Crystal ball predicting the future of SEO
Search engines are always changing, so SEO strategies need to evolve too. This article looks at important SEO trends for 2024. Whether you run a small business or a big online store, these insights are here to help you stay up-to-date. Understanding and using these trends can put you ahead in the ever-changing world of search engine optimisation. Today we are going to cover these key SEO trends for the next 12 months:  

The unquestionable tool: Artificial Intelligence 

In 2024, marketers should continue to use AI as a powerful tool for personalisation, analysis, content creation, customer interaction, and predictive insights. It's really important to prioritise a positive customer experience. This year we can expect to see businesses apply AI systems in practical situations, from conversational interfaces to autonomous systems. These innovations will revolutionise industries like healthcare, education, robotics, and e-commerce, changing how we engage with the world. 
Artificial Brain

Worldwide use of Google Search Generative Experience 

Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) introduces a fresh approach to search results. This experimental search method uses generative artificial intelligence (AI) to offer users quick summaries of search topics, without needing to click on individual webpages. 
SGE can be beneficial for various tasks, including: 
Finding answers 
Discovering topic overviews 
Summarising key takeaways 
Providing how-to instructions 
For example, if you're searching for rainy day activities for young children, rather than directing you to various websites, SGE presents a compiled list of suggestions at the top of the results from multiple sources which makes it super easy to find an answer. 
After thorough testing and development, Google has prepared SGE for an official public release. This suggests that SGE snippets will likely get most organic clicks since they dominate a large portion of the SERP. 
If you're looking for more detail about Google Search Generative Experience, we have covered this in another blog, please read it here

What can you do? 

Although SGE is not yet live, it's advisable to start preparing your website now for a seamless transition when the update is implemented. 
From our observations in the SGE test version, we can make the following assumptions: 
Ensure your content includes expert analysis, and your website demonstrates topical authority.  
Having high-quality backlinks and posts authored by experts can boost your chances. 
Google seems to favour direct and straightforward language, which is easier for AI training. Therefore, create your content in a clear, answer-like manner. Imagine you're responding to a question and summarise the information within a single paragraph. This approach increases the likelihood that Google may select your content (even if it doesn't, aiming for a featured snippet is a win-win situation)
Google emphasises the user experience and usability of pages. Focus on optimising page experience, addressing Core Web Vitals, enhancing user-friendliness, and implementing mobile SEO if you haven't already. 
Don't overlook traditional SEO best practices, including on-page and technical optimisation. Stick to these fundamental basics that have proven to work in the past. 
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Increasing significance of E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) 

This trend follows logically from Google's Search Generative Experience. To have your pages selected for SGE snippets, it's essential to produce authoritative content. Authority is indicated by E-E-A-T—Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trustworthiness. 
E-E-A-T is an ongoing trend that is consistently talked about each year, and 2024 is no exception.  
Lots of elements contribute to E-E-A-T signals, including the: 
Expertise of authors 
Backlinks from reputable sources 
Relevant niche websites 
Mentions by experts and opinion leaders 
For instance, if your content revolves around cooking and restaurants, receiving mentions from local and globally recognised restaurants, food bloggers, and chefs can significantly enhance your site's E-E-A-T.  
However, aiming for better SERP rankings through E-E-A-T signals will likely result in increased costs for SEO services. This is because: 
Articles crafted by expert authors will see a rise in expenses. 
Link-building services, particularly outreach, will become more costly. 
Authoritative media outlets may increase the prices for paid posts. 

What can you do? 

Pay close attention and be mindful when building personal brands—this is crucial for E-E-A-T development. 
Growing a personal brand is a time-consuming process. If you find yourself unwilling to put in effort in brand management, then outsourcing seems like a better option. However, keep in mind that outsourcing expert content creation is likely to become more expensive in the future, so don't hesitate to act now

Personalised SERPs influenced by user behavior 

Google seems set on making SERPs more personalised than before. 
According to Google, search engines will consider the pages and sites users frequently visit, putting them higher in the SERPs. 
Additionally, Google is introducing a new Follow feature. This feature allows users to follow a specific query, ensuring they receive timely and relevant information on the topic when using Google. 
In this manner, each user's SERP will vary based on personal preferences, not just location and language. 
Considering this, it appears that Google SERPs might soon resemble Instagram or TikTok recommendations, where the content displayed aligns with what the user interacts with most frequently. 
Software designer speaking to his client on the phone in an office

What can you do? 

As behavioural factors and personalisation become more important, consider incorporating more customer research into your SEO strategy. This increases the likelihood of your content connecting with users and gaining popularity and relevance in Google's eyes. 
Here are a couple of tips to capture audience attention: 
Prioritise creating customer-centric content that addresses the needs and interests of real people. Simply adjusting to search engine algorithms is not enough. 
Keep an eye on user behaviour metrics. This is crucial for SEO professionals to tailor their strategies to meet the demands of their audience. 
Implement suitable techniques and tools. It's essential to optimise websites and content for user engagement and behaviour. 

Rising importance of Local SEO 

Heading into 2024, local SEO will flourish with the rise of enhanced personalisation of the SERP. User location and behaviour play a crucial role, prompting even fully digital businesses to concentrate on highly localised digital marketing strategies. 
Furthermore, mobile searches are at an all-time high, with people actively searching for nearby coffee shops, bookstores, or service providers while on the move. Google, recognising this trend, gives priority to local information to best fulfill user intent. As a result, maintaining visibility in local search results is essential for any business to remain competitive. 

What can you do? 

For effective local SEO optimisation in 2024, consider the following: 
Google Business Profile: Ensure accuracy and optimisation for target keywords in your Google Business Profile listing. 
Local Keywords: Research relevant local search terms and add them into your website's content, meta tags, and URLs. 
Local Link Building: Establish local links by listing your business in local directories, collaborating with local businesses, and participating in community events. 
Online Reviews: Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your Google Business Profile and other review sites, like TrustPilot. Respond professionally to both positive and negative feedback. 
Local Content: Generate content tailored to your local audience, such as blog posts about local events, news, or activities related to your business. 
Schema Markup: Utilise schema markup to help search engines better understand your site's content and location. 
Social Media Presence: Stay active on social media platforms to engage with your local community. 

Tighter adherence to quality guidelines 

Since Google has to select content for SGE snippets, it will have to scan numerous pages and evaluate their quality. Only the best pages will be used in the Search Generative Experience. In this context, the standards for high-quality content are likely to become stricter and possibly differ significantly from what we have today. 
Printing loupe used to examine colour chart concept for color check

What can you do? 

Maintain your website by regularly auditing and refining its content, and stay informed about key SEO trends and Google updates. In simple terms, continue with your SEO routine
If you or a team member would like help developing an SEO routine for your it'seeze website, please contact your local it'seeze expert or drop us a line for further help and advice. 

Prioritise UX optimisation 

Enhancing user experience is obviously not a completely new concept, but in 2024, it will become a top priority. 
Initially, the introduction of SGE will play a crucial role. Google will evaluate pages to determine their suitability for SGE snippets. If a page is cluttered with heavy, non-readable visuals, Google might view it as empty. It's clear that a page like that is unlikely to be featured in an SGE snippet. 
Furthermore, your websites loading speed already significantly impacts user satisfaction. We know that Google strongly disapproves of slow-loading sites because they delay user interaction. Improving your website's speed is not just about pleasing search engines; it's about respecting your users' time. 
Another important factor is how easy your website is to navigate. Can users locate what they're looking for without getting confused? Easy-to-follow navigation, clear call-to-actions, and a well-organised, consistent layout will be crucial in achieving user interest and minimising bounce rates. 

What can you do? 

Ensure you prioritise Core Web Vitals optimisation. Maintain a visually attractive yet lightweight site, avoid excessive use of intrusive pop-ups or banners, and emphasise straightforward navigation. These practices contribute to faster loading times, ultimately enhancing SERP rankings and site indexability. 

Surge in popularity of zero-click searches 

Google, Bing, and other search engines are consistently improving their algorithms to deliver instant answers, featured snippets, and knowledge graphs directly in the search results. This aims to improve user experience by providing rapid and accurate responses to queries. As a result, users can find the information they need more quickly and efficiently, often without visiting a website. 
This shift has significant implications for SEO strategies. Traditional click-through rates may no longer be the sole measure of online success. The focus now lies on visibility in these zero-click spaces.  
It's about being the initial and most concise answer to the user's question. 
Woman using PC mouse while working on computer at table

What can you do? 

Now is the moment to ensure your pages secure rich snippets in SERPs. This not only boosts your chances of gaining zero-click positions and visibility but also enhances the likelihood of being chosen for SGE snippets later on.  
To acquire a rich snippet, your page's content needs to be easily understood by Google. 
Here's a tip: When defining a term or explaining something, ensure that the explanation or description can be contained within a single paragraph. 

Emergence of Video SEO as a trend 

As the demand for video content grows, search engines are giving priority to videos in their results. This change highlights the importance for businesses to recognise video as a crucial element of their SEO strategy. 
Why is video SEO so vital? Firstly, it's about visibility. Videos are more captivating and shareable, quickly grabbing users' attention. Optimising videos ensures they appear not only in video searches but also in regular search results, expanding their reach. 
Adopting video SEO presents a chance to engage with your audience more dynamically and improve your overall online presence. It's essential to produce compelling, optimised video content that matches your audience's needs and preferences. 

What can you do? 

Incorporate videos into your content strategy. Although they demand additional time and preparation, the outcomes are worthwhile. Adopt best practices for YouTube SEO by including metadata and closed captions, selecting appropriate tags, and incorporating timestamps. Timestamps aid Google in ranking specific segments of your videos that align with particular queries. 
In summary, AI has had a big impact on SEO, and this influence is expected to continue in 2024 and beyond. The trends above suggest that Google is continuing to move towards a more user-friendly and personalised approach. To keep up, it's essential to have a well-designed website, create high-quality content, and stay aware of emerging SEO trends (or have someone do it for you).  
Feel free to share your thoughts on the future of SEO in 2024 in the comments below.  

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