In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), 2023 has been a whirlwind, and we’re bracing for the same pace of change in 2024.
In this article, we explore nine prominent trends, including the integration of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in search, the rise of interactive content, and the impact of voice search.
At Metric Marketing, we aim to help our clients design the best digital marketing strategy for what’s working now—and what might work soon. A big part of achieving that goal is following the latest trends.
Here’s what we found:
Trend #1: Generative AI and SEO
AI is rapidly changing the digital marketing landscape. So when we’re talking about 2023 trends, we absolutely have to start here.
Google released a sneak peek into how AI might be incorporated into their search experience, and we’re all sitting on the edge of our seats, wondering how this will affect SEO. Will blogs matter? What about websites?
The answer to both of those questions is yes.
During the 2023 keynote, Cathy Edwards, Vice President and General Manager of Search Discovery and Ecosystems, said, “Even in a world where AI can provide insights, we know that people will always value the input of other people, and a thriving web is essential to that.”
Google leaders discussed the goal of making “search smarter and searching simpler.” However, they also demonstrated how products, reviews, ads, and other sources were always embedded in the results.
This might mean we need to double down on creating high-quality websites and robust content strategies that the AI leverages as its “source.” And if generative AI takes up valuable space on the search engine results page, the competition to land there will only get more fierce.
So take a deep breath, and know that search as we know it isn’t over. It’s changing, yes, but isn’t it always?
Speaking of change, our team closely follows and researches all SEO updates, big and small. It’s one of the best reasons to partner with Metric Marketing. We’ll keep you in the know and ensure you are ready to pivot at a moment’s notice in this ever-evolving landscape.
The key here is that your content should always follow the E-E-A-T (expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) guidelines, even if you leverage AI.
Here is their reason for approaching AI in this way:
“For example, about 10 years ago, there were understandable concerns about a rise in mass-produced yet human-generated content. No one would have thought it reasonable for us to declare a ban on all human-generated content in response. Instead, it made more sense to improve our systems to reward quality content, as we did.”
Digital marketing strategies should absolutely leverage AI when it makes sense and where it adds value.
How Could You Leverage AI for Your 2023 SEO Strategies?
AI can help you build a robust content strategy to boost your SEO rankings when done correctly. You can use it to brainstorm topics, build outlines, and eliminate that pesky writer’s block.
Plugins are also changing what you can do with AI, from writing emails to helping with keyword research.
Here’s the truth, we’re all in this boat as AI newbies together. Everyone is learning on the fly, and changes are happening faster and faster. The best strategy is just to start experimenting sooner rather than later.
Trend #2: Topical Authority
In this fast-paced digital marketing world, content is still king. And in 2023, topical authority is taking center stage.
When we say “topical authority,” we mean making your website the go-to source for a specific subject. And why does this matter? Let’s break it down.
It all ties back to trust. When your website is the one-stop shop for all things on a particular topic, visitors stay longer, return more often, and share your content more. Search engines see these signs of trust and rank your site higher.
But it doesn’t stop there. Google is getting smarter. You can’t trick Google with shallow content stuffed with keywords. You have to prove you know your stuff.
And there’s a bonus. The more in-depth your content, the better the opportunity for effective internal linking. This way, your website becomes a self-supporting ecosystem where every page boosts the SEO of others.
The key to ranking higher is understanding user intent, providing complete answers, and keeping your content up to date.
How do you incorporate this into your 2023 SEO strategy? The answer is topic clusters.
A topic cluster starts by identifying a core topic to serve as the pillar page, which is often robust and comprehensive. Next, you identify every other subtopic within the core topic.
The tricky part here is you have to go deep and wide. (Hint: AI can speed up identifying subtopics.)
Once the subtopic content pieces are created, they should be internally linked to the pillar page. This means that within each subtopic content, hyperlinks should lead back to the pillar page.
Conversely, the pillar page should also have links to each subtopic page. This interlinking structure helps establish the pillar page’s authority and provides a better user experience (UX) by making navigation easier.
This content ecosystem takes time and effort, but it’s a powerful 2023 SEO strategy that can improve your rankings.
Metric Marketing’s team of SEO experts and content writers can help you build a robust content strategy with SEO optimization.
Trend #3: Featured Snippets and Zero Click Searches
Imagine you’re chilling on your couch, and you suddenly remember you need to find out when the next season of your favorite TV show is airing.
You quickly pull out your smartphone, type in the show’s name followed by “next season air date,” and voila! There it is, right at the top of the search results. No need to click on any website or dig through articles—the answer is right there in front of you. This is what we call a zero-click search.
So, what’s the magic behind this? Well, search engines like Google care most about improving the user experience (with or without giving us website traffic). They’ve become so good at understanding what we’re looking for that often that they just serve the answer straight up on the search results page.
This can be a snippet, a knowledge panel, or a simple answer box.
Now, if you’re a website owner, you might think, “Hold up, if people are getting answers without clicking, what happens to my traffic?” Good question.
Zero-click searches can be a double-edged sword. On one side, users are happy because they get information quickly. Conversely, websites might see a dip in traffic because users aren’t clicking through.
But don’t hit the panic button yet. There are ways to play this game. For instance, if your content is featured in a snippet, that’s some prime real estate. People might just be intrigued enough to click through to learn more. Plus, it positions you as an authority in your field.
How do you land in the feature snippet, knowledge panel, or instant panel? You should quickly provide a direct answer to a specific question. For example, when someone asks, “Is AI content penalized on Google?” this AI company landed the featured snippet:
In addition to concise, direct answers, you’ll also want excellent titles and meta descriptions; that’s how you earn website traffic from a featured snippet.
Trend #4: Evergreen Content
In 2023, evergreen content is still very much a trend to watch, and for good reasons. Evergreen content remains relevant and valuable to the audience regardless of the passage of time.
Investing in evergreen content can be seen as planting seeds that will flourish over time. While it might not cause a big splash right away, it can yield a continuous return on investment as it keeps attracting traffic and generating leads long after publication.
Search engine algorithms are always changing, but one thing that remains constant is their love for high-quality, valuable content. Evergreen content is adaptable and can often weather the storm of algorithm changes much better than time-sensitive content.
Mixing evergreen content into your topic clusters is how you build resilience into your digital marketing strategy, so whatever changes come our way, you can still stay ahead of the competition.
Trend #5: Voice Search
We’ve had our eye on voice search for quite some time. But in 2023, with the widespread adoption of smart speakers and voice assistants, people increasingly use their voices to search the web. How will this affect SEO in 2023?
A major factor of voice search is that people speak differently than they type, and voice searches are typically more conversational and longer. Instead of searching for “weather New York,” someone might ask, “What’s the weather like in New York this weekend?” This means optimizing content for natural language and long-tail keywords is more important than ever.
“Near me” searches are also soaring thanks to voice search. People use voice search to find local businesses and services, meaning local SEO will take the front seat. For businesses, this means optimizing for local search by claiming your Google Business Profile listing, garnering positive reviews, and ensuring your location and contact information is accurate.
Trend #6: Mobile SEO
With most people accessing the internet using mobile devices, Google has prioritized mobile-first indexing.
Mobile-first indexing means that Google primarily uses a website’s mobile version for indexing and ranking in search results. This shift emphasizes the importance of a mobile-friendly website providing a seamless user experience across different screen sizes and devices.
Design your mobile site with a user-friendly interface, easy navigation, readable fonts, and intuitive touch controls.
More importantly, limit pop-ups. These pesky features are a mild annoyance on desktops, but they disrupt the entire experience on mobile devices. In fact, Google penalizes sites that make their mobile experience less accessible to users, such as intrusive pop-ups.
In 2023, your digital marketing strategy should absolutely be mobile first.
Trend #7: Interactive Content
A good example of static content is your traditional article, which still holds plenty of value. However, in 2023, interactive content is gaining traction as a powerful tool for engaging audiences and enhancing the user experience.
Interactive content is about experiencing a topic—not just reading about it.
Unlike static content that relies on text and images, interactive content encourages active participation and enables users to interact, explore, and personalize their online experiences.
Quizzes are one popular form of interactive content. They provide an entertaining and educational way for users to test their knowledge. Quizzes can be designed to align with your brand and industry.
Infographics are another interactive content format that presents information in a visually appealing and easily digestible manner. By incorporating interactive elements like clickable icons, animated charts, or hover effects, infographics can provide an interactive learning experience and keep users engaged.
Electronic books have also evolved into interactive experiences, incorporating multimedia elements like videos, audio clips, and interactive quizzes or assessments. Interactive eBooks provide a dynamic and immersive reading experience, making it easier for users to absorb and engage with the content.
The benefits of interactive content are manifold. It captures attention, increases engagement, and encourages social sharing, thereby amplifying your brand’s reach. Interactive content also provides valuable data and insights into user preferences and behavior, enabling you to refine your marketing strategies and personalize future interactions.
One of their strategies is reducing refresh crawls. Google crawls new pages to identify how to classify them in search results. Historically, they’ll go back at a later date and crawl the page again, and again, and again.
If Google reduces its refresh crawls, businesses need to optimize web pages from the start. It doesn’t mean we should stop updating our pages when it makes sense, but we could expect to see a delay in those changes resulting in improved rankings.
Trend #9: Bing Is Taking Aim at Google
Okay, just to be clear, we don’t think Bing will overtake Google’s market share anytime soon. However, in previous years, even talking about another search engine’s algorithm seemed irrelevant. Google is simply the gold standard.
But once Bing launched its AI chat feature, it earned 100 million daily active users. It was an impressive achievement (but Google has one billion, so they still have a long way to go to be serious competition). To help, Microsoft is also pushing Bing as the search engine default, helping to increase its daily users.
Bing is teaching us a lesson, though. It and other search engines are serious contenders attempting to gain ground on Google’s market share. And it’s not just search engines. There are social platforms, like TikTok, whose algorithms are also worth understanding.
We should all watch for opportunities to rank where our audience might spend their time.
We Want to Help Your Business Navigate the Changing SEO Landscape
At Metric Marketing, we understand the importance of keeping pace with these trends and harnessing their potential. Our team has the knowledge and expertise to help you navigate these trends effectively and drive tangible results for your business.
Don’t let the changing SEO landscape overwhelm you. Partner with our team at Metric Marketing and gain a competitive edge.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you build a robust SEO strategy, optimize your content, and achieve your digital marketing goals.