Top SEO Trends In 2023
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of search engines and users. As we enter 2023, new trends are emerging that UK businesses need to be aware of to stay ahead of the competition and rank higher in search results.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top 17 SEO trends that are likely to shape the UK search landscape this year. Whether you are new to SEO or a seasoned expert, this guide will provide actionable insights to refine your strategy.
1. Voice Search optimisation
Voice search has become increasingly popular in recent years. Per research from Comscore, nearly half of all UK internet users have used voice search.
With the rise in voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, people are searching by speaking their queries instead of typing them. However, the way people search with their voice differs from typed search queries.
Here are some tips for optimising voice search:
- Use natural language and conversational keywords in content, like “What is the best restaurant in London” instead of just “best London restaurants.”
- Create content that answers common questions people are likely to ask with their voice. Focus on ‘how to’ and ‘best’ type queries.
- Include relevant question keywords in headers (using H2, and H3 tags) so voice assistants can find the answer easily.
- Use geo-modifiers for location-based searches e.g. “restaurants in Manchester” to target UK users.
- Improve site speed and mobile optimisation, as most voice searches happen on smartphones.
2. Mobile-First Indexing
In 2023, mobile-first indexing will become even more important for SEO in the UK. Google has been shifting to a mobile-first index for a few years and will likely increase the number of sites that it indexes this way.
With mobile accounts for 72% of internet users in the UK, optimising for mobile search is essential. Here are some tips:
- Switch to a responsive mobile-friendly design, ensuring all site content is easy to use on mobile screens.
- Reduce page load times – Research shows that 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load.
- Use AMP pages to enhance mobile user experience.
- Simplify navigation menus for easy access on smaller screens.
- Check that pages are crawled correctly by Googlebot smartphone user agent in Search Console.
3. Featured Snippets Optimisation
Featured snippets, which display a summary of the answer directly in the search results, accounted for over 12% of Google searches in 2022. These appear at the very top of the search results, gaining the most visibility and clicks.
Here’s how to optimise your content for featured snippets’ success in the UK:
- Research featured snippet opportunities around your topics using tools like Surfer SEO or Answer The Public.
- Craft a succinct overview that answers the search query within 50-60 words.
- Format content using bullet points, numbers, and tables.
- Include keywords naturally in the snippet content.
- Add relevant images, infographics or videos that could appear alongside the snippet.
- Check the Search Console for impressions data on featured snippets.
- Check your schema markup.
4. Content Quality and Expertise
Google’s updates in 2022 focused on rewarding high-quality, helpful content from knowledgeable experts and thought leaders. This trend will continue shaping search results in 2023.
To better demonstrate expertise in your content:
- Craft in-depth, well-researched content that provides value to users. Aim for a minimum of 2000 words.
- Have subject matter experts and practitioners create content related to their niche and experience.
- Include real-world insights, proprietary data or analysis to demonstrate knowledge.
- Add relevant images, infographics, videos and interviews to support the expertise.
- Link out to high-authority resources and studies for credibility.
- Update old underperforming content by injecting new insights from experts.
5. Link Building with a Focus on Quality
Link building remains an essential part of SEO, but the focus has shifted from quantity to quality. Google’s updates can detect and demote spammy linking practices, so focus efforts on building high-quality links naturally.
Some white hat link-building tactics for 2023 include:
- Content partnerships with respected industry publications through guest posts.
- Contribute expert insights to high domain authority sites like Medium.
- Promote your best content on relevant online communities and forums.
- Use HARO or Buzzstream to respond to journalist queries with helpful insights.
- Create resources or tools that solve problems for your audience.
- Focus on building relationships with influencers and brand advocates.
6. User Experience as a Ranking Factor
Beyond just technical website health, Google now focuses heavily on overall user experience – from site speed to usability and engagement. A positive user experience leads to higher dwell time, lower bounce rates and more pages per session.
Some ways to improve UX for UK users:
- Improve mobile site speed by optimising images, enabling caching, and using AMP.
- Ensure site security by migrating to HTTPS and enabling SSL certificates.
- Remove interstitials and popups that hinder page access.
- Simplify navigation and IA for easy access to content.
- Refresh stale, outdated content that offers no value.
- Add more scannable formatting like bullet points and subheadings.
- Implement breadcrumb navigation to enable an easy path back.
7. Local SEO Targeting
Google understands that users want to find products and services near them. Local SEO will become increasingly important to connect users to businesses in their vicinity.
Some local SEO best practices include:
- Optimising Google My Business listing with complete info and photos.
- Creating location-specific landing pages and content targeting UK cities and towns.
- Using local schema markup to highlight address, opening hours etc.
- Building local citations and reviews to establish ubiquity.
- Running location-based paid ads to drive foot traffic.
- Tracking views of address, phone and driving directions to improve local presence.
8. Video Marketing & Optimisation
Video content is growing exponentially. According to HubSpot, 72% of consumers prefer video content from brands over any other format. It also leads to higher engagement and conversion rates.
Optimise videos for organic visibility with:
- Keyword-optimised titles, descriptions and metadata.
- Interesting thumbnails using contrasting colours that stand out.
- Complete closed captioning and transcripts.
- Include links back to important pages on your site.
- Embed videos into relevant articles and posts.
- Share videos on social media channels to expand reach.
- Track views, clicks and engagement metrics for each video.
9. Social Media and Community Building
Your potential audience spends a lot of time hanging out on social media, so having an active social presence and community is important for brands today.
Social media helps build awareness, trust and relationships with your audience. Some tips:
- Share your latest and most popular content across all key platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc.
- Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages.
- Use relevant hashtags to join larger conversations in your industry.
- Run polls, Q&As and AMAs to crowdsource ideas and questions.
- Partner with relevant influencers and brand advocates to expand reach.
- Analyse which social platforms drive the most referral traffic and double down there.
10. Push Towards Ecommerce SEO
Ecommerce has grown exponentially in the UK after the pandemic, with 82% of consumers now shopping online. SEO strategies tailored for ecommerce sites will provide a competitive advantage in 2023.
Some ecommerce SEO best practices:
- Optimise product pages with unique descriptions and image alt text.
- Improve site navigation and on-site search for easy product findability.
- Add buyer keywords like “reviews”, “discount”, and “deals” to category pages.
- Create comparison articles and buying guides using relevant keywords.
- Highlight free shipping, returns and other customer-friendly policies.
- Update schema markup across products, brand info, offers etc.
- Build links from relevant product reviews and price comparison sites.
11. Long-form, Topic-Focused Content
In 2023, long-form, in-depth content will be key for establishing authority and expertise. While short posts were popular for social media, search favours longer content with over 2000+ words.
Some tips for creating topic-focused long-form content:
- Take a broader term and create an extensive guide or report on it.
- Interview experts and incorporate quotes to support key insights.
- Create comprehensive lists and roundups related to your niche using data.
- Optimise content using relevant keywords including semantic variations.
- Promote long-form content via an email nurture campaign.
- Repurpose long posts into shorter spin-off social media updates.
12. Topic Clusters and Topical Authority
Gone are the days when you could rank well by targeting hundreds of semi-relevant keywords across different topics.
Google now wants to see authoritative sites become experts around specific topic clusters. You establish authority by creating clusters of in-depth, related content around focused topics.
Some tips for improving topical authority:
- Group your service pages into specific solution topics and interlink extensively.
- Create targeted landing pages around industry phrases and keywords.
- Write a long-form comparison and “Versus” articles related to your topics.
- Update on-page content using semantically related terms around topics.
- Get backlinks from industry-specific sites relevant to your topics.
13. Intent-Focused Content Strategy
Generic, vague content will no longer cut it. Google wants to see content that meets specific searcher intent. Analyse the intent behind each keyword and create content that directly answers it.
Types of search intent include:
- Informational – “how to” questions, guides, tutorials, comparisons. The focus is on sharing knowledge.
- **Transactional ** – Product-related keywords. The intent is to find options to purchase.
- Commercial – Comparison of brands, products, and services. The user is still researching.
- Navigational – Branded and location-based terms. The intent is to find a specific brand or location.
Research the common questions and intent around your topics and tailor content accordingly.
14. AI and Automation to Enhance – Not Replace – SEO
While AI content tools grabbed headlines, they work best when used to complement SEOs rather than replace them. Here are some of the top ways to use AI responsibly:
- Generate outlines and drafts to give writers a starting point.
- Summarise research to pull out key insights.
- Analyse competitors and identify SEO gaps.
- Expand on existing curated content with additional detail.
- suggest related keywords and topics to cover.
- Analyse user voice search queries and questions.
The key is to review all auto-generated content extensively, adding your human touch and expertise. This removes spam risks while benefiting from AI efficiency.
15. Core Web Vitals Remain Critical
Core Web Vitals – which measure page speed, responsiveness and visual stability – remain an important ranking factor in 2023. With UK site performance 46% slower than global averages, optimisation must be a priority.
Some ways to improve Core Web Vitals:
- Enable browser caching and compression to optimise page weight.
- Defer non-critical JS/CSS to improve the largest contentful paint.
- Resize images and utilise next-gen formats like AVIF for faster loading.
- Minimise redirects that increase overall time to the first byte.
- Test regularly using PageSpeed Insights and Search Console data.
- Set performance budgets and create processes to maintain standards.
16. Use Structured Data for Rich Results
Structured data markup enables search engines to understand content on pages accurately. It can help unlock rich result features in the SERPs like recipe cards, event details etc.
Relevant schema types for UK sites include:
- Local business schema for address, opening times etc.
- Product schema for ecommerce items.
- Recipe schema for cooking sites.
- Software schema for SaaS applications.
- Review and FAQ schema for analysing sentiment.
- Event schema highlighting venue, dates etc.
Ensure structured data is validated for accuracy. Check the Search Console for any structured data errors that need fixing.
17. Optimise for Multimedia Searches
From image and video search to new experiences like Google Lens, visual content has an increasingly important role in search today.
Some tips to optimise multimedia assets:
- Add descriptive titles, captions and alt text for images and videos.
- Optimise filenames for target keywords and intent.
- Include transcripts for videos to improve text relevance.
- Use tags and image sitemaps to help indexing.
- Publish visually compelling infographics that pair images with data.
- Create VR/3D visuals of products for immersive product experiences.
SEO in 2023 requires an ever-evolving strategy focused on quality, expertise, optimisation for voice, local, video and visual formats. Create content tailored for user intent while leveraging automation to enhance efforts. Focus on improving overall user experience, from site speed to compelling visuals. Employ these SEO trends to stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive advantage.