Navigating the evolving landscape of SEO: key trends for 2024

In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, SEO remains a key strategy for companies and content creators looking to maximize their online visibility. As we head into 2024, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve to understand and adapt to the latest SEO trends.

This article looks at the most significant SEO practices shaping today’s digital marketing industry. From the increasing importance of AI and machine learning to the ever-evolving algorithms of major search engines, these trends are redefining how we approach content creation and online marketing.

Whether you’re a seasoned SEO expert or just starting out, we hope this article provides valuable insights and practical tips to help you navigate the dynamic landscape of SEO and leverage these trends for your digital success.

1. high AI influence in a new SEO landscape

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE)

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is ushering in a new era of AI-powered search, and companies and SEO strategists need to adapt. The SBU, which is currently in an experimental phase and available to a limited audience in the US, offers an AI-generated response at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), complete with relevant links and prompts for further exploration.

Although it is still in an experimental phase, it is worth monitoring this trend now, even if your company is currently based in Europe.

SGE improves search results by providing AI-generated answers with relevant links and visual aids at the top of the SERPs. Although different from chatbots like ChatGPT, SGE aims to deliver more interactive and user-friendly search experiences.

Currently, there is no definitive way to optimize content for SBU; it’s too early, but some common features are more likely to show up in the Google SBU section:

  • Expert insights: SGE prioritizes content that integrates information and analysis from various sources. By offering in-depth expert opinions or analytical perspectives on a topic, your content might have a better chance of being highlighted.
  • Clarity and structure: SBU prefers content with clear, direct language and well-organized formats such as sections, lists and bullet points, similar to the style of highlighted snippets.
  • Specialized knowledge and fresh content: SBU often references content from niche or topic-specific sites, emphasizing the value of establishing topical authority. It also prefers content that offers new or unique information, indicating a shift towards prioritizing original research or insights over aggregated existing content.

Bing AI integration

As Bing integrates generative AI into its search engine, it is changing SEO in several fundamental ways. This integration improves user interaction with search results, prioritizes the user experience and requires a shift in content strategy. Important points to consider include:

  • Improved user interaction: Bing AI enables more interactive and accurate search experiences through AI annotations and chatbots. This leads to a better interpretation of user intent and more customized search results.
  • Importance of long-form and conversational content: As AI enables more personalized responses, there is a greater need for in-depth, long-form content and conversational keyword optimization in SEO strategies. We can expect higher quality traffic for action-based search queries. Users can gather more information and gain deeper insights when interacting directly with AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants on the search results page. By asking clarifying questions and getting relevant answers, users can be better informed about the products, services or topics they are researching.
  • Changes in traffic patterns: With AI-driven interactions on SERPs, users may spend more time engaging with content directly on search results pages, which could reduce website traffic for certain queries.

2. increasing importance of technical SEO

In recent years, technical SEO has evolved from a secondary role to a critical component of website optimization, largely due to Google’s improved ability to understand and evaluate web content. Several factors are driving this change:

  • Googlebot has evolved in its ability to crawl, interpret and understand web pages, making the technical optimization of a website crucial to its indexing and ranking.
  • Google now emphasizes user experience (UX) in its search algorithm, so technically optimized websites are more likely to provide a superior UX and achieve higher rankings.
  • Mobile-first indexing is crucial because Google prioritizes mobile versions of websites, making it essential to focus on mobile optimization for fast loading and responsive design to improve the mobile user experience.
  • With Google’s AI-driven algorithm updates, traditional SEO elements such as title tags and alt text have become less important as search engines better understand context beyond the specific use of keywords.
  • Optimizing for voice search is essential, as adapting your website to the increasing use of voice search requires the use of conversational keywords and technical support for voice queries.

3. contents and keywords

Search engines’ perspective on AI-generated content.

Google focuses primarily on providing users with high-quality content, regardless of whether it is created by humans or AI. The focus is on the quality and relevance of the content.

AI tools can help create outlines, improve SEO and analyze content. However, they are still no substitute for creating valuable and relevant information that is what human readers are looking for.

It’s also helpful to check Google’s spam policy for AI-generated content. Make sure that the text is not just a mixture of keywords that don’t make sense, translated by a computer without being checked, automatically created without caring about quality, changed by a computer program, copied from other online sources or simply parts of different websites put together without adding anything new.

Zero-click searches and keywords.

Zero-click searches, where users don’t click on any results, are becoming more common, mainly due to Google’s improved SERP features. The Semrush Zero Clicks study shows that 57% of mobile searches and around a quarter of desktop searches end without any clicks on organic or paid results. This is often because Google provides the information you need directly on the SERP, such as details of local businesses, quick conversions or information about public figures through knowledge panels, local packs and conversion tools.

To adapt to the rise of zero-click searches, it’s beneficial to focus on securing highlighted snippets for queries that often result in zero clicks. These highlighted snippets provide concise answers directly in the SERP and satisfy user intent without the need to click through to a website.

The trend towards keywords with zero search volume (ZSV) is also noteworthy. Despite the minimal search volume, these long-tail queries are valuable for attracting highly qualified leads, especially in the bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFU) phase.

4. personalization and E-E-A-T

The potential shift towards personalization of SERPs and predictive searches will likely impact content quality factors. With AI, Google could personalize search results based on users’ behavior, search history and preferences, predict their intent and deliver relevant results even before they complete the query.

Google’s use of aggregated data (data on patterns of user behavior) to assess content quality takes into account different user preferences and interpretations. SEO practitioners should create content that engages users, aligns with their preferences and satisfies their search intent, as such content is likely to be prioritized and ranked higher.

Google’s concept of E-A-T (expertise, authority and trustworthiness) in SEO, which has evolved with the addition of ‘experience’ to E-E-A-T, is increasingly significant in how Google evaluates the quality of websites:

  • Expertise and experience refer to the author’s knowledge and practical experience in his or her specialist field.
  • Authority is measured by the site’s recognition and respect within its subject area, often influenced by factors such as the age of the site and backlinks from authoritative sites.
  • Trustworthiness refers to the overall reliability and credibility of the site.

SEO professionals and marketers should focus on demonstrating expertise and experience in their content. In the evolving field of SEO, the focus is increasingly on demonstrating expertise in specific topics, known as thematic authority. Thematic authority means becoming a trusted source of comprehensive information on a particular subject area and covering all aspects of the topic thoroughly.

A strategic and focused approach to content creation and optimization is essential to developing thematic authority. This strategy includes:

  • Create in-depth, expert content: Develop detailed and authoritative content that thoroughly addresses a specific topic.
  • Build a robust content catalog: Gather a wide range of content that covers various related topics and subtopics within your niche.
  • Site architecture optimization: Design your website so that users and search engine bots can easily find and navigate through related content, which improves content discoverability.

5 The growing importance of user engagement metrics in SEO

Google’s recent Helpful Content (H/C4) update marks a notable shift in SEO strategies with a greater focus on user engagement metrics. It increasingly takes into account how users interact with websites. Metrics such as the time spent on a page, the bounce rate and the number of page views per visit are becoming increasingly important.

These engagement indicators provide valuable insights into the relevance and usefulness of a page and significantly influence its search rankings. For example, a high click-through rate can indicate the relevance of a page for user queries and potentially improve its position in the search results. On the other hand, a high bounce rate could indicate that the content does not match the user’s expectations, resulting in a lower ranking. This change reflects a more nuanced approach to SEO, where user satisfaction and interaction are key to determining a page’s success in search results.

In April 2023, Google’s update to its helpful content guidelines included a new focus on page experience, emphasizing its importance to website rankings. This update emphasized that some elements and a holistic evaluation of usability on a web page influence the ranking of a website.

Important elements that contribute to a positive page experience according to Google’s guidelines are:

  • Minimize intrusive interstitial ads: Avoiding embedded ads that block or obstruct the view of the main content.
  • Reduce excessive and distracting ads: Ensure that ads do not overwhelm or detract from the main content.
  • Consistent content presentation across devices: Ensure that content is accessible and performs well on both mobile and desktop platforms.
  • Ensuring site security: Compliance with high security standards for user security and trust.

These updates indicate a shift in Google’s approach, valuing content quality and the overall user experience on a website.

6. maintaining the relevance of your old content

The importance of regularly updating and refreshing content in the rapidly evolving digital landscape cannot be overemphasized. With the concept of “content velocity” describing the rate at which new content is produced, it is essential for existing content to remain relevant and competitive. The high volume of content production, exemplified by platforms such as YouTube, underlines the acceleration of the content lifecycle and the decreasing lifespan of content.

Therefore, it is crucial to update factual information and ensure that content aligns with current user intent and SEO practices and adapts to newer topics. A proactive strategy for regular content review and optimization is critical to maintaining relevance in this dynamic content space.

7. video SEO

Creating compelling video content for Google search results and YouTube is becoming an important strategy for marketing teams. The global increase in digital video consumption, which is expected to reach almost 3.5 billion viewers by the end of 2023, underlines this trend.

Search engines are adapting to this shift. Key findings from the Wyzowl Video Marketing Statistics 2023 report emphasize the growing SEO importance of video content:

  • High shareability: 51% of people are more likely to share video content than other types.
  • Widespread business use: In 2023, a record 91% of companies used video as a marketing tool.
  • Strong conversion potential: 89% of viewers reported that they were convinced to buy a product or service after watching a video.

To use video SEO effectively:

  • Develop a strategic plan: Before you start creating videos, it’s crucial to have a solid video SEO strategy. This is especially important when you consider that 70% of non-video marketers plan to use video, increasing the competition for audience attention.
  • Stand out with quality content: A well thought out strategy will help your videos stand out, ensuring they are seen as valuable and keep your audience coming back for more.
  • Optimize video creation and distribution: Once you’ve identified your target keywords, focus on producing and distributing high-quality videos effectively. This includes:
    • Designing appealing thumbnails, using tools like Canva to increase click-through rates.
    • Inclusion of transcripts for accessibility and splitting videos into segments for a better user experience.
    • Adding metadata and keyword-rich descriptions to help search engines understand and rank your content.

8. modern trends in link building for SEO

In the changing landscape of SEO, link building has shifted from quantity to a more nuanced approach that focuses on the quality and relevance of links. This development is led by Google’s advanced algorithms, which now prioritize the context in which links are placed. Here is an overview of the fundamental changes:

  • Quality over quantity: Google’s algorithms now emphasize the quality of backlinks rather than their sheer number. High-quality links from authoritative websites are more useful than numerous links from lesser-known sources.
  • Contextual relevance: The relevance of the linking page for your niche is crucial. For example, a basketball site gains more value from a link on than from unrelated sites.
  • Refined link framework: Google has improved its ability to analyze the web’s link framework and understands the connections and context behind each backlink.
  • AI-driven analysis: The use of AI in Google’s search algorithm means better detection of spammy or manipulative link building practices. The algorithm distinguishes between naturally acquired links and those created for SEO manipulation.
  • Penalties for low-quality links: Websites that participate in low-quality link schemes face penalties. This includes both the pages that provide these links and the pages that receive them.
  • Natural link building: The focus is now on acquiring links organically through quality content, partnerships and genuine recognition in your field.
  • Diversify link sources: Having backlinks from a variety of credible sources is beneficial, as is diversifying the types of domains that link to your website.

In summary, the contemporary approach to link building in SEO emphasizes that websites should aim for organic growth in their link profile, with a focus on establishing credibility and authority in their specific niche.

Alex Grygoriev
Alex Grygoriev
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