Our modern technologically driven world demands a lot from businesses of all sizes. With each passing year comes new technology and new ways to connect with customers. A HubSpot study says nearly 80% of marketers have said their industry changed more in the past few years than in the previous 50 years.
That’s a significant shift that requires marketers to constantly adapt. In this report, you’ll discover the trends and tactics your business needs to focus on to be successful in your SEO and supporting digital marketing efforts in 2023.
2023 Digital Marketing Trends
One of the best ways to clearly understand new shifts and changes to marketing and your specific industry is to continually become familiar with new updates, changes to relevancy, and keep up with trustworthy sources. Essentially you need to stay informed and connected with experts and with industry leaders who dictate strategy like Google.
We’ve spent the last several months speaking with CEOs, thought leaders, and SEO industry experts for their advice on how to help set your business up for success into 2023. See some of the main topics and read on below for expert insights as you plan your 2023 strategy.
- Digital Marketing Services in 2023
- Smart Digital Marketing Techniques
- Content Marketing & SEO
- Keyword Strategy
- Voice Search
- Video Marketing
- Visual Image Search
- Mobile Search
- Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
1) Digital Marketing Services in 2023
Jon Martinsen – CEO of FCR Media Belgium and FCR Media Group; Member of the Board, Chairman of SIINDA – Search & Information Industry Association
War, inflation, energy crisis, scarcity of resources, climate change and still COVID-19 – the daily news currently gives little reason to be optimistic about the new year 2023. Against this background, it is of course all the more important for a company to critically rethink its marketing plans.
In my view there are three major trends marketers should be aware of:
First of all, we can assume that the consumer is thinking and acting increasingly hybrid. The boundaries between online/offline are falling; it’s now all about “both online and offline” and a 360 degree view. Surveys like the IBM consumer research study of September 2021 show consumers want it all – online-shopping, the brick-and-mortar stores and the mix of all channels to provide the best shopping-experience.
Second – the recent problems of the tech-giants like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter show the online – world is changing at a rapid pace. Portals which consumers use today may be meaningless tomorrow. As a consequence companies have to be even more agile and to quickly adapt to changing consumer habits.
Third – technology is changing exponentially. In the last 50 years, we have seen rapid technological development – from the first portable computers in the 70’s to our mobiles with highly-advanced features. Technological progress will not stop and force companies to adapt accordingly.
All in all, life will remain quite challenging for marketers and even more for SMEs which usually do not even have a marketing-team. Since SMEs are the backbone of our economy it is our responsibility as digital marketing agencies to support them at best with our products and services. In addition, I also wanted to make a personal contribution and therefore published the book “No Business is Too Small for Digital Marketing“ in which I show SMEs how they can win customers and increase their business success even in these complex times.
Norman Rohr – Kiyomizu Growth Advisory
Unfortunately, it turned out that my predictions from last year were mostly on point. With higher inflation, consumers cut back on household spending, with the exception of activities that had been limited over the prior two years, such as travel. Looking forward, it seems inflation has stabilized at a high level, and economic activity has been declining. In consequence, businesses endure margin pressure and reduce overall marketing spend, and thus need to re-center their marketing activities on programs with proven ROI.
Overall, this will benefit BoFu activities such as SEO, SEA and Local Search. As businesses will review their inhouse teams and agency agreements alike, pay as you go providers will have an upper hand in the coming months.
2) Smart Digital Marketing Techniques
Wences García – Founder at marketgoo
Smarter Experimentation: When it comes to selecting new marketing channels, B2B companies will increasingly see the value of experimentation and quick iterations based on data. I think we’ll see marketing teams make less assumptions about marketing channels and start more experiments with those new channels, looking to get repeatable success – starting with experiments many months (and even a year) before they’re determined to be a critical element to the sales and marketing plan.
SEO: On the end-user and SMB side, I believe that they will increasingly see SEO as a cost-effective channel that gives the incremental gains they need. It will be a good long-term play especially for SMBs that are tightening their budgets and can’t put a lot into PPC (although SEO plus PPC is often a winning combination).
Gavan Thorpe – CEO of Boostability
Regardless of what happens with the economy, people are becoming more and more guarded with their spending and budgets. Small businesses as well. Many may be tempted to stop their marketing efforts or scale back because of what seems to be a lack of interest. But that’s just the opposite. As others scale back, you can get ahead in a big way by taking up the market space others leave behind.
2023 is the time to continue your growth plans and hit the gas on your overall strategy. People will continue to need products and services that businesses offer. SEO is a great way to do that to stay relevant. But also consider all other digital and traditional marketing efforts. Many businesses will continue to hold back and be cautious about spending, as they should in uncertain times. But spend your marketing dollars in strategic and smart ways. This proves to be one of the best ways to reach your target audience in order to see the biggest ROI.
In the search landscape, Google’s Core Web Vitals and E-A-T guidelines will continue to be important ranking factors that only increase in importance each year. These all center around the user experience and how to improve it for your website. Google wants to make sure the answers it serves for specific search queries provide the best experience for the user.
Improving your website with the guidelines from Google include improving page speed, providing good (and long-form) content that answers questions clearly with expert information, building authority for your website, and making sure you’re using secure protocols like HTTPS. As people improve their websites, search results will improve as well. We’re expecting big surges in predictive search, featured snippets, and conversational queries delivered through voice or other means to provide answers to consumer questions.
Leszek Dudkiewicz – Head of Marketing at Passport-Photo Online
Google is implementing MUM, a Multitask Unified Model, to help users take fewer steps to find information. On average, a user takes eight complex queries to find a satisfactory answer. With this algorithm, Google could reduce the number of queries from six to two.
This change will undoubtedly affect SEO strategy. A blog post should answer your audience’s questions, not just the one on the query. They will find everything they need in only one place without conducting multiple searches. That means optimizing blog posts and creating new ones that can address this new requirement.
4) Content Marketing & SEO
Ariel Sheen – Account Manager at THAT Agency
Preparing for 2023, businesses need to consider that age-old adage of you get what you pay for. Businesses considering investment in SEO should consider that many of the measures Google uses for their page rank algorithm are adapted from academic journal quality evaluation metrics.
Original content with breadth and depth that is authoritative, meaning informed by subject-area research that cites sources, and is written by people that have their names associated with the material is increasingly going to rank higher than low-quality, anonymous writing churned out by low-cost content mills.
Google’s helpful content update is a reaction to an unfortunate trend many businesses have followed because they believed it to be a cost saving – buying low quality content written for search engines rather than people, keyword stuffing the tags on their website, and getting bulk links rather than earned links.
Businesses already producing original content that is high quality, helpful, and written content, that can build backlinks and get customer reviews, that are optimizing their website, that are posting case studies, etc. will continue to see their traffic and client sales go up.
Kristine Pratt – Director of Marketing at Boostability
Google continues to emphasize the importance of good content throughout your website as the key to ranking well. 2022 saw the release of the “Helpful Content Update”. And with every Core update, Google links back to a blog about how to improve your content to rank better. This is not going to change and will only continue to become more important.
This doesn’t mean writing and publishing content just for the sake of having content. But you should establish your website as an expert and build authority throughout your content. That means statistics, original research, helpful content that can talk people through a process, showing off any awards or badges you might have earned. Showcase customer reviews and testimonials. Google considers all of this as “good content” that should help improve ranking signals.
Personalized marketing will also continue to grow in popularity. Consumers don’t respond as well to generic marketing emails. As more and more marketers adopt personalized or ABM tactics, more consumers will start to connect with that kind of messaging. More and more businesses will need to have personalized messaging. Personalized marketing doesn’t have to be a big scary tactic. It can be as simple as targeted emails to specific demographics and target ICPs to better connect with them and show how your product can benefit them and their specific consumer groups.
Michele Mosher – Director of SEO at Boostability
Programmatic AI Content
While only 15% of content marketers planned to use AI writing tools in 2022, AI will be a game-changer in 2023+. Do you need to programmatically build mass pages? AI content generators like Jasper will save you time and money. Then, next-level content AI focuses on content conversions, CRO, with tools like Persado. Or, personalize content with tools like Personyze and Phrasee.
But, be careful. Those who rely on 100% AI-generated content will lose. The tools are not yet self-sufficient enough to create quality content. Google’s latest Helpful Content and October 2022 Spam updates are clear indicators pure AI content will lose. Adding quality links to bad AI content is also a losing strategy.
How to do it right? Enjoy the cost-effectiveness of AI content that’s planned and edited by humans. Don’t stop with content generation. Content teams will increasingly use
- AI grammar editors like Grammarly and Hemingway
- Cobomba that help create outlines and content briefs, or
- SEMrush’s Writing Assistance or Clearscope’s tools to help you SEO optimize content in real time.
What’s next? Expect to see competitive content research apps that help differentiate content and add more value to the reader. Look for better pillar cluster topic generators. Lastly, AI content generators will incorporate more SEO metrics into their algorithms.
Organic Marketing ROI
Digital marketers have tracked and measured ROI forever. That will continue and improve. Yet, organic online marketers have lagged behind. Most still do not have content ROI measurements or metrics.
In any economy, especially a looming recession, CEOs will expect profitable organic marketing ROI. This includes all organic SEO efforts including content, backlinks, and on-page optimization. Ask yourself, what did it cost to produce that article and obtain its backlinks? Then, did the article produce any closed leads? Or, how many closed leads did all your articles generate in aggregate?
If they’re honest with themselves, many organic marketers will find a lot of waste in articles or social posts. They’ll find their efforts don’t generate page views, let alone leads. Measuring SEO content optimization ROI forces you to focus on higher-quality content the viewer finds valuable.
Ultimately, that’s what converts. That’s where users engage, and we know engagement is Queen. You’ll strategize and create content that converts versus writing content for the sake of filling up a blog for feed.
Organic departments producing profitable returns in 2023 and beyond will win page-one rankings.
Camera Commerce & Google Shopping Graph
Here’s a clever opportunity for SMEs to win big over big box retailers. Google introduced Google Lens on October 4, 2017, and Google Shopping Graph in 2021. Google Lens has over 3 billion image searches each month. It finds similar objects within images, yet it’s underutilized by most retailers. That’s about to change.
Imagine your customer is searching for a Michael Kors tote bag and your competitors are sold out. You have 5 in stock. But, you’re small so your site doesn’t rank on page one. But, the product image could.
How can you use Google Lens to your advantage? Use the same licensed image all other retailers use and optimize your alt tags with the brand and bag name. Link your image to a unique image page with metadata (meta title and description). Include similar meta-information as your competitors. That way, Google can easily find your image when buyers right-click the image and select “Search Image with Google Lens”. Use Open Graph tags to control which image Google uses in their Google Lens search. That’s important when your product page displays multiple product images.
Conversely, if you don’t want customers finding your products on competitor’s sites, use original product images. That way Google can’t match your pics to your competitor’s images. Test them out by uploading them to Google image search to see what matches Google finds.
5) Keyword Strategy
Julia Demidova – Head of Marketing, Local SEO Products at Semrush
Zero-click searches are on the rise: 57% of users on mobile and 53% on desktop don’t click on organic or paid results, according to a newly released Semrush study of more than 600,000 searches. It is worth adjusting your SEO strategy to this trend: use keywords without an instant answer or use long-tail keywords to catapult your content onto the SERP.
In times of uncertainty, advertising budgets will be cut and SMEs are likely to enhance their SEO strategy with alternative means of promotion, including Google Maps, local directories, and voice search optimization. Give it a try—these could be good complimentary tools and tactics for your SEO strategy.
One of the main challenges that content production faces is quality versus quantity. AI-based services have been making good efforts to resolve this issue in 2022, producing search-optimized articles with the help of technology. Hopefully, in 2023 we will see more tools that generate good quality content. If you manage to provide customization at scale, it could make you a winner in the market.
Brandon Seymour – Owner and Principal Consultant of Beymour Consulting
A big challenge I see is creating content that is based on intent – specifically informational vs. commercial intent. I see a lot of brands trying to rank for informational queries with commercial or transactional content, and vice-versa. A good way to understand what Google prefers for any given query is to look at the top 5 ranking organic results. In most cases, you’ll see a clear trend. If the content you’re trying to rank doesn’t align with the content that’s currently ranking (in terms of intent), chances are that content will need to be reworked.
What are some popular comparison queries in your niche? What types of barrier content can you include to win over customers that are further downstream in the marketing funnel? Are you establishing your brand as a resource for tangentially related topics and information? Content strategy can be a huge differentiator for businesses in 2022 and beyond.
Murtaza Husain – Founder & CEO at BizProspex
Online Shopping: Google is focusing on improving the online shopping experience in response to the explosive increase in online shopping. Google eliminated commission costs and made it free for companies to sell on their platform in order to increase the appeal of selling on their platform.
To top it off, Google introduced the Shopping Graph to assist both shoppers and sellers in finding the appropriate products. The Shopping Graph is a model with AI enhancements that can comprehend various brands and product types.
Kimia Meshkinyar, Sr. Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Uberall
The post-Covid resurgence of in-store shopping mixed with online convenience has brands wanting more cohesive omnichannel customer journeys that deliver unique, memorable buying experiences. New and interesting hybrid purchasing experiences will grow in 2023 in order to attract new customers.
To stand out from the competition, businesses will need to combine amplifying awareness of their presence online with showcasing products through a local lens. A local, customized approach to addressing consumers has proven to not only help convert them faster to customers, but to also boost loyalty and repeat business. With hybrid shopping experiences being increasingly expected by customers and prospects alike, success in 2023 will rely heavily on a local approach, both digital and physical.
Additionally, the key element to remember, beyond awareness and local accessibility, is the ability to build and maintain trust with the audience. This is where the importance of managing reviews becomes apparent and should represent the second cornerstone of 2023 strategies. Businesses that pay close attention to managing, soliciting and responding to reviews will continue to get chosen above the competition when and where consumers look for what they need. That, combined with a continuous social presence, are key to staying top of mind and standing out as a brand in a “phygital” world.
7) Voice Search
Martin Luenendonk – Co-Founder of Founder Jar
Conversational queries are the next SEO trend for 2023 that you should be aware of. Google is constantly working to enhance the user’s search experience so they can locate relevant content quickly. Acquiring a better comprehension of linguistic intricacies is essential to this advancement.
Peter King – Co-founder of Authority Builders
Conversational queries are something that SEO professionals need to be aware of in 2023. Google is introducing LaMDA to better comprehend people’s conversational-style search queries in order to better serve their requirements. Additionally, it is implementing sophisticated capabilities to recognize and respond to vernacular questions. To raise their game in search engines, SEO professionals must keep this innovation at the top of their priority list.
Conversational queries are certainly a need of the hour, and after Google takes this first step, all other search engines are expected to follow suit and update their systems to offer better answers to these types of questions.
8) Video Marketing
Kellis Landrum – Co-Founder of True North Social
The big change for 2023 is already happening. There’s a shift towards younger people using social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram to search. If you believe the hype, TikTok is said to now get more traffic than Google.
I think it’s safe to say that Google is not going to take this shift lying down. It’s probable that Google is looking at how they can create a more TikTok-like search experience without cannibalizing their core product. YouTube has already created shorts which is a very TikTok like experience. I would bet on Google trying to push YouTube shorts in search results in an attempt to keep the audience for short form videos on their platform.
Rory Gillett – SEO Consultant and Founder of Parlez Creative
A key thing to consider is video. I know, I know, we have been talking about video for years. But, Google recently acknowledged they are losing searchers to TikTok. Google has hinted it will amend the SERP to show more video content. With that said, businesses have to think beyond written content. A content strategy can not be limited to blog posts alone. Take a written content idea and repurpose it for video; think TikTok, Instagram Reels & YouTube Shorts.
In addition, businesses have to consider YouTube and TikTok as search engines. Especially if their service or product is aimed at a younger audience. They may have social media accounts but are they creating content with consumer search in mind? If not, they should!
9) Visual Image Search
Michael Lees – Chief Marketing Officer at EZLease
In the future, photos will be utilized for much more than just visually expressing an idea; they will be used in a search to purchase, receive information, and more. This is just one reason why Google is so focused on pushing for effective image optimization.
Jordan Brannon – President and Co-Founder of Coalition Technologies
Businesses need to know about visual search. Visual search is one of the biggest SEO opportunities in 2023, but many companies haven’t looked into it as part of their branding strategies. Visual search uses a picture as a search query instead of text, so if a customer uses Google Lens, Amazon StyleSnap, or a similar engine, they’ll get results that visually match.
Brands have an opportunity to coordinate their social marketing efforts and site design to match everyday use. For example, if you sell clothes, make sure your site has pictures of people wearing the clothes in natural settings that mirror what a user would enter into a visual search.
10) Mobile Search
Rodney Warner – CEO of Connective
Optimizing for mobile search goes hand in hand with optimizing for voice search. The number of phone searches is likely to rise in 2023 and beyond. A mobile-friendly website can add value to your business and customer experiences. To optimize your site’s speed on mobile devices, make sure it is built with responsive code and a framework that adjusts how it looks based on the device used to view it.
In terms of traffic volume, mobile web traffic will dominate in 2023. As a result, search engines such as Google prioritize a website’s mobile version when evaluating rankings. Make sure to have a mobile-first approach for your digital marketing and SEO. It includes web design, social networking, and content optimization.
Cody Candee – Founder & CEO of Bounce
Optimizing your business’s mobile website to ensure that text aligns properly, that descriptions match the appropriate images, that links work seamlessly, and above all, that download speeds are accelerated to their highest level, should be a priority. As businesses continue to alter their websites, their emphasis should be on their mobile versions first as they will continue to be the main booster of SEO.
11) Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Katarina Betterton – SEO Specialist for Lightning Media Partners
What customers and businesses need to know: If you’re not already doing SEO, please start investing in it. It’s a non-negotiable part of the marketing mix in the digital landscape for any business dedicated to building some sort of web presence. In addition, SEO continues to evolve and I’d recommend training some of your staff (if you have an in-house team) or finding partners who are well-versed in the changes Google is bringing about within its analytics software. Understanding how to interpret GA4 reports will be a game-changer over competitors who can’t when it comes to serving your web visitors content they want to see and interact with.
Digital marketers and SEO specialists who focus and invest in understanding their customers and audience, the latest trends, algorithm updates, and relevant processes, will be able to excel going into 2023. We hope following these digital marketing and SEO trends mentioned above can help you grow and stay up-to-date in the digital marketing and SEO landscape.
To help get expert advice and guidance in SEO, you should consider partnering with a white label SEO partner. At Boostability, we are the number one white label SEO company for agencies around the world. We’re technology enabled, people powered. And our people are the best of the best. Learn more today about Boostability’s white label SEO program today!
If you’re interested in comparing trend reports from this year to last, visit our 2022 Digital Marketing Trends Report.