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11 SEO trends experts think you should know

SEO trends article -A blue background with a mock up of a Google search result listing for a company called BRNDZ, plus a graph showing a 65.5% increase overtime

The Wix SEO team has compiled the top 11 SEO trends we think will not only help your target audience find you on Google, but also help you build a solid organic growth strategy. But this important list comes with a disclaimer: we don’t really believe in SEO “trends.” SEO is not a short-term game or gimmick, but rather a part of your strategy that involves constant evolvement and growth.

So whether you want to create a website, start a business, or just get your pages more visible in search—we’ve got you covered with SEO trends that will make your brand stand out.

PS. Still not sure what SEO is? Start with our What is SEO guide.

The SEO trends we’ll discuss:

11 SEO trends you must know

01. UX and performance

Key takeaway: Keep an eye on Google’s evolving user experience and performance metrics and measurement tools.

Google introduced Core Web Vitals (CWV) over two years ago, and since then has gradually incorporated them into their algorithm (first mobile, then desktop). These performance metrics show us Google’s increasing focus on user experience and website performance. Not only should we aim to deliver the best content that matches a user’s search intent, but also Google also prioritizes fast-loading content that allows for immediate interaction.

Since 2020, Google hasn’t introduced or updated CWV metrics. For the most part, how a site is measured against CWV is almost the same as when they were first introduced. But according to Asi Falcon, Technical SEO Expert, two recent updates show that Google is not only placing more emphasis on the user experience, but also making it easier for developers to improve page performance.

First, in March 2022 Google introduced their Performance Insights panel, a tool that simplifies the CWV optimization process for developers. For example, it shows where a render blocking resource sits on a page, and makes it clear what slows it down the most.

Additionally, in May 2022 Google introduced INP (Interaction to Next Paint), an experimental metric that measures all interactions in total runtime, beyond first load and responsiveness. Google states that INP is, “about making sure the website lets you interact with it within a short period of time.”

Let’s say a user presses a button on a site. Originally, Google measured performance based on First Input Delay (FID). This metric indicated the time between the button being pressed and the signal sent to the “event listener” (what triggers the interactive element).

Today, INP, by contrast, measures the entire time between the user pressing a button, and the interactive element actually appears.

Google has not made it clear if INP will become a new metric or if it will replace FID entirely. But what is clear is that user first SEO is here to stay.

02. Clustering

Key takeaway: Match your clusters with on-point internal linking.

It’s no surprise that content quality matters alongside optimization for users and search engines. In the past, two specific Google updates—Hummingbird in 2013 and RankBrain in 2015—have placed topic-centered content in the spotlight.

However, Ofir Buchsweiler, Content SEO Expert at Wix, predicts that the search engine is looking beyond single pages, and instead is looking for the big picture. “A satisfied user will get a whole journey around the topic on your site," she says.

Judit Ruiz Ricart, Head of Growth for the Wix Blogs, agrees: "As search engine algorithms advance, our content efforts must evolve from keyword-centric to topic-wide.”

Enter: clustering. Clustering means organizing your blog’s content according to relevant topics, in a way that helps signify to Google that you’re an authoritative source. Ricart says that at Wix, by covering a high percentage of entities (what Google refers to as a definable subject or concept) for a certain topic or cluster, all related content is more likely to rank in high positions.

Let’s see what a marketing cluster looks like as an overarching topic: We’d create an in-depth article targeting “Marketing Strategies,” which will function as the cluster’s pillar page. We’d then expand on that cluster by breaking down its overarching topic. For example, creating a “types of marketing” subcluster, creating another pillar page that contained a complete guide to the different marketing types.

But our marketing cluster doesn’t stop there. Let’s say that now, within the ”types of marketing” cluster we have an article about social media marketing. Our research shows us that this trending topic interests our readers and comes with a lot to write about. In this case, we’d build the topic of “social media marketing” into a sub-cluster and expand on “types of marketing” even further by including articles on Facebook marketing, Instagram marketing, etc.

Eventually, each type of social media marketing we wrote about on the pillar page turns into their own articles and even subclusters of their own, down the line.

To help connect the dots, Yael Iba Tepeleni, International SEO Expert at Wix, recommends using the most “overlooked” SEO tactic: Internal linking. “It will help Google discover your pages faster, users navigate easier, and most importantly, boost your rankings for a specific keyword/anchor. It’s a quick win,” she says.

Semantic SEO is a part of the process when it comes to clustering and worth checking out.

03. SERP features

Key takeaway: The SERP always evolves, and Google always experiments—keep an eye on what SERP features your target keywords rank for and adjust your content accordingly.

Google knows that even if users search enter very broad terms, they are still searching for a relevant answer. That’s why featured snippets, which highlight specific excerpts from articles to provide users with quick answers, have become a favorite among SERP features. For years, SEO experts have copiously tracked and secured featured snippets, but some of the most eagle-eyed have noticed that Google is now testing the position of other SERP features like People Also Ask or Videos, to more accurately meet user intent.

This example from Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Branding, shows just how much query filtering Google offers searchers, especially when searching broad terms:

With this, Kyle Place, SEO Content Expert, says that a fluctuating SERP can affect your clicks and CTR—even if your ranking remains the same. “As Google adds or removes features, the number of organic results varies from the familiar 10 blue links. So while you may not see a drop in position for a particular keyword, you could be pushed further down the page or onto another one,” he adds.

Mikki Ben-Or, SEO Content Expert, elaborates on this, saying that in the past, when Wix gains a keyword’s featured snippet, the CTR for that particular page increases— even compared to ranking in the first position on the SERP without the snippet.

Featured Snippet for How to Start a Blog - SEO trends

04. Artificial Intelligence

Key takeaway: Be open to change—automation can only help you.

AI is an exciting space in any industry, and where it goes in SEO remains to be seen. Ido Shazkin, SEO Content Expert, has his eye on the scope and impact of AI on SEO from three angles: search, content writing, and on- and off-page analysis.

AI and search:

The SEO world had Artificial Intelligence on its radar since Google introduced MUM (Multitask Unified Model) in May of 2021. MUM works with natural language processing (NLP) to process Google’s extensive global data (text, images and video in multiple languages) and accurately answer search queries.

MUM highlights the following best practices for SEOs should:

  • Focus on the specific intent of users more than ever

  • Bring multimedia to your content when it matches users’ intent

  • Cluster your content according to topics

  • Organize your content by implementing internal linking and schema

AI and content writing:

Not every search query demands the best content in the world. Someone searching “how to start a YouTube channel,” for example, probably wants something straightforward, informative, with step-by-step instructions. They don’t want Pulitzer-winning content, so why waste time and resources creating it?

It seems that AI-generated content (like those created by Natural Language Generation platforms Jasper, Copysmith and Writesonic) is stepping in to fill this void. One of the biggest concerns is if AI-generated content can meet the user’s expectations and Google’s strict content standards. Will they deem it of high enough quality or will they penalize it?

Since this space is developing, there are no straight-forward answers with AI content generation. Plenty of content creators already use AI content tools for pre-publishing input, such as Grammarly and Wordtune, but Google is against AI pure AI-generated content. We predict that there’s room to experiment using AI to create a mix of article briefs and drafts, but we’re not losing the human element in the editing and publishing process.

AI and on-page/off-page analysis

If AI can make content creation faster, it can also help us organize, prioritize and scale our day-to-day workflows and research. AI has the potential to make SEO analysis more efficient in two areas:

On-page analysis: An example is tracking and scaling tests to improve a page’s meta titles’ click-through-rate. AI tools like Rytr, Frase and Simplify can not only rewrite meta titles using SERP analysis, but they can also analyze your data and identify which keywords don’t reach your benchmark.

Off-page analysis: AI tools like Similarweb can crawl the web and identify quality sites or content that advance your outreach efforts, saving you time. From niche podcasts, to sites with high topic authority and field experts—AI tools can help highlight relevant professionals to connect with.

05. Brand trust

Key takeaway: First and foremost, be a great company—then focus on building up the signals that tell search engines just how great you are.

Expertise, Authority and Trust (E-A-T) is not a new SEO concept, but a venerated and essential factor in creating high-quality, high-ranking content. What makes this worthy of our trends list, according to Ido Shazkin, SEO Content Expert, is that external brand and reputation reviews are now influencing the SERP and have a growing impact on a company’s online authority. Shazkin predicts that, in response, brands will signal authority to Google via expert-authored or verified content, dedicated author pages and expert-reviewed content supported by citations schema.

Outside of on-page content, Adela Ance, International SEO Expert, suggests that a brand’s overall reputation can affect Google rankings as well. As consumers demand more commitment to trusted and sustainable practices, any material published that can detract from a positive and transparent brand image could also affect a brand’s E-A-T.

One way your content team can establish company transparency is through webinars, which, regardless of topic, inform a large audience on essential information. As Clémence Arthur, International SEO Expert points out, webinars are not only a great way to build authority with strategic SEO content. They’re also a great way to make your online material more immersive and engaging, allowing your brand to speak directly and personally to its audience.

06. Video content

Key takeaway: Start prioritizing video content by embedding videos in written content and devising a wider plan to get your videos ranking.

Many companies overlook the game-changing SEO potential of video content, even when they already use videos as part of their marketing strategy. However, according to Yana Arad Raduzky, SEO Domain Expert, videos can be an easy win for SEO. “One of my greatest ROI successes was recycling paid ads promoting an RPG game into evergreen SEO content for YouTube and Google,” she says.

Two key indicators show us that video could have a big future on SERPs:

  1. Video rich snippets appear as the top result for a growing number of user intents, especially on mobile search. In July 2021, Google announced automated identification of parts within a video, meaning that more videos will have the extended snippet showing ‘key moments” (or, specific chapters within the video). Video rich results take up a lot of SERP real estate. If you see a video tops the results page, Google likely has identified video as the most relevant content form for the query. This hints that another well-optimized video will have the best chance to rank, too.

  2. Following the pre-launch of YouTube Shorts in 2020, Google added a "Short Videos" carousel to mobile SERPs featuring clips from TikTok and Instagram Reels. Shorts are a new product, so it makes sense that Google makes them more visible on the mobile SERP to ensure their success.

  3. Let’s also not forget that Gen Z prefers to use video-first platforms, like TikTok, over traditional search engines like Google to identify and consume intent-driven content.

07. International SEO

Key takeaway: To win international SEO, you need to go beyond translating keywords.

International SEO is not a short-term strategy, Like other SEO strategies, scaling globally takes time and involves constant tracking and reporting. That’s why you should seriously consider if international SEO fits your marketing strategy and if you have the resources to do it properly.

If you do want to dip your toes into localization, you’ll first need to decide if your audience needs localized content. You can get your answer by combining geo-specific competitor research with keyword research to understand how your target audience searches and behaves online. For example, if you’re targeting an Indian market, you may consider localizing your content for a Hindi-speaking population. But through your research, you may find that Indian consumers want English content, and that your translations would be in vain.

According to Marieke Ehlers, International SEO Expert, the only way to win at International SEO is to localize everything along your site’s customer journey. Nothing turns off a potential customer more than arriving at your site via a blog post in the local language, only to be sent to a pricing page that isn’t.

That may mean re-thinking where to start with your SEO research. While Google has a hold on search all over the world, that doesn’t mean you should disregard local search engines, too.. In Korea, for example, you might see pages behave differently in Google compared to Naver, the local equivalent.

Once you gain international visitors, make sure you adapt images, videos and other multimedia to match local needs. A great example is the German Wix homepage, which includes an image of an actual person, rather than a product, since the German audience proved to respond more to this.

08. Site hierarchy

Key takeaway: Make sure your internal linking strategy reflects the importance of site hierarchy—if you get that right, you’ll show your search engines your authority where it matters.

Since site hierarchy is one way to show Google authority on a topic, you should identify your most important pages. According to Nitzan Papirov Eiges, Technical SEO Team Lead, the Pareto principle is a great way to understand what percentage of pages should be your authoritative ones. This ~20% (following the principle) will represent the pinnacle of your expertise—and you want Google to see these pages. The rest of your pages will support these top 20%, through internal linking.

While you can show your authority in several ways, internal linking, sends a clear signal to both Google and your users about how your content fits together. To learn more about creating a strategy for your site, check out this internal linking webinar featuring SEO consultant and co-founder of Zyppy Cyrus Shepard as he delves into a recent case study on 23 million internal links.

Two more ways to improve your authoritative content is to make sure:

  • Your main menu (and its links) is consistent across your site pages.

  • The menu, header and footer includes your most important links, as they will become the most linked to.

09. Backlinks

Key takeaway: Focus on a diverse set of high-quality backlinks that support your site’s goals.

Speaking of linking, the importance of backlinking and the best way to secure them is a practice that’s constantly evolving. “Backlinks are one of the more essential aspects of optimizing a site to gain the online presence and credibility it wants to achieve,” says Ophyr Hanan from the SEO Outreach Team. “The world of earning high-quality backlinks is a crucial and inseparable part of SEO.”

While on-page SEO focuses on optimizing the pages themselves, off-site SEO focuses on increasing traffic to your website and improving your online reputation through backlinks. Since backlinks help search engines decipher how authoritative your site is, the more high-quality and relevant backlinks your site gains from reliable websites, the more likely a search engine will rank it high on the SERP for relevant queries and keywords.

A high-quality backlink comes from a related page with original or well-reported content, from a reputable site. For example, if you published an original report about your site's SEO practices and related, reputable SEO sites (e.g. SEMrush's blog) cited the page in a round-up of the best SEO teams in enterprise marketing, there's a good chance Google would consider that a high-quality backlink.

According to Sharon Greenfeld, Outreach and App Store Optimization Team Lead, the first step to gaining quality backlinks is regularly publishing and updating your site’s content. The next, more challenging part comes when you must audit your site’s backlink profile and rid it of duplicate or low-quality referral links. While Google suggests that toxic links don’t hold any weight on your site’s ranking (meaning you can just ignore them), you can still “Disavow” spammy links, or signal to Google that it should ignore them, too.

While many of your backlinks may come organically, you can actively reach out to high-quality sites and seek strategic backlinks. To learn more about developing a backlinking strategy, read Wix SEO Hub’s Backlinking 101 guide, or their guide to getting started with backlinking.

Check out Ophyr Hanan sharing her story as an SEO specialist with Semrush.

10. Conversion rate optimization

Key takeaway: Not every page should convert, but when it can, make sure it does it well.

Your conversion rate can impact how Google views your site and how well you can meet your user’s intent. “Google cares that your site is accurate and reliable,” says Amanda Weiner, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Specialist. “Of course, it [also] doesn’t hurt that if your elements are spot on, visitors will spend more time on your pages, clicking through to more inner pages. This ultimately shows Google that your site is what they were looking for.”

Best practices for improving conversion rates include having clear cut buttons, text that explains exactly what you sell, plus images that support said text.

11. Google updates & rank volatility

Key takeaway: Turn the focus from major algorithmic events to tracking ranking and behavior trends over time.

SEO doesn’t sleep. While your rankings may have fluctuated after major Google algorithm updates, Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Branding, thinks these updates are becoming seemingly less powerful over time. Instead, the algorithm is heading towards more consistent, if not “real-time” updates.

In October 2021, Oberstein found that there was a 68% increase in the instances (i.e. number of days in the year) that presented significant levels of rank volatility (i.e. the number of positions sites tended to move up or down the SERP). However, the actual rank movement was less drastic.

Much of the volatility experienced in the past represented a series of rank reversals. Meaning, Google changes the URL’s SERP position only to reverse its ranking days or weeks later (with a possible reversal after that, and so on,). At times, Google tests new positions for URLs of a given keyword, reversing the rank to its former position only to release an official core update that cements the initial ranking change Google.

Oberstein adds, “Google constantly changes the SERP rankings, testing new constructs (hence the reversals) and deciding on what makes sense for the query. At the same time, Google seemingly relies less on major algorithmic landmarks (i.e., core updates) to alter SERP rankings. Meaning, we seem headed towards Google making consistent (though perhaps less dramatic) and continuous ranking changes. This may sound like an outlandish concept, but remember Google’s Penguin went from infrequent specific releases to real-time functioning.”

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