Whether it’s within the beauty industry or further afield, the world of SEO is always fluctuating. Google and other search engines are constantly evolving and amending their guidelines and algorithms in order to give their users the best possible experience and the most relevant results.
Here I’ll discuss what’s new and changing in SEO in 2023, and what that means for beauty brands.
Helpful Content Update
You’ve probably already heard of Google’s helpful content update by now. Announced in August 2022, the update essentially means that Google has changed the way it prioritises content.
The main goal for this update is to make sure that SERPs are filled with useful content that’s relevant to the searcher’s enquiry, and not just optimised for the search engine. As a result, there are several priorities that you should be making with your SEO to satisfy the helpful content update. Namely, user intent, and refreshing your content.
Understand and Focus on User Intent
Fundamentally, user intent is a type of audience segmentation. It’s crucial for understanding what your audience wants to gain from their search and ensuring you’re providing what they’re looking for.
There are three key types of user intent:
- Informational: Users are seeking answers to a particular question, looking for advice or knowledge.
- Navigational: Users are looking for a particular site or brand. They have a destination in mind and are looking to get there.
- Transactional: Users are ready to purchase, or perform another online activity. These customers already have the information they need and are ready to act.
Understanding your audience’s user intent can help you optimise your site along every step of the user experience, making it perfectly tailored to what your customers need. Beauty consumers have always had an intimate connection with the brands they use due to the nature of the products; self-expression is how many cosmetic consumers define themselves, so it’s important for them to align with brands’ values and stories before investing in their products.
This relationship can be improved by reaching out from the brand’s side, too. Understand what your audience want from you and make it as easy as possible for them to find it, and you’re on your way towards a beautiful relationship.
Refresh Existing Content
Content marketing is fast-paced to begin with, but this is amplified tenfold when you specifically look at the beauty scene. Your supposedly evergreen content of ‘Bold Eye Looks for a Night Out’ will only be relevant for as long as a smoky eye is still on trend.
The kind of makeup styles people look for change frequently, especially with the likes of TikTok encouraging even more fleeting trends than before. If time-sensitive content like this has become less relevant, you can piggyback off its existing success and make it relevant to new searches by simply updating the content, rather than creating a whole new page.
For example, your ‘Bold Eye Looks for a Night Out’ blog might consist of a smoky eye, or neutral halo eyeshadow. Instead of starting all over again, update this to trends like graphic eyeliner and bold, contrasting colours.
This is even more true when you have blog content that’s ranking for some popular search terms and generating traffic over an extended period of time. You want to make sure that content is always giving users what they want, and saying exactly what you want it.
Prioritise Page Speed
Page speed is more important as ever, particularly in a competitive sphere such as beauty. The global attention span is narrowing, but even if it wasn’t, a fast web page is important for an overall positive user experience.
Visitors are encouraged to explore more of your website if each page loads quickly, and will become impatient and leave if they take too long. The latter will not only increase your bounce rate, but also bring your average page view time right down.
That’s without mentioning the SEO benefits of fast-loading websites, which are huge.
A better user experience also equals higher conversion rates. According to Google, a one second site speed improvement can increase mobile conversions by up to 27%.
The beauty industry is on a continuous upward trajectory in its growth rate. Having been worth $483bn in 2020, it’s expected to exceed $716bn by 2025. In such a competitive industry, seemingly small things like site speed go a long, long way.
AI has become a huge conversation over recent months within digital marketing, and it’s never going to go away. There are several forms of AI that could be useful tools for SEO:
- Link building: identifying relevant websites for brands to link to and speed up research of PR activity.
- Keyword research: AI could conduct keyword research more speedily and help businesses understand the intent behind them.
- Technical SEO: a possibility for automatically identifying and repairing features like broken links and crawl errors.
- Voice search optimisation: In 2022, 41% of adults used voice search at least once a day. Businesses should optimise their websites for AI tools like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assist to utilise voice search.
- Content creation: Whether it is helping write the actual content itself or helping with the initial ideation, AI tools can be a great option for coming up with unique content.
- Imagery: beauty and fashion sites are now able to use AI to generate more relevant visual content for product pages or brand imagery
Now, each of these tactics need a human controlling the inputs and checking and refining the outputs, but the technology does allow beauty marketers to be more efficient and avoid some inherent biases.
From NFTs to the Metaverse and more, AI has been expected to affect the beauty landscape for some time now. In 2023 and further on, we’re expecting that to stay relevant with more brands dipping their toes into the AI pool, using tools like Chat GPT to generate unique beauty-related content.
Google Web Stories
Across all platforms, stories are an ever more important way for brands to show themselves off online. Google web stories are much like the stories function popularised by Snapchat and Instagram; they’re tappable pages with audio, video, and text.
Google web stories have so far been popularised in the US, although their roll-out in the UK is expected for 2023. Stories allow for short-form, engaging, creative content – all of which are some of the magic words for the beauty industry. Stories are particularly popular in the world of makeup, so Google web stories, as another opportunity for this kind of content, could be major.
Google’s own advice for using web stories suggests that they plan on expanding its importance over 2023.
So, if you’re using TikTok videos, start thinking about how you can use that content over on Google Web Stories too.
Optimise for Zero-Click Searches
In 2022, a SEMRush study found that 25.6% of desktop and 17.3% of mobile searches are zero-click searches. This meant that either the searcher didn’t find what they were looking for, or their query was answered in a featured snippet.
There’s no denying that it’s difficult to optimise for a golden featured snippet. One of the main methods of tackling this is with longtail keywords. SEMRush found that 17% of featured snippets came from sources who used longtail keywords of up to five words.
Being a featured snippet is major for click-through rates, as the click through rates for the top organic results were found to drop below 20% if a featured snipped is present.
As of right now, only a relatively small amount of search queries have featured snippets. However, this is expected to rise through 2023, so longtail keywords are a worthwhile priority.
Get Advice from Beauty SEO Experts
Keeping up to date on current SEO trends is incredibly important for keeping your site at the top of the search engine results pages and dominate your corner of the market.
For beauty-specific SEO advice, speak to our SEO experts at Foundation. Our specialists can help you improve site performance and improve your knowledge, from general best practice to e-commerce SEO trends and more specific, technical SEO.