SEO saw many changes over the last year and based on the 2022 progress, changes and latest Google updates, here is a prediction of what to expect from Google and how to prepare your SEO strategy for 2023.
Google made it abundantly clear that the focus is shifting toward on-page and technical more and more.
Over the last few years, we are told speed is becoming important, mobile first has happened, we saw quality guidelines like top-heavy, E-A-T, BERT and many others happening. Each and everyone changed the game in a certain way.
Lately, Google gave us new indications of the significance of on-page and user importance. Let’s talk about Core Web Vitals – Google’s page experience update – speed/loading, interactivity and stability of pages – new ranking factor since 2021.
Once Google throws at us SEOs something big and game-changing like CWV, it gives us time to get ready and helps us test our websites’ performance.
If you are not familiar with this update, here are the main points:
Once again, this update is about speed of the website, but it goes deeper than before, Google is now measuring 3 main areas:
LCP – Largest contentful paint – how long does it take to load
FID – First input delay – how long does it take for the website’s elements to be interactive
CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift – how stable are the website’s elements
With this, Google gave a massive importance to the technical qualities of the websites. In 2023, CWV will be more important than ever, so make sure you are ready for it.
If the technical side of your website is in a perfect shape, pay attention to the content you are serving to your visitors.
You know you should write for the customer, not for Google, your content should be original, interesting, trustworthy and educational.
Google product reviews started to roll in December 2021 – and keep rolling throughout 2022, we are just at the end of it. Naturally, this has created a colossal volatility in the SERPs. Websites with poor and unnatural content have been removed, good content has been rewarded.
What was punished:
– thin content
– unoriginal/plagiarised content
– unnatural content (poor AI creations)
– content lacking expertise on the topic
E-A-T has been modified into E-E-A-T, what does that mean?
First, what was E-A-T updated: this was one of the YMYL (your money, your life) quality updates. E – expertise, A – authoritativeness – T – trustworthiness – is a concept of Google’s search quality evaluators used to determine the quality and effectiveness of search results.
Now understanding that, where does the other ‘E’ come from? EXPERIENCE!
Experience as a way of evaluating the quality of the content for the reader, for the final consumer. Is it original, is it well written and does it have a value, is it easy to understand by the audience it is aiming at?
After all of these hints and breadcrumbs, Google gave us yet another set of indications that the importance is moving to on-page rather than off-page.
Usually, Google updates on links, such as Penguin or Penguin 4.0 were impacting the site links were pointing to. This new update is different and a very clever one. This time, Google is looking into the websites linking to you and discarding them and their importance if it looks like these are some sort of ‘link farms’ or are openly selling links.
We know that a lot of industries, that are struggling with getting links via natural outreach, are buying links and their results would be for sure impacted by this update.
This is how 2022 looked for SEOs when it comes to updates, core updates and smaller or bigger Google changes:
I counted so far 91 confirmed and non-confirmed SEO Google updates in 2022.
From experience, 2023 is not going to be any different.
But based on recent years and Google activities, we can be prepared.
It is obvious that Google wants us to create technically superior products with good content.
So in 2023:
- Make sure your technical SEO is a priority
- Pay attention to Core Web Vitals
- Run a deep content audit, look for improvements on your existing content
- Check for content gaps
- Make sure you are E-E-A-T ready
- Create a good and logical internal linking structure to help your users to navigate easily
- Do not discard links, just because they might be less important, they are still a big ranking signal
- Align your strategy with other channels within the acquisitions funnel – work on brand awareness, keep in mind that traffic is a massive ranking signal
- Work closely with PPC, anything that PPC does can help or ruin SEO results, these two channels should be friends not foes
- Do not forget that SEO, even though it is being perceived as an acquisition channel, is as well a great retention tool
- Keep an eye on Google’s activity
Be ready and good luck navigating the choppy 2023 SEO waters!