Big SEO Changes Are Coming in 2024
Recent technological advances and changes to global privacy laws have many wondering how SEO will change in 2023. This is a question that anyone with a website is surely asking and wants to find out how the changes in SEO will impact their business.
Search engines are always changing, and how your content gets indexed and discovered is also changing. If you don’t stay on top of these trends and keep your website and SEO strategy up to date, there’s a good chance you could drop rankings and lose traffic.
With so many elements involved in how search engines work, knowing what areas of SEO to keep up with can be tricky.
To help you out, this guide explores some of the most prominent SEO trends you need to know about right now.
15 SEO Trends And Ways SEO Is Changing In 2024
Search engine optimization is always in motion. With new algorithms being used, advances in technology, and shifts in the way people search for information, the way your business approaches search engines should also stay up to date.
So, here are 15 important SEO trends you should know.
The Effects Of Google Algorithm Updates
When Google updates its algorithm, it could result in a major change in your search engine rankings. This change could be positive or negative, depending on your website and content.
Google algorithm updates are implemented to improve the quality of search engine results and ensure they deliver the most relevant results for search queries. Google is always rolling out changes to its algorithm, which can affect the ranking of all pages on your website.
While most updates are relatively small and won’t drastically impact rankings, you will still probably see a shift in your website’s search engine performance.
Use Google Search Console to mark and monitor the dates of any algorithm updates, and make sure you understand how these updates affect your website. Of course, you’ll need to understand what ranking factors changed during the update to help you optimize your site for better performance.
Google launched its first broad core update in early 2023, which follows the last update that happened in September 2022. Make sure you take these algorithm updates into consideration when planning your SEO strategy, and work with SEO experts who can help you prepare and fix your website to better match changes made to search engines.
Video Content Is Key
If your business isn’t making the most of video in 2023, then it’s definitely time to start. Video is the most engaging form of content and can have many advantages to your digital marketing strategy – including boosting your search engine results.
There are two main ways that using video is valuable for SEO.
Firstly, YouTube is owned by Google, which means YouTube videos featuring relevant content are displayed directly on search engine results pages. If you create a YouTube video that is properly optimized, you could get it ranked on page one of Google. This will translate to a lot more traffic for your website.
The other big way that videos help SEO is that they add extra value to your web pages. Video enhances the user experience, provides more context, and makes your web page content more relevant. This can increase engagement on your website and make a positive difference to your SEO results.
So, using videos strategically can help to:
- make your web pages more visible
- add more value to your content
- and increase your chances of winning video snippets directly in the SERPs.
All of the above helps you generate more organic, search engine traffic.
Of course, just make sure that your videos make sense for your content and match the search intent of the keyword you’re targeting.
How AI Applications Are Impacting Search
If there’s one major tech trend in 2023 that we need to address, it’s artificial intelligence (AI). The rise and developments of AI chat tools, like ChatGPT, have resulted in a lot of content marketers vastly increasing their output and publishing a lot more AI-generated content. This can have positive and negative results. Google is rumored to be working on a complete overhaul of the search engine called Project Magi that is intended to transform search forever.
On the plus side, your business can use AI to scale up its content production and work smarter. Doing so can help you publish more content to help you rank for a greater range of keyword opportunities.
On the other hand, AI content requires a heavy hand to be successful. Search engines can identify AI-generated content, and anything that’s entirely AI-generated won’t perform as well as original, human-generated content. So, make sure your digital marketing content still includes enough human emotion and valuable insight.
Search engines are also changing the way they work with the development of AI. For example, Bing has recently released AI chat answers to its search results. This could change the way search engines send traffic to websites.
Increased Use Of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is another area of technology that has been steadily developing. It’s also something that is entering the world of search engine optimization.
Google announced the development of AR search results, which will specifically matter to Google Maps. This is designed to make the Google Maps experience more interactive and engaging.
While AR may not make a major difference to your website rankings, it could help local businesses with their local SEO strategy. A key part of ensuring your online presence is ready for this trend is to optimize all images properly, making sure they’re of high quality and have relevant alt tags.
Voice Search is Taking Off
With the increasing use of hands-free technology, voice searches are becoming increasingly popular. This could have an effect on your SEO, as voice search commands can be very different from typed-out searches.
For example, let’s say you’re looking for a coffee shop near you. If you type this search into Google, you’ll probably type something like “Vancouver coffee shop”. This type of short-hand typing is something we’ve developed for search engines.
However, if you use voice search, you’ll use a command like “what is the best Vancouver coffee shop close to me?”. This is a much longer search term, and it could generate different search results.
The best way to optimize your website for voice search is to focus your keyword research on longer keywords, as well as the short-tail keywords you’d traditionally use. Longer keywords are more specific and they better reflect the way humans would naturally talk.
A good strategy for voice search optimization is also to include plenty of questions in your content and answer these directly. Write your page content the way a human would speak to make it more relevant for voice search results.
While this is an important consideration, it’s also important to know that search engines are smart, and they can understand the context of your search queries. This means optimizing for specific keywords isn’t necessarily as important as providing the right relevant value for the right search intent.
The better you cover search intent in your content, the easier it will be to improve your site’s visibility with voice search queries.
Featured Snippets for Voice Search
One more consideration to make with voice search optimization is that devices often only display or read out the very first search result, known as position 0. This search result will be read as a featured snippet.
So, if you want to dominate voice search, then you’ll want to try to win as many featured snippets as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to use schema markup on your pages.
Focus On Long-Tail Keywords
We’ve just mentioned the importance of long-tail keywords, and we’ll drive this point home here.
Google, and other search engines, have become smarter than ever. Where SEO masters could once win search results by simply inserting enough keywords, Google can now understand the context of web pages a lot better.
This means you want to focus more on optimizing your pages for the right search content instead of necessarily just trying to gain traffic from direct keywords. Using long-tail keywords is one of the best ways to do this.
Why are long-tail keywords so valuable? Because they’re a lot more specific. The longer your keyword phrase is, the more specific the intent behind that phrase becomes.
For example, you could search for “ice cream”. You’d get results on what ice cream is, ice cream recipes, ice cream shops, and so on. It’s a high-traffic keyword, but it’s not very specific. So, even if you rank at position one for this keyword, the traffic your site generates from it might not hold any value.
Instead, focus on longer keywords like “vegan ice cream recipe” or “affordable ice cream maker”. The intent of these keywords is much clearer, which will result in your business attracting a lot more targeted traffic.
Longer keywords are also a lot less competitive, which will help you rank more easily.
Basically, when performing keyword research and coming up with content ideas, try to make each piece of content as specific as possible. This will help your website rank for the right search terms and attract more relevant traffic.
Core Web Vitals & User Experience
Although Core Web Vitals were implemented some time ago, they’re still a crucial ranking factor for your website.
Core Web Vitals refer to a set of technical requirements for web pages that make the biggest impact on the user experience. For example, page load speed or any content loading issues are essential factors of Core Web Vitals.
Google measures the Core Web Vitals of every page, and any issues that come up could negatively affect your ranking. The reason for this is that Google places greater emphasis on the user experience and making sure your pages offer a great experience.
This is a technical issue, and it’s something you need to closely monitor across your site. Luckily, you can easily gain insights on your Core Web Vitals through Google Search Console.
There are also various ways you can improve your Core Web Vitals performance, such as:
- properly implementing and optimizing images
- utilizing lazy loading
- upgrading your website hosting
Your goal here is to make sure that your site loads properly for all screens and that it’s fast and responsive.
It only takes a user three seconds to leave a website if it doesn’t load properly. So, make sure your site is properly optimized for Core Web Vitals and a great user experience. Otherwise, your page rankings can be affected.
Google SERPs Features
The Google search engine results page displays a lot more than just indexed web pages. All kinds of content can be displayed on these pages, such as videos, rich snippets (like recipes), Google Maps results, Google Business Profiles, and more.
If your business gains visibility in the right featured snippets, it will automatically result in a lot more clicks and traffic. Therefore, it’s important that you’re aware of the different SERP features that exist and that you try to optimize your website for relevant opportunities.
Google’s SERP features include:
- Featured snippets
- Knowledge panels
- Video carousels
- Image packs
If you want to win more SERP features, try to do more research into relevant keyword opportunities and search results pages that you can gain these features on. Then, make sure your content is clear and that it properly answers the user’s queries for these pages.
Adding structured data to your pages is also important for improving your chances of gaining these features.
Structured data basically explains to Google what type of content your page contains and what it’s about. This makes it easier to get relevant featured snippets for that type of content.
Expect Lower Organic CTRs
This may seem like a scary point when looking at how SEO will change in the near future. It’s not, though. It just means your website’s relationship with search engines may become a little different.
Many websites are experiencing lower organic click-through rates even though they’re not dropping in positions. This is because many users are getting answers directly from the featured sections on the SERP. As a result, fewer people are actually clicking through to the page.
If you’re experiencing this, there are a couple of tactics you can use to generate more clicks.
The first thing is properly optimizing your page’s title and meta description. This main element will entice users to click through to your web page to find out more.
You can also offer interesting insights in your featured snippets that users will want to learn more about. This will result in more page clicks. To do this, try to fill your content with as many facts, stats, and unique insights as you can.
Of course, your website winning snippets on Google is a good thing. Even if this results in a lower CTR, it will still help you boost brand recognition and get your content seen by more people. It will also boost your website authority, which will help you with further SEO efforts.
A takeaway here is to try to directly answer as many questions as possible in your content. This can help you get featured on the “People also ask” section on the SERPs. Including a “Frequently Asked Questions” section at the end of your pages and blog posts can help you win more of these featured snippets.
Building Your Brand Across Channels
Yes, you want to dominate search engines. However, search engine optimization isn’t everything. If you want to build more credibility within your niche and send more traffic to your site, then it’s important to consistently build your brand across multiple channels.
People are no longer just using Google to search. Instead, your audience is also using other platforms, like social media, to find businesses and content. So, make sure you have a strong online presence and that your brand is prominent in multiple places online.
Having a lot of authority on social media can also help you gain more authority and credibility in search engines, which will improve your SEO efforts.
Of course, developing a broad online marketing strategy won’t just help you with SEO success. It’s very important for attracting and engaging customers in today’s digital environment.
Google Analytics 4
The most popular tool for monitoring your website performance is Google Analytics. An updated Google Analytics 4 is being implemented, allowing you to measure traffic and engagement across your website and app data. It combines this data into the same property instead of looking at this data as two separate properties.
Basically, this provides greater insight into your website performance and how search rankings are affecting your traffic – amongst many other insights.
By using Google Analytics 4, you’ll be able to gain a more holistic overview of your entire web presence, which can help you make smarter SEO decisions.
If your website uses a Universal Analytics property, it can switch to Google Analytics 4. This could be valuable for staying ahead of SEO and website performance trends.
User Privacy In Paid Advertising
User privacy and data issues have been big news recently. With the removal of third-party cookies and new data privacy laws being implemented, the face of online advertising is changing. So, it’s only natural that search engine marketing might also start to look slightly different.
Paid search and organic SEO content go together hand-in-hand. These two types of content shown on SERPs need to relate to each other and offer relevant information to searchers. However, with data rules changes, advertisers may be changing their search ad targeting habits.
Quality Content Continues To Be King
No matter how much changes on a technical level, the one rule that matters above everything else in SEO is to produce high-quality content. Search engines are smarter than ever and can easily detect when a piece of content is valuable and relevant to search queries.
If you want your content to rank, it needs to be of a high standard. This means it needs to address your users’ concerns and offer the kind of value that they’re looking for.
Better quality content means more engagement, more organic backlinks, and, ultimately, better search results. When trying to establish what “quality” refers to, just make sure you add value to your users.
Following Google’s EAT principle (now EEAT) will also help you create content of a higher quality.
Updating Content Is A Must
If you want to rank on page one, then updating your content is essential. Doing so helps you maintain content that is up-to-date and relevant. It ensures your content is doing everything it can to rank for the keyword you’re competing for.
A good strategy here is to wait two weeks to a month after publishing your context. This gives Google time to index it. Then, use Search Console to see what search terms the page is ranking for. Now, go back to the page and make sure it’s properly optimized for the right search term.
This might involve adding new content, updating your keyword usage, replacing outdated content, adding new images, or doing whatever else you can to provide more value than the competition.
You also need to ensure you consistently update any old content that may have once ranked well but is now losing traffic. The same process of reviewing the search terms and competition will help you achieve this.
Be Careful With Backlinking
Backlinks are one of the key pillars of any successful SEO strategy. However, there’s a big difference between good and bad backlinks. Search engines can easily identify spammy, low-quality backlinks, which can seriously damage your rankings.
First, never buy backlinks or acquire backlinks through black hat methods. This is a fast way to get a penalty for your site.
Second, always check the quality of any backlinks you do acquire. Backlinks should be from relevant sites, run by real people, in a context that actually makes sense to your content.
Pay attention to the DA of the site and what anchor text the link uses. This will help you understand the credibility of the site and the power of the backlink the site provides you with.
The Bottom Line
Keeping up with SEO is an ongoing journey. Search engines are always changing, people’s online habits shift, and technology advances. This means your website needs to stay up to date if it’s going to get the organic traffic and search rankings it’s targeting.
These trends are some of the main things to be aware of in SEO for the year ahead. Although, this doesn’t mean the basics of SEO don’t apply. At the end of the day, a great website that performs well and has quality content is the foundation for any successful SEO strategy.