How can you maximise the impact of SEO in your marketing strategy in 2023?
27 March 2023
As search engines evolve, we have seen a lot of changes in the SEO profession. Google have made the browsing experience a fully-fledged ranking factor, and new competition from search engines is emerging. This makes a future-proof SEO strategy more essential than ever before. It's time to look at how to position SEO in your marketing strategy from the start.
How Google’s new competitors will impact your strategy in 2023
Make no mistake: in 2023, Google will continue to be the market leader when it comes to search behaviour. What is new, however, is that their competitors are gaining ground in certain "search niches" - and can even yield better results.
Compare it with the former eBay (2dehands.be in Belgium and marktplaats.nl in the Netherlands) as a marketplace. Looking for something second-hand? Then sooner or later you would invariably find yourself at your country’s leading second-hand platform. Today, these sites face competition from niche players who are providing users with better experiences in their specialisms. Just think of the Vinted app for second-hand clothing or Books in Belgium as an optimised platform for second-hand books. We see the same trend emerging with search engines competing directly with Google in some niches.
For example, ChatGPT clearly scores well on content searches, but also on queries about Google Sheet formulas and other code language. Since ChatGPT is especially strong in informational content (Wikipedia-type keywords), now it’s less important to "only give information that has already appeared on the internet 100 times".
For product/purchase related searches, we see more users starting their searches on Bol.com or Amazon.com. Visitors access product pages directly, read reliable reviews and can buy - logged in or via the app - with one click. SEO tactics like keyword research and optimisations can also be used on these platforms.
Video content searches start with YouTube or for Gen Z, on TikTok. Because making a good video is a bit more complicated than writing a blog, there’s less competition, and that can be a big advantage for certain keywords.
And then there's Bing.com, Microsoft is not letting the grass grow beneath their feet. In fact, they integrated various GPT search factors into their own, often overlooked search engine.
Use of AI as a search tool in 2023
AI is a general-purpose technology that has already had a revolutionary impact in many sectors today, much like the invention of the internet, satellite communications and the mobile phone. ChatGPT, which combines an advanced GPT-3.5 language model with an accessible interface, is now making the AI revolution an undeniable reality.
How do you use these applications in your SEO strategy?
Google's response has evolved with these developments. Where AI generated content was once explicitly discouraged by Google, today this is no longer the case. In fact, Google now claims that they look primarily at quality, regardless of whether the texts were written by a human or a machine.
The best way to approach quality concerns with AI is to use the so-called "Human in The Loop" strategy: robots that assist people instead of replacing them. Just as the combination of chess computer and human chess player surpasses the capabilities of just a chess computer, a good copywriter together with AI will always produce a better, more effective text than AI alone.
Generated GPT text is already at the level of the average student, which has created new challenges in education. The level of a professional copywriter is (for now) still a bridge too far for AI models. And even if you use a language model, you still have to formulate the prompt well and do post-production processing. Copywriters are not being replaced by AI. It’s just like after the invention of the typewriter and word processing software, they have gained a new tool.
For example, we already used AI to generate FAQ questions based on texts. Because making space for frequently asked questions on your website, helps to raise your Google score. Precisely because we can do this work with the help of AI, we are freeing up time to invest in other aspects of the SEO strategy. Because make no mistake, in the face of so much competition, your texts have to be very close to perfection to score in Google.
Perform even better in search results
SEO is everywhere and vital for the modern marketer. We will help you get started with this complete SEO guide.
The evolution of predictive search
In recent years, we have learned that current events influence our search behaviour. For example, the search volume about queries about energy prices recently increased significantly. That makes it worthwhile to run your website content and campaigns around energy prices.
Changing search behaviour is also a good predictor for changes in buying behaviour. For example, an academic study could predict the box office results of a film, even before the first screening - all using search queries.
In short: if search behaviour is evolving, you know that your customer needs will also change, and you can include that knowledge in your custom marketing strategy.
How do you map the evolution of search volumes?
You can perform the fastest quantitative market research by combining search console data, keyword planner data and Google trends data so that you know when a once neglected keyword starts trending. You can use that knowledge not only for your SEO strategy, but also for your overarching marketing strategy.
But how do you really beat the competition? With predictive SEO, that means you can predict in advance which keywords will rise.
Longer keywords in question form
A trend we are already aware of. Keywords are being searched for more often and for longer periods of time. It is a trend that has already been cautiously noticed in recent years and that advance will likely continue.
Linking SEO to business goals
Companies will have to take rising costs into account in 2023. Prioritisation of the SEO adjustments that deliver real business impact is essential. If you run a website through an SEO tool, you're guaranteed to get an extensive list of potential SEO issues and fixes. But they often get lost in the backlog. SEO professionals will have to demonstrate or justify the proven business value and impact of changes to SEO.
It is also wise to look further into search volume when selecting keywords and search volumes and adapt your SEO content strategy to your business goals. Feasibility, matching with the target group and how your result will look on the results page (the SERP) is essential. Optimising a keyword in a text where four ads, a snippet and a video all score above the fold, will not boost your business.
You can check quickly whether your content is working or not. Instead of a fixed defined annual plan, it is wise to free up time and space to carry out experiments. Depending on the results, you can implement more or fewer of those optimisations. You have to measure the impact accurately – using a dashboard that combines all data sources and relevant keywords.
Or, as the iO CEO Pieter Janssens puts it: " More than ever, it comes down to smart data use throughout the organisation, even for creative copywriters".
Search as a strategic factor
SEO is more than tactics. It's also so much more than building a website and using tricks to rank better in Google. If you really want to improve your ranking with SEO, it happens on a deeper level.
For example, an SEO strategy should answer the question "How can I give my clients exactly what they are looking for, while delivering a positive impact for the business"? It is important to monitor search behaviour and be present on platforms other than Google and to make your business impact clear. This helps your Google results, and your customers and your business. An end-to-end partner with SEO expertise can offer you the best support with this.
The AI era, also in SEO?
Just as AI changed the landscape in other creative disciplines, it looks like SEO will be next in line in 2023. SEO copywriters have a new tool to increase findability and search terms and search behaviour are more predictable than ever today. However, you cannot achieve a successful marketing strategy in 2023 without human expertise. Human in The Loop - today and tomorrow.
Michael van den ReymSearch Engine Optimisation, Innovation & Data Expert - iO
Michael considered his own website’s findability a valid reason to really learn SEO. Today, he spends his days translating complicated data into everyday language and juggling keywords, tags, and tweaks. Even live on stage, as a brightonSEO guest speaker.