Now that we're in 2023, Google's algorithm changes have become somewhat challenging for those who want to perform well in search results. But ranking well is still possible, and today we're going to look at the best SEO techniques and strategies to help make this happen.
If you are new to SEO you will learn some quick tips of these SEO Trends if you read further!
I typically work with eCommerce sites that depend on getting a constant flow of website visitors to ensure they continue to grow their revenue. As an outcome, I work on SEO daily and have followed the myriad of changes that Google has introduced over the years.
There's a lot that can be implemented to boost the SEO of a website's pages. Title tags, keywords, picture alt text, internal link structure, and inbound links (also known as backlinks) are all factors that search engines consider. When deciding where on the page of search engine results (SERPs) to place your website, search engines consider more than just on-site content and code.
The primary purpose of SEO is to get you more exposure with better rankings.
These are my top SEO trend tips for getting to the top. Follow these correctly, and you should do pretty well.
Keep to the essential things
It's easy to get distracted by all the recommendations bloggers post on what to do with SEO. However, not all of what is said is helpful. Some of it will not help you get anywhere other than feeling exhausted and frustrated. The bottom line is that you don't want to be investing time and energy into any SEO work when it's not going to make one iota of difference. Here are some examples of the nonsense spouted so that you know what to avoid, so you don't go down rabbit holes that won't get you results.
- LSI Keywords. There aren't any LSI keywords. John Mueller from Google has said it.
- Use Yoast and try to make all the lights green. This isn't the be-all and end-all, don't waste time trying to get these lights. It's not the answer.
- Write very long content. Here's why this isn't part of the equation for performing well. It's more about giving searchers what they're looking for with quality answers rather than length. See more info on this.
- Use domains that match the keyword. Of course, this worked well in 1999 but not anymore.
- Social signals are it. Not so much anymore. It's not going to be a good use of your time. We've heard Google on it, and they don't use it.
You must spend time on the right things for your SEO in 2023. Leave that other nonsense to your competitors to waste their time on.
Always consider what the intent is of the searcher
Google wants you to write the content their searchers are looking for, so you must keep this in mind and give your searchers the content they want.
For example, you can see this in action if you search the term 'best SaaS SEO'. You'll find both techniques for SaaS companies to grow their businesses and lists of the best SaaS companies offering SEO products. This is because Google knows that the searcher wants to learn rather than buy.
When trying to rank for highlighted snippets, it's crucial to consider the context of each triggering query.
Three distinct groups of internet users will search your keywords:
- Those who may become paying consumers.
- Individuals whose influence may sway prospective clients to purchase from you.
- Your rivals are checking what your approach is.
You'll be in charge of creating the material for the first two. Each person's search intentions will be unique, but all content must be informative (and navigational when users want to click through them).
Generate heading tags that are interesting and intriguing
Google changed how it created webpage titles back in 2021. It is more likely to use H1 tags rather than title tags and sometimes will even rewrite them.
However, writing title tags is still essential as it's still using them to create web page titles. It uses H1 tags 60 per cent of the time. Title tags are rewritten more than 30% of the time.
Including query keywords in the header tags is a crucial part of the content organisation for highlighted snippets.
Select your main keywords and use them as header tags. After a heading tag , Google can add highlighted snippets. If you have highlighted snippets, you're likely to get a lot of good traffic from having so much coverage by Google.
Since only one kind of search leads to a highlighted snippet, here is what is being looked for by Google. Do know that Google wants the best content for its users, and that's the main aim. The user will typically want answers to be in the format of:
- A video
- In-depth information.
- A quick answer
- A comparison between this related item and that
Therefore, create content that delivers in these formats.
But we will get back to how to optimise for snippets a bit further down the page.
Refresh content regularly to cut back on the decline
Some of your content will decline in the ranking, even if you get incredible traffic. Rankings do not stay the same, so refreshing your content and republishing it will help your position in the search engine.
You can find out which content is declining by using Google Search Console and comparing the content now vs six months ago to see the difference.
Something to look out for is if the search intent has changed and your page no longer aligns with it. Then check whether your page contains answers to all the questions and subtopics a searcher would have on your topic.
Read more about title rewriting here on Search Engine Journal.
Top tip. Add bespoke imagery & graphics to make the content more digestible. I can tell you that I have tried and tested this and it does work. It means it will take more time and effort creating your content however, you are giving it the best chance of ranking.
Add more links to internal pages to make them more important.
Adding internal links to your pages so visitors can easily visit other pages within your website can improve SEO.
They can also help to distribute PageRank to your site and help Google get an understanding of your content as a whole.
Some tools can help you to identify opportunities for internal linking. For example, Ahrefs site audit makes it fast and easy to do. Sign up for the free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account, crawl your site, and look at the report on link opportunities. You'll see the source page you need to link from and target pages to link to. Use the keyword as the anchor text.
You can find a lot of information on this tool, but focus on your most important pages first.
Top tip. If using WordPress use a tool called Link Whisper to help you manage internal linking.
Improve visitor page experience
Google rolled out a new page experience update in 2021. This update was on mobile, and then in 2022, there was a desktop version.
This measurement looks at core web vitals, HTTPS for security, and the absence of intrusive interstitials.
You can read more about what Google says about intrusive interstitials here, and many websites will have gone back to HTTPS. This leaves just Core Web Vitals to handle. These cover factors such as speed, user experience with visual load, stability and interactivity.
You can check the condition of your Core Web Vitals by looking at the report in the Google Search Console.
However, do note that the Core Web Vitals are just one of 250 + ranking factors, so do what you can, but they aren't the be-all and end-all.
Top tip. If using WordPress or some other CMS’s you could use a tool called Nitro Pack to help you get a high score with the CWV and faster site.
Use more than one intent in your content
People using Google's search bar may not always have the same intent. If you Google the words "on page SEO," for instance, you'll get a wide variety of results, including how-to articles, definitions, and ranked lists.
That's what we call a "keyword with mixed intent." People may be curious about on-page SEO, while others may be determined to master it completely.
I recommend creating content for the more popular purpose if you aren't currently ranking for a term with mixed meaning. This appears to be a rule of thumb for "on-page SEO."
With indented site links, you may double up and achieve several first-page ranks if you already rank for a mixed-purpose keyword.
Add sections of FAQs
Even if you believe your site's material is exhaustive, frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages may fill in any blanks or give overarching solutions to your consumers' most pressing concerns.
Does it help to add FAQ pages from an SEO point of view? Yes - when they are optimised for relevant keywords, created for optimum UX, and marked with structured data, FAQ pages may contribute to organic performance.
Most importantly, frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages assist by addressing your client's most pressing concerns and guiding them towards a resolution (and a conversion for your business).
Recommended reading: Mark Up Your FAQs With Structured Data (Google)
Include expert quotes
No one has complete knowledge of all topics. Thus, although you should be familiar with the subject matter, there will undoubtedly be certain areas in which your expertise is lacking.
An excellent way to fix this is to sprinkle your material with quotations from relevant experts. This will help your credibility and authority as you're clearly following these people or wouldn't be able to share quotes on them.
The results may be seen in two ways, both of which are good for search engine optimisation:
Improve E-A-T. What EAT is is an acronym for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. You can read more about this here.
Can lead to more links. If you ask, the people you cite in your work will gladly spread the word on their social media accounts. Because of this advertising, more people will read your material, which may result in more people linking to it.
Optimise your content for snippets
It's common knowledge that highlighted snippets have a significant impact when it comes to traffic. All SEO experts, including me, work hard to get highlighted snippets for their clients' articles whenever possible.
These enlarged, detailed search results are presented in a separate box at or near the top of the page (SERP). You may improve Google's ability to determine whether your website provides the best response to a particular query by optimising for featured snippets (FS).
As with any SEO, you need to keep an eye on searcher intent, keywords and what the competition is doing.
More information: Featured Snippets Optimisation
Optimise image backlinks
For paragraph and listicle highlighted snippets, in particular, images are essential. Improve the user experience and prevent becoming generic by replacing standard images with either actual photos or original designs.
Include as many pictures as your text calls for.
People may incorporate your site's bespoke drawings or infographics into their own material if you host them there. When they do this, they will often (but not always) provide a link back to the original picture. A direct link to the picture file is provided on occasion.
From an SEO standpoint, this is not ideal since the "authority" of that link is wasted. Instead of just linking to the picture file, a more appropriate destination for the link would be the page from where the image originated.
If you discover any links that you believe should be "improved," you should contact the relevant author or website owner.
Change links to dead pages
Links pointing to archived or otherwise inaccessible pages are pointless. Given that the page no longer exists, they are unlikely to have much of an impact on the rankings of other pages, either.
This is why it is essential to monitor for links that lead to defunct sites so they can be removed.
You can use a tool such as Ahrefs to show them to you. They will even send you an email telling you what's missing.
Here's how to fix them:
Simply send the dead link to a suitable location.This is to avoid Google interpreting the redirect as a soft 404, and then making its connections useless.
More information: How to Find and Fix Broken Links (To Reclaim Valuable 'Link Juice')
Audit your content annually
By auditing your site's content, you may determine whether its pages are achieving their goals. You then choose whether or not to fix, merge, or remove poorly performing pages.
You can start by determining whether your blog posts get traffic from searches. When you find pages that aren't working for you, update and improve them by changing keywords, adding more content, or deleting them.
Create more backlinks
The number of referring domains (linking websites) to a page positively correlates with the volume of its organic search traffic, which is not surprising given that backlinks are one of Google's top three ranking criteria.
This is not to say that you need a thousand or more backlinks before your page ranks well. How difficult the discussion is likely to be is a factor.
All of the top articles returned by a Google search for "keyword research," for instance, had anything from 500 to 17,000 referring domains:
Realistically, it would help if you had a lot of backlinks to compete for this term. You may have the best content in the world, but if your page only has ten links, it will have a hard time making it to the first page of search results.
Getting additional high-quality backlinks may help you increase a few Google positions and increase your organic traffic.
You don’t need to apply all these SEO techniques for 2023. Just pick a few that will be easy for you to do and try to be consistent with your attention to your site. I will write something in more detail about this topic soon.
Now that you know what can make a difference in SEO in 2023, let's look further ahead.
What to anticipate in SEO's future
Search engine optimisation has advanced far from the days of just filling pages with keywords and creating meta descriptions. But as time goes on, what can we expect from SEO?
SEO has never been more intriguing, with Google constantly updating and improving its algorithms. Professions are always changing, but experts predict some significant shifts in this dynamic field soon.
The methods through which Google determines the rankings of web pages are likely to undergo significant changes in the following years. To begin, you can anticipate a heightened focus on content quality and the quality of the user experience. Further efforts will be made to comprehend natural language and enhance searcher relevancy, and Google will maintain its "mobile first" strategy.
In the end, this implies that web designers and marketers must think ahead of the curve and do whatever it takes to give value to consumers via valuable content, responding quickly and accurately to customer enquiries. Overall, these changes should get us closer than ever to obtaining precise, exhaustive search results whenever and whenever they are performed.
As previously stated, executing every one of these SEO strategies is unnecessary. If you have to choose, select the one or two that seem to be the least difficult. When it comes to search engine optimisation, those who succeed are those who do something, therefore, do something, even if it's not perfect.
Even if the website and content optimisation may become more difficult in the following years, we can rest confident that we are serving the best interests of our visitors by providing them with the most relevant and valuable responses.
I hope this post has helped you get started on the path to SEO success in the year 2023. I hope your SEO efforts go well.
Get in touch by my contact form if you want to chat about your ideas and goals and how I may be able to help you to achieve them.
I'm Paul Gordon an SEO freelancer who has spent the last 16 years helping businesses expand and grow through effective SEO strategies.