2023 SEO Trend Check-in: How are predicted trends progressing?

At the end of every year, SEO experts and analysts start to look to the new year hoping to predict what will influence the world of search. But how do those trends shape up as the year progresses? After all, there will always be new developments, breakthroughs and changes to how we engage with search engines as the weeks and months march on through the year. 

At Venntov, we made our own predictions about the trends that would shape SEO in 2023. From AI to voice search, these were the trends that at the time were starting to influence search and showed no signs of slowing. 

So today, let’s review those trends! Which have seen a lot of progression so far this year? Have any slowed or adapted to new trends?

Trend #1 - Generative AI

What was predicted?

Towards the end of 2022, we started to see a spike in the popularity of generative AI and language models. This led to many wondering how best to use these tools to generate content, and especially how to automate the content creation process for SEO. Heading into 2023, many including ourselves predicted that AI would influence how marketers and merchants alike would create content. However, due to Google’s stance on AI generated content they would have to use these tools creatively so as to avoid veering into black hat SEO territory. 

What has happened since the end of 2022?

In early March 2023, OpenAI released GPT-4 - the latest version of the model ChatGPT is based on. This was considered to be a major breakthrough in generative AI and language model technology, as it was slated to be ten times more advanced than GPT-3. 

Soon after, Shopify launched ShopAI - an AI shopping assistant powered by ChatGPT. This was fairly big news as it’s something created by Shopify that uses this more advanced AI technology and in a really interesting way. The assistant uses user prompts to find brands and products, narrowing down based on further information from the user.

In May, Google announced they’d be starting to use generative AI technology to enhance their search functionality for users. At present, it’s only available through Search Labs where signed-up users can test and experiment with the tools. If rolled out, this will provide users with AI-powered information about their search query. For example, if a user asks about the best bike to take to a specific type of trail, Google will provide AI generated information. It will also help with shopping decisions, providing product recommendations and info.

How might this trend progress?

There has been a lot of movement in the AI space so far in 2023. As the technology advances and it becomes more commonplace in ecommerce, it will also become something Google has to accommodate. The search giant is already taking cautious first steps into incorporating generative AI into SERPs, so it may change its stance on AI content in a wider context. This will inevitably lead to changes in SEO, how we engage with generative AI, and its applications for content creation. 

Trend #2 - Social media, multi-platform content and engagement

What was predicted?

Midway through 2022, the world of search was rocked by data from Google themselves that more and more young people were turning to platforms like TikTok instead of Google for search queries. While this was primarily related to things like finding new restaurants and tourism, it felt inevitable that this would spill over into shopping and brands. Later in the year, more data suggested that over half of those aged 16-24 were using social media platforms to discover new brands and products. Therefore, it was predicted that in order for merchants to keep up they’d need to start applying SEO principles to their social media strategies, treating these emerging platforms more like search engines and finding new ways to engage with their target audience.

What has happened since the end of 2022?

This trend is still emerging, and there has been little more data released to demonstrate whether or not young people are indeed moving further towards social media as a search engine. However, there is still exponential growth in the user bases of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Very recently, Meta launched Threads - their own answer to Twitter. The breadth of concentrated user content across Facebook, plus Instagram with Reels, and now Threads may accelerate this trend as brands look to how they can make the most of all three together. 

On top of this, TikTok have continued their push to bring brands to their platform and encourage users to use their search features. They’ve worked on algorithms, promotions, merchant tools, and more, demonstrating a clear push to promote TikTok as more than just a social media platform.

How might this trend progress?

On the Google side of things, the search engine has made moves to try and keep users on its own platform. They’ll continue to test and roll out their suite of shopping SERP features, and provide merchants and brands with more tools to keep them on platform. 

However on the social media side of things, there isn’t any sign that social search is slowing down in any way. In fact as new platforms like Threads develop, and user bases on platforms like TikTok continue to grow, we’ll likely see even more users turning to social media for queries they’d typically have taken to Google. Brand discovery and engagement will always be easier on social media, given the relevance and recency of the content posted. We may see Google respond by trying to incorporate more social media-esque content into SERPs or the user experience. 

Trend #3 - On-platform shopping

What was predicted?

Towards the end of 2022, Google had announced new features that would make the platform more valuable to both shoppers and merchants alike. These features included allowing merchants to create 3D renders of products, buying guides on SERPs, “buy the look” functionality, and more. This would make it easier for merchants to engage with Google, and for users to shop with the platform. The prediction then was that Google would continue to push and develop these features, making merchant tools essential for SEO strategies in 2023.

What has happened since the end of 2022?

The biggest development in 2023 so far has been the official sunsetting of Universal Analytics in favor of GA4 - Google’s newest analytics platform. This provides merchants with a suite of new tools that give them deeper insights and greater control over their data across platforms. 

These enhancements encourage merchants and other webmasters to use these tools more often and in greater detail. Google is also continuing to develop the features announced at Search On, to enhance the user experience of shopping with Google. 

We have also already mentioned Google’s experimentation with AI powered search results. Many of the features being tested focus on helping users to shop in a more informed, simplified way. 

How might this trend progress?

As merchants continue to engage with GA4 and more of these merchant and user shopping tools are rolled out, we’ll see this trend grow even faster. Google is making a clear push to be more valuable to its users, especially when it comes to finding brands and shopping for products. The more they do, the greater the potential there is this trend to influence SEO tactics and strategies. It will likely be something we see towards the end of 2023 and into 2024, however merchants can start to get ahead of the trend by staying informed and engaging with any relevant tools Google has to offer. 

Trend #4 - Voice & Multi-device

What was predicted?

Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed a huge spike in ownership of voice enabled devices. From smartphones to cars, you can use a range of different devices now for voice search. We’ve also observed a rise in omnichannel experiences and multi-device search. Customer journeys are becoming less linear, as they use multiple devices and touchpoints in their path from brand discovery to purchase. Heading into the new year, it was predicted that this trend would continue, and merchants would need to review how they approach content optimization for voice and multi-device SEO.

What has happened since the end of 2022?

The biggest change so far in 2023 has been the previously mentioned shift to GA4. One of the primary features of GA4 that was the most exciting for merchants is the ability to pull data from across platforms like websites and apps. This shows the growing importance of multi-device and omnichannel search journeys. 

Going back to voice search for a moment, it’s now expected that by 2024 there will be over 8.4 billion digital voice assistants in use. This reflects the impact of smart device adoption, as more people start to connect their devices to create a “smarter” experience. Rather than searching with one device, they’ll ask their Google smart speaker a question and this will be sent to a mobile search to continue that query. 

How might this trend progress?

It will be interesting to see how merchants use the data they get from different platforms in GA4 to adjust their strategies for the rest of 2023 and into 2024. This may push more to consider in greater detail the impact of the various platforms their audience uses as part of their journey. As the adoption of voice enabled devices continues to increase, it will be interesting to see how this influences optimization for traditional desktop search queries as well as these multi-device/platform journeys.  


Search and SEO are always changing. As users find new ways to use the tools available to them, search engines and other platforms start to adapt to suit. And what this means for merchants is new opportunities for optimization that will help your target customers find your brand more easily. 

What will the rest of 2023 hold for SEO? It will be interesting to review at the end of the year!