5 Ways to Update Your SEO Thinking for 2023 and Beyond
In 1993, the first web browser — and the world wide web itself — launched. A short four years later, the acronym “SEO” appeared, setting the stage for internet content and marketing that continues today. Search engine optimization is one of the most significant marketing tools available today, touching everything from current event journalism to product announcements.
And while everyone who engages with the internet now is aware of SEO, many people haven’t updated their understanding of it in over twenty years.
Previous SEO practices weren’t very highly refined, relying on keyword repetition, inbound and outbound links, and HTML tags to “rank” pages on the directories that popped up as the internet grew. Improving a website’s ranking could involve unsophisticated practices like adding unlisted pages to a website that were just blocks of keywords, repeated thousands of times. This might rank a website higher in a search engine, but it didn’t do anything for the consumer searching.
Thus, SEO practices developed and improved as search engine algorithms became more sophisticated. 2000 became a historically significant year when Yahoo and Google partnered, as Google’s search engine algorithms looked at more than just keywords. Over the years, numerous SEO techniques have been developed and discarded as algorithms “learn” what quality websites and content truly look like.
Every year sees further development in those algorithms, and every year, SEO practices need to be examined and updated.
So what does good SEO look like for 2023?
1. Make Author Experience & Authority Clear
The growing popularity of AI-generated content sounds appealing, but it does come at the cost of authority. SEO today genuinely looks at who is writing your content, not just at the content itself. Readers prefer getting their information from authoritative sources. If readers are searching for the latest political polling information, for example, they are more likely to trust content written by a journalist or blogger experienced in covering politics than a writer who normally covers pharmaceuticals.
How should you make your authority and experience clear? Make sure any articles or posts online include a short bio, link to professional social media profiles, and consider creating an “About Me” page that covers your experience in detail.
2. Write Helpful, Subject-Focused Content
Who is your audience? What questions do they need to be answered? What information are they looking for? Trying to only appeal directly to SEO algorithms reduces the effectiveness of your content for readers. Keep your content focused on your product, your industry, and your audience.
It’s about knowing and understanding your readers’ search intent. Writing content that ranks highly won’t benefit you if readers don’t want to stay on the page (or return to your website later). It’s important to understand what kind of search your readers may be performing (for example, are they looking for the latest updates on a breaking news story, how-to steps relevant to your industry, or a product review?) and write your content to match their needs.
3. Don’t Overlook Content Localization
While we are living in a global marketplace, you shouldn’t forget about your local market. Ensure that people searching for options “near me” will be able to find your site and your products.
Write for a local newspaper or blog? Check out this Local SEO Guide from HubSpot with tips to ensure your content or website is set up correctly to surface in search results for your local audience.
4. Optimize Video & Image Content
More people than ever are using the internet on mobile devices while they’re on the go. It can be difficult to read hundreds of words on a webpage, but listening to a video while driving or watching one while waiting for public transport is extremely easy.
Images are incredibly important for SEO value because the internet is a visual medium. Customers are going to want to see what product you’re reviewing, the CEO you’re writing about, or the event you’re covering. Use that to your advantage!
If you’re including images or video in your post, make sure you aren’t making these common mistakes (and don’t forget to include alt text, which ensures the photo or video is accessible to all readers).
5. Utilize Analytics
Refining your SEO practices can only be possible if you see how well your content is currently doing. Use analytics to examine your content, see how far it has gone, and learn exactly what web pages, releases, and articles are making waves.
Improving SEO practices doesn’t require a massive overhaul of your website or of your marketing department, just updating your approach to engaging with the internet through your content. Take advantage of analytics provided by distribution services and website hosting, ensure the people writing your content have experience in the field, and focus your content on improving the customer experience by matching search intent. Look at the content that catches your eye and ask yourself why: what is it about that particular press release, article, or webpage that drew your attention?
SEO doesn’t need to be your specialty, but it does need to be a priority when publishing any content on the internet. The tactics that worked in 1997 aren’t going to work anymore. It’s time to update your SEO to 2023.
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Crystle is a senior Customer Content Specialist at PR Newswire with a background in SEO writing. She opts to spend any available free time watching horror movies, reading any book that will hold still, and playing video games with her husband.