2023 SEO Checklist: 7 Best Expert Tips to Guide Your SEO Strategy
Keeping up with SEO trends in 2023 is key to staying competitive and reaching more customers. That’s why we compiled this SEO checklist — to give you a year’s worth of SEO tips in one neat package.
SEO is constantly changing. The best SEO tricks that worked 6 months ago may not be relevant today — and what’s worked in the past could even cost you a Google penalty now.
So, where should you concentrate your efforts?
Here are some of the SEO trends our experts are watching for in 2023 and what you need to be paying attention to as well.
- Improving E-A-T — Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness
- Leveraging Featured Snippets
- Optimizing for Voice Search
- Improving Mobile User Experience
- Enhancing Video SEO
- Utilizing New Google Shopping Features for eCommerce
- Keeping Up Image Optimization
If you want to move the needle on your website’s search rankings, we’re here to help. Get in touch with our SEO Team to learn more about our services here at TrafficSoda.
1. E-A-T is Crucial, Strengthen Those Signals
E-A-T — Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness — is the most important acronym you’ll use in 2023
This plays a crucial role in Google’s ranking system, especially when it comes to high-stakes subjects like health, safety, or finance.
On multiple occasions Google has come out and reinforced the importance of your website’s E-A-T signals.
Remember, Google’s ultimate goal is to provide it’s users the most relevant and accurate results. They want their users to love the ‘Google Experience’ and keep coming back.
In order to find the best results Google uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to identify what a search query means and provide the best possible answer.
This also means this AI and machine learning needs to eliminate junk, spam, and inaccuracies from its results. Which is a tall order because, you know, the Internet.
Showing Google that your site is worth their user’s time, will remain of absolute top importance leading into 2023.
What E-A-T Means For Your SEO Strategy
- E stands for Expertise, meaning you hire real subject matter experts to create, or at least collaborate with you to produce, high quality content.
- A stands for Authoritativeness, which means that you and your website are recognized as a leading source of accurate, timely information on your particular niche.
- T stands for Trustworthiness, which means you have real reviews and mentions from real people (especially people who are also experts in your niche.)
If you’re doing all the above, but still aren’t seen as a leading authority in your niche, then building your brand recognition is crucial. Here are some ways to get started:
- Detailed, transparent About Us and Contact Us pages. Trustworthiness starts at home. When visitors visit your website, they should have no doubts about who you are and what you mean, and they should be able to contact you easily.
- Back up your facts. Throughout your content prove you know what you are talking about by linking to high authority websites like .edu, .gov, etc.
- More and more positive reviews. More than your competitors, with more than satisfactory ratings
- Your own Wikipedia page, or at least mentions. It’s hard to fake authority on Wikipedia since if you aren’t legitimate, your page will be removed quickly.
- Backlinks and mentions on authoritative websites. While press releases are a good starting point, you really want to aim for mentions, news articles and interviews on other authoritative and trustworthy websites.
There are a lot of SEO trends that will take effect this year, and all of them involve the E-A-T of your website on some level.
2. Featured Snippets Matter More Than EVER
Believe it or not, it’s been nearly a decade since Google launched Featured Snippets ‒ a.k.a the info boxes you see above searches.
And they’re becoming more and more powerful by the minute.
Featured Snippets now show up on 41% of all queries and account for an astounding 35.1% of all clicks in organic search results.
Here’s an even bigger shocker: when you ask Google a question, Featured Snippets show up 99% of the time…except for “How” questions, where it’s more like 52%. Still a majority.
To marketers, this reality is at once a tremendous opportunity and a massive existential threat.
When Google uses your page as a Featured Snippet, clickthrough rates can more than double overnight. It’s a huge boon to your organic traffic and a badge of honor for your site’s credibility.
But when one of your competitors owns the Featured Snippet instead — especially for your most valuable keywords ‒ they overshadow your presence in the SERP completely.
It pays (literally) to claim that spot for yourself. So, what can you do to get Featured Snippets in 2023?
What Featured Snippets Mean For Your SEO Strategy
Getting your website Featured in Snippets means playing ball with Google’s artificial intelligence.
According to Google, one of the biggest driving forces behind Featured Snippets in 2023 is an AI model called the Multitask Unified Model or MUM. Essentially, the model compares the top bolded text portion of a search snippet result with established high-quality search results for relevance, accuracy, and credibility.
Google also plans to use more warning messages when a search doesn’t generate results that have “high confidence.”
As a marketer, getting Featured Snippets in 2023 means you need to:
- Focus on reinforcing your website’s Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) as much as, if not more than, keywords.
- Continue building up high-quality content (not just text but video, audio, and images) and backlinks that underpin trust and authority.
- Through your content, answer relevant questions that factor into customers’ journeys.
- Create content that covers all points of your customer’s journey rather than just one or two. Newcomers to your product or service might ask, “What is [Product]?” but they’ll soon want to know, “How does [Product] work?” and eventually, “Who offers [Product]?” Make sure you answer all of these questions!
The importance of Featured Snippets in your SEO strategy in 2023 cannot be overstated, as you’ll see in the rest of this SEO checklist, starting with the very next point…
3. Conversational Queries & Voice Search Deserve Special Attention
Spoken searches have been slowly but steadily on the rise since Google Voice launched in 2009. Moving into 2023, about 40% of the population uses voice search and 71% actually prefer using voice search over typed search, so you can expect the upward trend to continue.
The top three key facts you need to know about voice search in 2023 are as follows:
- In contrast to text-based searches, voice searches are longer, more conversational, and almost always take the form of a question. Where do I find [Product]? How do I use it? What does it taste like? How much does it cost?
- Most voice searches take place on-the-go, using smartphones rather than in-home devices (a.k.a. “smart speakers.”) So, picture people sitting in the car, not on the couch.
- More than 50% of voice searches are for local services and businesses like restaurants and retail stores. Think of search queries that end in “near me.”
In other words, if your business is local, voice search matters to you, and optimizing for voice search should be a key priority for your SEO strategy going into 2023.
What Voice Search Means For Your SEO Strategy
As a starting point for optimizing for voice search, consider the following:
- Long-tail keywords. These are now essential to securing competitive SERP positions, especially conversational queries that show up in voice search.
- Speakable Schema. While still in beta as of writing, Speakable Schema is the Google-approved way to optimize your website for voice search.
- Local listings. Review your company’s Google and other local listings to make sure they include everything customers could ask about: operating hours, location, product selection, price range, wheelchair accessibility, and more. Google will pull from these listings to answer voice queries, so make sure it’s right!
Finally, remember what we said earlier about MUM and featured snippets. A lot of the principles for optimizing snippets are similar to those for optimizing voice queries.
4. User Experience on Mobile Is Still the Gold Standard
Mobile first indexing has been a reality since 2019 and it’s not going to change any time soon.
Yet every single day, we see websites from huge companies that still aren’t on board with Google’s mobile-first indexing best practices.
If you feel your SEO efforts aren’t doing much, and your site isn’t very mobile-friendly, fixing that issue could be the key that finally lets your site’s rankings flourish.
What Mobile-First Indexing Means For Your SEO Strategy
Here’s the good news: Google is very transparent about what they want to see when it comes to optimizing your website for mobile users in 2023.
First, you need to make sure your mobile site is as Google-friendly as possible:
- Have the same content, structured data, alt text, and meta robots tags on both your mobile and desktop sites
- Make sure Google can see your primary content and don’t lock it behind “lazy-loading” (anything that requires swiping, clicking, or typing to load)
- Verify both the mobile and desktop versions of your site in Search Console
- Use mobile URL hreflang for mobile URLs, and desktop URL hreflang for desktop URLs
- Don’t block mobile URLs with the disallow directive
- Don’t use URLs that change every time the page loads for your videos or images
- Don’t use fragment URLs on your mobile version (a fragment URL starts with a # at the end)
Mobile-first indexing aside, mobile devices are now the first point of contact for many customers when they’re looking for information about your products and services. So it’s vital you make sure your site can be viewed easily on any device and that the customer can find what they’re looking for quickly, no matter how small their screen may be. Add it to your 2023 SEO checklist!
5. Optimize Your Video for SEO
Google has featured video in its search results for some time now.
And since over half of customers make buying decisions based on video, ignoring it in your 2023 SEO strategy is like leaving money on the table.
What Video Means For Your SEO Strategy
Video content can rank well if it’s optimized with descriptive and relevant information, including meta info and structured data.
Google has published a detailed overview of what it looks for in video SEO; some of the most impactful points include:
- Give each video its own dedicated page, where the video is the most prominent subject. This page is necessary for some Google features, such as Key Moments, Live Badges, and other rich results, to pull your video and give it maximum exposure. There’s no penalty if you put the same video on a dedicated page and another page with other information (like a news article or product details.)
- Create and submit a video sitemap so that Google’s robots can easily find and understand your videos
- Use a high-quality, relevant thumbnail that explains what your video is about and why people might want to watch it
Google has also added two structured data features to help people find answers through videos faster:
- Seek markup, which allows Google to identify and display Key Moments automatically and dynamically
- Clip markup, which tells Google exactly which timestamps to label and use for the Key Moments feature (like a manual version of seek markup)
You can use Clip or Seek markup to make video results in Google Search more clickable and help users find answers more quickly. It’s a win-win!
6. Improve Your eCommerce Site’s Visibility with Shopping Graph
Google is already the world’s leading search engine, but with the skyrocketing growth of online shopping, it’s also aiming to become a leading eCommerce platform as well.
Recently, Google also launched the Shopping Graph feature, lets customers find your store’s products across Google, — not just on the Shopping tab but on the SERP, YouTube, Google Images, and Google Lens (snap a photo and Google will identify the product and tell you where to buy it…how cool is that?)
And as of now, you can add your products to Google Shopping for free — or, mark up your listings so that Google does that heavy lifting for you automatically.
What Google Shopping Graph Means For Your SEO Strategy
There are two ways to go about getting your products onto Google’s Shopping Graph:
- Manage your listings manually using Google’s Merchant Center
- Use newly-added Search Console Merchant Listings for guidance on adding Product structured data to your product pages.
Anyone who sells products online can benefit from this easy win. Your products will get free exposure by Google on a credible, sleek, and cool platform.
If your business sells products online and Google’s Shopping Graph isn’t on your SEO checklist in 2023, you’re losing a huge opportunity that your competitors might not decline.
7. Make Your Images Worth a Thousand Clicks
It might seem like an easy task to optimize your images for the web, but chances are that it’s a tad more complicated than you think.
For many years, Google has been recommending that you use alternative text (alt text) and other optimizations for images on your site. Yet, many businesses still don’t take this seriously or they think it’s a waste of time.
Nowadays, it is not just about boosting your Google ranking but also accommodating the millions of customers who rely on alt text to navigate your site — who will leave you in the dust and never look back if you don’t offer it.
So, now’s the time to do an image audit on your site to see if you need to make changes to get up to speed with what Google (and customers) expect from you in 2023 and beyond.
What Image Optimization Means For Your SEO Strategy
- Create good URL structure for your images: Google uses the URL path and file name to understand your images, so make sure your URLs are built logically
- Add structured data: Structured data lets Google Images display your images as rich results, including a prominent badge, which drives targeted traffic to your site
- Optimize for speed: Images often make up a large part of a page’s size, so use image optimization and responsive image techniques to make it fast and easy
- Use descriptive alt text in the alt attribute: Alt text improves accessibility for screen reader users and low-bandwidth users who can’t see images on web pages
It is time to do what Google says and pay attention to your website images. Your bottom line will thank you for it!
Leverage These 2023 SEO Trends to Reach More Customers Online
Google changes its search algorithms 500 to 600 times per year. Every day of the year. And as clever as we are as marketers and SEOs, Google’s algorithms are getting smarter by the second.
A successful SEO strategy for your business depends on staying on top of the latest SEO trends in 2023.
Following these SEO tips will help you kickstart the year with a boost in ranking and more qualified traffic.
If you need help moving the needle on your website’s search rankings, we are happy to help. Get in touch with our SEO Team to learn more about our services here at TrafficSoda.