Back in the old days of SEO copywriting, it was common practice to pump out blog after blog packed with high-ranking keywords and focused on quantity over quality (to an extent). Volume was everything, and keywords were, well, the keys to success.
But things have changed a little since the ‘black hat’ days of SEO blog writing. AI is now championing the crowds, quality has become king, and keywords are not held on the pedestal they once were.
As Google continues to evolve and artificial intelligence (AI) speeds along, what’s different in the SEO copy and content landscape now?
Like us, we’re sure you’ll want to do everything in your power to boost those SERP rankings. In this article, we'll explore some key SEO blog trends that will help you maximise your blog's visibility and attract more readers in 2023 and beyond.
How have Google’s latest updates and learnings changed the SEO content landscape?
Before we dive in, it’s important to get a grasp on some of the reasons behind all these new trends and changes. As the largest and most popular search engine with more than 85% of the search market share, Google plays a major role in these changes.
Google’s continual updates and improvements create a waterfall effect of sorts. Google (and to a lesser degree, other search engines like Bing) dictates how other tools and platforms shape and change. We’re talking predominantly, of course, about the topic on everyone’s lips: AI.
AI: Saving time and streamlining keyword placement
With the advancements in AI, writing compelling content has become easier than ever. AI can save you time, cut through writer's block, and help you put keywords in the right places.
It’s brought about massive changes in the SEO landscape, allowing AI to do much of the legwork for search algorithms.
However, copywriters still play a crucial role in adding contextual value to the content generated by AI. This contextual value is the golden egg of the 'new wave' of content and copy, and it’s something that, just like a unique tone of voice, requires that essential human component to really make it sing.
Vocal searching: The rise of natural language
The way people search has even undergone a transformation, thanks to voice searches and smart devices like Alexa. While it’s of course still commonplace to type a search into Google, there’s a definite rise in voice searches as the number one way to find answers.
According to Oberlo, 71% of smart device consumers in the US prefer to search by voice instead of typing. It’s also worth noting that ‘smart devices’ include an ever-growing array of gadgets, from smartphones and watches to smart home devices and TVs. We don’t see these devices going away anytime soon, so it could be argued that voice searching will only increase in popularity.
But what does this have to do with SEO?
Spoken word = natural language. Even when typing searches, there’s a clear trend emerging in naturally phrased search queries. Rather than searching for ‘best car’, it’s more common now to ask ‘what’s the best car model for families in 2023?’. See the difference?
To adapt to this trend, it's essential to optimise your content for natural keyword language, allowing for more specificity and direct targeting. Basic search terms yield basic answers, while detailed and specific search terms generate more comprehensive answers.
Is SEO Still That Important for Blog Writing?
Well, if it wasn’t, we probably wouldn’t be writing this article. While SEO is not the sole focus of content creation, it remains crucial for driving traffic to your blog.
You could have the best content in the world, but if no one sees it, what's the point? SEO acts as your map and guide, directing readers to your content and helping them find the results they want.
However, it's not as important as some may think. In fact, nine times out of ten, your content will rank for different keywords than what you initially intended. Yeah, we know. Keywords can be fickle.
What’s not fickle, though, is context.
Context is King
The context of your content matters more than individual keywords, phrases, or even backlinks (though these are always a major win). Search engines have become incredibly proficient in scanning content and understanding its essence, matching it to users' search inputs.
To optimise your content, consider adding context to your articles. For example, if you're writing an article about the ‘10 Best Cars of 2023,’ don't just stick to the generic keyword ‘best cars.’ Instead, delve into specific brands, servicing, taxing, mechanics, and fuels.
Building layers of context adds value to your main topic and allows you to reach a broader audience.
Additionally, take advantage of internal linking between blogs to create a spider's web that keeps readers on your website and helps build your website's volume. If you wrote a blog previously about the importance of car servicing, you can link that in this new blog.
How Can SEO Be Used to Cut Through Content Saturation?
Content saturation is evident everywhere. Whether you’re in the blogosphere, social media, or video platforms, there’s content coming out of everyone’s ears these days.
To cut through content saturation, it's essential to adhere to best SEO practices and avoid black hat techniques. Keyword spamming and low-quality content won't get you far in the long run.
Keep it simple with creating high-quality content that stands out from the crowd. Ensure your blog answers your keyword phrase or topic question as precisely as possible, and then provide layers of additional value that will keep the reader hooked.
Blog volume is still a key ingredient to driving website traffic – the more content on your website, the more chances you have of it answering people’s search queries and subsequently visiting – but in 2023, quality is well and truly more important than quantity.
Blog Length: What's the Ideal Word Count in 2023?
In 2023, blog length is not as crucial as it used to be. While some blogs rank high with just a few hundred words (and likely a lot of backlinks), others may require more extensive content.
As a general rule of thumb, aim for around 1200-1600 words for an average blog post in 2023. You probably don’t want to go under 800 words, or Google might not fully recognise your blog or perceive your content as valuable enough to push on SERPs.
The ideal word count, however, depends on the nature of your topic and what works best to meet the interests of your audience. For broad topics like ‘Top 10 Things to Do,’ longer blog posts may be beneficial. On the other hand, more specific topics might require shorter and concise content.
SEO Tasks You Should Prioritise When Writing a Blog
When it comes to SEO tasks, it's important to prioritise effectively. Here's a simple priority list to follow:
- Understand your customer or buyer persona. Identify who will be reading your blog post.
- Research the keywords that your target audience is searching for and compile a list.
- Conduct thorough research to add contextual value to your content.
- Answer the reader's question while also leaving them curious and engaged, prompting them to explore more on your website.
- Word count is no longer as critical as it used to be. Focus on delivering value rather than hitting a specific word count.
- Utilise schema markup, bullet point lists, and table of contents to enhance readability and indirectly benefit SEO.
- Structure your article for better readability with shorter paragraphs and informative subheadings.
- Pay attention to meta data, descriptions, ALT tags, and other technical aspects, although they have less impact than content quality.
- Incorporate relevant and visually appealing imagery throughout your blog post to enhance reader satisfaction and engagement. Aim for 2-3 images that illustrate your topic.
Hot tip: Consider using keywords in image ALT tags for products or hospitality-related content as they can rank in image searches and drive additional traffic.
Easy Hacks for Boosting Blog Readability
Boosting blog readability is essential for keeping readers engaged and interested. Here are some easy hacks to achieve that:
- Use shorter sentences to improve readability and comprehension.
- Avoid complex language, unless your target audience has specialised knowledge in a particular field.
- Scatter relevant and eye-catching images throughout your blog post to break up text and give readers' eyes a refreshing break.
- Utilise dot points, subheadings that ask questions related to the main topic, and bullet points instead of tables (or convert tables into infographics) for enhanced readability.
What Will SEO Look Like in the Future?
In the not-so-distant future, AI is expected to play a more significant role in managing SEO tasks with minimal human input.
As AI technology continues to advance, the technicalities of SEO may become less important. But this isn’t a bad thing; rather, we should look at it through the lens of AI helping us to enhance SEO, transforming it into something more sophisticated and accurate than ever before.
If you’re a copywriter, don’t let this send you into a spiralling panic. The human component to writing quality content will always be necessary for that one essential reason that all good marketing needs: emotion.
While AI will likely take a lot of grunt work out of SEO blog tasks (keywords, algorithm matches, readability), the essence, quality, naturalness, and emotion behind the blog will be down to the writer.
Stay Ahead with SEO Blog Trends: Outsource With a Digital Marketing Agency
As you navigate the evolving SEO landscape in 2023, these trends will help you boost your blog's traffic and maintain a competitive edge.
Embrace the power of AI, optimize for natural language and detailed keyword targeting, and prioritise context over individual keywords. Utilise SEO techniques to cut through content saturation, focus on high-value content, and employ easy hacks to enhance readability.
If you’re a little overwhelmed by all this SEO talk, there is one other solution to boosting your website’s traffic: outsource with an agency like Talk.
Our expert SEO analysts and creative content writers work together to blend the magic of words with the drive of data. We develop cutting-edge articles with precise targeting to achieve the best results time and again.
Give us a buzz if you’re keen to set your blog on a path to success in the ever-changing digital world.