You are currently viewing 2024 SEO Trends and How to Future-Proof Your Strategies

2024 SEO Trends and How to Future-Proof Your Strategies

  • Post author:
  • Post last modified:April 10, 2024
  • Reading time:10 mins read

It might sound counterintuitive to say that SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is not really about search engines, but that’s the truth. As time goes on, the best SEO strategies will be the ones that focus on providing engaging content and a rewarding experience for users, while adapting to changing SEO trends.

To a keen observer, it is pretty clear that SEO trends have, in the past few years, undergone a transformative shift. For one, search engines are no longer merely matching keywords but are actively seeking to understand the underlying intent behind user queries.

So, while keyword research has a role to play, the focus is now on more holistic SEO and content strategies complemented by a deep understanding of user behavior, search patterns, and the broader context of user queries.

Website owners and content creators who apply their focus rightly are guaranteed to enjoy SEO success in the months and years to come.

Understanding Search Intent

Gone are the days when SEO was about collecting a list of relevant keywords and trying to rank for each of them. Now, – and it has been so for some years – what matters is how well your webpages align with user intent.

In short, it’s no longer about what specific words a searcher uses, but about what they are trying to accomplish with their query. Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines, updated in March 2024, classify user intent as follows:

  • Know query: to find information,
  • Do query: to accomplish a goal, such as making a transaction,
  • Website query: to find a specific website or webpage, and
  • Visit-in-person query: to find a business or organization

Success in SEO now hinges on deeply understanding your audience and crafting content that directly addresses their intentions.

Synergy of UX and SEO

Past emphasis on keyword optimization has led many website owners to ignore or pay lip service to the user experience (UX) and similar SEO trends, yet these are just as important for success.

Statista surveyed leading SEO professionals around the world about which factors will impact search rankings the most in the next two years. The second leading answer was Core Web Vitals, the primary metrics by which the Google algorithm measures real-world user experience.

Information about the performance, interactivity, and visual stability of a webpage is critical to its rankings, and achieving optimal scores will not only drive traffic to your site but also boost your rankings.

Technical SEO for Enhanced UX

In this light, technical SEO receives renewed importance. For one, the SEO environment has become highly competitive, and now every little bit counts.

Secondly, the emphasis on search intent is only part of the larger focus on user satisfaction. In short, the user is at the wheel and all your actions should be geared towards satisfying them.

Therefore, the technical backend of your site is just as important as the surface content. Below are some important technical SEO metrics to focus on:

Source

  • Largest Contentful Paint: the time to load a page’s main content; should be under 2.5 seconds.
  • Interaction to Next Paint: measures the page’s responsiveness to user interactions. Should be under 200 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: quantifies the visual stability of the page. A score of less than 0.1 means that users experience very minimal unexpected layout shifts.

Content Strategy Overhaul

With all these developments and emerging SEO trends, how should website owners and creators rethink their SEO strategy?

Google itself provides an insight into what it expects, summarised under the following notion: avoid creating search engine-first content.

Successful content must be people-first; that is, it must be primarily geared toward meeting the needs of real users, rather than gaming search engine rankings. There should be value in your content beyond simply trying to rank on Google.

What does that make of SEO, then? Is SEO dead as some have been claiming over the years? Certainly not. Instead, SEO practices should be applied to content created for users, not search engines, for maximal results.

Of course, the E-E-A-T factors (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) remain important in helping Google determine which content is relevant and helpful. If your content flounders in any of these areas, then you know it is time to rethink your strategy.

AI’s Influence on SEO

One of the most successful deployments of AI so far is Microsoft’s integration of GPT with Bing through Copilot. Even though Bing is nowhere near Google’s 91.6% dominance of the search engine market, it has attracted enough attention to make Google elevate its strategy.

Source

Hence, the introduction of the Search Generative Experience (SGE), which provides an AI-powered snapshot of key information when a user makes certain searches.

These AI-generated answers sit atop the search engine results pages, leading to concerns that it may make SEO less relevant.

However, SGE results still draw from and link to relevant content and resources, much like featured snippets. It’s not yet clear how to optimize for SGE appearance, but providing expert-based, direct answers seems to be a major factor for appearance.

It all boils down to prioritizing the user’s needs and query intent.

Future-Proofing SEO Strategies

Over the years, Google has made its strategy clear: to minimize zero-click searches by satisfying user intent through direct and precise answers.

This is quite evident when a user searches for any public figure, such as Obama. Immediately, you get summarised info about him and don’t even need to click a single link to find what you’re looking for.

Through featured snippets, knowledge panels, and other innovative features, Google is helping users get what they want faster, without clicking on any link.

As this new norm continues, the most important position a site can vie for is the featured snippets.

Even without clicks, featured snippets in position zero provide sufficient brand recognition that entrenches your site as a reliable thought leader.

In Summary

The point of this article is not to declare the death of keyword research. Researching keywords contributes to identifying user intent and exploring the broader contexts of various kinds of queries.

However, the primary factor as shown by the current SEO trends is the user, as well as their intent, not the keywords themselves.

While engaging in SEO best practices, don’t simply focus on ranking on Google; provide engaging, informative content first so your efforts will be best rewarded.

SGG Team

This content is written by the Startup Growth Guide Team. Get expert guide and support in growing your business by reading the insights we share on the blog. Also, reach out to us to learn how we can help to effectively promote your products and services online.

Leave a Reply