Latest SEO Trends to Keep an Eye on

SEO Trends 2024

The SEO landscape underwent significant changes in 2023, largely due to the AI revolution. These changes will continue to have an impact in 2024, especially with Google’s new Search Generative Experience. It’s clear that we can’t just keep relying on our tried-and-true best practices and accepted SEO wisdom of the past.

The introduction of ChatGPT by OpenAI has led some to believe that Google might finally face competition from Bing. However, this remains wishful thinking on Microsoft’s part for the time being. Google not only holds over 90% of the global search engine market share, but is also the preferred search engine for 91% of Internet users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, according to Evergreen Media’s latest Digital Marketing Insights 2024 market study.

So we have to continue to focus on Google to generate visibility and revenue through organic search. However, because of ChatGPT, SGE (Search Generative Experience) and similar technologies, we need to rethink our long-standing strategies. If you’re still chasing the highest-traffic keywords without putting the user at the center of your efforts, you may be in for a rude awakening.

In this article, I’ll outline the current developments that both SEOs and content marketers need to keep an eye on and how you can stay ahead of the competition with sustainable, forward-thinking approaches.

(Note: This guest post was originally written in German by Alexander Rus and has been translated into English by the Seobility team.)

Content Quality vs. Content Quantity in the Age of AI

The AI revolution has fundamentally changed the way we create content. Generative AI technologies like ChatGPT make it possible to produce high-quality, relevant content in record time. However, this technology is available to everyone – meaning that generative AI doesn’t give you a competitive edge in SEO. It only changes the status quo.

Now more than ever, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is to pay close attention to the freshness of your content. A Siege Media study on content freshness found that the top 10 SERPs for popular keywords have been updated within the last 1.31 years on average.

To ensure content freshness, you should keep your statistics up to date, continually incorporate new insights into your content, and regularly update examples (including screenshots and graphics where appropriate). The goal is to keep your content valuable not only to search engines, but more importantly, to your users. For a detailed guide on how to do this, check out Seobility’s Content Refresh Guide.

Another strategy to stand out from the sea of AI-generated content is to focus more on thought leadership. This means providing content that conveys unique knowledge and industry expertise, rather than simply repeating what’s been written on ten other sites.

Above all, you should aim for a focused content ecosystem. Write only high-quality, genuinely helpful content that matches both your service offering and informational topics directly related to it – you can skip the generic top-of-the-funnel topics. Organize this content into hubs, or interconnected topic clusters that highlight your expertise on a topic.

Example of a content hub on the topic of “remote work” from Zapier
Example of a content hub on the topic of “remote work” from Zapier

For example, say you’re an expert in sustainable gardening. Your site should not only cover basic topics such as “Buy Garden Plants,” but also provide in-depth, specialized information that highlights your expertise. You could create a content cluster centered on “Sustainable Garden Design” consisting of several related articles, such as

  • Sustainable garden design basics
  • Choosing plants for a sustainable garden
  • Water-efficient irrigation systems
  • DIY composting in your garden
  • And so on.

In each of these articles, you should incorporate your unique experience in the field and offer tips that are hard to find elsewhere. By creating content that’s specific and helpful, you demonstrate your expertise.

Tip: You can also spice up your content with controversial quotes that deliberately represent opinions that differ from the mainstream. However, you should also have a certain reputation in your niche and solid experience with the topic – so your opinion should be well-founded!

Such content adds authority to your brand and is not easily replicated by AI, which lacks real-world insight and the kind of expertise that only comes from experience.

Deliver answers, not just content

Google’s preference for user-centric content is no secret. The introduction of the Helpful Content System and the expansion of the E-E-A-T concept to include “experience” have made this abundantly clear. Despite the constant updates, one thing remains unchanged: a focus on user-centric and truly helpful, unique content is essential to SEO success in 2024 and beyond.

Something that’s becoming increasingly important, especially with SGE, is that users are looking for quick answers to their specific questions. Gone are the days of blog posts that drone on and on, explaining a topic from its earliest history to the present, and only providing useful answers in the last third.

Content creators should take a cue from the inverted pyramid structure used in journalism: present the most important information first, followed by additional details. There will always be readers who want to go beyond the answer they were looking for. And for those who just need the answer to their question, this approach provides a seamless experience on your website – a win-win.

Example of a blog article from Seobility with inverted pyramid structure
Example of a blog article from Seobility with inverted pyramid structure

This approach is not only good from an SEO perspective but also helps improve your brand’s image and authority within your niche.

To do this, you need to know exactly what questions your audience is asking. There are several strategies you can use to find out what’s on your audience’s mind. One of the most thorough is to create detailed buyer personas, which involves gathering information about demographics, attitudes, needs, and behaviors. This information can be used to infer your audience’s needs and pain points and derive relevant questions.

A much simpler method is to use organic search to find out what your target audience wants to know about a particular product or topic. To do this, examine the content in the top ten results on Google for your product or topic. Any questions, topics, and subtopics that appear are relevant user questions because they wouldn’t rank high on Google otherwise.

Finally, you can use AI by feeding it the data you’ve already collected about your audience (through Google Analytics, real customer queries, comments on your content, etc., while ensuring anonymity) and asking it to derive relevant questions that concern your audience.

Human expertise meets AI: a new SEO symbiosis

The potential of AI for SEO strategies goes far beyond mere content creation. But the challenge is to use these technologies to complement human expertise, rather than simply producing mediocre content at scale. As mentioned earlier, anyone can produce AI-generated content today, but it’s the human skill set that can make content uniquely helpful.

The goal is to use AI to create high-quality content and enrich it with human knowledge, empathy, creativity, and understanding of the target audience. This way you can produce content that’s highly valuable to both users and search engines. Of course, this requires a deep understanding of generative AI as well as expertise in content creation for real users.

While AI opens up many possibilities in SEO, it would be a serious mistake to overlook its limitations and challenges. AI can analyze data and identify patterns, but a deep understanding of user intent and cultural nuances is something only human experts can provide. In the same way, humans are still the ultimate authority on style, relevance, and conciseness.

Finding the balance between automated processes and human intuition means using AI as a tool while investing human attention more effectively.

This symbiosis can’t be learned overnight and requires considerable experience. The best strategy is to test AI on various tasks frequently and evaluate the results closely.

Why a content ecosystem is non-negotiable

To be successful with SEO and content marketing in 2024, it is not enough to focus solely on your own website. Digital brands will need to build a comprehensive content ecosystem that includes multiple channels and formats, such as social media, video, and podcasts.  But keep in mind: it is better to be active on two or three channels only than to have accounts everywhere and only post once a month.

Choosing the right channels to engage with is critical, especially if your resources are limited. Take the time to identify where your audience is most active and choose the platforms that promise the highest engagement.

Content repurposing, or reusing content across platforms, is a great way to reach new audiences in an efficient way. For example, a video interview can be repurposed as a blog post, multiple social media posts, or even a newsletter. For example, Wistia’s approach to repurposing short podcast snippets into social media videos demonstrates the power of adapting content for specific platforms.

Effective content repurposing that’s tailored to each platform not only makes your brand more visible across the digital landscape, but also enhances your brand image in the minds of potential customers. The good news is that with the advent of generative AI, content repurposing has become easier than ever.

Another helpful approach is to design content such as long-form videos or blog articles in a modular way. This allows you to easily adapt elements such as subtopics, statistics, and infographics to platforms that prefer shorter content formats.

Of course, measuring and analyzing user engagement across all channels is critical to understanding what content is and isn’t resonating. This insight will help you prioritize and refine your content strategy, ensuring the greatest possible impact.

Brand Strength and Authority as SEO Benefits

Brand strength is a key factor for SEO success. If a company is already established as an authority in its field, it can achieve top rankings surprisingly quickly – a scenario new businesses can only dream of.

And it’s not just Google that loves strong brands. Consumers also prefer to buy from companies they have a positive association with. This could be because they’ve read something positive about a company, people they trust have recommended the brand, or the brand simply pops up every time they search for information on a certain topic.

That’s why it’s important not to rely solely on traditional outreach strategies like backlink building. Not only are these efforts difficult to scale, but you should be aiming for more than just backlinks. You want to create digital buzz.

Backlinks alone are no longer enough to establish your brand as an authority. Instead, try using digital PR strategies to reach media and influencers outside of your immediate niche. After all, backlinks are primarily signals to Google, but with digital PR, you and your brand will reach real people much more directly.

One smart but challenging example strategy you can adopt is to create your own study. This involves gathering new data on a topic within your niche and presenting the results in a visually appealing way.

You can then use this data to “hunt” for links and share your findings digitally or through traditional media. This approach can significantly leverage your efforts and, in the best cases, pay for itself. If your data is good, interesting and – most importantly – unique, you may get linked to without any further action on your part.

Modern link building in 2024 means being the source of unique data and information for successful digital PR.

In addition, it’s time to focus more on user-generated content, such as customer reviews and ratings. In an era of AI-generated content, real user signals can set you apart from the competition.

Don’t ignore these valuable signals. Make them part of your marketing strategy. People want to be persuaded and advised by humans, not by empty AI phrases. Include real quotes and customer reviews in your content (focusing on the positive and helpful), encourage users to interact with your page by liking, sharing, and commenting, and learn from customer feedback to improve your site and products.

Not only does this content contribute significantly to a brand’s authenticity and trustworthiness, it can also increase visibility and conversions: According to the Digital Marketing Insights 2024 market study, reviews and ratings are very or somewhat important to 70% of people, and 57% search for them on search engines at least once a week.

A strategy that promotes and highlights user-generated content not only improves SEO, but also builds trust with potential customers.

The bottom line: A strong brand is your best defense

Even in 2024 and beyond, SEO professionals should be prepared for sudden shifts and profound changes. In particular, AI will continue to have a major impact. Yes, the quality of AI-generated content is improving, but that doesn’t mean we can completely rely on this technology. After all, it’s available to everyone, and our goal is to stand out from the crowd, not to get lost in it.

In the realm of SEO content marketing, the focus remains on delivering content that provides real value and answers questions directly and seamlessly, with content freshness becoming even more critical.

A diverse content ecosystem across multiple channels is essential for engaging users and increasing brand visibility. Effective cross-promotion and platform-specific content customization are essential and, thanks to generative AI, easier than ever.

While I wouldn’t call it a secret weapon, there is one factor that will help you weather the storms of SEO: the strength of your brand, its authority, and its visibility beyond organic search results. This means going beyond link building and effectively leveraging digital PR and user-generated content such as customer reviews.

We don’t yet know if, when, and how Google will fully implement SGE, or what other breakthroughs the AI revolution will bring. However, those who continue to focus on sustainable SEO strategies, high-quality and uniquely helpful content, and true user-centricity are the ones most likely to achieve SEO success in the future.

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Alexander Rus

Alexander Rus is the founder of the Innsbruck-based SEO agency Evergreen Media®. He publishes weekly videos about SEO and content marketing on his YouTube channel, sharing insights from his years of hands-on experience with both marketing professionals and newcomers.

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