As we begin the new year, it’s important to stay on top of the latest SEO forecast and predictions for 2023. The world of SEO is constantly evolving, from the rise of AI-generated content to the increasing focus on E-E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness and now Experience), it’s essential to be aware of the changes that will impact your website’s visibility, search rankings and overall organic performance
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the 2023 SEO forecasts and provide actionable tips on how to prepare your website for the coming changes. Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or SEO professional, you’ll find valuable insights and strategies to help you stay ahead of the curve in the competitive world of search engine optimisation.
SEO Forecast 1: E-A-T Will Become Even More Important (Except Now It’s E-E-A-T)
In a major update back in December 2022, Google revised its Search Quality Raters Guidelines by adding a new E to the well-known E-A-T acronym, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The new E represents “Experience” which is now a crucial factor in determining the quality of a website. Google also stated that trust is the most crucial of these 4 elements and confirmed that the experience of the website, its authors, and its content is a critical aspect in assessing how trustworthy a site is.
The above image from Search Engine Journal highlights the role of Authoritativeness, Expertise and Experience play in contributing to the overall Trust rating of a site and emphasises the importance of having not just expertise but also relevant experience in the topic at hand to be considered a credible and trustworthy source in the eyes of Google.
How to Prepare: Try to Demonstrate First-Hand Experience
One way you can demonstrate” experience” is by creating detailed and informative product pages on your website. These pages should include information on the features, benefits, and specifications of the product, as well as user reviews, ratings, and testimonials. Don’t forget to include information on any certifications, awards or other relevant industry recognition. It’s also a good idea to add content such as guides, tutorials, and how-to articles that cover the product or service in depth. This type of content should be created by someone with a deep understanding of the product and its use cases – include an author bio here to show this person’s direct experience with your product or service. Any author’s bio should also include links to their social media, their qualifications, and their experience in the industry. Video content (as opposed to written copy) also goes a long way to directly show your experience with a product to both Google and users.
SEO Forecast 2: Expect a Crack Down on Low-Quality and AI -Generated Content
ChatGPT, an advanced AI model developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022, has taken the world by storm with its ability to quickly write content – from everything to regular expressions ad Excel formulas to blogs, articles and even Tweets and ad copy. ChatGPT represents a significant advancement in conversational AI technology and it has undeniably brought AI technology into the mainstream as it is arguably the newest “it topic” for digital marketers (specifically SEOs).
Some have suggested that ChatGPT could pose a threat to Google, both in terms of its ability to quickly produce AI-generated content (which could flood the SERPs) and potentially becoming a more popular source of information than Google. Microsoft Bing even has plans to add ChatGPT to their search function. However, it is important to acknowledge that as powerful as ChatGPT is, its capabilities are limited and it’s not a replacement for human copywriters (if it ever could be). The example below shows what happened when I asked ChatGPT to write this very blog:
Certainly, it can generate quick but undeniably basic web content such as blog posts, guide content, or product descriptions, but the quality of the content does not seem to be on a par with that of well-researched and human-written content, as it lacks the personalisation, depth, expertise and tone that is expected by readers. It also does not align with the aforementioned Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines, which (as we’ve discussed above) are set to play an even more central role in 2023 and beyond.
Moreover, it seems that Google is beginning to specifically target AI-generated content in its spam and Helpful Content updates (which began rolling out in the summer of 2022). Google’s spam detection updates, in particular the Helpful Content Update, suggest that Google is on top of AI content detection and is more ahead of the game than we might think.
In terms of content writing for SEO, it’s important to continue producing well-researched and high-quality content that helps solve a user’s problem. Whether Google likes it or not, AI-generated content is here to stay and it will be interesting to see how programmes like ChatGPT improve their output to counter Google’s spam detectors and how those very spam detectors continue to evolve to counter ever-improve AI technology.
How to Prepare: Don’t Reply on AI-Generated Content
There are lots of fun and interesting uses of ChatGPT for SEO and while it can be helpful for a first draft of content or ad copy – at this stage, it’s best not to leave your copywriting skills behind. By all means, see how programmes like this can help in your day-to-day work, but it won’t replace traditional copywriting (for now at least).
SEO Forecast 3: GA4 Will Make SEO Reporting More Challenging
On July 1, 2023, Google will discontinue its Universal Analytics (GA3) and move to GA4 and if you haven’t already, it is recommended that you switch to GA4 now, so that your new account can start collecting data.
In contrast to Universal Analytics, GA4 operates on an event-tracking model, which means metrics such as page views and sessions are tracked as “events.” This shift in tracking method also means that traditional metrics like pages per session have been replaced with new metrics like “engaged sessions.” This change in reporting will require a change in how we interpret and communicate data to SEO stakeholders.
While GA4 will require a learning curve, it also has great potential with links to additional products like BigQuery, and the “Explore” section in the platform allowing for the creation of custom reporting dashboards. In 2023, it’s important to prioritise learning and understanding GA4 as it is set to be game-changing in how data is tracked, analysed and reported on.
How to Prepare: Get GA4 Set Up ASAP and Learn How to Get What You Need Out Of It.
If you haven’t already, set up your GA4 account now. As with everything, there will be a learning curve so it’s best to make the switch now and start upskilling in GA4. If you’re struggling with getting to grips with GA4, check out our Belfast & Dublin GA4 Training course. In this GA4 training course, you will learn practical techniques for planning and setting up your GA4 configuration, creating reports, and extracting valuable insights from your data. We also have a bunch of helpful GA4-related blogs in the Digital Analytics insights sections of our blog including; Migrating to GA4 & GA4 Reports for Ecommerce, 12 Simple Steps to Exclude Internal Traffic from GA4 and Remove FBCLID & Other Unwanted Query Parameters in GA4.
SEO Forecast 4: More Changes are Inevitably On The Way in 2023
As we move forward into 2023, a trend that is likely to persist is increased communication and transparency from Google regarding algorithm updates and changes. Google has made significant efforts to keep the industry informed through various channels such as the Google Search Central Blog and the Google Search Liaison Twitter account. Google employees like John Mueller are also very active contributors in the SEO community, answering questions and participating in discussions on platforms like Twitter and Mastodon.
How to Prepare: Try to Keep Up-To-Date with SEO News
As there are many updates and changes expected in 2023, it is important to pay attention to the conversation and ensure that your organisation is following the latest updates from Google. We’ve made some recommendations above on both Google and non-Google sources you can follow to stay in the know but you can also follow us on @GlowMetrics or subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and news in the world of SEO.