As we step into 2024, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace and its significance in day-to-day marketing practices cannot be overstated. Following the huge advancements in SEO after the imperative introduction of artificial intelligence capabilities in the previous year, along with significant Google updates, there was a great improvement in the quality of results. While the integration of AI into SEO practices is not going away anytime soon, there are a number of new developments, predictions and trends for SEO that you should be aware of before diving into your digital marketing efforts for the new year.
SEO is expected to move towards a more technological, user-centric and ethical approach, not only because of the involvement of AI, but also because of Google’s prioritisation of Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T), which is advocating for more ethical and high-quality content.
If you want to rank higher and generate more traffic, focus on these 2024 SEO trends:
Google Search Generative Experience (SGE)
Search Generative Experience (SGE) is Google’s AI-powered search experience and a proven game-changer in the SEO landscape. It goes beyond traditional search queries, utilising advanced algorithms to understand and predict user intent and behaviours. What SGE does is it generates an AI-powered result during your search, and unlike ChatGPT or any chatbot for example, it strives to understand and respond to queries in a more human-like manner. Although SGE is only still available in parts of the US and in English, there’s no time like the present to prepare for the future of SEO, as brands will eventually need to adapt to this shift by emphasising content relevance, user engagement metrics and providing a seamless journey through the user’s search experience.
Voice Search Optimisation
Voice Search Optimisation is another rising indication of the future that will very much take over SEO during 2024. With voice search having grown exponentially in recent years, especially due to advancements in AI and machine learning, it is no surprise that it has become relevant in the SEO landscape and is surely going to continue becoming more sophisticated. SEO strategies must align with the conversational nature of search queries, as long-tail keywords, natural language processing, and concise, informative content tailored for voice searches will become paramount. Investing in voice search optimisation is not just about keeping up with the times, but more about proactively positioning your brand or business in a competitive advantage in capturing the attention of this growing segment of users.
AI and Machine Learning Integration
AI and machine learning are not merely buzzwords anymore, as they can fully revolutionise the way we see and utilise SEO strategies in 2024 and beyond. With AI and automation tools already optimising websites for SEO more efficiently, the future expects AI-powered tools to be able to optimise websites for organic content. SEO strategies can surely leverage AI for content optimisation, keyword research improvement, predictive analytics and personalisation to make it even more relevant and relatable for users. The more informed we remain with the advancements of AI and its involvement in SEO practices, the more aligned we can be with properly utilising machine learning for search algorithms, content generation and optimisation.
Answer Engine Optimisation
Answer Engine Optimisation (AEO) involves tailoring content to appear as so-called optimised answers or featured snippets in search results. Due to the significant rise of AI and chatbots, such as ChatGPT, Google SGE, Microsoft’s Bing chatbot etc, along with numerous other smart assistants and voice search options, users are turning their needs towards getting much more immediate answers and results, without having to actually click through a web page. AEO prioritises optimisation for answer-based queries, which means that your SEO strategies should focus on creating content that succinctly addresses common questions in a format that search engines can easily extract and display. While SEO and AEO are not the same, having an organic alignment between the two can ensure that your brand remains relevant and visible.
Zero-click searches are having a moment. They refer to the times when users will not click on any of their displayed link results, which seem to be on the rise, as they can still provide valuable information about a customer’s journey. With Google’s enhanced SERP features, it means that many searches may result in zero clicks as users are simply able to gather the information they were looking for without actually going through to any links. The idea is to adapt your SEO strategies in a way that they minimise the impact of zero-click searches by optimising content for featured snippets, enhancing structured data and providing comprehensive information that encourages users to explore further.
As with all digital trends, SEO is also shifting towards video. What that means, is that the exuberant increase in interest for video content and the rising popularity for consuming short-form and long-form videos had led to such content ranking in Google searches results, which leads to the inevitable question: how can video SEO drive business growth and traffic?
Video SEO involves optimising video content for search engines by providing detailed metadata, transcripts, and engaging thumbnails. With search engines prioritising video content, any brand or business that invests in high-quality and relevant video content, will see their efforts result in improved visibility and user engagement. Using appropriate YouTube keyword research tools can also allow you to use appropriate keywords in your videos’ title, description and tags to further enhance their discoverability.
It’s hard to consider mobile-first indexing a trend for 2024, as it has become more of the norm and the least of what is expected nowadays, considering the extreme transformation of the digital landscape in recent years. With the majority of users accessing online content through their mobile devices, search engines prioritise mobile-friendly websites. Responsive design, fast-loading pages and a seamless mobile experience are imperative for maintaining and improving search rankings, and garnering organic visibility and traffic.
Refreshing Existing Trends
While exploring new trends is always a best practice when it comes to digital marketing, it’s equally important to not neglect existing ones, by continuing to nourish and adapt your contents accordingly. Refreshing content, updating keywords and adapting to algorithm changes are ongoing processes in SEO.
It’s also vital to take into consideration that the shelf-life of content is quickly diminishing, due to the very rapid accumulation and production of content every single hour. Staying vigilant and revisiting existing strategies ensures that a website remains relevant and competitive, despite the over-extensive content velocity.
Understand New Customer Intentions
Users are always searching with a particular interest or intent in mind. They are either searching for a solution to a problem, a particular product or an answer to a very specific question. As user behaviours continue to evolve, understanding new customer intentions is paramount, and SEO strategies are going one step further into delving behind the actual intent of the search query.
There’s an apparent shift trend towards more transactional and commercial queries, with users moving away from navigational and informational keyword groups. Understanding the purpose behind a search has been a consistently vital component of SEO strategies, as it ensures that the content will resonate with the user’s requirements and preferences. Considering these shifting behaviours, it’s important to optimise your campaigns accordingly and monitor how the performance is affecting your traffic and conversions.