why brands are leaning in and how to prepare

Shira Smolko

2023, the year of SEO why brands are leaning in and how to prepare

30-second summary:

  • As marketing budgets inevitably tighten, the demand for cost-effective and dependable channels such as SEO continues to increase
  • Some of the critical updates and algorithm changes in 2022 give marketers a heads-up on where to focus in 2023
  • SEO and content marketers need to create better processes and work in tandem to achieve business goals
  • The days of set-and-forget SEO are over, organizations must utilize SEO in multiple ways

With marketing budgets under more scrutiny than ever, savvy organizations are looking towards SEO for sustained growth. Incorporating organic search into the digital strategy offers rich rewards – both in terms of cost efficiency and improved brand equity – that can contribute to an entire organization. As such, marketers have embraced this approach to maximize returns on marketing and technology expenditure.

In this article, I explain why SEO is so hot, what has changed in 2022, and what to capitalize on in 2023.

According to research from Gartner, CEOs are doubling down on digital investment strategies as they maximize their marketing ROI. However, Google recently reported that ad spending is down.

At the same time, in a recent survey of over 1000 enterprise marketers, over 90% of marketers are planning to place a greater emphasis on SEO in 2023.

Why organizations will lean into SEO in 2023

As marketing budgets inevitably tighten, the demand for cost-effective and dependable channels continues to increase — drawing much-deserved SEO attention from company leaders. In particular, they are finding that SEO insights give them a comprehensive view of consumer trends in times of volatility. It’s this invaluable knowledge that organizational and departmental heads know can help them drive their decisions today and tomorrow.

After two decades of sustained growth, search remains an essential channel despite marketplace volatility. It is a testament to the importance and effectiveness of search for connecting businesses with their target audiences.

Concerning enterprise organizations, some key benefit factors leading to the lean into SEO include:

  1. SEO is a high-yield channel and is not impacted by market conditions
  2. Organizations can benefit from long-term SEO incremental value
  3. Only SEO can provide real-time insights into both market demand and customer intent
  4. SEO insights drive sales, product, digital, and media initiatives across organizations
  5. Organizations benefit from brand equity due to SEO presence on the SERPs
  6. In tandem, SEO and PPC (together) give more control over the customer experience

SEO is rapidly becoming the key to unlocking a connection between businesses and customers. Organizations can get ahead of their prospects’ needs by understanding what they are looking for, why it matters to them, and how optimized content can best meet those requirements when needed most.

The focus on the (human) consumer and their experiences is something that Google focused heavily on in 2022. Some of the critical updates and algorithmic changes give marketers a heads-up on where to focus in 2023.

Learn from 2022 to prepare for 2023

2022 has been an eventful year for organic search, with several significant updates impacting how SEO and marketing teams should focus and operate.

Below are a few key areas where Google has indicated where SEO, content, technical and online marketers need to change – adapt and become agile – and where to prioritize their focus in 2023.

The Page Experience Update and Core Web Vitals was rolled out (mobile and desktop) to ensure users receive results that load quickly and render within a certain time threshold.

Read more on SEW: Mobile-first and Core Web Vitals: Page Experiences

Future focus for 2023

  • In 2023 all organizations must ensure their website’s technical performance creates an optimal user experience
  • This involves examining the page loading speed, browser response time, and content stability during loading for a seamless customer journey
  • Leveraging a tailored blend of data-led insights, content, and technical expertise in 2023 will help you create powerful user experiences. Google puts great emphasis on optimizing results and prioritizing accurate, reliable information – from page speed through to navigation capabilities Ensure you combine data-science techniques with best (white-hat) SEO best practices.
  • By focusing both on website functionality and providing engaging, relevant content – marketing teams can plan for success in the current – and any – economic climate

Google’s Product Algorithm Update was released to help users make informed decisions. This was in the form of a refreshed set of instructions and updates based on the annual performance of product reviews. It was designed to empower users with access to accurate information that will enable them to make sound product purchasing choices.

Future focus for 2023

  • In 2023 make it your goal to create a world-class experience for consumers, helping them find what they need quickly and easily. Aim to make the process of looking for items simpler than ever before – empowering people who search with an effortless journey directly from search results into their shopping carts!
  • If your selling products, demonstrate your professional abilities by providing well-founded advice and showcasing why you are the go-to expert on a subject
  • Back up any product recommendations with reliable data to provide assurance of authenticity

Multisearch was announced in April to enable searches using images and text. Powered by Google Lens, it allows people to use mobile cameras or photos to search relevant images and text to find the most relevant results they need. Connecting words & visuals to create an exciting array of possibilities for consumers.

Future focus for 2023

  • In 2023 expect more advancements in Google’s AI development and MUM
  • Balance the content you create, and find an image-to-text ratio to provide the accurate answers users now want and expect
  • Focus on mobile optimization of images and expect this type of functionality to become a new norm in 2023

Google’s Helpful Content Update was announced and recently rolled out to ensure users receive the most useful search results.

Future focus for 2023

  • In 2023, content creators and website owners must develop unique materials tailored specifically toward human end-users instead of robots or spiders
  • For instance, when collecting customer reviews on products sold online – be sure requests inquire about specific details so reviewers can demonstrate intimate knowledge in their feedback
  • Similarly, blog posts covering events or news should include fresh perspectives not found elsewhere by readers searching through Google’s services
  • Today’s algorithms are much more sophisticated, and they identify content that does not satisfy the reader – in some cases, content that has been “spun up” by automated tools.

SEO and content marketers need to get better together.

Read more on Helpful Content here

Googles Search On event

At Google’s Search On event, they revealed some innovative developments that will revolutionize how we search online. For example, visual search results will provide an interactive and engaging experience with graphic cards of imagery directly integrated into every search result.

Additionally, users can also look forward to a new auto-complete feature for their searches as well as more tailored multi-search options designed for them to find meaningful answers quickly.

Googles Spam Update to help direct customers towards content with real purpose. As part of this effort, the search giant is improving the quality of results and expanding into new formats and mediums for delivering helpful information.

  • Consider how these updates may affect your SEO strategies moving forward
  • Ensure you are balancing keywords and not keyword stuffing
  • Avoid thin content and focus on quality over quantity
  • Use AI correctly for insights and optimization, not article content creation

Conclusion

SEO teams are becoming indispensable for organizations looking to uncover fresh opportunities and build a durable business. Cost-efficient tactics not only save funds but add value across departments too.

In 2023 focus on the following;

  1. Utilizing SEO insights as a source of organization-wide business intelligence
  2. Ensure technical SEO best practices are used to ensure websites provide experiences consumers expect and automate research and site fixes when and where possible
  3. Focus on visual search and expect its importance to rise in 2023
  4. Balance your optimization of content with key Google E-A-T and Helpful content guidelines, do not over-optimize
  5. Leverage AI and automation to manage repetitive and time-consuming tasks and scale
  6. Balance SEO and PPC and find synergies to adapt to changes in the market and with Google
  7. Become the consultant and business advisor organizations need in times of change

SEO is no longer viewed as a stand-alone task; it is an integral part of your overall marketing plan. It enhances and bolsters other strategies in place while providing maximum reach for your business goals in 2023.

Be prepared for change and be flexible and agile. Slacking regarding optimization in terms of user experience, technical issue resolution, and speed can see you left behind competitors who are continuing their efforts without pause.

The days of set-and-forget SEO are over. Be prepared as organization look to utilize SEO in multiple ways

Change will be the main constant in the economy, with organizations and SEO next year!


Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge, the leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform. Find him on Twitter @jimyu.

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