Marketing and PR are constantly changing and evolving, but perhaps the most amorphous marketing subgenre is SEO. The process of pleasing the algorithm to boost your brand’s search page rankings has never been more critical for brands to master than it is today.
Here are Zen Media’s top SEO trends and insights that every marketer needs to know for the year ahead.
Major SEO Trends to Know for 2023
1. TikTok SEO is here to stay.
TikTok is a mobile app that allows users to make short 15-second video clips. In 2019, TikTok surpassed Instagram as the world’s number 1 app for sharing photos and videos. According to a recent study, in 2021, TikTok had approximately 656 million global users. This figure was projected to increase by around 15 percent year-over-year, reaching 755 million users in 2022.
With more than 60% of TikTok users being Gen Z, younger users are now turning to TikTok instead of Google for discovery purposes. With so much attention being directed towards TikTok, it makes sense that marketers are also taking notice. And with the right approach, you can leverage all the hype around TikTok to boost your organic search traffic and drive leads to your site.
Here’s a list of steps to follow when optimizing your TikTok content for SEO:
1. Use Hashtags
Hashtags (#) are used to categorize content within a specific niche. They allow users to find related posts quickly. For example, #TikTok is a hashtag for all TikTok videos.
Using hashtags allows you to target keywords that are relevant to your brand. This makes it easier for your audience to find your content when searching for similar topics.
2. Include Keywords
Keywords are words or phrases that describe your video. When creating your video, make sure to include these keywords throughout the description.
For example, “#TikTok #ViralVideo” describes a video that talks about TikTok and uses the keyword phrase “viral video.”
3. Create Videos with Relevant Content
You can also use keywords to create videos that contain information relevant to your niche.
For example, a fitness channel might create a video called “Best Fitness Tips for Beginners” and talk about the best workout routines for beginners.
This type of video is highly targeted towards beginner users and provides useful information.
4. Add Visual Elements
Adding visual elements like images and GIFs can help tell a story and draw viewers in.
For example, adding a picture of yourself holding a trophy or playing sports can give your video personality.
2. Always utilize structured data
Structured data is information about web pages that has been tagged using machine readable codes called RDFa, Microdata, JSON-LD, etc. This helps search engines understand what each page contains and how they relate to one another. The best way to use structured data is to add it to your website’s code.
Structured data is important for search engines because they need to be able to understand what information is available about your website. If you don’t provide them with the right kind of information, they won’t be able to index your site properly. This means that when someone searches for something on Google, they’ll find your business instead of another company who may offer similar products or services.
3. AI in Marketing is here to stay.
Artificial intelligence has become one of the hottest topics in marketing today. There are several ways to implement AI into marketing campaigns such as using chatbots for customer service, email automation, and website personalization. According to a recent study, in 2021, the market for artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing was estimated at 15.84 billion U.S. dollars. The source projected that the value would increase to more than 107.5 billion by 2028.
We’ve mentioned this before, but there are some significant upsides to AI marketing and with the rise of more AI tools, it’s safe to say AI in marketing isn’t going anywhere.
Related reading: 7 Types of AI Tools to Add to Your Marketing Tech Stack
4. Know thy user.
Marketers have long been obsessed with knowing as much about their customers as possible. As we enter 2023, understanding user intent and prioritizing user experience is critical to SEO.
What is user intent?
User intent is the goal a searcher has for a particular query. So, for example, a person might search for a nearby place, a topic they want to learn more about, or a product they’d like to purchase.
What is user experience?
User experience is about what your audience thinks and feels. What is their experience with your website? Your app? Your brand as a whole? Optimizing web page speed time is crucial, but the UI UX design agency you work with must always have the end user in mind.
User intent and experience should be woven into the fabric of internet marketing strategies from day one. They are intertwined with one another because they are working towards the same goal: fulfilling the user’s need or, as some may put it, solving the user’s problem.
5. Content is still king.
Sure, we can get into the nitty gritty data all day long, but the fact is we wouldn’t have data to analyze if we didn’t produce content for an audience to consume. Updated and high-quality content is necessary for SEO, but it doesn’t stop there. Visual content is a must, and leveraging images, video, infographics, and other media will drive more traffic and make your site more user-friendly, increasing engagement and accessibility.
What should SEO-optimized content include?
SEO-optimized content looks like fresh, valuable content that answers users’ questions or offers the solutions they’re looking for. So if your audience wants to know the latest news in bitcoin, answer bitcoin-related questions prominently on your site. High-quality content—that considers user intent and experience—is a crucial part of giving your audience a good experience on your website. It ultimately contributes to your audience’s experience with the brand as a whole. Google’s search algorithm also likes to see that you regularly update your website with fresh, quality content that delivers value to users.
Additionally, marketers can leverage the power of video content. You can’t argue with the fact that video is simply more engaging than just text and graphics. A survey conducted by Wyzowl shows that nearly eight out of every 10 users have purchased a piece of software or app after having watched the brand’s video. Not only is video content converting, but it is also what consumers want. Research shows that 53% of people want more video content in the future.
A gripping video on your website can make people hang around on your website longer, which is rewarded by Google with higher search rankings. Also, the video presents a powerful opportunity to use YouTube to market your business.
6. SERPs have changed—and become more intelligent.
Google’s algorithm has gotten much smarter over the years, thanks to the implementation of artificial intelligence. A recent example of this is their BERT algorithm update. BERT is an acronym for a series of words that would probably break your brain if you’re not knowledgeable in SEO. (Okay, okay it stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, for all you overachievers!)
This update enables Google to understand the language more than humans do. Like earlier updates such as RankBrain, BERT explains why techniques such as keyword stuffing no longer work and will lower your search ranking. BERT is looking for niche, valuable content that is conversational in nature.
The best strategy to ensure that you stand up to BERT’s standards (he’s in charge of the ranking, after all), is to measure up to Google’s EAT score: expertise, authority, and trust.
Google’s guidelines describe what it means for a site to have good EAT. If you have a business that gives advice or sells products or services that can potentially affect a person’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability, SEO E-A-T is critically important. Google knows goods or information such as YMYL or “your money or your life.”
Brands can demonstrate expertise with content created by someone considered an expert in their field. In some instances, this can also be accomplished by people with everyday expertise in the subject at hand. You gain authority in your field by making your website accessible for many people to learn about your subject or field. Google will see you as more authoritative if other experts and websites are referring to or recommending you. Trust is enhanced by transparency in who creates your website’s content and by having adequate contact information.
7. Analytics are imperative.
This seems like a no-brainer statement. Is it even a SEO trend worth highlighting? YES! In 2023, brands need to take their data and level it up, from the collection to analysis to insights.
Marketers can use Google Analytics for SEO insights, including
- Mobile traffic monitoring to gather data on bounce rates, engagement, and more
- Site search bar tracking to understand what users are looking for when they come to your site and if there is a content or service gap you could be filling
- Identify top-performing and underperforming pages to either emulate or update
But sometimes, the sheer volume of data can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there are tools that will automate data collection and analysis so you don’t have to constantly monitor your numbers manually. This ensures that you’ll always be on top of changes in search behavior and able to optimize accordingly. Automating SEO tasks through tools or software can vastly simplify the campaign for your team and allow them to focus on more uniquely human and creative endeavors. Tasks that can be automated include position tracking, website crawls, analyzing content quality, reporting, keyword intent analysis, and monitoring for brand mentions and new links.
8. Optimize Content for Voice Search
If you’re not optimizing for voice search and mobile devices, then you’re missing out on a large chunk of the current SEO landscape. Optimizing for these mediums will help you to rank higher in Google, as well as improve your conversion rates by providing a better user experience.
Beyond smartphones, the prevalence of digital assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, has increased the number of voice searches over the past few years. Current statistics show that 41% of adults use voice search daily, and that is only likely to increase through 2023 and beyond.
When optimizing for voice search, it helps to target keywords in the form of a question. These will typically be long-tail keywords that are usually fairly specific. One example would be, “Where is Don’s Dry Cleaning?” It can also help you to think up any questions a potential customer might have about your type of business and then create blog posts answering these questions.
9. Prioritize a Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Website
In conjunction with optimizing voice search, optimizing for mobile search just makes sense. Phone searches are expected to increase through 2023 and beyond. Wondering how mobile-friendly your website is? Type “Google Mobile-Friendly Tool” into Google’s search bar. This will bring up a box where you can enter your site’s URL to be evaluated by Google.
To improve your site’s performance on mobile devices, you’ll need to make sure it was created with a responsive coding and framework so it automatically changes how it looks depending on the device used to access it. You will also want to boost your webpage loading times by implementing caching, using a content delivery network (CDN), and compressing images. Finally, use Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) method for creating mobile-friendly versions of your web pages.
Why Do SEO Trends Matter?
SEO has changed considerably in the past few years. It’s no longer just about having a website and getting ranked for keywords. The Google algorithm is much more sophisticated than it used to be, and how organizations use SEO tactics has changed accordingly. If you want to stay on top of the search results, it’s essential to understand what the current SEO trends are and how they affect your marketing strategies. Want some help in that arena? Reach out. It just so happens to be one of our strong suits.