AI answering search queries
Microsoft’s AI has been integrated into Bing, offering search results enriched with AI content. Bing’s AI offers a summary of the search results aggregated into a conversational reply. Whether this is particularly useful to the user intent will vary depending on the query and the quality of results in general, but this is certainly a game-changer for search results. Will Google follow suit? After their slightly embarrassing debut of their AI offering, Google Bard, it might be some time before Google search results are enriched with AI.
Google adds ‘experience’ to E-E-A-T quality guidelines
Since December 2022, Google has added ‘experience’ to their Search Quality Rater Guidelines. This means that content should demonstrate the first-hand experience of the creator, e.g. they’ve tried the product, they’ve been to the location, they’ve seen the show.
While the Quality Rater Guidelines don’t affect how content ranks in the search results directly, it does affect the quality of the results. Google says it wants to see more “people-first content” that meets search intent. With E-E-A-T, Google seems to be combating the sea of low-quality AI produced content, focusing more on quality with provable creator experience, something that AI simply cannot offer.
Voice search becomes more popular
Voice search continues to drive SEO trends, with 50% of adults saying they use voice search every day. Voice queries are different to typed queries as they tend to be longer and are usually in the form of a question. 40% of voice searches are answered with the rich snippet of the results, so it makes sense to optimise content for this.
Most voice searches occur on mobile devices or smart devices, so those wishing to take advantage of this trend should make sure their site is optimised for mobile and target long-tail keywords in the form of questions.
Audience-targeted, not traffic-targeted content
The main SEO trend seems to be for content targeted towards the audience’s actual intent, rather than what drives traffic. People quickly bounce from a website that popped in the first few search results but offered little useful or informative content. Therefore, websites that go after search traffic without any consideration towards user intent will probably not see much success from their SEO efforts.
Video in search results
You may have seen videos in search results and rich snippets – depending on the query, a video might provide the most useful information. If a user is looking for instructions, e.g. how to change a tyre or bake a cake, then a video can be more helpful than a text-based article.
Google incorporates videos into its search results if the query could be solved by a video, usually when the user is looking for particular types of content, including how-to tutorials or music.
Producing relevant video content that is search optimised could be a good way of taking advantage of this trend – see more tips below.
Changes to CTRs by SERP positions
If a query can be answered in a satisfying way by rich snippets, why click on any links at all? This makes marketer’s jobs more difficult without that all-important CTR to show. It’s not all bad news however, as searchers are more likely to scroll past the first few results thanks to endless scrolling being available. The main thing to do is make sure your content is enticing enough to warrant a clickthrough by optimising page titles and meta descriptions.
The importance of staying up to date with SEO trends
SEO trends are in a state of constant evolution, and not being well-informed about them can leave businesses trailing behind. It’s clear that SEO is not just about top rankings anymore, but about delivering value at every touchpoint. Neglecting these trends can mean missed opportunities and reduced digital relevance, making it imperative for brands and marketers to stay informed and agile.
How SEO trends impact digital marketing strategies
Changes in SEO trends have a profound impact on digital marketing strategies. For instance, the incorporation of AI by platforms like Bing encourages digital marketers to rethink how users interact with search results, potentially reshaping their content strategies.
Google’s focus on the ‘experience’ aspect of E-E-A-T underlines the importance of authenticity, leading brands to focus on genuine narratives and experiential content. The increase in voice searches re-emphasises the value of long-tail keywords and query-based content, pushing marketers to fine-tune their keyword strategies.
The increased significance of audience-targeted content over traffic-centric approaches also prompts a shift towards a more user-centric content development model. Moreover, the emergence of videos in search results underscores the need for more diverse content types, urging marketers to invest in multimedia.
Lastly, the evolving CTR dynamics by SERP positions demand more attention to meta details and content quality. In essence, as SEO trends evolve, they sculpt the trajectory of digital marketing, requiring marketers to be both proactive and adaptive.
What’s the best SEO strategy for 2023?
SEO trends in 2023 demand a mix of authenticity, expertise, and multimedia content. Don’t try and diversify content too much though – stay within your area of expertise and experience, ensuring content is authoritative and relevant. Think about adding a biography of the author to your text based content to show search engines their credibility. Linking to their social media profiles, other articles or websites could have the same effect, showing that they are actual people and not AI.
Optimising video for search in 2023 is non-negotiable. Adding chapters in YouTube videos help to act as a roadmap, guiding both Google and viewers through the content, while manually added closed captions offer clarity and context, ensuring Google comprehends the video’s verbal content. The video’s title, tags, and description must be meticulously optimised, enveloping key phrases and terms. Tools like Keywords Analytics for YouTube can be used to research relevant keywords. Also, embedding these optimised videos into websites and blogs not only enhances user experience but can be instrumental in reducing bounce rates.
There is still a place for the meat and potatoes of SEO in 2023. Don’t neglect the fundamentals like page titles, anchor text, alt text, metatitles and metadescriptions. The important thing to always be aware of is the user intent, and how your content can fulfil that intent in a helpful and satisfying way.