SEO is changing fast, and 2023 looks like it will be a major turning point for the industry.
Search algorithms are getting smarter (almost human-like), machine learning is becoming more pervasive, and more data is being used to inform search engine rankings.
It’s no surprise that some of the biggest names in digital marketing are already predicting what this will mean for SEO in 2023. It’s just that most of the predictions made aren’t hitting the mark.
Well, in today’s article, we’re not going to talk about that generic stuff. Instead, we’ll focus on bold predictions that no one has yet dared to make.
We’re not talking quality content, voice search, or any of that over-regurgitated buzzwordy stuff that everyone is already tired of hearing about.
We’re talking about the inner workings of search engine algorithms and how the next few years are sure to revolutionise the entire SEO industry.
So, without further ado, here are our seven predictions for SEO in 2023:
#1. AI Content Will Become a Standard Practise
AI is already here with us. We may be a few years away from full-blown AI bots penning blog posts, but the technology is quickly getting there.
By 2023, AI-generated content will be widely used across the web, not just in SEO.
And by AI, we don’t mean spun articles or something that a few black hat SEOs will use to cheat the system. While AI can certainly be used for malicious purposes, it can also be used to create some truly incredible content.
Think of AI as having a writing assistant, something to help you fill in the gaps in your own writing and create content that is better than anything a human could ever produce.
The idea isn’t to let AI do all the writing as you resort to doing nothing. Rather, AI can be used to supplement your own writing and provide a helping hand.
That way, you do not have to worry about how you will articulate a certain idea or present a certain concept. AI can help you do that, leaving you with more time to focus on the key message of your content.
So, how do you use AI right?
AI has been known to make three grave mistakes in writing:
- Grammar & Syntax: AI can get confused with grammar rules and syntax, leading to awkward phrasing. To stay safe, you want to do most of the writing yourself, hitting the compose button once in a while to fill in the gaps or expand on some of the points you have.
- The tone of Voice: AI can make more subtle mistakes, like writing content in a robotic or stiff tone that doesn’t resonate with readers. Your personality won’t shine through if you rely too heavily on AI.
For this, you want to ensure you have a good balance between AI-generated content and content that only comes from you.
- Creativity: AI can be used to help you come up with creative ideas, but it will never truly replace a human’s imagination. To ensure that your content stands out in any scenario, you want to make sure that you are the one making the creative decisions.
- Repetition: AI can also lead to content that feels too repetitive. While using the same keyword or phrase multiple times in your content might be helpful, it can start to feel robotic if it’s used too many times in the same article.
- Factual Accuracy: Going hand in hand with creativity, AI can’t always be trusted to generate accurate facts. You will still need to do your own research and verify any claims your AI assistant makes.
Examples of AI tools for writing: ChatGPT3, Jasper AI, and Narrative Science.
As a content creator, you need to be aware of what AI can and cannot do. That way, you can make the most out of it without relying on it too heavily.
SEO Prediction #2: Google’s Volatility Will Continue to Intensify
Google’s algorithm changes are notorious for wreaking havoc on websites. As Google makes its algorithms more sophisticated, we expect these volatility periods to become even more intense in 2023.
Google is constantly experimenting with new ways to rank websites, and this can lead to sudden shifts in rankings.
So, why is the volatility so intense this year?
Google is now making more updates than they ever have before. The time between these updates has been getting shorter and will likely continue in 2023.
Google is in some sort of experimental mode, and they are trying out different things to see what works best for their users. That means your website could be affected at any time.
Here are four things you want to pay attention to, to stay safe amid all this volatility:
- Updates Rolling on Top of One another and in Tighter Succession: Keep an eye out for a series of updates to the algorithm, which could cause radical shifts in rankings.
- More Frequent & Smaller Changes: Google is now relying on minor changes more often, so be sure to keep an eye out for these.
- Google Stopped Caring About Your Feelings: If you’ve noticed a sudden shift in your rankings, chances are it’s because of one of Google’s algorithm changes. Don’t take it personally.
- Be Ready for Anything: Google’s volatility is here to stay, so it’s important to be prepared for anything that comes your way.
If you have a single article on a particular topic, don’t expect Google to rank it highly. To really succeed on Google in 2023, you need to build what is known as Topic Authority.
Topic Authority involves creating a comprehensive collection of content on a single topic and having it all link back to one another.
This strategy is still relatively unknown, but it’s becoming more popular and will likely become the go-to strategy in 2023.
That means that if you want to rank highly on Google, you need to create content that is comprehensive and interlinked. That way, Google will know that your website is an authority on the topic and is most likely to rank you highly.
There’re two reasons why topical authority will take centre stage in 2023:
Reason #1: The prevalence of AI means people will be flooding the internet with cheap and fast content.
Reason #2: The concept of growing popularity in a single niche is becoming more attractive to people. While most SEOs think they’re doing it right by ranking for many different keywords, the reality is that they’re not creating a proper topical map that covers all the topics in the niche.
So, the key to success on Google in 2023 is to create comprehensive content that covers every facet of a single topic. You want to take the reader on a journey and leave them fully informed.
You can check if a site is excellently building topical authority by running the “site” search query. This query will tell you how many articles the site has written on a particular topic. By looking at what topics they have covered, you can quickly determine whether they are an authority in the niche.
For example, if a website has written 15 comprehensive articles on different SEO topics, then the odds are good they are an authority on the subject.
Also, with every article you write, you want to start by preparing an outline. Make sure the article doesn’t miss out on any critical points. You also want to link out to your previous post to signal continuation.
So, where can you start? Start by creating an outline for each article that you write. Use the following tools to identify the topics you need to cover:
- Google’s People Also Ask (PAA) box
- Answer the Public
- Google Related Searches
- Ahrefs’ Questions Report
- Competitors’ sitemaps
This way, you’ll be able to create content that not only covers every facet of a single topic but also has the potential to rank highly on Google.
It’s no secret that backlinks are a huge part of SEO. It’s been like this for a while now, but their impact is about to hit an all-time high.
Since everyone will be gunning for topical authority, backlinks will decide who rises to the top.
Although Google’s search liaison John Mueller recently said that Google would be lessening its reliance on links, there’s no doubt that backlinks will have an even more significant impact on SEO in 2023.
Think about it: you have two websites with similar content and topics. How do you decide who makes it to the top? The answer is backlinks.
Google wants to provide the most authoritative and trustworthy content, and one of the best ways to do that is by looking at the number of backlinks each page has.
We’ve all seen how adamant Google has been with EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). With EAT in full effect, backlinks have become a powerful asset for websites trying to rank higher on Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
Marie Haynes tweeted about his conversation with Gary Ilias from Google:
It turns out, E-A-T isn’t that much of some big secret. For the most part, it’s just based on mentions and backlinks.
In other words, if you can get the Washington Post or some other well-respected site to mention your website, you’d have essentially won Google’s EAT game.
So, if you haven’t planned a link strategy for 2023, you better get your act together. As the competition will be fiercer than ever, backlinks will decide who makes it to the top of Google’s SERP.
Here’s Matt Diggity’s link strategy (as shared on YouTube) for 2023:
- 40% of backlinks will be from Guest Posts: in-house and outsourced
- 30% of backlinks will come from Link Insertion: Inhouse and outsourced (from Authority Builders)
- 15% of backlinks will be from HARO: Inhouse and outsourced
- 10% of backlinks will be Digital PR outsourced to a Digital PR firm such as search-intelligence.co.uk
- 3% of backlinks will come from directories and social bookmarking
- 2% of backlinks will be from content marketing and link exchanges by direct messaging
You can take a cue from Matt’s link strategy and create your own. Whichever way you go, make sure that you’re focusing on quality over quantity.
Prediction #5: Parasite SEO Will Continue to be a Viable SEO Strategy in 2023
Parasite SEO is a strategy where you piggyback off an authoritative page to rank higher in search engine results.
To understand this SEO strategy, we suggest you head to Google and query “Best Sexting Websites.”
You’ll find that the first and second pages are packed with high-authority websites such as Mashable, Chicago reader, Riverfronttimes, etc. Only one dating site makes it to the top 10.
Now, open up the Chicago reader’s link page, and you’ll notice it’s a sponsored post.
It’s the same with the article on riverfronttimes.com.
What does this tell us? It tells us that Parasite SEO is a viable SEO strategy in 2023, and it works.
So, why is Google not picking an issue with it?
In August 2022, Google released the helpful content update, which emphasised the helpfulness of content instead of the source.
It’s safe to say that this update was created with Parasite SEO in mind.
Google’s not punishing websites that take advantage of authoritative sites but rewarding them if their content is truly helpful.
Google only wants to know that your content demonstrates first-hand expertise and in-depth knowledge and is focused on helping users, not getting backlinks.
Does your site have a primary focus on helping users? If yes, you can piggyback off authoritative websites and rank higher in the SERPs.
That’s the secret to pulling off a successful Parasite SEO strategy in 2023.
So, what should you do to leverage Parasite SEO for your website?
Unfortunately for you, you may find that most of the topics you’re eying for have already been covered, and most of these high authority sites have exclusive deals with the websites they feature.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of Parasite SEO.
Look for gaps in the market, research topics that haven’t been covered yet, or offer an alternative approach to existing topics.
Once you have your topic, identify the high-authority websites in your industry that are likely to accept sponsored content and see if you can get your content featured.
Also, parasite ideal news sites haven’t been exploited yet in foreign SEO, so you can capitalize on that. You might want to look for the promised land in faraway soil. See if any of those countries have news sites not yet tapped to get the most out of your parasite SEO efforts.
It starts with quality research, so make sure you’re doing it right.
Lastly, keep an eye out for new opportunities in Parasite SEO. Google might come up with an update that changes the rules of the game, but if you focus on creating high-quality content, you’ll always be able to stay ahead of the curve.
SEO Prediction #6: More Specific Algorithm Updates
How many updates has Google released in the last year?
Too many to count. While most minor tweaks barely move the needle, a few have been serious enough to warrant the internet’s attention.
Here are some of the updates Google made in recent years:
- On September 12th, 2022: The Core Update made its debut. In the update report, Google starts by saying there’s nothing wrong with websites that aren’t performing well after the update—it’s just that other websites are performing better.
They haven’t violated any spam policy or anything of that nature, but they were at the receiving end of a mild algorithm adjustment.
- On September 20th, 2022: They released the product reviews update. The update sought to reward high–quality reviews or reviews deemed helpful by their readers.
It favoured insightful analysis, original content, well-researched opinions, and in-depth information.
- On October 9th, 2022: They released the spam update. This algorithm trawled the internet for purchased links. It specifically targeted websites that purchased backlinks and websites that were primarily created to pass links.
It leveraged Google’s AI-based spam-prevention system called “SpamBrain” to identify websites with massive amounts of unnatural links.
- On December 5th, 2022: They released the helpful content update. This update rewards websites for producing content that satisfies user experience. Google evaluates the content based on its relevance to users’ searches, the quality of the information provided, and readability.
Their system can identify content that adds little to no value to users and demotes them automatically while rewarding the websites with helpful content.
- On December 14th, 2022: They released the link spam update. The update was an improvement to the spam update they had released earlier.
This time it also targeted websites using link schemes to try and manipulate PageRank. They could identify this behaviour via their AI-based system and lower their rankings or, even worse, ban them from the search engine.
Follow this link to view a list of recent updates Google released. There are tons of them.
You can quickly tell from the updates that Google is headed towards a more specific, accurate algorithm. In 2023, expect to see more specific updates that target certain practices and reward those websites that adhere to their guidelines.
Nothing to leave you with sleepless nights, but enough to keep you on your toes.
Google is evolving, refining its algorithms little by little to make its search engine better and more helpful.
The gains or losses might be small, but they’ll add up in the long run.
So, how do you position your website to take advantage of these changes?
You can start by understanding the goals behind each update and adapting your content accordingly.
Create helpful, relevant, quality content to benefit from these algorithm updates.
With every new update, ensure your content is up to the mark, or you’ll be left behind.
So, keep your eyes peeled and stay updated on Google’s algorithm updates. With this knowledge, you’ll always be ready to adapt and stay ahead of the curve.
SEO Prediction #7: Google Will Reward Fast Answers
The average user’s attention span is getting smaller and smaller.
Google knows this, which is why they are pushing for faster loading speeds, images, and content loading.
They want to provide the best user experience possible.
In 2023, Google will reward websites that can provide users with quick answers to their queries.
And by quick, we’re talking speed but goal completion. Say a user wants to know how many calories are in a Big Mac.
Google will reward the website that can provide this information quickly and accurately, as opposed to one that goes into detail about the history of the Big Mac.
You’ve probably come across a Google survey like the one shown below:
It happens a whole lot with mobile searches. After you search for a more specific piece of information, you hit one of the links to the website. The moment hit back on your browser, a survey pops up asking you how hard or easy it was for you to find the answer you’re looking for.
This survey indicates Google’s willingness to reward websites that can provide quick answers.
Easy means quick, and that’s what Google is aiming for.
So, how do you give quick answers?
It’s all about optimizing the content on your website. Make sure search queries lead directly to the information they’re looking for.
If you’re writing review content, don’t waste time going into details irrelevant to the search query. Instead, go straight to the point and give a list of some of the top-rated products in the industry.
If you’re writing an informative article, create a “key takeaways” section.
This section can briefly overview the content and answer key queries.
Use this section to summarise the answer and making it easier to digest.
You also want to use special fonts to highlight the key sections or headlines for more straightforward navigation.
That will make it easier for your readers to find the information they’re looking for quickly.
Some Final Thoughts
Search engine results are about to improve, and Google expects you to help them make that happen.
They’re incentivizing quality and helpful content, and it’s your job to ensure your website fits the bill.
Start by understanding Google’s goals and adapting your content accordingly. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and think about how you can make their experience easier and more satisfying.
That’s the only way to get ahead in 2023.