As we prepare to say goodbye to a challenging 2022, we look carefully around the corner to see what 2023 may bring us. There are plenty of opportunities and fresh challenges ahead. But, from a SEO point of view, the aspects that matter to business owners are the upcoming Google updates in 2023.
The Alphabet company does not keep its plans secret. Along the years, all marketers and webmasters had plenty of time to prepare whenever Google made changes to its search and ranking algorithm. And it is exactly the same for the Google updates in 2023. We already know what will happen and approximately when (although the exact implementation date is always subject to last minute changes).
New Ranking Factors and Changes to SEO Tools
The most significant changes that matter for marketers and business owners refer to how Google will rank websites and how it updates its SEO tools. As always, all Google tools and features are free – and this will continue even after all the Google updates in 2023.
The key changes come from a shift in the users’ behaviour when they interact with the search engine. There is a significant change in what people are looking for, and Google adapts its ranking algorithm to match these demands.
So, let us not keep you wondering, but share the most important Google updates in 2023:
1. Mobile-Friendly Videos Will Become More Important for SEO
One of the major Google updates in 2023 is the real-time indexing of video content. As a result, the search engine will count the number of times a video has been viewed among its ranking factors.
What do you need to do to prepare for this change? Here are a few key steps:
- Make sure all the videos posted on your site can be viewed on any device
- Use mobile-friendly video formats that compress the file as much as possible
- Tag and label videos adequately with relevant keywords.
2. Image Search Is One the Rise
If we can define a trend for Google updates in 2023, we would call it a greater emphasis on visual search results. Images will appear above URLs in search results, whenever their description matches the user’s intent.
And this means that you must optimise all the identification elements of all photos on your site:
- File name
- ALT text
Clicks on photos will be a valuable source of organic traffic in 2023, so pay more attention than ever to the type of images you publish on your website.
3. Google Analytics 4 Takes Over
We actually have a clear date for this Google update in 2023. On the 1st of July 2023 Google Universal Analytics will be retired, being replaced by Google Analytics 4. Also, starting with the same date, Google will no longer support third-party cookies.
This is a source of major concern for all marketers, who fear that they won’t be able to measure the effectiveness of their efforts. Instead, Google will offer a new method of tracking called event based analytics.
This will involve analysing user behaviour in relationship to digital properties and services. Google defines three types of events which can be tracked:
- Events that are important in completing a process within a product – such as signing up for a newsletter
- Events that guide a user through the main mechanics of a product – such as a demo or trial version
- Events that enable a user to make an in-app purchase.
The main take-away from this change is to remember to back up all data stored in Google Universal Analytics before the 1st of July, otherwise they will be lost.
4. New Ranking Factors and a Change in Weight
One of the major Google updates in 2023 is a change in the ranking algorithm. First of all, a new factor appears – trustworthiness. This change will have the most powerful impact on websites falling into the “Your Money or Your Life” category. As part of the tips for meeting trustworthiness criteria, Google advises website owners to:
- Cite academic sources whenever they can
- Refrain from posting unproven claims.
Also, two existing ranking factors will gain more weight:
- Niche expertise
- User engagement.
These three changes show one thing: that you must strive to create and post reliable, useful and engaging content. Backlinking to reliable sources must become a standard practice, together with consistently posting content on topics which fall within your area of expertise.
5. Google Introduces Schema Markups
Schema markups, also known as structured data, are a form of microdata – the language search engines use to read and understand content on each web page. It is basically a piece of code, but it is quite easy to add if your site has a CMS – there is a plugin for that.
Schema markups already existed, but were optional. Starting with 2023 you must have a schema markup for every page of your site if you want Google to properly crawl and index them.