SEO Trends to Look Out for in 2024
This year has been a year where SEO is at the forefront of most corporate marketing strategies. Optimising for online searches, globally and locally, can feel like the ‘Holy Grail’, but its importance is in no doubt.
SEO trends at the beginning of 2023 presented companies with many things to consider. However, mastering the search engine optimisation challenges to make the most of the opportunities it brings, and you’ve given your business a vital edge over your competitors.
As we head into the last quarter of 2024, thoughts are turning to SEO trends in 2024, but before we consider next year’s SEO predictions, let’s review this year’s trends.
SEO trends in 2023
As the world came out of the Covid years, some aspects of digitalisation and the online world were here to stay. Over the last 10 months, some key trends have become very important SEO tactics.
Content. Content jumped to the top of the list, mainly thanks to Google’s Helpful Content Update a few years earlier. The update emphasised humans, not bots. This meant that your content had to create meaning for humans, so keyword search intent, answering user queries and improving user experience had increasing relevance.
AI. Integrating artificial intelligence into content creation hit the headlines; just think ChatGPT. But as helpful as AI-powered tools are, they still don’t add that personalised human touch.
Keyword research. Including relevant keywords and phrases, i.e. long-tail keywords, within content-targeted customer search queries.
Reviews. There’s nothing better than authentic customer reviews to validate your products/services.
Local SEO. With a greater reliance on online search for local businesses, local SEO strategies became key in targeting local customers.
Mobile. More and more people are using mobile devices to search the internet, so, if your website isn’t mobile-optimised, you’re losing out.
Video content. Just images aren’t enough anymore. Video is more engaging.
Other SEO trends this year include data analytics, Core Web Vitals, page loading speed, Voice Search Optimisation and first-hand experience.
SEO trends in 2024
There’s always the question of whether SEO will still be important in a year. Overall, we believe it will be, but it will evolve, develop and adjust to market demands. So, what are the SEO predictions for next year, and what will SEO mean in 2024?
1. AI. The prediction is that artificial intelligence will play an even bigger role next year. As AI-powered content generation platforms continue to grow and improve, more people will use it for some tasks, such as keyword research, chatbots, content optimisation and digital marketing campaigns. However, whether AI will ever master the ‘human touch’ remains to be seen.
2. Content will still be king. There’s no getting away from it; content will continue to be the master of SEO, but there will be a much greater emphasis on producing great content that is personalised and targeted for your audience, i.e. your users. It must be noted that bad content doesn’t, and never will, be ranked by search engines. So, no matter how much content you generate, it must be high quality, informative, relevant and engaging.
3. Voice Search Optimisation. Although it is a 2023 trend, its popularity is set to grow in 2024, with an increasing use of smart speakers, mobile devices and virtual assistants.
4. The rise of E.A.T. Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness – these are Google’s latest key factors in their search algorithm. Making sure content is high quality, building positive reviews, maximising social proof and becoming a voice of authority in your industry are major aspects of E.A.T.
5. Mobile-first indexing. Optimising for mobile devices has been a trend this year, but search engines will prioritise mobile-friendly websites in search results in 2024. Therefore, making sure your website has a responsive design, an intuitive user interface, fast page loading speeds, is accessible and user-friendly, and content that is optimised for the mobile screen is imperative.
6. User experience. While this has been a key SEO factor for a few years, it will be as important as ever in 2024. Google’s Core Web Vitals (a set of user-centric metrics) will rank higher those websites that improve the user experience measures.
7. Google Analytics 4. If you haven’t yet switched to GA4, it’s time to get a move on, as this free tool will give you an even greater insight into user/customer behaviour. With more tracking indicators on offer, businesses can use this to adjust their content as needed, maximising their SEO efforts.
8. Zero-click searches. A growing trend that is becoming more important is zero-click, or zero-position, searches. This is where a user can find the answer to their question within their search results without visiting a website. It could be a snippet, Google Shopping features, a carousel or part of a near-me search.
So, what will SEO mean in 2024? Is it still relevant? Well, as long as we have the internet and people use search engines to find their answers, SEO is still a necessity. But it is changing, and to stay in favour with Google as well as rank on the first page of search engine results, adjusting your SEO activity is crucial.
As much as AI is becoming a force in SEO and the emerging voice search optimisation is increasing in popularity, the overriding factors are mobile, user experience and, top of the list, content. Google is certainly placing an ever greater importance on content that is high quality and relevant, whether it is generated by AI or by humans. However, they did warn in February 2023 that AI-generated content to manipulate search results ranking was against their spam policies.
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