Neil Patel

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Evolution of the Search Landscape and Future Search Trends

A graphic saying "Evolution of the Search Landscape and Future Search Trends"

Your customers are only a search query away. In essence, search is like the front door to your website.

Just think of it this way, It’s the most effective way to reach your audience because 68% of online experiences start with a search engine.

But here is the crazy thing… do you remember how painful search used to be? I bet you don’t remember what it was like before.

I hardly do.

The evolution of search has a long history.

One that grew into being influenced by user behavior.

For decades, we’ve watched online search take a new shape.

So, to understand future search trends, we must look at what’s shifted.

Even thinking about just the past two years, a lot has changed.

Let’s see what search has in store for us in 2023 by sifting through what’s changed and where we’re headed.

How Has The Search Landscape Changed?

Do you remember Ask Jeeves, Lycos, or WebCrawler?

Just the mention of those search engines is a major throwback.

They were once household names like Google is today.

The world of search has evolved from simple keyword queries to a complex, data-driven ecosystem that is constantly changing.

As user behavior changes, so does the search landscape. Think about it. Nothing’s changed the game more than the shift to mobile devices.

Other than the increased use of voice search, we’re now seeing the integration of artificial intelligence into search algorithms.

Additionally, the rise of visual search and social media as a search engine has impacted the search landscape.

As a result, search engines are now better able to understand the search intent behind a query and provide more personalized and relevant results.

Google has made it clear that they’re putting people first by giving them the results they’re looking for.

There’s a lot of content for Google to comb through to get it right (which is why the algorithm keeps getting a facelift).

Google ran more than 700,000 experiments to get thousands of improvements on its search engine back in 2021.

These evaluations were tricky but well thought out to make sure users get quality results based on the experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) algorithm signals.
Google Algorithm Changes Redefine Effective Content

There’s no doubt that the major May algorithm update helped Google redefine effective content, setting up new SEO trends for 2023.

Winners and losers were based on the following major items:

  • Backlink presence: Success with garnering natural links from other websites.
  • Core Web Vitals (CWV): Speed metrics Google uses to gauge a website’s user experience.
  • Keyword universe: Number of keywords and key phrases included in a site’s SEO strategy.
  • Page intent: How well a page’s content matches what searchers expect to see.
  • Page speed: Faster sites tend to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • UX features: Features that make the browsing experience easier and more efficient for users.

The main purpose of Google’s most recent update is to penalize low-quality content.

See the theme here?

Now is a good time to look at your existing content and evaluate if you need to optimize for user experience and technical SEO. The key isn’t to please search engines, it is to please users.

The Google “freshness” side of the Internet really is the best side because it is what’s best for users.

It’s all about up-to-date, helpful content which is what people want.

As long as you take Google’s advice and create people-first content, you’re golden.

Video Is a Priority

Video has blossomed into the most preferred content type.

That makes video a must-have in your marketing strategy.

With people watching an average of 19 hours of online video per week, it makes sense why more marketers are including video in their strategy and are willing to spend more on it.

Leveraging social media marketing with video will be one of the big-deal SEO trends for 2023.

I’ve even seen Google make visual updates as users search for more visually rich content for short-form videos.

Just like in this search where I searched for a recipe of the “viral Tunacado sandwich” from Joe and the Juice:

Google ad short videos of people eating sandwiches.

With more creators making short videos and more users shopping on TikTok, it only makes sense for Google to connect users with what they’re looking for.

YouTube has introduced Shorts to keep up with TikTok and Instagram’s emerging updates with the growing popularity of short-form video.

Short-form storytelling that educates and entertains keeps users on these platforms and drives leads.

With social e-commerce generating leads through live video or influencer haul videos, you need to make video a priority to help you stand out.

You’ve only have a few seconds to impress a viewer, so make your intro count.

What you have to say needs to resonate with them.

I wouldn’t tell you anything I wouldn’t do, and I’m sure you’ve come here from one of my videos (which I invest a lot in).

That should show you firsthand how important video is.

The SERPs Are Becoming Their Own Destination

In this era of “discovery,” consumers are looking for products and services that can help them make decisions from everywhere, including search engines.

Google understands this more than ever and is making efforts to provide users with a rewarding user experience that goes beyond pure search results.

They have been making a number of changes over the past few years that are helping searchers get more value from their searches.

Here are just a few examples of how Google is empowering users to move between search and content seamlessly:

  • Quality and precision: To make money, Google needs people to use and trust its search engine. This takes putting content quality, relevance, and accuracy first.
  • Speed: Although speed assessment has evolved since Google’s beginnings, it took time to get to the point where users can get information at almost the same time it takes them to blink.
  • Convenience and intuition: Voice search and other mechanisms have greatly improved the search experience. A lot of search results cater to beginners, and then there are advanced features like Google Scholar for researching scholarly literature and articles.
  • More automation, less manual effort: Google recently used the capabilities of artificial intelligence to automatically improve its search algorithm—with no direct human design or development.

Focus on Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are a set of performance metrics that measure the user experience on web pages. They include the following metrics:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance and aims to ensure that the main content of the page loads quickly.
  2. First Input Delay (FID): Measures time to interactivity and aims to ensure that users can interact with the page as quickly as possible.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability and aims to ensure that the layout of the page does not shift unexpectedly.

These metrics are super important for providing a good user experience on the web. Google certainly does think so, which is why most SEOs know what the above 3 definitions mean.

Web developers need to monitor and improve these metrics to ensure users have a good experience when visiting a site.

All these indicators, such as page load speeds and visual stability, dictate user behavior on a website.

Increase your core web vitals scores and you’ll improve your rankings.

A simple way to start is by optimizing pictures, shortening the execution time of JavaScript, and improving server response speeds.

If you want to know how your core web vitals look, just put in your URL here.

What Future Trends Will Shape Search?

There’s been a lot of talk about what’s next for search and how it’ll change things.

The best teacher is experience in these cases.

Forward-thinking organizations have already started pouring more money into innovative technologies like AI and augmented reality.

With user behavior so heavily influencing the evolution of search, what I do know is that a lot of the future developments will be people-first driven.

Search will still be central to how we find everything from products and services to news, entertainment, and information.

As technology advances, so does the way we search.

Think about where we were just five years ago.

I don’t think we would have thought things would have changed this much.

AR Is No Gimmick

Statista reports that there will be over 1.7 billion mobile AR users globally in 2024.

Many are anticipating 2023 to be the year marketers get serious about AR and the opportunities that come with it.

A chart showing the rising number of AR users.

For example, more than 60% of shoppers prefer AR to enhance their shopping experience. Web-based augmented reality allows users to virtually try on accessories, clothes, shoes, and more without being in-store.

Customers can learn which product is best for them by participating in an engaging and immersive experience of trying on the “visual merch” before making a purchase.

You can separate yourself from the competition and provide potential customers with a whole new and fascinating way to learn about your brand.

AR not only offers an engaging manner for the delivery of information, but it improves the user experience that focuses more on ease of use.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Expect AR to tie in with AI through visual capabilities as promising technologies of tomorrow.

A tweet from Hart Woolery about the muppets.

Source: Hart Woolery/@2020cv_inc (Twitter)

You Need to Think About AI Writing

AI writing is one of the hot topic SEO trends of 2023.

Whether you use ChatGPT,, or the Ubersuggest AI writer, you should start using AI for content production.

Using AI for SEO.

In the long run, you can automate your process with an AI writer.

Just don’t forget to humanize your AI content.

With the way everyone’s been talking about these tools on LinkedIn, I’m sure they’ll be beneficial to everyone’s content production process with storytelling, scriptwriting, copywriting, and more.

A LinkedIn post from Neil Patel about AI in email marketing.

Use it as your base to speed up the process, and then add in the brand voice during editing.

You’ll still have to make sure it’s relevant to your audience and how you communicate with them.

AI can kick-start your content creation process for future lead generation, but keep in mind that it doesn’t know your audience as you do. So, make sure to tailor each piece to your audience.

In other words, you still need to adjust your AI-written content. Don’t publish it as is.

SEO Without Branding Is Not Enough

SEO is always changing. It’s also not the easiest concept to catch on to.

However, it allows you to study user behavior and get a big-picture look at what customers want to see.

Branding and SEO activate each other’s powers.

With all the SEO strategies you can tap into, your target audience still needs to be searching for you too. That means branding yourself by targeting both branded and nonbranded keywords. This will help you stand out from competitors.

Think More Long-Tail and Specific With Your Keywords

It’s time to get specific.

At least that’s what the future of SEO is.

Ubersuggest's keyword ideas for the term bakery.
Long tail keywords for the term bakery.

Use intent to drive conversions with long-tail keywords like in this bakery scenario above.

Using Ubersuggest, I want you to see how you can use long-tail keywords in your favor and set yourself apart.

Long-tail keywords are usually a lot less competitive, but search engines can tie them to your brand.

If you run a bakery, you can see some long-tail keywords, like “how to keep cake pops fresh” or “how to keep bakery items fresh,” have a decent search volume and low SEO difficulty.

So, if you create content on these topics, you won’t have much competition, and you’ll help searchers.

Winning big organically will drive a lot of traffic and it can change your revenue numbers overnight.

So, once you find long-tail keywords that work in your favor, you can work them into your branding strategy to drive conversions.

Be Ready to Use GA4

Are you ready for GA4?

Google Analytics 4 can support your business by giving you insights on key objectives like generating leads or connecting customer engagement online and offline.

You’ll have access to new predictive insights about user behavior and conversions, prospective audience, and more to improve your marketing tactics.

The sessions-based model is going to transform more toward events-based data (a measure of distinct user interactions on a site or app) that will help marketers understand their target audience.

The goal behind this is to shape better-informed marketing strategies.

Move over to GA4 as soon as you can to successfully merge new hits with your historical data.

Quality Always Matters

Quality will be a part of SEO trends for 2023 and beyond.

The evolution of search is inevitable, and quality content and processes need to be on par to deliver the best of the best content for searchers.

People are always looking for high-quality results.

Not only does high-quality content hit its marketing goals, but it’s also:

  • Authoritative
  • Concise
  • Credible
  • Educational
  • Relevant
  • Useful

But most importantly: the best answer for the user’s search query.

If Google puts an emphasis on quality content via relevance and authority for users, you should too.

Meeting your audience’s expectations will keep them coming back.

You can use tools like AnswerThePublic as your secret weapon. It will tell you what people want right before keywords become popular. That way it’s easier for you to rank for these terms as a lot of people aren’t targetting them yet.

Answerthepublic results for travel.

You can see what’s being searched, plan your strategy around what the audience needs, and answer the audience with your content.

This is how you can improve the quality of your content and be relevant for your audience, satisfying all quality pillars.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should my 2023 marketing plan be?

In short, your 2023 marketing plan should be customer-driven. Each industry is different, but customer demand has been clear: There’s a need for authenticity and trust in brands. Think about how your general marketing plan impacts your content marketing to the new launches you’re planning. Look at what your customers are asking of you and how that impacts your business as you map out the best way to hit those goals.

How can I predict my customer’s shopping behavior?

Migrating to GA4 will be a great help with this, as will following analytics from social listening and behavioral targeting. These elements will help you develop a customer behavior prediction model to watch the data and factor user behavior into your next move.

What trends in search are here to stay?

To name a few, I believe SEO, video marketing, and branding are here to stay. They are trends that will evolve to make marketers’ jobs easier, but any industry can capitalize and build its brands on the backs of these trends.


This is just the beginning of a new era of search.

In 2023, we’ll see significant developments in SEO and digital marketing.

AI, core web vitals, and video marketing on YouTube and other platforms will see major progress. They’ll become more significant assets to marketers trying to attract attention to their websites and improve user experience.

On top of that, you’ll have to keep your content fresh. Not just text-based content, but also video. With over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created each day from all the new content being published, if you don’t keep your content up-to-date it won’t rank well for long.

Search engines will just choose from a new source versus something that is old.

So how do you think the evolution of search is changing the game?

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