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Our Top 2024 SEO Predictions. Is SEO Really Doomed?
Every technology is doomed to be overtaken by a better one. That needn’t be a bad thing. Often our doom and gloom predictions can be completely wrong. Remember when Dreamweaver was going to put every web designer out of business? What about records, books, or board games? All should have gone the way of the dinosaur, but they are all still with us. Now, if you have a Betamax, or are still using floppy discs, you might be in more of a niche than your average techie.
If you’ve been in the business of search for the last twenty years, you’ve seen the headlines predicting the end of SEO before. However, the reports of the death of SEO, as they say, have been greatly exaggerated. You only need to Google back a few years.
- 2005: Backlinks are losing their significance.
- 2006: Personalized search is killing SERPs
- 2007: The semantic web is dead
- 2008: SEO has no future
Many will point out that 2023 was maybe one of the most challenging years for publishers to date with struggling to recover from multiple Google Algorithm Updates, the continued shift on the importance of making sure your content complies with E-E-A-T principles, and the invasion of ChatGPT AI content that is being produced at an astonishing rate.
If we wanted to concentrate on more technical SEO aspects, Semrush just posted a new search ranking factor study for 2024 that analyzed 300K results to see what factors contributed to higher search engine rankings.
So where exactly IS SEO headed, and with everyone asking their favorite chatbot for answers, do search engines have a future? We looked at some of the top predictions out there, then predicted for ourselves the big “four for 2024” SEO changes we can look forward to.
What the Soothsayers Say: SEO Predictions for 2024
Tech is changing so quickly, that it is often outpacing even the quickly changing demands of our customers. Combined, they make for a difficult-to-read crystal ball. What will happen to search in the next year? Here’s one answer we can give you with 100% confidence: “It Depends.”
Moz’s SEO Trends and Predictions from Industry Experts focused on several interesting topics including Google updates and the changing SERP landscape, thought leadership in our content strategy, and the importance of user experience. Not surprisingly, the impact of AI featured heavily in the many predictions.
Where Should You Aim Your Rocket? Here Are Our Four SEO Predictions for 2024
1. The Growing Importance of AI in SEO
You don’t have to like it, but people and businesses – yes even Google and Bing – are investing time and money in artificial intelligence. From voice search to personalized search results, you can bet that AI and machine learning will play an even greater role in SEO than it already has.
As search engines become more sophisticated, they will increasingly rely on AI and machine learning to understand user intent and rank websites. Take, for example, Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) – its an AI-driven search encounter, and not all of it are sending positive signals for what the future may hold for website owners.
“By 2028, brands’ organic search traffic will decrease by 50% or more as consumers embrace generative AI-powered search.”Gartner
SGE allows Google to furnish AI-generated outcomes for numerous search inquiries, prominently featured at the pinnacle of search engine results pages (SERPs). As it gains widespread usage, it is poised to revolutionize user interactions with the search engine, inevitably reshaping the landscape of site optimization for impression and traffic generation.
“As AI evolves to improve its ability to create content, it makes sense that Google’s own algorithmic AI improves right alongside these developments. With AI’s growing capability of understanding audio, video, and images, Google’s algorithm will get better at accurately indexing and serving multimedia content. This will add competitive pressure to SEO …”Katie Morton, Senior Managing Growth Editor, Search Engine Journal
2. An Oldie but a Goldie: UX for SEO
Whether you’re talking about Google’s Core Web Vitals or simply a website that offers added value, User experience (UX) has always been a sort of “silent partner” in SEO, but it will become even more important in 2024. Google has said that UX is a ranking factor, and this is only going to become more important in the future. “Loading fast” is almost your Mom and Dad’s UX.
Does this mean that SEOs will need to focus on creating websites that are even more easy to use, mobile-friendly, and visually appealing? Sure. Even more important, however, will be helpful content, easy to read and to share, that is optimized for the user’s specific needs and context. It’s not keyword-stuffed content. It’s almost personalized content.
“Visitors aren’t impressed by bells and whistles; instead, focus on a great user experience. Produce quality content that engages your audience, and give them reasons to stick around on your site longer. A great user experience is what really scores points with people, it’s also the same considerations that help with your Core Web Vitals scores too.”Rocket.net
3. New Venues for Search like Social Media and Video Content
From news to shopping, TikTok is becoming one of the more important social media channels — and not just with youngsters. A recent Pew Research study showed that a growing number of adults now get their news from their favorite social media channels. With TikTok and company in the search mix (1 in 3 people use social media to discover new products and brands), you have an exciting new SEO flavor that goes beyond simple blog posts.
Add to that the growing acceptance of vertical video formats and you have people spending more time on social media than ever before. The importance of video content will continue to grow in 2024. As video increases in popularity, search engines will continue to reward those websites that integrate it into their content strategy.
“Google might introduce new tools encouraging user-generated content (UGC) and social interactions. This move could attempt to reclaim the audience drawn to platforms like TikTok. … (their) updated SGE experience will likely change how we optimize content and engage with customers throughout their search journey.”Aleyda Solis, Google SGE Predictions
4. Local Search, eCommerce, and Mobile
From niche keywords to local businesses, to mobile shopping, evolving mobile-first search trends will continue to gain traction. Customer journeys will become more granular too, which means your small biz will have opportunities to compete in search like never before.
With more and more people using their mobile devices to search the web (almost half of those asked said they used their phone to source information or make purchases while in a shop), SEOs will need to prioritize the mobile-friendliness of their content even more. This means more than just ensuring that websites are optimized for smaller screens, fast loading speeds, and responsive designs.
Whatever you call it — local, mobile, shopping, or voice search — succeeding here means understanding where your customers “are” physically, in their buyer’s journey as well as the context of their search. It really means knowing their favorite color sneakers and handing them over unlaced. From keywords to processes to content that changes the search game completely.
“Google’s recent Helpful Content Update shows that they’re serious about user experience. And that the bar for quality is only going to go up. That just means that people that produce the best stuff will eventually win out.”Brian Dean
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