12 Biggest SEO Trends to Watch in 2024


The past year has been a transformative one for marketers. Creating content has never been easier with artificial intelligence, and as PPC costs continue to rise for most industries, organic search is still one of the most affordable ways to reach your target audience online.

So knowing the most important SEO trends of 2024 can help you stay ahead of the curve with your SEO strategy.

Table of contents

  1. Search intent will be king
  2. Increase in question keywords and answers
  3. Creators will share more first-hand experience
  4. Building topical authority will be important
  5. Topical maps in content strategy will be huge
  6. AI content will be created at scale
  7. Content will need to be regularly updated
  8. Brand signals will grow in importance
  9. Google will place more emphasis on user interactions and engagement metrics
  10. Mobile page performance will continue to be a big ranking factor
  11. Businesses will need to make page experience updates
  12. SEO communities will be crucial

2024 SEO trends

This year will be all about how Google and users respond to the mass influx of AI-generated content flooding the internet as we speak. Some marketers will use AI to simply pump out AI-generated drafts, but those who take additional steps to create the highest-quality content possible will rise to the top of the rankings in 2024.

And with the mass influx of AI-generated content, backlinks, brand signals, and other authority indicators will likely see a resurgence this year. Google wants to provide the highest-quality search results for users, and from the most trusted, reputable, and authoritative sources.

By following these important 2024 SEO trends, you can make sure your content meets both the quality and authority signals Google will be looking for in 2024.

1. Search intent will be king

Search intent will continue to be the North Star for how organic marketers should create their content this year.

Search intent refers to the true intention behind the user’s search. Meeting search intent requires a nuanced understanding of how your target audience uses search engines.

Marketers traditionally have used four primary categories to discuss search intent: Navigational, Transactional, Commercial, and Informational searches. A recent study showed that transactional and commercial keywords appear to be on the rise, while informational and navigational queries are declining.

Some keyword tools will now display search intent alongside keyword metrics like search volume and cost-per-click so you can understand the intent behind your keyword targets.

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But it’s still important to study the top-ranking results to see what Google thinks users are looking for. Although the four categories of search intent are helpful, it’s also important to think about what type of content users are expecting and what their exact needs are.

Are they seeking a quick answer? A detailed explanation? A product page? An actionable guide? A video tutorial? A list with multiple options to compare? Will they likely have follow-up questions to their initial search query that you can answer before they even ask them?

Artificial Intelligence tools can certainly replicate the topics they see in top-ranking results, but thinking closely about users’ exact needs still requires a human touch.

Google recently simplified its Search Rater Quality Guidelines regarding how it defines content that meets the needs of users. That simplification, however, does not mean that your content should be any less high-quality or helpful.

It means that Google cares very much about ranking the most relevant and useful results, and wants webmasters to understand what quality content looks like. To reach the top of the SERP results for your target keywords, your content needs to show that you understand exactly what it is that users are looking for.

🛑 Need help finding the right keywords to target? Try our free keyword tool!

2. Increase in question keywords and answers

Answering questions will continue to be a big SEO trend and a valuable strategy in 2024. According to MozCast, People Also Ask results currently appear in over 90% of searches.

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Although Google is simplifying how they display answers to questions (they got rid of both the FAQ and How-To rich results in 2023), answering questions is still a great way to get on the first page of results.

To find questions, you can look directly to the SERPs to see what questions populate the People Also Ask feature.

Or use a keyword tool that makes it easy to identify related question keywords from a seed keyword.

Then, find ways to incorporate those questions and answers into your content through strategies such as:

  • Adding FAQ sections to your web pages. These can be easily incorporated into your web design through expandable dropdown menus.
  • Create blog posts around questions that require detailed answers. You can use the H2s of your post to introduce the common questions related to a topic and the body of the section to provide answers.
  • Have a dedicated page for the most common questions people ask about your products or services. This can also be a great resource for your customer and sales teams when interacting with current or potential customers.

Another benefit of targeting question keywords is they often have lower Keyword Difficulty and are thus easier to rank for, making this strategy a particularly good one for newer websites.

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3. Creators will share more first-hand experience

Google added “Experience” to its E-E-A-T algorithm a little over a year ago. With more content on the web generated by AI, first-hand experience will continue to be a defining factor in top-ranking content in 2024.

There are many ways you can leverage your experience in your content strategy. First, is in your content creation. Consider adding the following elements to your content to showcase your experience:

  • Real-world examples: Whether from clients, past customers, or your own personal experiences in your industry. Real-world, personal, and original examples are something that AI can’t replicate.
  • Case studies: Case studies show your work with past clients, customers, and the tangible results of first-hand experience in your industry.
  • Data and insights: Hard data and statistics gathered from your own research or reporting is great for building credibility and showcasing your real-world experience.

In addition to your content, including bylines, author bios, and linking to your creators’ social media profiles will showcase that your content is written by experienced creators.

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For example, I’ve worked hard to establish my experience as an SEO professional by writing articles, posting on social media, and updating my own personal website content consistently.

As a result, Google now associates me as an SEO professional and knows that I have first-hand experience in that area.

This not only benefits the organic ranking potential of the content I publish on my own websites but also makes me more valuable as a guest blogger or author on other websites.

So if you are writing your own content in 2024, make sure that you’re leveraging your experience. And if you are hiring content writers, make sure to consider their experience as a part of your vetting process.

4. Building topical authority will be important

Topical authority has been important to Google for years, and it is particularly important for news, health, finance, and political websites.

Google’s Topic Authority system prioritizes rankings for those websites that have more expertise in specific topics or coverage areas.

But even if you are outside of those niches, you should still be striving to build topical authority in your industry.

Topical authority is displayed primarily through:

  • Content breadth: Multiple pieces of high-quality content that explore all of the related subtopics of your primary topic areas.
  • Content depth: Detailed, in-depth articles that answer all of the questions related to those specific subtopics. It’s also helpful to include original reporting and insights (i.e. “experience”).
  • Internal links: Links between relevant pieces of content that show users and search engines both the breadth and depth of your content offering.

For example, look at this example of a pet website. They have taken the time to build out hundreds of pieces of informational content about dogs with subtopics such as dog breeds, dog health and wellness, dog nutrition, and more.

What’s the benefit of all that content depth and breadth? This website ranks for over 1.1 million organic keywords.

High-quality backlinks can also showcase your brand’s topical authority. If many websites in your industry are linking to your content, it shows Google that your website is considered an authority by others in your industry.

So promoting your content in public relations, digital PR, and social media with the hopes that others might link to it, is also a great strategy for building topical authority in your niche.

5. Topical maps in content strategy will be huge

Topical maps will be a huge SEO trend in 2024. Why? Because they provide a roadmap for how to build topical authority.

A topical map outlines all of the SEO content you need to create to cover a particular topic in breadth and depth. Here’s an example of a topical map created in spreadsheets for technical SEO.

When done manually, topical mapping requires hours of keyword research and keyword clustering. But with the help of artificial intelligence, topical mapping can now be completed fairly quickly.

You can build topical maps with SEO tools like Search Atlas.  

The main benefit of topical maps is that they allow you to generate a comprehensive SEO content strategy quickly. Your content team will know exactly what topics need to be covered to establish authority in your niche and the target keywords they should optimize that content for.

Then, you can use AI content tools to help generate content ideas and outlines around those topics. Or, you can send that topical map off to your content writers. Repeat the process of topical mapping for each of the primary topic areas that are relevant to your website.

Adding those content pieces to your website and showing their relationship through internal links, is a great way to earn hundreds to thousands of new organic keyword rankings in 2024.

6. AI content will be created at scale (for better or worse)

Experts are estimating that by 2026, 90% of online content will be synthetically-generated. Some AI tools now empower marketers to create content in bulk. That can mean generating all of the content of a topical map (AKA hundreds of articles) in just a few hours. In 2024, our collective content velocity will blow through the roof.

And bulk content creation is not against Google’s guidelines, as long as the resulting content is valuable, high-quality, and helpful to users and meets their E–E-A-T guidelines. It is only a violation if, as stated in their guidelines, it is used “to produce content for the primary purpose of manipulating search rankings.”

As AI gets smarter and better at generating high-quality content, the vague line that Google has drawn will certainly get harder to define and penalize. Will some marketers leverage the power of automation to generate average content that is rich in focus terms but low on value to simply gain organic traffic? Certainly.

But it’s still best to look at AI outputs as a starting point, not the finishing line. The most effective content creators of 2024 will use AI to speed up the writing process while taking the time to meet search intent, showcase their experience, and provide the most valuable, helpful content for users.

Marketers will need to realize that AI content is the new frontier of SEO. Some of your competitors will likely use AI content tools to create hundreds to thousands of new pieces of content this year. If you don’t start using these tools as well, you will fall behind.

Not sure what tools you should be using or where to start? Check out this list of AI content tools to find options that best fit your needs.

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7. Content will need to be regularly updated

With the mass influx of AI-generated content coming our way this year, competition is about to get a lot stiffer for all of our keywords. If you have a piece of content that is currently performing well, protect your top positions by making sure it is updated regularly.

Google’s ranking algorithm still has some recency signals that will likely create fluctuations in top-ranking positions as new content is posted, but backlinks, topic authority, and content quality will beat out recency in the long term.

In the past, updating content every 1-3 years was usually sufficient for maintaining rankings, but in 2024, a yearly content refresh should become a part of your standard workflow.

To refresh your content for maximum SEO, here are a few suggestions:

  • Confirm that all data and statistics are accurate and the most up-to-date as possible.
  • Link to the newest research, case studies, and news articles.
  • Rewrite the content. That means entirely new introductions, insights, and examples.
  • Check all internal and external links. Repair broken links or replace links with 301 redirects.
  • Keep building backlinks! A content refresh or rewrite is a great occasion for promoting your content in social media, public relations, and to your existing email subscribers.

8. Brand signals will grow in importance

With so much synthetic content, your brand’s name and reputation will hold SEO power in 2024, as long as you’ve done the work to establish your brand name online.

Let’s be clear: Google does not prioritize big brands over smaller brands in search engine rankings. But Google uses signals like branded anchor text and branded search volume to understand whether your website is well-trusted and authoritative.

As Google continues to care more about experience and expertise to separate the wheat from the chaff in content, there’s never been a better time to embrace your brand name and leverage it.

Here are a few simple ways you can improve your brand signals for SEO purposes:

  • Link to your social media pages from your website and vice versa. This shows Google that your website has a social presence and life outside of your website.
  • Have robust About pages and Contact pages. This shows that there are real people behind your website and content–and that they are experienced!
  • Invest in public relations outreach. Links and brand mentions on authoritative websites show your credibility as a brand, business, or organization.
  • Get listed in directories, review sites, and third-party aggregators. Focus on quality over quantity and prioritize those sites that have relevance to your industry. For example, a plumbing company should create a listing on Thumbtack, while a software company should set up a profile page on G2.

These brand-building efforts can also lead to more appearances in Google’s rich results. Want to appear more in lists like this?

Google extracts the data about these brand names “from across the web,” not just from the brand’s websites.

So those efforts you make to establish your brand name on reliable sources across the internet is a surefire way to help Google understand who you are, what you offer, and your brand authority in your space.

9. Google will place more emphasis on user interactions and engagement metrics

There’s been a lot of disagreement among SEO professionals on the degree to which Google uses engagement metrics in its ranking algorithm. But documents from the recent antitrust case against Google show that user engagement is not only a ranking factor–it’s a pillar of ranking.

The below slide from Google’s presentation titled “The 3 Pillars of Ranking,” lists “User-Interactions” as a core ranking factor. It also clarifies that “clicks, attentions on a result, swipes on carousels, and entering a new query” all qualify as user interactions.

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So it’s important to think about how your web content allows users to interact.

Interactive modules like jumplinks and carousels have always been good for improving page experience, but when a user clicks on them, they can also show Google that users are finding your content engaging and valuable.

Be careful not to get spammy though in the effort to increase interactions. These interactive features should benefit the user’s experience, not disrupt it.

10. Mobile page performance will continue to be a big ranking factor

Mobile-first indexing is now the way of search, and after years of implementation, Google announced that it was officially completed in October of 2023.

You likely have been hearing about mobile pages for years, so it’s hard to consider this a “trend,” but it’s important to understand that your mobile pages, and your mobile pages only, are what count toward rankings.

If you are a website that primarily gets desktop traffic, this still applies to you. You need to pay attention to the performance of your mobile pages.

Here are a few “musts” for your mobile pages:

  • Responsive Design: Your web pages need to be responsive in 2024, meaning they can serve the same content on mobile, tablet, or desktop from the same URL. Separate URLs for mobile and desktop are a thing of the past, and Google discourages anything but responsive websites.
  • Proper Character Counts: Remember that meta descriptions on mobile are limited to 120 characters (not the 160 you get on desktop). It’s best to trim up all of your meta descriptions now and aim for 120 regularly.
  • Check that your pages are mobile-friendly: QA-ing your mobile pages should be a standard part of your publishing workflow. You can use Google Search Console to confirm whether your pages are meeting Google’ standards. Go to “Experience” > “Core Web Vitals” > “Mobile” to get a complete report of your mobile pages, like below.

11. Businesses will need to make page experience updates

In April of 2023, Google expanded its guidance on page experience and discussed the role of page experience in helpful content.

Essentially, a bad page experience is the opposite of helpful. So your pages need to be fast-loading, responsive, and pass Google’s Core Web Vitals.

In March of 2024, Google will be adding Interaction to Next Paint (INP) to its Core Web Vitals metrics. This metric measures a page’s response to a user’s interaction, whether a click or keyboard stroke.

With the importance of user interactions in ranking, this is a natural addition for Google to measure the overall quality of a page. Make sure you are ready for the change by reviewing your INP report available in your Google Search Console account right now.

12. SEO communities will be crucial

Although it’s not always discussed explicitly, SEO has long been an industry fueled by shared information and crowd-sourcing.

Community is an essential part of SEO success, whether for SEO professionals, agency owners, or entrepreneurs taking ownership of their SEO.

So of all the SEO trends coming in 2024, I believe SEO community groups will be one of the most important and beneficial for organic marketers. Sharing insights, strategies, or essentially, our experiences, can help us navigate the many changes coming this year.

There are all sorts of ways to connect with other SEO-minded folks. Events, conferences, Facebook groups, online SEO courses, forums, podcasts, and LinkedIn are some of the primary ways you can find other people who care about providing high-quality content for users and using the power of organic SEO in 2024 to deliver results for their own websites or their clients.

Make these SEO trends work for you in 2024

If you’re committed to SEO success this year, here are the 12 most important SEO trends for 2024:

  1. Focus on creating content that meets the needs of users
  2. Answer questions that users have about your products, services, industry, or topic areas
  3. Ensure your content creators have first-hand experience, and showcase it accordingly
  4. Build topical authority through lots of high-quality content that explores topics in breadth and depth
  5. Use topical maps to build out comprehensive content strategies in 2024
  6. Leverage AI content tools to increase your content velocity and improve the efficiency of your content workflows
  7. Regularly update your content for relevancy and freshness
  8. Improve your brand signals on third-party websites and aggregators
  9. Give your users the opportunity to interact and engage with your content
  10. Make sure your mobile pages are fully-optimized
  11. Continue to focus on page experience and prepare for upcoming Core Web Vitals updates
  12. Join SEO communities and benefit from the power of collaboration and experimentation

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