DesignRush interviewed more than 50 top SEO agencies worldwide to paint a better picture of what SEO will look like in 2024.
Experts weighed in on the tech advancements and changes in user behavior, with a focus on how they will influence the industry, so businesses can adequately prepare more effective SEO strategies.
On Google Search
Of course, being the world’s top search engine, Google will still heavily influence the SEO industry this year. Its push for expert-driven content is already shaking up the SEO world.
According to the study, businesses should expect a higher demand for more in-depth research, subject-matter experts, and original content prioritized across websites.
While this is already a part of SEO best practices that agencies enforce, more attention should be given to the quality of content being published on websites, and this includes product and service descriptions.
Experts' opinions vary on Google's initiatives to improve product information and bridge the gap between online and offline shopping.
Some interpret this as a direct challenge to Amazon in the product search and discovery space, while others see it as a separate approach that does not aim to replicate Amazon's marketplace model.
Nevertheless, businesses should consider this when drafting product and service descriptions for their online stores to rank high on Google.
Remember, Google will recognize and reward expert content, more so this year.
On AI Integration
While there is a substantial shift towards authentic and expert-driven content that is influenced by negative impressions of AI-generated content, AI insights are still expected to influence Google’s Search Generation Engine (SGE).
AI integration is anticipated to make searches faster, more precise, and more personalized, but it also means that websites need to learn AI-friendly optimization.
The increasing use of generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Bing Chat (now being replaced by Copilot) as a way to search for information may also affect SEO strategies, but not as much as businesses may think.
According to the experts interviewed, the future of information search is pointing towards a more collaborative landscape where AI platforms and search engines work together.
Traditional search engines are expected to maintain their dominant position when it comes to people’s information search even with the increasing presence of AI assistants.
On Enhancing User Experience and Authenticity
SEO experts agree that generative AI can be a valuable tool for content creation, but it is just that — a tool that necessitates human management.
The key to effectively maximizing the impact of AI is to balance its use, allowing it to enhance creativity without compromising authenticity — using it as a tool to enhance, not replace, the human touch.
This approach allows brands to retain their unique voice and values while aligning content with established brand standards.
Modern SEO as a whole requires greater emphasis on developing user-friendly websites with rich content, appealing visuals, and an easy-to-use interface. This not only focuses on robust SEO performance but also enhances user experience.
On Branding and Ranking
SEO strategies this year are expected to prioritize branded search queries, reflecting their growing importance as a ranking factor.
This necessitates content creation that not only establishes expertise and authority but also pushes users to seek out the brand in search engines.
Backlinks are known to direct users to specific websites, and it is oftentimes used in ranking strategies. However, a significant shift is underway towards prioritizing quality over quantity.
Experts agree that there is greater value in acquiring high-quality and relevant backlinks from authoritative sources, as opposed to gaining a large number of links with less weight.
Educating clients about the importance of quality backlinks and integrating backlinking into broader SEO and content marketing strategies is also becoming increasingly important.
Cramming keywords into content is not an option anymore. Again, Google will reward expert content, so it is crucial for a business to be recognized as a brand with quality content for it to also rank high in searches.
A significant trend in SEO is the diversification of traffic sources, moving beyond organic search to incorporate channels like social media and paid advertising for traffic and visibility.
This shift holds considerable implications, particularly for smaller websites with limited resources struggling to meet these evolving demands.
The definition of SEO success is expanding beyond traditional tactics, now encompassing a website's ability to deliver a captivating user experience and attract a diverse audience.
While this presents an opportunity for a more holistic and user-centric approach to SEO, it also raises the concern of potentially widening the digital divide between well-resourced players and smaller entities.
The key for businesses to thrive when it comes to implementing SEO strategies is to take a holistic and highly adaptive approach.
And remember, the general motto for this year is quality over quantity.