The ranking factors keep mounting, and SEO keeps getting more complex. And as Google prepares to fight AI spam content more effectively, its focus on pushing quality content to the top of SERPs will only intensify.
So in this guide, we’re breaking down essential factors for conquering the SERPs in 2023. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to rank first on Google this year.
1. CREATE CONTENT YOUR CUSTOMERS SEARCH FOR
Creating content your potential customers search for is the cornerstone of ranking success. That means researching your target audience’s needs and interests with thorough keyword research.
But you can’t do that unless you know who you’re targeting.
How to Define Your Target Audience
You’ll need market research if you don’t have a buyer persona yet. You can do this through surveys, interviews, and existing customer data.
Start by contacting your existing customer base, asking questions like:
- Where does your ideal customer live?
- What language do they speak?
- What online channels do they use?
- What are their interests?
- What keywords do they use to search for a solution to their problem?
You can also use audience intelligence tools to gain critical insights about customers, like their age, gender, and location.
Marketing Funnel Overview
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can design a marketing funnel that meets your audience’s needs.
This funnel should include the following in order:
- Awareness: Content that educates, informs, and entertains your target market. Examples of content awareness content include blog posts, video tutorials, and infographics.
- Interest: Content that encourages readers to raise their hands and show interest. Interest content includes newsletters, quizzes, ebooks, and special offers.
- Desire: Content that resonates with your target audience’s motivations and desires. Desire content can be anything from case studies to webinars.
- Action: Content that finds a way to get readers to take action. It includes call-to-actions, opt-in forms, and product comparison pages.
Navigating the Helpful Content Update
Google’s 2022 Helpful Content Update reaffirmed its commitment to rewarding helpful, valuable content. As a result, you need to double down on content pieces that offer something unique and meaningful for readers, not just clickbait.
Focus on long-form content with unique angles, evidence-based claims, and tips and tricks to help readers make more informed choices.
For example, if you’re writing an article about using Google Ads, include:
- Step-by-step tutorials
- Case studies
- Examples of how other businesses have succeeded using the platform
2. UPDATE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT CONTENT
Google’s guidelines state that “content should be accurate, fresh, and relevant.” That means you should regularly update your content to ensure it still meets these criteria.
This is especially true for high-ranking, cornerstone content pieces. Look at them annually to ensure they are still up-to-date and relevant.
Review content trend reports and industry studies to see if there is anything new you can add. Make sure to include links to recent studies or resources and to update the statistics you’re using.
You should also add new content to critical pages to build out the user experience. For example, if you have a page about Perfect SEO Service, add a new section on the latest optimization techniques or link-building tactics.
You could add FAQs or instructional videos to your product pages. Or provide more detailed descriptions on your
Finally, don’t be afraid to delete pages that are no longer relevant. Removing old content will help improve your overall website performance and user experience.
3. INCLUDE LONG-FORM CONTENT, IMAGES, AND VIDEOS
Google loves content that’s rich, informative, and long-form.
Depending on the context, there’s almost no limit to how much content you can add to your pages. Hubspot’s study found that, on average, blog posts with 2,250-2,500 words bring in the most readers.
For instance, if you’re writing a blog post, take the time to do in-depth research and include plenty of examples, quotes, and statistics. If you’re writing a product page, add multiple images from different angles and list all its features.
But again, length depends on the context. For example, homepages, product, and category pages are usually shorter because they don’t require as much information.
A good rule of thumb is to only add as much information as necessary to fully satisfy the searcher’s intent.
Videos can also help you rank higher in SERPs. For example, add an educational video to a blog post or include a demo video to showcase the features of a product.
And when adding images and videos, don’t forget to include relevant alt text. This attribute will help Google understand the context of the page and will help improve its ranking.
And remember that content with visuals performs better than plain text content, so be sure to supplement your 2,000+ words with optimized images and videos.
4. MONITOR YOUR CLICK-THROUGH RATE
Utilized in PPC, email, and on-page web design, click-through rate is a metric used to measure the effectiveness of an online marketing campaign.
According to Google, “A high click-through rate is a good indication that users find your ads and listings helpful and relevant, and it also contributes to your keyword’s expected click-through rate.”
High Click-Through Rate
Calculate your monthly click-through rate by taking the number of people who clicked through your page and divide by the total number of people who saw it.
Google Search Console offers a variety of reports and data analytics for your website, including click-through rates from search results.
If one of your pages has a high click-through rate, you’re providing visitors with precisely what they’re looking for, and no further action is needed.
If your page has a lower click-through rate, it’s time to take a closer look at where things may go wrong and tweak your strategy accordingly.
Pro-tip: We’re huge fans of using heat maps to see where visitors spend the most time on your page–and where they’re dropping off. Try a tool like Hotjar to analyze what is (and isn’t) working on your page.
Hotjar Tool for Heat Mapping
5. CONSIDER ACCELERATED MOBILE PAGES
In its push to make the web faster, Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in 2015.
AMP is a type of web page optimized for mobile devices. It reduces page load times by utilizing a particular stripped-down HTML version optimized for speed.
These pages also work well with structured data, which helps them appear in Google’s Featured Snippets. AMP pages also prioritize user experience, rewarding the removal of unnecessary elements, and the page is designed specifically for mobile devices.
The best way to reap the benefits of AMP is to create an alternate version of your pages using AMP coding standards and mark them up with valid AMP HTML.
The goal is to create AMP versions of your most essential pages to increase their visibility in search results and make them load faster on mobile devices. With faster loading times and a reduced bounce rate, this will improve user experience and boost your rankings.
If you don’t know what bounce rate is, it’s the number of visitors who visit only one page on your website before leaving.
AMP Skepticism & Abandonment
Despite early success, AMP adoption is on the decline. Many publishers are abandoning AMP due to issues with design, limited ad options, and challenges getting their content indexed by Google.
Additionally, some SEOs are skeptical of the benefits of AMP. While faster pages can boost SEO, SEOs need to weigh the pros and cons of setting up AMP pages with all the potential associated challenges.
6. DEFINE A SCHEMA.ORG STRATEGY
It takes time for search engines like Google to fully comprehend the contents of a page. That’s where Schema.org comes into play.
Schema is a type of metadata added to a website that tells the algorithm how to categorize your content in the hopes of delivering better, more accurate information to users.
Every website has a different Schema Strategy:
- For an e-commerce site, you could markup your product pages with pricing reviews and shipping.
- For a local website, you could markup your local pages with the exact location.
- For a general website, you could markup your logo with Schema.
- For a news website, you could markup your website with speakable markup.
Example of Schema
7. MAKE /YOUR SITE SECURE WITH HTTPS
HTTPS, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is an encrypted communication used to help keep your website secure and protect user data. 81.5% of all websites use HTTPS as their default protocol, thanks to Google’s push for better website security.
Google announced that it would use HTTPS as a ranking signal in 2014 and has since broadened the field. If your site is not secure, your visitors will see a “Not Secure” warning in their browser instead of the “Secure” green padlock they expect
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, the foundation for a secure website. You’ll need to install it to make your site compliant with Google’s (and users’) expectations.
The SSL certificate protects user data and makes your site secure for visitors, which is vital for SEO.
Hold Onto Your HTTPS Site
8. SET A LINKING STRATEGY
Link building involves building backlinks to a website with the intent of improving search engine visibility.
For every different type of website, you should be choosing 3-4 different strategies that make the most sense for your brand.
Common linking strategies include unlinked mentions, public relations, content marketing, and email outreach.
Selecting the right linking strategies and then making sure you’re allocating plenty of time to refining those strategies will improve your SEO Service in 2021 and help you outsmart competitors.
9. LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media can produce a wide variety of results for SEO, from boosting your brand’s visibility to helping your website rank for specific keywords and phrases, thanks to user-generated content.
But its most immediate use is repurposing. Repurposing content is taking content that’s already been created and adapting it to fit different formats and channels, including social media.
With high-quality, shareable social media content, you can test different types of messaging and content to see what resonates best with your target audience. You can then use this content to create articles, videos, and more for your site.
Repurposing content also gives you a way to reach wider audiences, as it’s much easier for existing followers to share your content than for new followers to find and follow your accounts.
What Content Performs Best on Each Platform?
Here’s what we’ve found works best on each platform:
- YouTube: How-tos and tutorials, interviews, vlogs, and educational content
- Instagram: Infographics, quotes, and inspirational imagery
- Facebook: Blog posts, infographics, links to your website
- Twitter: Quotes, jokes, and industry news
- Pinterest: Images and infographics, inspiring quotes, and ideas
- LinkedIn: Image carousels and short-form text content
- TikTok: Short videos, funny clips, and relatable content
Social Media Marketing
10. BOOST SEARCHES FOR YOUR BRAND
To determine authority, Google considers how often a website is referred to online. It’s not enough to have a few people mention your brand; to truly be seen as an industry leader, more people need to be talking about you.
Running Paid Search Campaigns
One way to jumpstart your brand’s visibility is by running search campaigns targeting branded keywords. Paid search campaigns will help ensure that your website appears at the top of search engine results when people search for your brand.
Another option for boosting your brand’s visibility is guest blogging.
Guest blogging involves writing blog posts for other websites and linking to your website. This strategy allows you to increase your website’s visibility, drive more organic traffic, and build relationships with other websites in your industry.
11. PREPARE FOR E-E-A-T
Google recently announced another addition to the EAT acronym: experience. With AI-generated content out of control, Google took the initiative to increase its emphasis on human experience when evaluating content.
Additionally, Google announced that content creators would be evaluated for accuracy, transparency, authority, trustworthiness, safety, and longevity. Your website should be accurate and current. Write your content with authority, trustworthiness, and transparency in mind.
You’ll also need to ensure exact content authorship is obvious and that your content creators have a strong experience in their field. This means stepping back from publishing content under your brand’s name and emphasizing specific authors more.
To get started on the right track, you’ll need to add an “about us” page to your website that includes biographies of your team. Add headshots and bios for each author writing for your website, and ensure that each post contains the author’s name.
12. DOUBLE DOWN ON VIDEO CONTENT
Here are a few ways you can include more videos in your SEO strategy in 2023:
- Create explainer videos for your website and product pages
- Include video on your landing pages
- Create webinars and tutorials
- Share videos on social media
- Feature video as part of your content marketing campaigns
- Use video in your email campaigns
- Optimize video content for SEO
- Embed videos on your website
- Create and share short-form video content on networks like TikTok
By leveraging video content, you’ll be able to capture more attention and leads—all while improving your SEO.
13. FOCUS ON INTERNATIONAL SEO
Certain markets are more competitive than others.
With international SEO, your goal is to optimize your search presence for people who are in different countries and/or speak different languages.
Take the US and the UK for example. Both of these countries are competitive markets for SEO, while countries like Mexico, Spain, and Canada are not.
Regardless of which products or services you sell, you need to know your market and you need to know your ability to expand outside of your market.
In some cases, it can be easier to get ranked in a different language or a different country’s version of Google than it is in your own.
14. REVIEW CORE WEB VITALS
Google rolled out its new Core Web Vitals ranking system in 2021, becoming an essential part of SEO in the current landscape.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
The system uses three key metrics—Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)—to measure the user experience on webpages:
- LCP: How quickly your webpage loads
- FID: How fast your webpage responds to user input
- CLS: How often does the layout of your webpage shift unexpectedly
To ensure your website is optimized for Core Web Vitals, ensure you’re regularly testing your website’s performance. Monitor your website’s loading times and navigation speeds to ensure everything performs well.
Core Web Vitals
15. GOOGLE WEB STORIES
Google recently rolled out its new Google Web Stories feature, which allows businesses to create content in a story format for their website. This is similar to the Stories feature on social media channels like Instagram and Facebook but specifically designed for the web.
Web Stories are an ideal format for SEO service strategies because they require minimal effort from the user to read. This allows users to quickly and easily consume your content, improving the user experience and increasing your website’s traffic.
You could create content such as how-to guides, product demos, industry insights, and customer stories in the Web Stories format. You’ll also want to optimize each story’s search-friendliness with relevant keywords and a descriptive headline.
These are a few of the SEO trends that will be worth watching in 2023. By following the tips outlined above, you’ll be able to optimize your website for search and maximize your visibility online.
An SEO agency or specialist could be a great choice if you’re looking for help with SEO. Perfect SEO Service is a leading SEO agency specializing in helping companies of all sizes master SEO tactics.
Get in touch with us to learn more about our SEO Service and see how we can help you get the most out of your SEO in 2023 and beyond!