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What’s next for news SEO? 2023 predictions
What will Top Stories look like in 2023? What’s after AMP? We crowdsourced predictions for news SEO in 2023 (and have some thoughts of our own). Plus! A special announcement.
Hello, and welcome back. Jessie and Shelby here. It’s our very last edition of 2022, can you believe it? In more than 40 newsletters, we’ve covered so many news SEO topics, shared excellent advice from industry pros and brought you algorithm update news. Now we're back with a perennial favourite: The SEO guessing game.
What will Top Stories look like in 2023? What’s next after AMP? How will search engines diversify results during global news events – will local news and extra carousels for context play a bigger role? We crowdsourced predictions and thoughts from some news SEO for clues (and have some thoughts of our own).
Next week: We are off for the holidays. Our first issue back in 2023 will be January 9th. If you’re looking for more insights and tactics while we’re having some R&R, check out our archive for all of the issues we’ve written over the past two years.
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What is your prediction for news SEO in 2023?
Three news SEO trends on my radar for 2023 are voice search, E-A-T and Google Discover.
To capitalize on the growing popularity of voice assistants, publishers should create more pieces of content that directly serve inquisitive user needs. Question-based headlines are a great way to connect with audiences on a practical level with long-tail keywords. People asked their Alexa devices, "When is the 2022 World Cup?" If you provide a related explainer, you can become a timely and trustworthy resource.
To keep trust with users high, it's more important than ever to zone in on E-A-T (recently expanded to E-E-A-T, to include Experience) within your editorial roadmap. To improve your E-A-T score, it's helpful to regularly boost author pages, conduct audits to weed out thin pieces of content, refresh older evergreen articles and pursue more topics that users need your specific expertise on.
A strong E-A-T signal can also benefit Google Discover, which is going to continue to change the search game with its curated content feed. Employing an entity-based content strategy, prioritizing mobile-friendly best practices and incorporating high-quality images will help set up brands for Google Discover success.
– Louisa Frahm, SEO Director for ESPN
I believe 2023 will be the year more news SEOs focus less on ranking and the traffic they drive through search and focus more on how those actually impact the business overall from a metrics level. As SEO continues to become a larger and larger slice of a company’s overall traffic (for some U.S. publishers over 30 to 40 per cent), SEOs will no longer be looked at for just what works well, but actually what converts well – whether it’s a user registering on your website through search or subscribing to your paid product as well.
Many websites also have a solid 10 to 20 per cent share of their search audience that are subscribers. Subscribers – even when they are paying for your product – may not necessarily think of your product first when it comes to their news needs.
You will see more news SEOs dive into tech SEO and the impact it causes to your site’s visibility (Core Web Vitals), as well as product improvements and what makes sense for your readers, registration and subscription strategy, and at the same time become a deeper part of the newsroom and editorial planning in a way that they maybe weren’t before.
In my opinion, specializing in SEO in the news industry is great for your career in the short-term, but it’s best to learn about the business as a whole to advance in the long term.
– Claudio Cabrera, VP of Audience and Newsroom Strategy, The Athletic
I expect Google will continue to diversify sources in big news moments between national brands and local newsrooms or TV stations. What used to be purely nationally-owned stories in search is often no longer. Those brands should anticipate a smaller share of voice in these news moments – if they're not seeing it already – and plan accordingly.
– Kyle Sutton, Director of SEO, Product at USA Today Network
Structured data will become more important. We'll see more publishers playing with "Mentions" and "About" Schema to directly name entities that are part of an article rather than relying solely on Google’s entity extraction (at least for non-English publishers).
– Johan Hülsen, SEO Consultant, Wingmen Online Marketing
Now that AMP has definitively died in 2022, we can celebrate its demise in 2023. We'll need that celebration as I don't believe 2023 will be a good year for news SEO. The market will continue to fluctuate as Google's algorithm updates first penalize, then reward, news websites from one day to the next, with no advance warning. Making traffic forecasts for news websites is a very ungrateful task, so don't allow your bonus to depend on actual traffic numbers. Google giveth, but mostly Google taketh away.
In 2023 I think we'll see a number of technical advancements that can really help news publishers. The technologies around content, semantics and entities are now at such a level that we have an arsenal of fun toys at our disposal. For example, we can automate internal linking to topic pages, provide actually useful suggestions for relevant entities to be mentioned in an article as it's being written and A/B test different headlines to determine what gets traction in news search compared to Google Discover, compared to social channels.
Publishers that adopt these technologies (or partner with CMS providers who bake this into their platforms) will have a competitive advantage in 2023 and beyond.
– Barry Adams, Specialized SEO Consultant, Polemic Digital
More publishers will start integrating shopping recommendations for revenue generation. A summary or TL;DR section might start showing under the Top Stories section to increase the zero click results.
Google Discover and Google Web Stories will continue to grow as a major traffic source for publishers. TikTok won't be replacing Google for news in 2023, nor will GPT-3 chat.
– Mahendra Choudhary, SEO Technical Team Lead, State of Digital Publishing
2023 will be a year where E-A-T will be a bigger factor in evaluating the quality and accuracy of brands. As Gen Z is leaning more toward social media platforms to source their recommendations and information, Google definitely doesn't want to lose out on this audience and might launch some initiatives to build trust within this younger community.
Google will make a stronger continued push with the aid of their Helpful Content algorithm to make sure websites showing signals of high authority and trustworthiness thrive, while generic publishers without much focus on these initiatives might see some drop in visibility.
– Swapnil Pate, Head of SEO, State of Digital Publishing
The visibility of news in the search ecosystem is massively important – to our organizations, readers and the industry – but that traffic is not a guarantee. We can’t ever predict how Google will change its algorithms next year, but we can hope it will prioritize expertise and trustworthy sourcing as important ranking signals. In 2023, publishers should focus on E-E-A-T and topical authority to build your visibility in search – and as SEO concepts to tout in the newsroom.
As news SEO editors, the challenge is often around getting editorial buy-in for an approach or tactic. Authority, expertise and experience covering a topic? Being trustworthy stewards of information? These are all concepts that map directly on top of how we already think as journalists. Focusing on E-E-A-T and topical authority (alongside practical skills like using Google Trends or other keyword research tools) in newsroom training is a useful trust-building exercise – and can lead to more meaningful newsroom collaboration.
– Jessie Willms, Co-Founder/Writer, WTFisSEO?
2022 was the battle of the live file. Many publishers jumped into the ring and created their own live experience (live blogs, trackers, live-like files) and were extremely successful. Because of the desire from readers for a play-by-play or up-to-date experience, we saw a ton of live files inhabit the real estate in news carousels. But as more publishers go live – especially those that go live for the sake of traffic – I predict search engines will want to avoid over-saturation and begin to choose only a handful of live files and provide more analysis or contextual assets.
During the World Cup, we saw this happening with the “also in the news” carousel being ever-present and live files only showing up during matches. In 2023, we could see Google begin to devalue live in search to provide a better balance and give the reader everything they need in one place.
– Shelby Blackley, Newsroom SEO Editor, The Athletic & Co-Founder/Writer, WTFisSEO?
Search Engine Journal: SEO Trends for 2023, according to 24 experts
Google: E-A-T gets an extra E for experience (guidelines)
Lily Ray for Search Engine Land: E-E-A-T and major updates to Google’s quality rater guidelines
Google: Visual elements of Google Search
Crystal Carter for Moz: How to optimize existing content for featured snippets (Whiteboard Friday)
Search Engine Roundtable: Google unleashes December 2022 link spam update with SpamBrain AI
Crystal Carter for Wix: Homepage SEO strategies to achieve business goals