2024 SEO Trends

CJ Lewis

COO at Arvo Digital - Digital marketing professional with 15 years of experience. Specialties include technical search engine optimization, reputation management, conversion rate optimization, analytics, and running multi-channel marketing campaigns.

My Thoughts On SEO Trends For 2024 And The Strategies That Work Now.

Years back, a colleague of mine noted, “Out of my 20 years of experience, only 4 are actually relevant.” I’ve been doing search marketing (SEO and content marketing) for about 15 years, and I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how much SEO has changed, especially in the last few years.

Some seem convinced that SEO is no longer as important or effective as it once was.  Personally, I think this idea comes from people trying to apply old strategies that were effective five or more years ago to the landscape now, which simply isn’t practical.

The importance and value of search and SEO for successful marketing have never been greater than it is now. It’s just very different. 

Here is what I think is most important to consider for SEO in 2024: 

The one-size-fits-all approach to Search is no longer applicable.

In 2024 It’s essential to tailor your efforts specifically to your industry and the specific keywords or topics relevant to your business.A Google search was once just a list of 10 blue links, and the strategies to rank were basically the same for everything. These days are long gone. Google’s Search Pages have evolved significantly, and there is a huge variety of result types that Google uses to try and match search intent or provide quick information. Video results, social media carousels, local and map listings, knowledge panels, instant answers, hotel and flight information, travel suggestions, app recommendations, merchant listings, and more now appear for every Google search results.

The strategy for each is different. For example, organic shopping results for productsare all about merchant center feed data, structure data markup, and great product landing pages. But for local businesses, it’s all about Map results and local ranking factors. 

Expanding beyond your own website is essential.

Typically, when people consider SEO, their focus is primarily on their own website. This view of SEO is limited. Sometimes, securing the top recommendation spot on a well-ranking third-party site for your keywords can be more beneficial than being the top search result directly (and sometimes easier to achieve). For some queries, Google may prefer video or social media content. In these cases, developing a strategy for vertical video might be necessary. You have to look at what actually ranks for the terms you are going after.

The way that customers discover new products has shifted from Google Search to Social Search.

In many cases, people are learning about and discovering new products on social first THEN searching Google for additional info, or to make a purchase. Understanding this shift in behavior is critical because it changes the terms you target, the content you create, and the way you provide information to your audience. SEO is increasingly vital for social media channels. YouTube and TikTok are search engines too! People search on social platforms just as much as they do Google. So, effective SEO is now about more than just one search platform.  

AI is here to stay

AI will continue to change and evolve the way that SEO is done, the tools that are used, the way content is created etc… I think it’s going to impact every industry. We need to learn how to ethically and effectively utilize these tools. “AI won’t take your job, but someone better at using AI just might.”  Using AI to automate tedious tasks, analyze data, provide insights etc.. offers advantages for SEO efforts.

Generative AI’s integration into search engines has become a significant discussion topic in recent years. Google has been showcasing its generative AI (genAI) features, yet it appears cautious about fully implementing them. You can try Google’s search AI firsthand with Google Labs, which is free to sign up for. More than half of the Labs search results now feature a ChatGPT-esque short answer displayed prominently at the top. Typically these pull directly from various existing sources and have reference/citation links. I believe that optimizing to get placement within these features will become important. Other search platforms are moving in this direction as well.

In 2024 first-hand experience and content quality matter, A LOT.

Google’s E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) formula puts emphasis on content written from first-hand experience. Personal stories, quotes, case studies, original research/analysis/insights, real non-stock photos and video etc… These elements help you to differentiate your high-quality content from AI-generated content.

The unfortunate truth is that genuinely organic search results are increasingly being overshadowed.

Google is gobbling up a larger portion of the SERP real estate through paid advertisements, instant answers that bypass the need for clicks, and even Google’s own websites and services (IE: Google Flights).

This situation makes the remaining organic results both more competitive and more valuable. For the right keywords, these organic positions drive substantial traffic and high conversion rates.

In 2024, SEO can not be considered in isolation. For an effective strategy, it’s crucial to integrate paid search and plan how paid and organic strategies complement each other.

You can’t track SEO success and impact based purely on conversions.

You should still track conversions, and a good SEO strategy will still lead to sales, but that’s not the only value a good SEO strategy adds. SEO is about establishing long-term, sustainable visibility. For example, search engine traffic is crucial for effective ad campaigns and retargeting lists, and for building an email and/or SMS list. As previously mentioned, SEO’s impact extends beyond your website. It encompasses traffic from social media, referral traffic from partner sites, and traffic from Google Discover and other platforms, which, are tied to effective SEO, but do not show up in the “Organic Search” bucket in Google Analytics.

If you want to talk about bringing your SEO strategy up to speed for 2024, I’d love to spend a few minutes chatting with you!

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