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  • Carli Van Stolk

Five SEO Trends That Are Here To Stay In 2023

Originally published for Forge & Spark Media


Many once thought that content marketing and SEO were two entirely separate entities. But as the content marketing world moves increasingly online and strong SEO becomes reliant on content marketing, the two are becoming more intertwined. At the end of the day, no matter how great your content is, if it’s not SEO-friendly in 2023, then it’s a waste.


So, what does SEO-friendly in 2023 really mean? Well, like all forms of marketing, SEO is constantly evolving, too. These changes are particularly influenced by the tech landscape, like the introduction of AI for marketing, voice search, and the growing popularity of emerging social media platforms like TikTok.


It’s hard to stay up-to-date on what these changes are. So, rather than taking a two-hour course on SEO, why not find out everything you need – all in one place? Read on for key SEO trends that you and your teams should be incorporating into your SEO strategy, in 2023 and beyond.


#1: Long-Form Content Is Still King for SEO


As a content marketing agency, we know all too well the importance of long-form content for your SEO strategy. And in 2023, this SEO “trend” is here to stay.


According to Finances Online, long-form content generates three times the amount of traffic than regular-length content. Meanwhile, Backlinko states that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more link clicks than short articles.


While there’s no clear definition of the proper length of long-form content, we typically aim for a post between 1,000 – 3,000 words. Hubspot found that articles between 2,250 and 2,500 words earn the most organic traffic.


Search engines prefer long-form content because they want what’s best for their users. Think about it: if you’re a user trying to find information on SEO trends in 2023, wouldn’t you rather read a longer blog post with all the information you need rather than jump from blog to blog?


So the more time spent on a page, the happier the search engine. They recognize that your content provides value for users and as a result, send more traffic your way.


Wondering where to start when crafting your long-form content? Pro-tip: always keep your audience personas in mind. Here are some things to think about:

  • Their search intent: why would they be searching this?

  • What are their pain points?

  • What keywords would they be searching for to find it?

  • What headline would grab their attention?

  • And most importantly, break up content to make it scannable for them. That means avoiding walls of text, writing at a digestible 8th-grade level, and using a conversational tone.

(Psst – if you don’t have the capacity to write multiple 2,000-word blogs per month, get in touch. We’ll be happy to take it off your plate.)





#2: A Growing Emphasis on Core Web Vitals


Despite the techy jargon, this one’s important!


Anyone who’s learned a thing or two about SEO lately knows that Google’s Core Web Vitals are key to whether your site will show up in search results in 2023.


Core Web Vitals aren’t a trend, per se: they’re the metrics that Google uses to evaluate your page. Google launched them in early 2022 and announced that they will be of greater importance in the years to come. This is because Core Web Vitals make up a lion’s share of Google’s overall page experience score.


Your page experience score includes factors like how mobile-friendly your site is to how long it takes for your site’s web pages to load. Not all of these factors have the same ranking weight, but undoubtedly, Core Web Vitals rank higher than others. Sites with better Core Web Vitals scores have a higher chance of climbing the SEO ranks than sites that don’t.


Put simply: Google’s page experience score isn’t the only factor that will bring you up to spot #1 on search, but it’s a crucial one.


The three Core Web Vitals are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint

  • First Input Delay

  • Cumulative Layout Shift

We know – these terms are confusing! But stay with us. Without getting too technical, here is a brief overview of each of these three factors.


Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This represents the time it takes for the main element of your webpage to load. So, for example, the time it takes for a GIF to load when someone lands on a Forge & Spark page. The goal is to keep it under 2.5 seconds, says Google.


First Input Delay (FID)

This represents interactivity, or how quickly a browser responds after a user interacts with your site. For example, someone is trying to submit their email submission form. You want this interaction to be as smooth as possible, right? A good FID score is anything under 100 milliseconds, according to Google.


Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout Shift measures the visual stability of a webpage. Put simply, whether the elements of a page jump around. If you have a low CLS score, the layout of your page will change. You want to keep this score under 0.1.


So, how do you improve these Core Web Vitals?


First, check your site’s performance using Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Google Search Console.


Scroll down and address any of the diagnostic changes that Google recommends for LCP (load time), FID (interactivity), and CLS (visual stability).


Some recommendations:

  • Optimizing images, such as compressing them or converting them from .PNG to WebP

  • Removing large page elements

  • Defer loading of JavaScript

  • Use lazy loading

  • Giving ads a designated space on your site

But the specific recommendations will depend on the results of your PageSpeed Insights report. Either way, adjusting your Core Web Vitals is not for the faint of heart. We recommend working with your Web Dev team to improve your score!





#3: Image Optimization for SEO


Videos and images aren’t going anywhere. And in fact, visual shopping and search is only growing.


Most social media channels are becoming search engines themselves. For example, if you type in “best breathable t-shirt” into TikTok, you’ll find answers videos. Same with Pinterest, where users have been visually shopping for years.


So, no, visual shopping and search isn’t a trend – but rather a facet of SEO that’s becoming more and more common, which you’ll need to factor into your content planning.

This means four key things for you and your team of marketers:

  1. When you create social media content, ensure that you use keywords in your captions and hashtags if you aren’t already.

  2. Use alt text and alt tags on your videos and images – and ensure that these include your keywords.

  3. Use high-quality visual content across the board – including your website, blog, and social media.

  4. Use modern file formats for images

By optimizing your images, videos, and brand content you will show up better in search engines – on social media and everywhere else.


#4: The Rise of Voice Search


Alexa, what are the most important SEO considerations for 2023?


As voice search becomes a daily reality for huge swaths of people all over the world, you need to have the right keywords in place.


Start by identifying a list of target keywords with a tool like SemRush or UberSuggest. Find keywords that aren’t overly competitive so you have the chance to rank higher in search. Populate your list with variations of the keyword. For example, if you’re a purpose-driven business, try keywords like “purpose-driven business,” “purpose-driven brand” or “purpose-led brand.”


From there, weave these keywords into your blogs, social media copy, and web copy – without keyword stuffing.


Another important note: ensure that you incorporate these keywords into well-written, high-quality content. Otherwise, Google might not favour it.





#5: Keep Blogging


Again, this isn’t necessarily a trend, but it is a pillar of content marketing that is here to stay. The more that you update your website – i.e. the more that you blog – the more often your site is indexed by search engines.


According to Demand Metric, companies that blog produce 67% more leads per month, and 34% of buyers will make an unplanned purchase after reading quality content.


Here at Forge & Spark, we aim for two blogs a month. We recommend you do the same, if possible, or more. This cadence takes work, but it keeps us – and our clients – more highly favoured by search engines.


If you’re stuck on what to write about, organize your content into content pillars or buckets. Gather your team to brainstorm a certain amount of ideas per bucket. From there, plan out your monthly content with those ideas. (When in doubt, go for topical content. It never fails.)


And as for the proof in the pudding? Well, one of our blogs from 2019 got 30,000 views this year alone. That’s a pretty big milestone for a small but mighty team of 15, with a social media following of ~1,500 followers, isn’t it? Considering that we published this blog in 2019 and it led to 30,000 views in 2022 alone… well, that says it all. Content marketing sure works.


Takeaways


Keeping up with all of the changes across the digital landscape – whether that’s the latest content marketing trend or the evolving SEO world – is a full-time job all on its own.

But it’s necessary.


By incorporating these key SEO “trends” into your 2023 content marketing strategy and beyond, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand and your content shows up in search.


Here’s hoping you get to Google’s #1 spot!

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