content. A good SEO strategy can enhance the user experience by improving website performance, including faster loading times, quality headings, and a good site structure. By focusing on both SEO and UX, you can create a great experience for both humans and search engines.
Good SEO can significantly increase conversions on your website by improving its visibility on search engines, which in turn increases credibility and brand recognition.
When a website ranks high on search engine results pages, it engenders trust and confidence in potential clients, making sales more likely. Additionally, a well-optimised website with a clear structure, minimal clutter, and valuable content helps improve user experience, leading to a lower bounce rate, increased time spent on the site, and more conversions.
For instance, a website with a faster page load speed will likely have better conversion rates than a slow-loading site. Likewise, a website with a clear and easy-to-use navigation menu and an uncluttered design is more likely to encourage users to explore and make purchases.
Improved brand awareness
Good SEO can improve brand awareness by increasing the visibility of your brand. By appearing at the top of search results, your brand is on display 24/7 and has the potential to generate leads around the clock.
This is especially important for businesses operating in local markets, such as plumbers and builders, who have the opportunity to establish themselves as industry experts in specific geographical areas. Additionally, by increasing organic rankings and traffic, SEO can contribute to your authoritative voice in your field, leading to brand trust and loyalty.
Reduced marketing costs
Having a good SEO strategy can significantly reduce your marketing costs. SEO is one marketing tool not impacted by market conditions, offers real-time insights into market demand and customer intent and drives sales and initiatives across organisations. It also provides long-term incremental value and improves brand equity.
By investing in SEO, you can establish yourself as an industry expert, expand your brand reach, and improve your website’s visibility, resulting in a higher return on investment over time.
What are the top SEO trends for 2023?
Content created for humans, not for bots
People often get caught up in creating content or writing web copy that appeals to Google; however, Google is much more advanced than that and creating content for humans rather than solely for search engine bots is crucial.
Google’s Helpful Content Update prioritises well-researched, well-written, and easy-to-understand content that satisfies keyword search intent and gives thorough answers to user queries. Human-oriented content can boost engagement, improve user experience, and increase relevance, all of which can greatly improve search engine rankings.
And while AI-powered tools can be efficient in generating text, there is still a need for human touch and post-editing to ensure that content is high-quality, relevant to the target audience, and decorated with examples guiding readers smoothly through the text. To create content for humans, you should stick within your general topic and industry areas and consider what readers actually want rather than solely going after search traffic.
Old Page Content Updates
Keeping your website’s content up-to-date is crucial for improving SEO rankings in 2023. Outdated content can negatively impact your website’s relevance and keyword optimisation. To update your content effectively, start by identifying old or thin underperforming content and consider either consolidating or removing it. Next, ensure your target keywords are well represented within your on-page content and metadata.
Finally, regularly update your content with fresh and relevant information to improve the user experience and keep your website accurate. By doing so, you’ll not only improve your website’s ranking on search engines but also provide your visitors with a better experience.
Whilst we know the importance of using keywords in the headlines, subheadings and body copy of our pages, it’s becoming increasingly important to optimise any images you use on your site as well. Here’s how to do it in 4 easy steps.
To optimise images for SEO in 2023, follow these steps:
- Choose the right file format: JPEG is the most commonly used format for images on the web. It’s a compressed format that maintains good image quality while reducing file size.
- Optimise the file size: Large image files can slow down your website’s loading speed, negatively impacting SEO. Use an image compressor tool to reduce the file size without compromising on quality.
- Use descriptive and relevant file names: Avoid generic file names like “IMG_1234” and instead use descriptive and relevant names that include your target keywords. For example, “short-blue-hair.jpg” is a better file name than “IMG_1234.jpg”.
- Write proper alt tags: Alt tags describe images for visually impaired users and search engines. Use descriptive and relevant alt tags that include your target keywords. For example, “young woman with short blue hair” is a better alt tag than “Image of woman”.
By following these steps, you can optimise your website’s images for SEO in 2023, leading to better rankings, increased website traffic, and improved user experience.
Rich snippets are a type of structured data markup that can be added to a website’s HTML to enhance its appearance in search results. Rich snippets provide additional information, such as star ratings and images, which can make a website stand out and encourage users to click through to the site.
This year, rich snippets will continue to be a crucial aspect of SEO. They can increase organic click-through rates, improve your visibility in search engine results, and help you rank higher for specific keywords. By optimising content for rich snippets and using long-tail keywords, you can ensure your content is easily accessible to viewers and stands out in the featured snippets section.
Navigating artificial intelligence and content automation
Unless you’ve been hidden under a stone in the last year, it’s become clear that artificial intelligence and content automation are top SEO trends that we cannot ignore.
While AI-powered tools can save time, they cannot replace the human touch needed for high-quality and relevant content. However, you can still incorporate AI and automation into your content strategy to ensure a data-driven SEO approach while putting people first.
To make the most of these tools, ensure you monitor for errors, plagiarism, and other issues and provide strong descriptions, prompts, and parameters to guide the AI. You can read more about how to make the most of AI to skyrocket your marketing here.
As AI continues to evolve and integrate with SEO, businesses that adapt to these changes will stay relevant and competitive in the years to come.
Google to Reduce Crawling and Indexing Frequency
Google’s decision to reduce the frequency of crawling and indexing web pages is a part of its sustainability initiatives. This means it may take longer for Google to discover and index new website content and could affect website rankings as Google’s algorithms rely on fresh and relevant content to provide the best search results to users. Therefore, you must optimise your content from the beginning to include all the on-page elements required to rank. It is important to note that reducing crawl rates could impact refresh crawls more than crawls that discover new content.
E.A.T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, a concept that has become increasingly important for SEO. However, Google has added a new “E” for Experience to the E.A.T acronym, making it E.E.A.T. E.E.A.T. aims to help Google understand how accurate, honest, safe, and reliable the content is to rank on search results.
Websites in the YMYL category, which can affect health, financial stability, safety, or impact society, require higher E.E.A.T weightage. To improve your E.E.A.T score, you can focus on creating satisfying, helpful content, with increased emphasis on author authority and audience-targeted content.
Google also looks for E.E.A.T factors before ranking online stores and product review sites, such as secure online payment systems and reliable customer service for online stores and honest and in-depth reviews for product review websites. Improving E.E.A.T can positively impact search rankings and help websites establish trust and credibility with their audience.
User + Search Intent = Helpful Content
To create helpful content that satisfies user and search intent, it’s essential to understand what users seek when searching for a particular topic or keyword. This involves conducting comprehensive keyword research to identify the most relevant and valuable search terms for your target audience. By analysing the search queries in Search Console, you can gain insights into what people are looking for that leads them to your particular blog posts.
Once you have identified the most valuable keywords, you can create content that specifically addresses the questions and concerns of your target audience. This involves producing well-researched, well-written, and easy-to-understand content with a unique human touch implemented from personal experiences and expertise. For example, suppose you’re creating content for a healthcare website. In that case, you might focus on creating content that answers specific medical questions, such as “What are the symptoms of COVID-19?” or “How can I manage my diabetes?”
By focusing on user and search intent, you can create valuable, informative, and engaging content, which can help improve your search engine rankings, increase engagement, and boost user satisfaction. Ultimately, creating helpful content that addresses the needs and concerns of your target audience is the key to success in SEO in 2023 and beyond.
This year, long-form content will continue to significantly affect SEO rankings. Google’s E.E.A.T guidelines require high-quality, relevant content, and long-form content that exceeds 2000 words has been shown to rank higher in search results. The content structure also plays a crucial role, as Google’s Passage Indexing algorithm will prioritise pages with well-organised, multi-sectioned content that covers sub-topics. Successful long-form content strategies often include a table of contents, headings, and subheadings to improve user experience and engagement.
Long-form content can also increase dwell time and decrease bounce rates, critical metrics for SEO success. Users are more likely to engage with content that provides in-depth information on a topic, and you can benefit from creating more bite-sized pieces of content like tips, quotes, infographics, and videos that can be used on social media, saving you time creating new content. Additionally, adding additional content to product or service pages, such as FAQs, customer reviews, and drop-down menus, can improve the user experience and provide valuable information to potential customers.
To create effective long-form content, you should conduct keyword research to identify relevant topics and sub-topics and structure the content into multiple sections. Each section should discuss a sub-topic, with headings and subheadings used to organise the content and improve readability. And remember to adhere to E.E.A.T guidelines and provide high-quality, relevant content that satisfies users’ search intent. Finally, consider user experience and engagement by including a table of contents, adding multimedia elements like images and videos, and formatting the content for easy reading on both desktop and mobile devices.
Successful examples of long-form content include comprehensive guides, case studies, and research-backed articles that provide valuable information to users.
Big Data and Analytics
In 2023, big data and analytics will be essential to take SEO to the next level. You need to leverage tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to gain insights into mobile traffic, bounce rates, user engagement, top-performing and underperforming pages, and more. Tracking these KPIs is essential to determine how your site is currently performing and to make data-driven decisions on future marketing activities.
Even as the internet continues to evolve, SEO remains a vital component of online marketing, and it’s no surprise that the biggest emerging trend is the use of AI. However, it’s essential to remember that whilst AI is a tool that can make SEO quicker and easier, it still needs a human touch.
As a content and copywriter, helping businesses attract and nurture their ideal clients to grow their sales lights me up. Drop me a message today if you need help identifying your perfect client, perfecting your messaging, or marketing your services.
You can also download my FREE guide to make SEO Easy, a handy desktop guide packed with quick and easy tips to get your business found online.
If you’re stuck with where to start with your social media or blogs, I send a FREE email every Sunday with 7 content ideas for the week ahead to help you get those creative juices flowing. You can sign up here.