Even if the basics of SEO haven’t changed that much over the years, the details are still being refined. With new algorithms, technologies and features, the challenges for efficient SEO continue to grow. We have outlined here everything that needs to be considered for 2023.
Google emphasizes that crawlers don’t aim for the length of a text, and that’s basically true, but only to a limited extent: Studies show that articles with 1000 words or more rank better. There is even a trend towards ‘short stories’ of up to 3000 words. Especially with regard to the ‘Helpful Content Update’ it has become more important than ever to deal with a topic in depth . Users don’t want to surf to umpteen different sites to get all the information they need.
Of course, the optimal length of an article always depends on the search intention (see next paragraph). Some searches aim for articles that are as concise as possible and explain a specific topic in a few lines.
The trick is to say everything on a topic without repeating yourself and if possible without copying it. Because ‘Unique’ will be capitalized in 2023. So that the whole thing remains clear, it makes sense to work with linked tables of contents per page. This allows users to quickly navigate to the points that interest them.
‘Theme cluster’ is the big catchphrase when it comes to search intent . Google is constantly fine-tuning search queries to present users with the most up-to-date and relevant content. That means search results are becoming more and more specific. It is important to react to this with appropriate content.
This in turn means that users should find the right content for every search intention. A distinction is made between cornerstone and supporting content:
- Cornerstone Content : for general searches such as ‘car leasing’.
- Supporting Content : for more specific search queries when a user already has a more specific interest such as ‘car leasing in Berlin’.
Cornerstone and supporting content should be appropriately linked to quickly guide users to what is important to them. Also, don’t forget to provide relevant content for long-tail keywords, phrases, and questions. These are essential for voice searches in particular, but also for very specific purchase intentions.
Backlinks remain one of the most important off-page SEO measures. Furthermore, it is not about the amount of links, but about quality. Because backlinks are what used to be personal recommendations. So the higher the ‘authority’ of the platform that links to your own website, the more valuable a backlink becomes.
Ideally, backlinks look like this: Your own web content or your own company is referenced in a text on a third-party website with relevance. This is most likely to happen when your own web content has actual added value, for example in the form of clear tables or well-prepared info graphics.
Guest posts on topic-related blogs with a link to your own site are also useful. Such a link building gives your website a higher relevance.
You should rather refrain from the practice of reciprocal linking without recognizable plausibility (“like you me, like me”). Because: Search engine crawlers can recognize when it comes to agreements. So linking back and forth rarely helps.
Quality of your own website
What applies to backlinks also applies to your own website. This should be constantly maintained, have no old content or even linked 404 pages. Texts and articles must provide users with information that is efficient and easy to read, making them want to come back and stay on the website again and again.
The length of stay is just as important a ranking factor as unique, high-quality content. Against the background of the Google Helpful Content Update , which was also rolled out for Germany in December 2022, the following should be noted with regard to the texts:
- Carefully researched
- Optimally structured
- Appropriately linked internally (and possibly externally).
- Short, easy-to-read sentences
- Fast to share
Also, don’t write on topics that have nothing to do with your main topic. If you lease cars, don’t write about architecture. Write about what users assume you are an expert at. And don’t be stingy with your own experiences and tips. The more ‘added value’ your website content has, the better.
Page structure: Tidy website
We’ve already mentioned it: the entire website needs to be kept ‘in shape’. In addition to current expert content, this also includes the page structure , i.e. the site map or page navigation. Each individual page is included in the evaluation. And only if the website is consistently rated as valuable and unique is that reflected in the ranking. In this context, pay attention to the following points:
- Intuitive, understandable page navigation
- Subcategories with significant added value – please delete everything else!
- Clear structure of the texts in H1, H2 and H3
- Use of explanatory images and videos
- Clean, comprehensible linking
This point will also become more relevant in the future because of the barrier-free web, because the cleaner work is done, the less it has to be redesigned. When writing the texts, remember that they must also be easy to understand when spoken.
“Multisearch” makes the search even more multimedia thanks to AI. The feature has now been rolled out in 70 languages, including German. With the help of an image, users can start the search and then specify it with additional text. It works like this:
- Go to ‘Google Lens’ (camera icon) in the ‘Google App’.
- Select a photo or screenshot from the image gallery or capture an object.
- Search results matching the image are displayed, which can be supplemented with text queries.
This tool is not only ideal for shopping, it also helps to quickly get information on things or topics that you can’t name exactly when you’re on the go. The service ‘Multisearch near me’, so to speak, the local search of ‘Multisearch’, is already available in English. So there is interesting potential for companies in the area of image SEO (see next paragraph).
With multisearch, the image content of websites reaches a completely different dimension. Which images are placed where is becoming increasingly important. And as a slider in the SERPs, they have a direct influence on click and buying behavior. That’s why it’s crucial to optimize every single image for SEO . That means: Integrate keywords in the alt text and in the file name and pay attention to a responsive design. In addition, the images should not be too large. For a long time, 100 KB was considered an important file size limit. With increasing Internet speed in German, however, the value can be set significantly higher.
Of course, the optimization measures for images also apply to videos. Especially here you should always keep an eye on the loading time. Therefore, very short videos like those on Instagram are usually the most effective. Because the trend towards smartphones is not only continuing, but is becoming increasingly stronger: according to Statista, 82% in Germany have already used the mobile Internet in 2021, compared to 52% in 2015.
Core Web Vitals
The topic of loading time brings us to the last, but nonetheless important point: the Core Web Vitals . What does it mean?
- The stability of the visual interface (cumulative layout shift)
- The time between calling and loading the page (First Input Delay)
- The duration between the call and the loading of the largest element in the visible area (Largest Contentful Paint)
Users want to wait less than ever for a page to load. All websites that are listed at the top have ultra-fast loading times. Therefore, you should always keep an eye on the loading speed when building your website. The best content is useless if the page takes 8 seconds to fully load. Most users jump off again with such a loading time.
SEO will certainly become even more complex and individual in 2023. The basics such as a clear page structure, the sensible structure of expert content or valuable backlinks will continue to accompany us. Newer tools such as multisearch, the coverage of increasingly specific search queries including voice search, create challenges that can be mastered with the right strategy. Even in 2023, SEO calls for creativity, anticipation and expertise.