Good SEO in 2023 involves a comprehensive strategy focusing on various aspects, including technical SEO, content quality, user experience, and understanding evolving search engine algorithms. Below are key factors to consider:
Quality Content and E-A-T: Content remains king in SEO. High-quality, informative, and valuable content demonstrating Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) is crucial. This includes well-researched articles, comprehensive guides, and content satisfying user intent.
User Experience (UX) and Core Web Vitals: Google places a strong emphasis on user experience. Websites need to be fast, responsive, and easy to navigate. Core Web Vitals, which include metrics like Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), are critical for ranking. If your current designers and developers don’t know what this is – change your agency.
Mobile-First Indexing: With the increasing use of smartphones for internet browsing, having a mobile-friendly website is a must. This means responsive design, fast loading times on mobile devices, and easy-to-use navigation on smaller screens. Many current WordPress users are missing out here. While mobile sites are available, they are optimised using plugins that not only significantly change the look and feel of the website, but make it more freely open to hackers. WordPress is getting bad press at the moment and seems to be on the way out, so make sure you look at the options available before you jump in. There are some great, easy-to-use CMSs out there, so choose wisely and reap the benefits.
Semantic Search and Intent Matching: Google's algorithms increasingly focus on understanding user intent and the context behind search queries. This means going beyond keywords to understand the semantics of content and how it matches with what users are actually seeking. They actively work against content and keyword stuffing these days so it’s about writing for consumption and for how users actually search. (see below for voice search)
Voice Search Optimisation: With the rise of voice assistants, optimising for voice search is becoming more important. This often means focusing on conversational keywords and natural language processing.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: AI and machine learning are playing a larger role in how search engines rank content. Understanding these technologies and how they can impact search results is essential. We’ve already touched on this in a previous article but will dig deeper over the coming articles.
Technical SEO: This includes a wide range of factors like site speed, structured data, XML sitemaps, canonical tags, and more. Ensuring that your site is technically sound is a foundation of good SEO. Google webmaster tools are still useful here and should be reviewed regularly as part of your SEO review.
Local SEO: For businesses serving specific geographical areas, local SEO is crucial. This includes optimising for local search queries, maintaining accurate and consistent local business listings, and garnering positive reviews.
Link Building and Off-Page SEO: Quality backlinks from reputable sources remain a strong ranking factor. However, the focus should be on acquiring these links naturally through high-quality content and outreach, rather than through manipulative tactics. We all know how hard it is to get useless links that drag us down. Watch out regularly for those that attach to your blog pages, especially.
Security and Privacy: Ensuring your website is secure (using HTTPS) and respecting user privacy can positively impact your SEO efforts.
Social Media Integration: While social signals are not a direct ranking factor, an active social media presence can enhance brand visibility and drive traffic, indirectly benefiting SEO.
Adapting to Algorithm Updates: Search engines frequently update their algorithms. Keeping abreast of these changes and adapting your SEO strategy accordingly is essential.
Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, not a one-time setup. Continuously monitoring performance, staying updated with search engine best practices, and adapting your strategy are key to maintaining and improving your search engine rankings in 2023. It is difficult to outsource your SEO effectively unless the same agency is maintaining your content. It’s essential that all areas of your web presence are communicating regularly to get the maximum benefits from your spend. If any element is missing, contact MPA for details on how to get you back on track.
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