SEO trends in 2023

We’re at the beginning of Q2 and are seeing hints of where the SEO landscape of 2023 are headed. Let’s look at 7 trends to look out for.

Erik B 7 Mar, 2023 • 8 Min. read

Search engine optimization (SEO) evolves every year, and 2023 has not disappointed so far. Some believe that SEO – along with everything else – will never be the same again after ChatGPT and the rise of other AI tools. Is that correct? And which other SEO trends will shape 2023?

1. AI-generated or “AI-assisted” content

ChatGPT and other AI tools will affect SEO in several ways. Firstly by content that is produced, in whole or in part, by AI. The most well-known AI tool is a chatbot created by OpenAI called ChatGPT, which is based on the sophisticated GPT-3 language model GPT-3.

We asked ChatGPT to tell us about itself and what it can assist with:

According to ChatGPT, it has the ability to aid your understanding of previously unfamiliar topics.

In other words, the tool can be used as a search engine, where you get answers to any questions within a few seconds of minutes.

Another function that is significantly important for content producers is text generation. With good instructions, ChatGPT can produce SEO texts, blog articles, and strategies far faster than humans can. When ChatGPT 4* arrives, the tool will connect to the internet and become even more powerful.

We don’t think ChatGPT will replace content producers, but rather become a useful tool that makes our everyday lives more efficient.

*Today’s version has information from December 2021 and has not been updated since.

Automated illustrations

Examples of inventive tools that produce images from written descriptions include Midjourney and Dall-E. The images are of very high quality, and with precise instructions, such as what style and type of image to use, you can get amazing illustrations. Below is an example from when our CEO, Erling Løken Andersen, had to find an image for a hypothetical children’s book.

You can achieve stunning visuals when you give the tool good instructions. Here from Midjourney.

2. ChatGPT as a search engine?

As mentioned above, ChatGPT can be used as a search engine. Many people find that the chatbot gives better answers than Google. Others prefer the conversational user experience. But can ChatGPT replace Google?

Not yet, we think. Maybe never. ChatGPT can be used as a search engine, but it’s very different from traditional search engines. Many factors will affect the “competition” between ChatGPT and Google, including how Google responds to the challenge, but as of now they have different functions and uses.

There are two important differences:

  1. You cannot trust ChatGPT.
  2. The chatbot only covers some search intents.

The first is that ChatGPT can replicate factual inaccuracies and biases because it was trained on content authored by humans, which may contain flaws. You have to know a lot about what you’re searching for to be able to distinguish good answers from bad ones. The chatbot doesn’t state its sources either.

The second point is about search intent, a very important term in SEO that encompasses why people search the way they do. If you search for “sneakers,” you don’t want to read an article about sneakers. You want to buy sneakers.

When we type “buy sneakers” into ChatGPT, we get the following start of a longer answer about what to think about when choosing shoes: “There are many different factors to consider when buying sneakers, including fit, cushioning, support, grip, and durability.”

If we write that we want to buy the best running shoes on the market, ChatGPT begins with: “It’s difficult to say which running shoes are the best, as this will depend on personal preferences and needs.”

ChatGPT may respond better than Google to some search queries, but there are many search intentions that the chatbot cannot cover. We believe that traditional search engines will face competition from chatbots in 2023, but there are still big and important differences between them.

3. AI in the search engines

ChatGPT will challenge the search engines in 2023, but this is also the year when traditional search engines integrate ChatGPT and similar technologies into their own offerings.

Over time, Microsoft has invested larger sums in OpenAI. In February, they launched the “new Bing” with ChatGPT built-in. After several years of planning and “cold war”, Microsoft launched a full-frontal attack on Google.

Time will tell if Bing takes market share on this. Google has also unveiled its answer to ChatGPT, Bard. The chatbot is built on Google’s language model, LaMDA, which should be more advanced than GPT-3.

We’ll see more AI technology in search engines in 2023. This will open up new ways of searching and create new answers. People who work with SEO must rethink the websites they create and the content they produce.

4. Links are becoming less important.

The main focus of one the Google updates of late 2022 is links. The goal of the update is to penalize paid link purchases to build “authority” of websites.

Traditionally, the more websites that link to your page, the more Google trusts it and will prioritize it in searches. This can lead to the site getting more traffic.

The idea is that if someone links to your page, it must be because it has good content. Since Google wants users to find the best content on the web, it prioritizes content that others have linked to.

At least, this is the theory. In practice, a page can have a thousand links from other pages, but Google only chooses to give value to one of these links, or none at all. Context has become increasingly important, and Google has fine-tuned its algorithms so that good links that occur naturally are prioritized.

The link spam update from last year is a reminder of how important it is to produce good content that is worth linking to.

5. Increased focus on featured snippets

Featured snippet

A featured snippet is content at the very top of Google’s SERP (search result) that answers a direct question or offers more information from one of the pages that rank at the top. Depending on the search query, Google can handpick content from your page that answers that exact query.

Meaning you don’t need to click on a website to get the answer. In the past, you had to search for ” weather” and then click on the weather forecasting website. Now you get the weather forecast at the top of the search. The focus on featured snippets has led to many searches ending without a click. In a way it’s similar to how ChatGPT works, which also shows that Google adapted to new ways of searching long before the chatbot was launched.

Why optimize content for featured snippets?

  • Better rankings – As mentioned, a featured snippet will help you rank higher than your competitors in the search results and rank you #1. This is especially important for those who rank in the top 10, but not high enough to bring a lot of traffic to your website.

Being shown as a featured snippet is a significantly faster way to reach the top, as you don’t have to compete directly with the others who are in the top 10.

  • Increased number of clicks – Pages that are displayed as feature snippets may get more visitors than the “regular” search results, but it doesn’t have to be the case. If you get a targeted answer to your search query, your probably don’t need to click further. This depends mostly on the intention of the applicant.

* Early in 2020, Google came up with an update called “SERP deduplication”. It meant that websites that were displayed in the featured snippet space were not displayed elsewhere on the first page.

  • Brand building – Having your website appear at the top of Google is of course positive for the brand, and gives users confirmation that the information can be trusted.

There are different types of snippets, including text sections, lists, tables, and videos.

6. Useful content is as important as ever

Content should be created for people – not search engines. Google often updates its algorithms to make room in the search results for websites where visitors find what they are looking for. The updates started in 2022 and aim to reward high-quality content that is informative and useful to users. At the same time, the ranking is reduced for websites that do not have useful content or come with misleading information.

These are updates that SEO agencies need to pay close attention to and adapt to.

7. Product pages optimized for SEO

Pages that frequently have little content, like product pages, may benefit in 2023 from adding more complementary details to the page, as Google continues to reward informative content.

Customer reviews, FAQs, and drop-down menus are all examples of additional content that can be added to a product page. While including keywords in the product summary is beneficial, consider other inquiries customers might have before making a purchase.

  • Do you offer free shipping?
  • How do you return goods?
  • Does the product have warranties, upgrades or add-ons?
  • Are there customer testimonials or reviews you can show about the product?

These are just a few ways you can add extra content to a page that is useful and informative for users who is considering making a purchase.

Want to get started with SEO?

If you want to take it a step further and work actively with search engine optimization, we’ll be happy to help you.

Advantages of SEO:

  • Increased traffic – organic search accounts for 53% of traffic to a website.
  • More conversions – conversion-friendly content and more traffic increase the number of conversions.
  • Better user experience – the customer gets the right information at the right place in the customer journey.
  • “Free” visibility – you don’t pay for visibility in the same way as Google ads. 
  • Long-term strategy – SEO requires follow-up and optimization, but usually delivers stable results, with increased visibility over time.

Get in contact with us, and we’ll discuss how we can use organic search to reach more of your potential customers.