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10 Influential SEO Trends to Rank in 2023

If you thought the SEO competition was fierce in 2022, wait till you enter 2023.

Google has a knack for changing the SEO landscape faster than Usain Bolt finishes a 100-meter sprint. Blink once, and you’ll see significant changes that affect search engine visibility, crawling, indexing, and ranking.

As we get closer to ringing in the New Year, we can’t help but wonder what Google has up its sleeve—and some of the tricks have already started revealing themselves!

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the top SEO trends for 2023. If you want to rank higher on Google SERPs, it’s time to master these trends and sneak a spot into Google’s good books. We’re here to help you do just that.

1. Core Web Vitals 

In 2023, up-and-coming businesses can’t afford to ignore Core Web Vitals.

Google keeps emphasizing the importance of user experience for a reason. Web users aren’t just chasing quality products and services anymore; they also want a kickass user experience.

So what are Core Web Vitals? They’re a set of specific factors that measure and evaluate user experience, and apply to all webpages. Is your website speedy, responsive, and visually stable? After analyzing your site and answering these questions, Google will award you a ranking spot accordingly.

If you’ve been ignoring Core Web Vitals in 2022, it’s time to make some changes in 2023. These metrics have already been under the limelight, but they’re expected to become an even bigger focus in 2023. The goal is to provide a fast, interactive, and visually stable user experience.

Here are the Core Web Vitals all laid out:

1.1 Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) 

LCP determines the render time of the largest blocks visible to your audience. It’s the time taken for most of the on-screen content to become visible to web users.

What content are we talking about? Images, background images, video poster images, and block-level text. Your job is to create a fast, enjoyable, and seamless user experience. Speed things up, and your rankings will start shaping up.

Aim for an LCP that’s 2.5 seconds or lower.

1.2 First Input Delay (FID) 

FID assesses a page’s responsiveness. Can users interact with your page easily? An interaction is any action taken on your site. If a user selects an option from the menu, clicks on a link, or enters their email into a field, they’re interacting with your page.

FID determines how quickly your webpage responds to a user’s input (click, key press, etc.). Aim for an FID below 100 milliseconds.

1.3 Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) 

CLS measures how visually stable a page is as it loads.

What do we mean by this? If elements move around your page as it loads, you have a high CLS. This is bad news. The goal is to make page elements as stable as possible. If text, banners, and buttons move around, web users may end up clicking on something else by mistake.

Let’s say a web user wants to add an item to their cart. If on-screen elements shift and they accidentally end up clicking on the checkout tab, they’ll be less than pleased. These little mess-ups are very common, and they ruin the user experience. Try to maintain a CLS of 0.1 or less.

2. Passage Ranking and Keyword Ranking

On February 10th, 2021, Google launched the passage ranking update that sent ripples across the SEO industry. Every time Google launches an update, marketers spring into action. This update had a similar impact but slightly subtler.

Why? Marketers started comparing passage ranking with keyword ranking and argued that the latter was more powerful and significant. As we enter 2023, it’s time for a reality check. Let’s cover the basics before we dive deeper.

According to Google, passage ranking is an efficient ranking system that determines the relevance of web content by analyzing individual passages. If you searched for “how to change a tire” before this update, Google would’ve fetched a bunch of articles and blogs.

After passage ranking, web users receive results that answer their questions as accurately as possible.

Succinct and direct, this section tells you exactly what you need to know. There’s no fluff or beating around the bush.

The outcome? A speedier search experience! You don’t have to explore a bunch of sites; the first one precisely addresses your concerns. Here’s what Google has to say:

“By understanding passages in addition to the relevancy of the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for.”

Let’s circle back to the tussle between keyword ranking and passage ranking. Since both of these were prominent ranking systems, they were immediately juxtaposed. But this comparison is unjustified; both keywords and context are equally important.

The entirety of 2021 and 2022 were spent determining which ranking system takes precedence over the other. In 2023, it’s time to break the fight and start leveraging both systems. Passage ranking is extremely important, but this doesn’t mean that keywords are taking a back seat. If you want to rank higher on Google SERPs, master the art of using relevant keywords with high search volume and make context a priority.

You already know how the keyword game works. If you want a quick refresher, explore this guide. Start prioritizing context and relevance as well. Write focused, unique, high-quality, and value-added content that answers the question at hand as succinctly and accurately as possible.

Your subheadings should serve as a map. When written in list form, they should serve as a basic standalone guide. Google doesn’t always present content with subheadings. If you search for “what’s a cash advance,” the top search result will look something like this:

Why did they select this content?

Because it answers the question accurately, with no fluff. The first sentence offers a standard definition. This is followed by a two-and-a-half sentence-long simplification.

Write meaningful, intentional content that gives web users what they want. You still have room to be creative. However, the title should be answered within a short paragraph or through subheadings. When you combine this technique with a robust keyword plan, you’re looking at impressive rankings!

3. Multimodal Machine Learning 

Google is known for switching things up every now and then, but that’s not all. How we find information online has also changed significantly over the past two decades.

Let’s hop onto an imaginary time machine and transpose ourselves to 2002. If you wanted to download Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, you may have found yourself searching for “harry potter and the chamber of secrets download free full version” on Yahoo or Ask Jeeves.

Quite a mouthful, right?

In most cases, the results wouldn’t have been relevant, even though you laid pretty much everything out. Fast forward to 2022, and you can casually toss out search requests on your smartphone, smartwatch, or smart speaker and receive a set of hyper-specific results. 2023 will follow the same trajectory—and it’s all thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

Google’s 2019 BERT AI update was considered their most significant update in five years, and with good reason. To put it very simply, it helps machines understand the context of words in a sentence (even if the context isn’t actually provided).

Google topped the game by releasing an even more advanced version of this technology, namely, the Multitask Unified Model (MUM). Now, this is genius. Why? Because it’s multi-modal, i.e., it understands information across text, images, audio, and video (multiple modalities). It’s 1,000 times more efficient than BERT. In fact, it has the superhuman ability to speak 75 languages.

Where are we going with this?

In a nutshell, text isn’t the be-all and end-all of search. As search engines become smarter, multimedia and multilingual content are rising to the top. This doesn’t mean that written content isn’t relevant anymore. It simply means supplementing your content with multimedia is the move to make.

If you want to improve your organic search rankings in 2023, there’s no way you can rely on standalone text. Not a chance. Your content should be rich, exciting, visually stimulating, and aesthetically appealing.

Keep balance in mind; don’t go overboard. Incorporate images, videos, infographics, concept illustrations, GIFs, and other types of media into your content in moderation. This will go a long way in boosting your rankings.

When you search for “how to bake a hazelnut cake,” Google fetches these search results:

Notice something?

All three images are beautifully shot, no qualms about it. If the content didn’t feature pictures, it wouldn’t have been ranked in this snippet. And if the pictures were low-quality, Google’s picky algorithm may have had Cher’s “ugh, as if” moment.

Start incorporating high-quality, relevant, and eye-catching media into your content. Whether you’re working on your home page, writing a blog, or creating a listicle, keep it multimedia-heavy (not too heavy) to boost your rankings and reel in a wider audience.

4. Clip & Seek Markup

Clip & Seek Markup

Video content is powerful. And it’s getting more and more and more popular every day! We already know Google isn’t one to stay quiet in a corner of the room. Active and alert, Google ups its game as rigorously and frequently as it can.

Google’s clip and seek markup is exciting stuff for brands that create video content (and if you haven’t already jumped on that bandwagon, it’s about time). Both clip and seek are types of schema markup.

Clip markup tells Google about the specific segments (clips) in video content. Seek markup utilizes the power of machine learning to automatically create relevant key moments in video content.

Here’s an example:

So what do you need to do? It’s simple. Tell Google exactly which timestamps should be presented as key moments. You’ll have to follow a set of guidelines. Once you get this sorted, your videos stand out from the rest.

People want ease and convenience. When they can see exactly which moments you talk about and when, they’re more likely to click on the video (even if it’s long). As you simplify user experience, your ranking abilities will improve. You’re helping web users save time and get hyper-specific information. It’s a win-win; your audience gets the information it needs, and you get a generous boost in rankings!

Recommended Read: How to Promote Your YouTube Channel: The Only Guide You Need

5. Featured Snippets

We’ve touched upon featured snippets above, but it’s time to take a deeper dive into this genius feature. SERPs have evolved drastically over the years. As we enter 2023, we expect Google to drop some cool new snippets. Until then, it’s time to make full use of the snippets that we already know about!

Google has a razor-sharp focus on simplifying and enhancing user experience.

  • How can web users get relevant information in the shortest amount of time?
  • How can they have a visually appealing experience?
  • How can they get an accurate overview of the content they’re about to explore?

As Google works on these questions and fine-tunes user experience, the search and browsing experience has become as robust and seamless as possible—and it’s about to get even better! Make sure you leverage featured snippets to show Google that you’re doing exactly what it wants you to do: simplify user experience! So what are featured snippets?

According to Google, “Featured snippets are special boxes where the format of a regular search result is reversed, showing the descriptive snippet first.” Think of them as customized search results that answer search queries with audience requirements in mind.

There are many, many different types of snippets. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:

5.1. Definition Snippet

5.2. Image Snippet

5.3. Listicle Snippet

5.4. Table Snippet

5.5. Video Snippet

5.6. Recipes Snippet

If you want your rankings to shape up, start aiming for the most relevant snippets for your industry.

  • If you’re a baker, shoot for the recipes snippet
  • If you create tech videos on YouTube, try to be featured in the video snippet
  • If you sell iron doors, you should strive for the image snippet

Every snippet has its own optimization requirements. Master these, and you’ll get your rankings back on track in 2023.

6. User Intent Metrics

If you’ve been ignoring user intent metrics in 2022, you can’t afford to keep overlooking them in 2023. Understanding user intent is pivotal. Your audience may have navigational intent (trying to find a certain site), informational intent (trying to find information and knowledge), commercial intent (trying to guide a buyer), or transactional intent (trying to make a transaction, i.e., purchase a product, subscribe to a service, etc.).

Users will exhibit unique behavior on your website based on their intention. If you want to keep your visibility, organic traffic, rankings, and conversions on growth, start looking at the most critical user intent metrics:

6.1. Bounce Rate

How many web users are visiting your site and immediately leaving without any interaction? If your site has a high bounce rate, you’re doing something wrong. Ultimately, your page isn’t satisfying user intent. Maybe the web design is off-putting. Perhaps your site is too slow. Or the web copy may be boring.

Understand what’s going wrong and correct it ASAP. You may have to run a website audit.

6.2. User Retention

How many web users are you retaining? When a visitor buys a product or subscribes to your services, are they returning?

If they’re leaving, you’re not providing good value. Google reviews are a prominent ranking factor. If people don’t like your products/services, they’ll leave bad reviews. Over time, this will affect your rankings.

We recommend emailing a “What Went Wrong?” form to customers who never returned. Try to get their feedback and implement it. User retention is extremely important for consistent revenue generation. Undo the damage to get back on track. As your reviews improve, your rankings will get a significant boost.

6.3. Behavior Flow

Google Analytics helps you track this metric. When a web user visits your site, which page is their entry point? What do they click on, and which pages do they explore?

By understanding user behavior, you’ll be able to visualize the path users follow to explore your website. This information will help you determine the most engaging web content or webpages.

Are certain blogs getting more attention than the others? Is the video on your homepage getting ample clicks? Are there certain pages/multimedia that aren’t getting enough attention? Use this information to rework your website.

7. Freshness

As a query-dependent ranking factor, freshness is set to become even more important in 2023. Let’s understand what this means. Not every query on Google is “fresh”, i.e., time-sensitive. For example, if someone searches for “the best way to learn French,” they’ll receive a set of potentially old search results. Will that matter? No, because this query is not time-sensitive.

However, if someone searches for “new true crime documentaries,” the search results will be new/fresh because this is a time-sensitive search. In 2023, fresh content is expected to increase in demand. As new trends, topics, events, pop culture moments, and conversations enter the fold, web users want hyper-relevant content.

Start brainstorming time-sensitive content ideas that will improve your rankings for the time being. Of course, the content will become irrelevant at some point. When that happens, rework it like a pro.

For instance, if you write a blog titled “X Modern Steel Doors That Are All the Rage in 2022,” your content will become irrelevant in 2023. Change the title to “X Modern Steel Doors That Are All the Rage” and remove all references of 2022.

This is how you turn content that was fresh at some point into regular content that can still be consumed despite being outdated. Create fresh content around special occasions (Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc.), pop culture moments, events, trends, and so on.

This is a great way to strike while the iron’s hot. Once the iron cools down, you know what to do (rework away). Keep this practice going in 2023!

Recommended Read: Real-Time SEO Content Writing: A 7-Step Process for Everyone

8. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile!

You’re probably tired of reading about the importance of launching a mobile-friendly website. No matter how many times this point is reiterated, it’ll never be enough. Smartphones are the future of online shopping. And this future is actually upon us!

As we enter 2023, more and more web users are expected to shop using their phones. Computers, laptops, and tablets are taking a back seat. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re hurting your rankings. It’s as simple as that.

Start by running the mobile-friendly test to gauge where you stand. If you’re not on the right track, it’s time to rework your website. We also recommend launching a mobile application to reel in a wider audience.

Why?

See what we mean?

Your mobile app should be available to both iOS and Android users. Prioritize security, user experience, performance, interactivity, seamless scrolling, speed, and simplicity.

Avoid skimping on app design and development. If your app works flawlessly but lacks aesthetic appeal, your audience will hit the “uninstall” button before you know it. And if your app looks great but runs slowly or presents any other critical development problems, your audience will head towards the nearest exit.

Check all the boxes off the list. Once you get this right, you’re in for quite a ranking treat (yes, mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor).

Climb the SERP Ladder with Search Berg!

Stuck with bad rankings? It happens. The competition is at an all-time high. As businesses consistently pull out their A game, you can easily get left behind. It’s time to change the game and bring out your A game. At Search Berg, we’re here to make it happen!

In this blog, we walked you through the top SEO trends for 2023. Let’s help you dominate SERPs, make better sales, and steer your business in the right direction.

Explore our professional SEO services to kick things off!

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