The start of a new year is always a great time to evaluate what went well and what needed improvement in the twelve months just passed. It is a time to blow out the dust and the old cobwebs, shake off the deadwood, and consider new ways of thinking to ensure the forthcoming year is even better than the last.
While you may have told yourself that you will exercise more, drink less alcohol, or eat healthier food, there are other less wholesome, more practical changes for you to explore. And in the world of content marketing, none could be more important than exploring the advancements, trends, and shifts in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO is constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated as the search engines algorithms learn and adapt to our habits and trends. It is important to stay on top of the shifts as they happen, but the new year can be a time to catch up on anything you may have missed.
So, with new horizons and clean breaks in mind, we are going to look at 9 SEO content tips and trends to focus on for 2023.
2023 should be the year you expand your visual content production, as TikTok and online video advertising is becoming increasingly dominant in the world of digital marketing. It should also be the year in which we all accept the arrival of AI in digital content and find new and innovative ways to work with complex machines to enhance user and audience experience.
You can make myriad resolutions to improve your SEO performance this year, so let's jump in and look at our 9 top picks.
Open a TikTok account
TikTok currently has over 1 billion users and has overtaken Instagram as the most popular app for sharing videos - not bad for an app that many people outside of China had never heard of until 2019.
It is estimated that nearly 70% of TikTok users are Gen Z - born between the mid to late 90s and early 2010s - and such users are increasingly turning TikTok for their news and even their regular online searches. In the modern fast-paced world of images, short clips, and viral memes, TikTok seems to have found the silver bullet of content creation designed to reach younger audiences.
When using TikTok for SEO purposes, make sure you use hashtags that target your keywords. You also need to keep your videos relevant and concise - though the younger generations can now be easily reached, their notoriously short attention spans mean that they are more likely to switch off if their focus is immediately grabbed, so you want to get as much information across in as little time as possible.
Artificial Intelligence is coming
It seems almost impossible to open up a news site these days without stumbling across a new story about the latest developments in AI technology. Whether self-driving cars, Twitter bots, Chat GPT, or robots performing medical surgery, one thing is clear: AI is on the ascent.
So what does this mean for content marketers?
Well, the truth is that AI is already widely used in marketing. However, there has undoubtedly been a surge of panic in recent weeks with the arrival of Chat GPT and its ability to craft uncannily human articles in just a couple of seconds.
The extent to which this shakes up the world of content remains to be seen, but it is unlikely to be as devastating as many of the doomsayers predict - at least, not yet.
But beyond taking many a humble content writer's job, there are many ways in which AI can be and is being utilised by marketers to enhance their SEO strategies and other facets of their campaigns.
For example, AI can be used as chatbots on customer service accounts. They can also be used to provide data insights, personalise websites, and automate emails. Statista estimated that, in 2021, the market for AI in all forms of marketing was worth around $15.84 billion.
The AI train isn't waiting for anyone. So make 2023 the year in which you jump on it.
Create content that grabs your audience
When focussing on SEO, higher search rankings, featured snippets, relevant keywords, and the rest, it can be easy to lose sight of working hard to make the best content you can. After all, there's no use coming on the first page of searches if your content is notably poorer than the other high-ranking pages.
You need to create high-quality, relevant, informative, and exciting content that will grab your audience by the collar and pull them into your world - even if just for a few seconds.
So what makes for great content?
The best content is valuable to the audience. It provides answers or solutions to the questions and problems the target market is looking for. It should be relevant and focused while offering a deeper understanding of the topic than your competitors. Online users generally enjoy visual content - images, videos, infographics, and GIFs, are a good place to start - though it can, of course, be coupled with blogs, articles, and other forms of written content.
So if you have a website with multiple pages, consider mixing up your content forms. Try having a video on the homepage and longer written pieces on subpages. You want to reel your audience in bit by bit, and the chances are that visual media will capture their attention, and written content will keep them there.
Keep up the analytics
On the flip side of what we just said, as well as continuing to make great content, you also need to maintain focus and dedication to ensuring your SEO metrics are up to scratch.
This may seem obvious given the subject matter of our article, but with an ever-growing content market, keeping on top of your SEO performance can increasingly feel like an uphill struggle.
Platforms like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Google Analytics make metric monitoring simple. And while they can't design content strategies for you, they can provide you with crucial data insights necessary for creating your own.
These platforms also allow you to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to and how they are faring in the wild world of digital content creation and marketing, which can be invaluable for ensuring you are up-to-date and in step with the latest trends and movements within your industry.
Evaluate the E-E-A-T of your content
Expertise - Experience - Authoritativeness - Trustworthiness (EEAT) are key to ranking your site on search engine results pages. To ensure your site has great EEAT, your content should:
- help users
- be trustworthy
- be created by experts
- be regularly updated
EEAT has played an important role in ranking pages for a few years now, but a new year is as good a time as any to update any old content you still have and develop new strategies for ensuring your EEAT are as good as possible.
For example, suppose you are a copywriting agency. In that case, you could choose to have certain writers focus on particular topics so that they develop minor expertise in an area that they can focus on.
Other ways of keeping your EAT scores high are to focus on building high-quality backlinks, respond to customer reviews, and include a personalised "About" page on your website introducing your staff and in-house experts.
Get to know your users
You should already know your target audience like the back of your hand. But the reality is, in the world of 2023, both your users and their online habits can grow and evolve rapidly.
We already saw how TikTok has become one of the largest social media platforms worldwide in just a few years, and there are plenty of other examples of how user behaviour changes over time.
Think about where your users get their news, what topics are likely to be on their minds, and how they engage with the digital landscape. Research their search intent and search queries from the previous year and find out the things they cared about last year.
Did you have a boost in the number of users in 2022 that saw your market widen to a new demographic? If so, how are they different from your original target audience?
A new year is always a good time to touch base with your users. Though you should be doing this constantly, you can make some big decisions about what your user data has told you over the year.
Perhaps you want to launch a new app? Or maybe you want to reach older audiences who are less likely to be on social media. Or you might want to venture onto a new platform that looks likely to take off over the coming months.
Whatever it is, listen to your users and meet them in the middle. They can direct you, but ultimately, it is up to you to alter your strategies to suit the times.
Make your platforms mobile friendly
There are now almost as many smartphones in use in the world as there are people, with the number almost doubling between 2016 and 2023. The days of brick phones are well and truly over, and you are now just as likely to see people with smartphones in their hands in remote locations in far-flung corners of the world as you are in Tokyo, New York, or London.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever that your web pages, apps, and other platforms are amenable and friendly for mobile devices. You can evaluate the "mobile-friendliness" of your website by typing "Google Mobile-Friendly Test" into Google. You then enter your URL into the box and it will provide you with a free evaluation.
If you need to improve your performance on mobile phones, you will likely need to enlist the help of a programmer. While this may seem like unnecessary costs if your sites and platforms are already active, it is definitely worth the price, as over 60% of website traffic comes from phones as of November 2022.
Optimise your search terms for voice searches
In recent years, voice-activated digital assistants have taken off. Just as we were getting used to vocal sat-nav, Siri, and Cortana, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant suddenly hit the market and are now a regular feature in cosmopolitan homes.
Research shows that in 2022 over 40% of US adults use voice search features, with 71% preferring voice searches over typed searches, and over 33% owning a smart speaker. This trend will only increase, so you need to be sure that your content is optimised for voice searches.
To optimise your content for voice searches, you should target keywords and phrases contained within questions related to your content. Put some time into researching the kinds of questions people are asking that you can engage with. You should also aim to use clear and conversational language in your content that people will likely use when they speak.
Mobile searches that included the phrase "near me" grew by 136% in 2021. This may have been due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as people were thinking more locally while travel was less possible. However, anyone with a smartphone knows exactly how useful those two little words can be in locating the precise amenity you need that is within the vicinity.
Google's Map Pack is where businesses are listed beside a local map with the locations of the businesses displayed on the accompanying map. A high listing on Google's Map Pack is highly desirable as it often guarantees business. You don't need a website to be listed, provided you have a Google Business profile.
So, if you don't have a Google Business profile yet, make sure you get one. Then, research other local businesses, their sites, and the keywords they use, and conduct keyword research for terms pertaining to locality. Finally, build links with local businesses that you can work with to boost one another's profiles on and offline.
SEO trends and digital marketing are always evolving. As search engines are used more and more, the processes by which they generate search results become more sophisticated and fine-tuned.
Any business with an online presence needs to stay on top of these changes and evolutions to ensure your SEO is as good as possible. Follow our tips this year to get your 2023 off on the right foot and take your SEO performance to its limits!