SEO: Report Brings The Biggest Challenges And The Main Trends

seo trends 2023

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The Search Engine Journal (SEJ) recently released their latest State of SEO report with many trends and predictions for 2023. In the report, they analyzed the latest research and expert POVs to understand the biggest challenges SEO professionals faced this year and what the greatest expected shifts in SEO are for 2023.

To be honest, the only prediction I want to hear about 2023 is that it won’t resemble the last two years. But if you want your strategy for next year to be successful, you need to account for potential challenges that could arise.

What challenges await SEO in 2023 and beyond? Let’s explore the POVs of well-respected experts, including Rock Content!

    The State of SEO report main takeaways

    SEJ’s state of SEO report predicts that machine learning & AI, Google updates, and third-party cookie deprecation will be the biggest changes in SEO by 2023.

    To properly prepare for future threats, SEJ asked respondents what they think will be the three biggest changes in SEO within the next few years. Here are their responses:

    • Machine learning and AI (18.7%)
    • Google updates (18.0%)
    • Third-party cookie deprecation (13.9%)
    • Google zero-click pages (12.9%)
    • Talent competition (11.5%)

    Machine Learning and AI

    Machine Learning and AI are going to be huge for SEO in 2023. It’s already being used in various aspects of SEO, from content optimization to link building and keyword research. Even artificial intelligence content is already being created today.

    When Google’s August 2022 helpful content update was released to “ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results”, the first impression was this was targeting AI content tools.

    According to the search engine’s webmaster guidelines, Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, content automatically generated with AI writing tools is considered spam.

    The only way to guarantee that your content will be well-received is to know your audience inside and out and use Machine Learning and AI as productivity assistant tools, never losing the human touch.

    Google Updates

    Google keeps rolling out algorithm updates. It’s a continuous process and SEO practitioners must stay updated on the latest changes to ensure their strategies are beneficial in 2023 and beyond.

    Google updates like BERT (NLP) launched 3 years ago, and E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) are expected to keep changing SEO by 2023.

    Check out our full article about Google’s March 2024 Core Update!

    Third-party cookie deprecation

    Third-party cookie deprecation will bring more data privacy and consent management challenges.

    In the future, cookies will exist in two different forms: cohort-based marketing and first-party relationships. Both of these present great opportunities that should be considered when planning an effective marketing strategy.

    Personal data gathering isn’t necessary for SEO, providing a fantastic opportunity for marketers to bring more website traffic without relying on third-party cookies. Remember that SEO takes time, so it’s better to start sooner than later.

    Google zero-click pages

    Approximately half of all searches end without a click on an organic search result. These are called zero-click searches and occur in search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yandex.

    With more and more new SERP features that allow users to access a variety of widgets alongside organic results, zero-click searches have become much more common. Some examples of SERP features contributing to zero-click searches are Google’s Direct Answer or Knowledge Panel.

    How can marketers guarantee they will still receive organic traffic? If your target keyword is already associated with a SERP feature, like a Direct Answer or Knowledge Panel, you may want to emphasize other SEO areas. Consider adding content that meets different user needs or writing more long-tail keywords. Remember, writing content that will be valuable for readers is the most important. If you provide value, your website will get repeat traffic long-term.

    Talent competition

    Finally, talent competition is increasing, and it’s more important than ever to find experienced SEO professionals who know how to stay ahead of the curve. Companies must ensure they have the right resources on board if they want to remain competitive in 2023. SEO is a team effort. You will need writers, content strategists, developers and UX designers to get the best possible results.

    To get the best writers possible, we highly recommend WriterAccess, a robust content creation platform with more than 20,000 talents. They are distributed among 200+ skills, guaranteeing tailored content specific to your 2023 needs.

    How to stay ahead of the curve in SEO?

    SEO is a constant battle for those who strive to keep their websites visible on the internet. There’s always something new to learn about boosting visibility and rankings with SEO. Staying ahead of the curve in SEO starts with constantly researching new developments in the field – subscribing to some key industry blogs and newsletters, attending relevant conferences, and connecting with other professionals.

    Alternatively, leverage the advice available directly from Google – they are always releasing guidelines and updates.

    What SEO techniques will still be effective in 2023?

    It can be difficult to understand what works right now and anticipate success years in advance. However, from my experience with search engine optimization (SEO), I predict that these five tactics will still be essential in 2023:

    1. Good content

    Quality content should remain at the foundation of any SEO strategy. Make sure you’re leveraging your content marketing efforts by creating high-quality original content that targets not only keyword phrases relevant to your industry but mostly your readers’ needs and desires in an engaging way.

    2. Fast-loading page speed

    Since Core Web Vitals launched, Google has been putting more and more emphasis on website loading speed, especially on mobile. This is one of the main aspects contributing to a good user experience. Nobody likes opening a website, staring at a blank page, and waiting for it to load. This won’t change.

    3. Links and backlinks

    How websites link to each other will remain one of the most important aspects of SEO and it makes sense too. Google uses links as a form of trust, and when other websites link to yours, it signals that your content is valuable. I don’t see the importance of links changing in 2023.

    4. Responsive design

    Having a responsive website has been essential for some time now, and this will only be reinforced in 2023. Google prefers sites with mobile-friendly design, so make sure you’re utilizing responsive design for your website.

    5. Voice search optimization

    Voice search is becoming increasingly popular and it’s predicted to grow even more in 2023. Optimizing your website for voice search means ensuring that the content you’re creating includes long-tail keywords and natural language; this will ensure that voice search engines can easily find your content.

    In conclusion, SEO principles have been and will continue to be essential for marketing success. While the technology around us is changing rapidly, many of the core elements remain largely unchanged: content quality, page speed, links/backlinks, responsive design, voice search optimization, and more.

    The future of SEO and what to expect

    SEO has come a long way since its early days of keyword stuffing and meta description writing. But what does the future hold for SEO as we move forward? It’s an exciting time for search engine optimization as Google continues to refine and improve its algorithms. According to experts, several significant changes are in store for this ever-evolving line of work.

    In the next few years, we can look forward to seeing many changes in how Google ranks websites. For starters, expect even more emphasis on content quality and user experience. Google will also continue with its “mobile first” approach, and we’ll also see further efforts to understand natural language and improve relevance for searchers.

    Ultimately all this means that web designers and marketers must stay ahead of the game and make sure they are doing whatever is necessary to provide value for users through useful content, addressing customers’ queries with speed and accuracy. All-in-all, these changes should bring us closer than ever before towards having accurate, comprehensive search results, any time and anywhere searches are made.

    Google’s New Algorithm: BARD

    In 2023, you’re going to see more about Google Bard.

    Google Bard AI is a new AI system based on the Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). It is trained using Infiniset, which is data collected from mostly unknown sources.

    It’s safe to say that Google has hidden much about Bard, but its primary purpose is to work similarly to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It is an experimental AI chatbot.

    When used, Bard can generate responses to inquiries. It is conversational in nature, much like ChatGPT.

    Why would people want to use Bard instead of GPT? Availability might be one reason. Google Bard is different because it uses information that is pulled solely from the internet. Right now, Bard isn’t available to the public (as of Feb. 16, 2023).

    The Benefits of AI for SEO

    SEO and AI go together like peanut butter and jelly, which is why it’s a popular SEO trend for 2023.

    While AI might scare off some people at first, it actually has many benefits that you have to consider. AI tools for SEO can make big waves and improvements such as:

    • Increases in search traffic
    • Better performance in voice search
    • The automation of common SEO activities
    • Increased rankings for new or existing terms or topics
    • Finding better keyword opportunities

    AI benefits SEO because it can do SEO faster. It creates an immensely helpful, high-value ROI by being able to “play the game” faster than the competition.

    AI SEO tools give businesses competitive advantages when used correctly. Individual manpower cannot keep up with the speed of AI, since AI can augment and automate many parts of the SEO process.

    Harvard Business Review has stated that AI could create up to 2.6 trillion in value for sales and marketing teams. That’s nothing to scoff at.

    So, while AI is new, those who take advantage of the AI SEO trend now may find themselves well ahead of the competition later.

    Content and AI

    Another trend for 2023? Using AI to help produce content.

    Getting faster content is possible with AI, but there is a catch: You still have to monitor for errors, plagiarism, and other issues.

    AI-generated content has its place, though. It can write marketing copy, articles, and blogs in an instant. Even if those aren’t up to your team’s standards, you can edit and manipulate them to your taste later.

    AI content generation does require human input. Without the right input, the content you get out of the AI won’t be as helpful as you’d think. When creating content this way, you’ll need a strong description of what you want as well as a prompt for the machine. You also have to include parameters, or the AI could run wild.

    For now, AI can help reduce the time spent on time-consuming processes or expensive marketing processes. However, AI-generated content can’t eliminate the need for humans during the content creation process quite yet. While powerful, it does have weaknesses and may not yet be ready to implement on a large scale.


    Despite some of the complexities that may be added over the next few years when it comes to optimizing your website and content, we can finally rest easy knowing that if done properly, we are ultimately acting in our users’ best interests – making sure they get only the most relevant and helpful answers. 

    Rock Content can help you in your SEO journey, from creating a fast blog with Stage hosting to SEO-optimized content with Writer Access’s freelance writers to a complete SEO audit and content strategy with our professional services. Get in touch today.

    It’s going to be a fun ride into the future and I hope this article has helped to put you on your way to 2023 SEO success! Good luck on your SEO journey.

    Do you want to continue to be updated with Marketing best practices? I strongly suggest that you subscribe to The Beat, Rock Content’s interactive newsletter. There, you’ll find all the trends that matter in the Digital Marketing landscape. See you there!


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