Technology has become inextricably ingrained in our day-to-day lives, and with that SEO becomes even more important. How so?
When visiting a new place, you quickly search for directions. Curious about the hours of operation? Search engines easily provide the answers.
Each year SEO evolves, which is why we’re providing you with the latest SEO trends so you and your business can enter the new year prepared.
Learn what SEO tactics should be at the forefront of your mind in 2023.
1. Tackle Schema Markup
Schema markup is a way to make your site as crawlable as possible for search engine spiders. It identifies marked sections of content, whether an FAQ page or merely your phone number, and allows them to display in search as interactive features.
Google search engines use this information to create knowledge boxes and interactive FAQ displays, right in the search results.
Are you tired of reciting your address when customers call? Make sure there is schema markup on that information on your site, and Google will provide that data above your website link when people search for it.
2. Get Familiar with Google’s Core Web Vitals Report
There has been a big focus in the last few years to improve site speed and provide mobile-friendly sites, but that’s not all. Once your website is set in Google Search Console, you can see how your site performs within Google’s Core Web Vitals Report.
Not only does it tell you about areas of improvement, but the results also color code them, making them easy to understand.
Back to the Basics: What is The Core Web Vital Report?
According to Google, The Core Web Vital Report is a report that displays URL performance grouped by status (Poor, Needs Improvement, Good), metric type (CLS, FID, LCP) and URL group (similar web pages grouped together).
The report is based on three metrics measured by user data: CLS, FID and LCP. If your page performs well in one section but barely meets the standard in other metrics, the URL will rank in the poor category.
With this data you know exactly what to tackle to start improving your site performance.
You may ask yourself, “Is a few seconds worth all the extra work?” Users are 24% less likely to abandon a page load when that page met the Core Web Vitals thresholds.
3. Design with Mobile in Mind
What goes hand-in-hand with Core Web Vitals? A mobile-friendly experience! Many of us remember Mobilegeddon during the spring of 2015.
There was a frantic scramble for businesses to provide a mobile version of their site or transition to a responsive site before the deadline. Either that or face the consequences.
Over the last eight years, much has changed with SEO, but mobile-friendly sites are still an absolute must. Today, site speed carries significant weight, but so do things like accessibility and functionality on mobile.
Ideally, your customers should have the same experience whether they visit your site from a desktop, tablet or mobile phone.
Pay special attention to how tables and website features display on a smaller screen. You may find things like rollover text and self-serve tools need a creative rework when dealing with a touchscreen.
4. Be the Authority
You may remember from our 2022 SEO trends blog where we recommended you embrace E-A-T, but what does that mean? E-A-T is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
Being an expert in your industry is expected for a small business, but you also need to be an expert communicator as well. Understand who your audience is then create content around what they’re already searching for.
Learning to recognize the intent behind the search will guide you to the right content for your site and customers.
Who is your ideal customer? What questions will they have when they discover your business (top of funnel), when they’ve started to trust your business (mid-funnel) and when they’re ready to buy (bottom of funnel).
Don’t forget to think through what information, forms, tools or links would provide the best user experience when crafting new content.
Embrace the early adopter mentality and learn about new technologies and phrases that are natural fits for your industry.
How does an expert develop authority? By creating a network of like-minded individuals. The way to do that on the internet is by citing experts and adding links from reputable sites.
Creating high-quality, knowledgeable and helpful content is a great way to naturally build links.
Other businesses and writers will want to share quality resources. Not only do you get a trickle of website traffic from these links, but each link is also a small sign of authority to search engines.
When small businesses are growing their trustworthiness, reviews are the first stop. Google’s guidelines mention that too many bad reviews are a red flag of low quality.
If you find a few bad reviews, your company needs to start addressing and rectifying them for the sake of your credibility.
Many small businesses struggle to get reviews regularly. We’ve found that sending out a custom Google Review link to your customers helps generate more reviews.
5. Claim Local Listings
One of the best ways to build links as a small business is to claim your local listings. That includes:
- Google Business Profile
- Social channels
Google Business Profile is a must for any small business since it allows your business to display in the coveted map pack for location-related queries, helps you build reviews and lets you share important data with your customers.
Did you know that 50% of users visit a store within a day of making a local search? If you want to get people into your business’s door, you must optimize for local search engine optimization.
The first spot customers go to search for your business is search engines, but the second is through social channels.
Make sure you’re easy to find and share what makes your business unique. Plus social is a great way to test new promotions, products and services while getting instant feedback.
Directories give your site those much-needed links and the authoritative signals we discussed. Plus it allows you more real estate in the search results and more platforms to share your promotions and NAP (Name, Address, Phone number).
With over 40 listing sites available, claiming and updating all these sources individually is overwhelming. Seek out a system to help you manage all your listings with the touch of a button to save you time and stress.
6. Don’t Neglect Old Content.
Your homepage may be a masterpiece of form and function, but it’s getting stale if you haven’t updated it recently. Try to revisit older content at least once a year and look for ways to freshen it up. Maybe the page would pop with a new image.
Perhaps it would be useful to link in a newly built page. It could be that some information that is no longer accurate lying in wait. Dust off the cobwebs to refresh that page, then request a quick crawl in Google Search Console.
You may see a nice little boost in rankings. If nothing else, you have the comfort of knowing your website is full of accurate information.
7. AI Continues to be Top of Mind.
This may seem like old news, but artificial intelligence is taking your search experience to the next level and won’t be going away anytime soon. It’s wise to write your content with AI and machine learning in mind.
Back to the Basics: What is Machine Learning?
Machine learning is the technical heavy lifting that search spiders do to identify duplicate and poor-quality content. Gone are the days of creating multiple pages optimized for keyword variations. Content is king, remember? Quality content, that is.
Back to the Basics: How do I optimize for Artificial Intelligence?
When it comes to SEO, providing a thoughtful, concise answer is best. Google’s algorithm pays attention not only to the content on your site but how users are engaging with it.
If it is determined that visitors are pogo-sticking, or quickly bouncing back from your page to the search results, it can negatively affect your rankings.
Each year SEO trends shift, sometimes significantly. Other times, like what is expected for 2023, it’s much more subtle.
Keep your technical ducks in a row to keep improving your customer’s experience and you’ll likely stay in Google’s good graces.