Marketing Strategy Blog

Major SEO Trends to Know in 2024

SEO Trends

Let’s take a moment to stare into the search engine optimization (SEO) crystal ball.

What does the coming year hold for SEO? What trends should you expect to see? How can you prepare to capitalize on these trends?

In this guide, we look at the most important SEO trends you need to be aware of in 2024.

Generative AI in the Search Results

In 2023, Google and Bing hopped on the generative AI trend and introduced generative AI search results. Bing’s AI-powered search is already live. Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is available in Google Labs, and is expected to be fully rolled out in 2024. As a result, expect to see major changes in the SERPs for certain types of searches in the coming months.

Generative AI tries to answer the query for the user without making them go to a website to find the information. Typically, alongside generative AI results such as Google SGE, the SERP displays websites that serve as references for the generative AI output.

The result will be a higher number of zero-click searches in 2024. Searchers will typically take the easiest path to finding their answer, and if generative results give them what they need, they will remain in the SERP.

Generative AI results will likely be most prevalent for top-of-the-funnel searches. The information is often general and commoditized in nature, and so AI can deliver the goods relatively easily.

However, once you look at the middle- (MOFU) and bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU), generative AI will have a more difficult road to displace marketing team-driven content (so long as it’s high-quality and well thought-out).

So, what does this mean for your B2B SEO strategy? First, some of your purely informational posts will likely see a decrease in web traffic.

This doesn’t mean that informational posts will be completely obsolete, but it does mean that you should focus on creating valuable and unique SEO content in order to stand out from generative AI results.

For example, brands will benefit from doubling down on high-value content types such as:

  • Original research studies
  • Original insights
  • Executive briefings
  • Executive opinion pieces
  • Interactive content that increases user engagement
  • Long-form, in-depth, expert blog posts targeting long-tail keywords

graphic of mofu and bofu content

By investing in these types of content, brands can continue to gain visibility and drive traffic through SEO while averting direct competition with generative AI results.

A Sea of Sameness with AI Content

The rise of ChatGPT and AI-powered tools has made it incredibly easy to create content. Just a few clicks, a prompt or two, and boom, you’ve got a blog post.

The problem is that almost all this content is bland, similar, and undifferentiated. Why? Because generative AI can’t produce anything new. It can only take what has been fed into it, mix it up, and regurgitate it.

This creates a sea of sameness when it comes to content. Blogs, articles, and other web pages are starting to sound the same because they’re being generated from the same sources. The more AI-generated content that floods the internet, the more deeply this problem is exacerbated.

As a result, standing out with uniqueness is becoming increasingly important for brands.

If Google’s frenzied algorithm updates in 2023 have shown us one thing, it’s that the bar for content and domain quality has risen faster than we thought. In 2024, we need to find ways to scale the production of high-quality content and groom our content portfolio.

Kevin Indig

So how can your content marketing cut through the noise and capture your target audience’s attention in 2024? It starts with creating amazing, high-value, in-depth content that blows AI content out of the water. Content that can’t be replicated by AI because of the depth in which it covers a subject.

Remember, AI is a generalist. It can talk about many subjects on a high level. But it can’t speak with the expertise that someone with years of experience can. And it’s this kind of expertise that should be incorporated into the content that brands create in the coming year.

What does this look like?

  • Sourcing and including quotes from experts, both internal and from your network. For example, check out this post about B2B growth strategies with contributions from a variety of experts.
  • Conducting original research and sharing your insights
  • Writing deep content that includes insights only an expert could know
  • Providing valuable tips and strategies based on real experience and examples

For example, for one Stratabeat client in the healthcare industry, we conducted a survey, collected 3,500+ responses, and then, based on the results, created a report, five blog posts, two SlideShares, several byline articles published in industry websites, and an infographic. The blog posts were the highest-performing posts in terms of organic traffic that year. The campaign was so successful that the CEO wound up appearing on national TV five times as a result of the campaign.

By doing these types of things, you’re creating content that stands out from the rest AND establishing yourself and your brand as a thought leader. This is crucial for gaining trust and credibility with your audience.

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Content Based on Firsthand Knowledge Will be Rewarded

In December of 2022, Google added another “E” to their previously established EAT guidelines. That additional E stands for experience. This signaled a move by Google to prioritize personal, firsthand knowledge, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in the search rankings.

As they note in their E-E-A-T guidelines:

Consider the extent to which the content creator has the necessary first-hand or life experience for the topic. Many types of pages are trustworthy and achieve their purpose well when created by people with a wealth of personal experience.

Google understands that those with firsthand knowledge often have the best understanding of a subject, and their knowledge should be recognized in the search rankings.

For example, say a SaaS company sells CRM software. On their blog, they regularly publish content about marketing topics. Their team has an in-house marketing expert with a decade of experience in email marketing, CRM database management, and digital marketing automation. If that person were to write a blog post about using CRM software for marketing automation, it might rank higher than other posts on the same topic because of the firsthand knowledge and expertise in the post.

Google’s focus on firsthand knowledge means that brands should create content based on their unique experiences and perspectives. The best content will be created by experienced individuals who have deep personal knowledge of the subject matter and can share unique insights won through years of experience.

If you don’t have any experienced experts on your team for a particular topic, consider sourcing quotes or interviews from subject matter experts who are experts in their field. The more you can showcase firsthand knowledge in your content, the better it will rank in search results.

Creating high-quality, authoritative content based on firsthand knowledge also helps establish trust with your audience.

More Frequent Algorithm Updates

It’s well known that Google regularly makes tweaks to its algorithm. However, they occasionally make significant “core” updates to their algorithm that significantly impact rankings. Normally, these major updates occur once or twice a year.

In 2023, Google made numerous core updates in a relatively short amount of time. Between August 2023 – November 2023, there were six core updates:

  • August 2023 Core Update
  • September 2023 Helpful Content Update (HCU)
  • October 2023 Link Spam Update
  • October 2023 Core Update
  • November 2023 Core Update
  • November 2023 Reviews Update

One of the most significant core updates was the HCU, which was largely a response to the massive amount of AI content that was flooding the web. Many sites that relied heavily on AI content saw a significant drop in rankings due to the HCU.

In 2024, we should expect to see core updates happening on a regular basis. How can brands survive these updates without seeing their rankings fall? By always seeking to give searchers what they are looking for. In other words, by always aligning content with search intent and focusing on high-quality content.

This, after all, is the core purpose of Google. They want to connect searchers with answers. If your content aligns with search intent and provides searchers with significant value that can’t be found anywhere else, you’ll continue to rank high even as Google’s algorithm evolves.

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ChatGPT is Going to Steal a Percentage of Long-tail Searches

For better or worse, ChatGPT is here to stay. This technology has the potential to impact SEO in a major way in 2024. One way it will do this is by stealing away some of the long-tail searches that would have otherwise gone to websites.

How exactly will ChatGPT do this? By providing quick, accurate, and conversational responses to detailed search queries. This means that users may not even need to click on a website for certain types of searches anymore. They can simply have their question answered by ChatGPT.

For example, let’s say someone looks for “recommendations for an effective onboarding email sequence containing five emails after a new customer signs up for small business CRM software.”

Google comes back with email sequence examples, but they are all generic and don’t fit the description outlined in the query. ChatGPT spits out the actual sequencing you requested for CRM software.

This poses a challenge for brands that rely heavily on informational long-tail queries for a significant portion of their traffic.

How should brands respond to this challenge? Again, it comes back to creating content that can’t be replicated by ChatGPT or any other AI tool. ChatGPT can only provide so much information in response to a question, and much of this information will be surface-level.

Brands can stand out by providing in-depth, expertise-driven, valuable, and unique content that goes beyond what ChatGPT can offer.

SERPs Are More Diverse

graphic showing the google SERPs

The SERPs’ diversity allows brands to capture more SERP real estate. If a brand speaks to a topic in a long-form blog post, YouTube video content, or Reddit forum, they have a much greater chance of appearing in the SERPs for different types of queries.

This is why brands should have an omnichannel approach to content creation and distribution, ensuring that their content appears in various forms and platforms.

Content repurposing can be helpful in this regard. With content repurposing, you transform a piece of content into another type of content. For example, you could turn a blog post into a video script. Or you could use snippets from a blog post to create LinkedIn posts. Or take a webinar and turn it into a series of blog posts with infographics along with a series of associated LinkedIn posts.

The more you repurpose content, the more you can cover a topic across multiple channels.

E-E-A-T Matters More Than Ever

As mentioned above, it’s easier than ever for a person to create content, even about subjects they know little to nothing about. In light of this, Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness matter more than ever to Google. They want to give users information that is reliable, and that they can trust. Experience, expertise, and authority all contribute to trustworthiness.

So, how can you establish your experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in the eyes of Google?

A number of ways.

First, cover topics at an expert level. It’s no longer sufficient to speak to topics in a surface-level manner. If you want to rank well in the SERPs, you need to dive deep into topics and provide valuable insights that can only come from experts.

Additionally, showcase your experience in your content. As we’ve discussed, firsthand knowledge and expertise are crucial for establishing trust with your audience. Use case studies, examples, and personal anecdotes to demonstrate your experience in the field.

Also, utilize author bios for your content creators. These author bios should highlight the individual’s expertise, listing any certifications they have, years of experience, social media profiles, etc. Anything to show Google that they know what they’re talking about.

If your brand has won any awards, show those off on your page. Additionally, use security signals like SSL certificates and VeriSign badges. And make sure that your brand is active on social media, sharing unique insights and thought leadership content.

Zero Click Searches on The Rise

As we’ve already noted, Google is steadily claiming more and more of the top of the funnel for itself. According to a study by Semrush, 57% of mobile devices and approximately 25% of desktop queries leave the SERPs without clicking on a result.

This is not only because of artificial intelligence, although that is certainly part of it. Google’s advanced SERP features, featured snippets, PAA answers, knowledge panels, local packs, and direct conversion tools promptly meet user intent by delivering concise and accurate answers.

In certain cases, like searching for flights from Boston to Chicago, you can purchase your tickets right in the SERP itself within a full transactional environment. Who needs websites??

The bottom line is that Google is always looking for ways to get the right information to users in the fastest way possible. This often means providing the answer to a query directly in the search results.

So how can brands prepare for the rise of zero-click searches and overall lower click-through rates?

One way is to focus on winning featured snippets. While this in and of itself doesn’t guarantee more organic traffic, it does place your brand in the zero position of the search results, greatly increasing the odds that searchers will click on your site above any others.

Capturing numerous featured snippets also serves to boost your brand visibility and recognition. You become recognized as a thought leader in your space, which builds increased brand trust.

Another strategy is to win more PAA slots. Research the top questions being asked for your target keywords, and make sure you have relevant content that directly answers those questions. You can also create more FAQ content.

One more strategy is to test your Title Tag and Meta Description messaging. Treat your search results like an advertisement. Focus on natural language and compelling messaging that is wholly focused on making searchers want to click.

Helpful Content Will Reign Supreme

As we’ve noted, AI content has flooded the internet. So have copycat blog posts. In general, many companies are jumping on the “content marketing bandwagon” and pumping out rudderless content without any underlying strategy or thought.

And the thing about these types of content is that a lot of it simply isn’t that helpful. It’s just generic, undifferentiated information. It doesn’t solve any of the real-life problems they’re dealing with. The overall experience is “meh.”

In 2024, truly helpful content will be king. Content that addresses specific problems and provides valuable solutions will rank well in the SERPs.

So, how can you make your content more helpful?

  1. Conduct a thorough Google SERP analysis so that you know exactly what Google is looking to include in the top 10 organic SERP listings. Is it filled with listicles, solutions pages, blog pages, or something else? And do those pages talk to businesses or consumers? And does the content speak to executives or specialists? Each of these factors matter for search intent. It’s not enough to know what people are searching for. You need to know why they’re searching for it. What do they really want?
  2. What SERP features do you see for specific keywords? If there are videos showing up, consider including a video on your page. If there are infographics ranking in the images section, consider creating one that’s applicable to the topic.
  3. Check out the People Also Ask section and related searches to see what type of users’ queries exist around the topic. SEO tools like Answer Socrates and Buzzsumo could also be good resources for your research.

The most effective research strategy? Customer interviews and conversations with your sales team. These give you insights into exactly what is happening on the ground, inside your target market’s minds, and how they are speaking about their pain points.

Once you’ve done all your research, create content that speaks directly to those pain points, frustrations, questions, and goals. Provide detailed, actionable solutions that the reader can implement right away. Use visuals, videos, and interactive elements to make your content more engaging and easier to digest. Go beyond surface-level answers and provide them with practical solutions that truly make a difference in their work and in their lives.

Topical Authority Will Be Increasingly Important

In 2024, Google will increasingly prioritize topical authority, as it’s looking to prioritize content produced by topical experts. This means that instead of creating one-off pieces of content, it’s important to have a deep and consistent presence in a particular topic area. Your goal should be to become the go-to source for information on that topic.

Think of a content ecosystem instead of a few content pieces.

How do you achieve topical authority?

Creating topic clusters is a particularly effective strategy. Topic clusters feature a pillar page and connected cluster pages. The pillar page covers a topic thoroughly from many angles but doesn’t go deep into any one angle. The cluster pages, however, focus on specific subtopics or long-tail keywords related to the main topic and go deep on those subtopics.

The pillar page links to all the cluster pages and each individual cluster page links back to the pillar page. Doing this creates a topical “web”, in which you thoroughly address a topic both from a high-level and in-depth.

With this strategy, both your pillar page and cluster pages can rank for different, yet topically related keywords. This approach shows Google that you have a deep understanding of a particular topic and are an authoritative source for information on it.

If you want to succeed with SEO in 2024 and generate greater organic search traffic, go beyond simple keyword research. Rather, engage in audience and topical research, and then create content that thoroughly covers the topical ecosystem.

Ready to accelerate your growth?

Stratabeat achieved 7,235.7% organic traffic growth for a B2B client in one of the most competitive categories in Google. See How!
7,235.7% Increase in Organic Traffic

User Experience Impacts Rankings

Google wants to give users the best possible experience. This includes the information they’re searching for, but goes beyond that. Google also wants to direct users to pages that are easy to navigate, load quickly, and provide a positive overall experience.

To put this another way, having the right information on your website is not enough. You need to present that information to users in pleasing ways and create a positive experience.

User experience will have a significant impact on rankings in 2024 and beyond. Websites prioritizing user experience by having well-designed, fast-loading, and easy-to-navigate pages will likely see higher rankings.

So, how do you create a great user experience?

Great Design and Fast Site Speed

Modern website design is crucial for a top-notch user experience. Start with ensuring your website loads quickly. Slow-loading pages are a no-go—users won’t wait around. High bounce rates can damage your rankings.

Google shares this sentiment, as they’ve included site speed as a ranking factor (US Patent 8,645,362) and introduced Core Web Vitals in May 2020.

To evaluate the speed of your site, go to the Core Web Vitals section of Google Search Console. There, you’ll see a report on your site’s page speed stats and other key metrics that contribute to a positive user experience. Use the recommendations in the report to improve the overall performance of your site.

screenshot of core web vitals for a desktop view in google search console

Easy to Navigate

Next, make sure your website is easy to navigate. Users should be able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. This means having a clear and organized menu and internal links within your content that guide users to related topics.

The better your site is organized, the longer users will stay on it. They’ll click through to more content, visit more pages, and consume more information. This, in turn, will send positive signals to Google, indicating that users are having a good experience on your site.

Consumable Content

graphic of consumable content

These elements break up the text and make it easier for users to read and digest information. Use headings to organize your content into different sections, making it more scannable for readers. Utilize bullet points to highlight important points or lists, further breaking up the text for a better user experience. Use images to augment the text, break it up, and make it more easily understandable.

The goal of user experience isn’t particularly complicated: provide people with an experience so good that they’ll want to come back. The more you do that, the more likely you are to rank high in the SERPs.

Content Needs To Be Refreshed Faster and More Frequently

With more content being published than ever before, Google is putting more emphasis on fresh and frequent content. This means that to stay relevant in the ever-changing world of SEO, you need to update your content regularly.

Not only does this keep users coming back for new information, but it also signals to Google that your site is active and constantly providing new, up-to-date value to users. This can result in a higher ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

For example, Stratabeat updates its marketing planning post every year, given that it’s an annual and quarterly activity of many businesses. However, for something like our post on sensory adaptation in marketing, we update it only every few years.

When was the last time you performed a content audit? If it’s been a while, consider doing one as soon as possible.

A content audit involves reviewing all your published content and determining whether it’s still relevant and valuable to your audience. With each piece of content, you have several options:

  • Update it
  • Merge it with other content
  • Delete it

A content audit aims to ensure that your website only contains the most up-to-date information that is highly relevant to your audience.

Preparing For The Future

Are you ready for 2024? Is your brand primed to deal with the flood of AI content, frequent algorithm updates, and the ever-changing SEO landscape?

If you need help preparing for the future of SEO, consider working with an experienced B2B SEO agency like Stratabeat. We have our finger on the pulse of the industry and help you stay ahead of the game with advanced SEO, content, and web strategies.

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