Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

5 SEO Trends that Companies Need to Adapt for Optimisation

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As we stand on the cusp of 2024, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is undergoing a dynamic transformation. The convergence of artificial intelligence (AI), user-centric approaches, and technical advancements is redefining the very essence of SEO. And as stated by the CMO survey, 74% of companies are investing in SEO, it…

As we stand on the cusp of 2024, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is undergoing a dynamic transformation. The convergence of artificial intelligence (AI), user-centric approaches, and technical advancements is redefining the very essence of SEO. And as stated by the CMO survey, 74% of companies are investing in SEO, it becomes imperative for businesses to understand the imminent trends in order to capitalise on its results. So, let's take a stroll through these trends that are gearing up to define the future of SEO, offering businesses a handy map to navigate the shift.

1. Conversational SEO with SGE 

Did you know that the artificial intelligence market is projected to skyrocket from nearly 100 billion U.S. dollars to almost two trillion U.S. dollars by 2030? Given Google's position as the predominant search engine, the introduction of its Search Generative Experience (SGE) is poised to be a transformative force in the upcoming years, fundamentally shaping user search behaviour, and consequently, SEO strategies. Unlike traditional chatbots, SGE transforms Google into a conversational assistant, providing clear answers and relevant visuals at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). As SGE becomes increasingly ingrained in the search ecosystem, businesses are compelled to recalibrate their approach to SEO, involving more than technical adjustments; it demands a shift in content optimisation strategies. Businesses must tailor their content to resonate with this approach. This means optimising for a more colloquial language, offering assistance in a tone that aligns with the typical language and queries of ordinary users.

2. Rise of E-EAT and Helpful Content 

Google's EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) model has undergone a significant shift with the incorporation of a pivotal element: Experience, introduced in December 2022. This "E" places a spotlight on the real-world knowledge and firsthand experience of content creators, elevating the significance of information quality within content. Alongside this update, Google has sharpened its focus on helpful content, implementing algorithmic changes designed to reward websites that provide informative and valuable content to users. The criteria for measuring content "helpfulness" now extend beyond traditional metrics, encompassing factors such as accuracy, readability, social sharing, user engagement, and the expertise and authority of the content creator. Termed the H/C4 update, Google's recent algorithmic shift, coupled with the integration of Experience into the EAT model, reflects the search engine's commitment to providing users with the most useful and relevant content. This evolution marks a significant departure from traditional SEO practices, necessitating a strategic pivot for marketers and SEO practitioners. No longer solely focused on optimising content with high-traffic keywords, the emphasis now lies in creating content that genuinely meets the needs of the target audience and delivers tangible value. Further, beyond delivering information, content should also prioritise problem-solving. Marketers can adapt to it by enhancing credibility by citing authoritative sources, having experts as authors, and incorporating reviews and testimonials. This approach aligns with Google's evolving content evaluation standards. 

3. Multimedia Content Dominance

In 2024, Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) will be  undergoing a visual revolution, with multimedia content taking centre stage. YouTube and video content are becoming focal points of SEO strategy as Google's understanding of search intent evolves. Businesses must proactively respond by crafting engaging multimedia content - from informative blogs to short  videos snippets - to align with shifting user preferences. A staggering statistic emphasises the urgency of this shift stating that by the end of 2024, 80% of global internet traffic is projected to be driven by video content.  SEO experts can seamlessly navigate this multimedia-dominance by prioritising video content within strategies, optimising for visual search, leveraging diverse platforms like YouTube and Reels, engaging audiences through infographics, and ensuring mobile optimisation. Embracing this visual shift isn't just about meeting current expectations but future-proofing online presence in a digitally evolving landscape, ensuring businesses stay relevant and captivating in the eyes of their audience.

4. Rise of Zero-Click Searches

Online searches are changing, with a rise in zero-click searches where users get answers directly on the search page. In fact, 57% of mobile and a quarter of desktop searches don't lead to any clicks, as per the SEMRush Zero-Clicks Study. This shift towards zero-click searches is driven by Google's enhanced SERP features, including knowledge panels, local packs, and direct conversion tools efficiently fulfilling user intent by providing concise and precise answers directly on the SERP. To counter the impact of zero-click searches, businesses must prioritise securing featured snippets, also known as "position zero." Although not a direct traffic booster, it enhances visibility, increasing the likelihood of attracting clicks and fostering brand recognition. Optimising content for featured snippets through FAQs, using question words, natural structuring, imagery, and schema markup are some effective strategies to navigate through. Further embrace the snippet as an opportunity for concise, valuable information, enhance the user experience, and foster future interactions with your brand.

5. Evolving Core Web Vitals: Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

In May 2023, Google announced a pivotal change in its Core Web Vitals metrics, signalling a shift from First Input Delay (FID) to the upcoming Interaction to Next Paint (INP). As these metrics directly influence Google's ranking algorithm, businesses must proactively adjust their SEO strategies to stay in sync with these updates. FID, the current benchmark, gauges user interaction, with a "Good" score under 100 milliseconds. The imminent INP metric, set to be an official Core Web Vital in March 2024, refines the evaluation by considering "processing time" and "presentation delay." It essentially measures the time between a user's interaction and the subsequent visual change on the page. A "Good" INP score is under 200 milliseconds, while over 500 milliseconds is deemed "Poor." To seamlessly adapt to this change, businesses should prioritise optimising their websites for improved interactivity and responsiveness. This involves streamlining processing times and minimising presentation delays to ensure a smooth user experience. Prioritising elements that contribute to a favourable INP score not only aligns with Google's evolving standards but also enhances overall user satisfaction. Focusing on quick-loading, visually responsive web pages not only contributes to positive user experiences but also positively impacts SEO rankings. 

Parting Words

As user search habits evolve and SEO investments skyrocket, grasping these trends serves as a guiding map through the digital journey. It's not merely about meeting today's needs; it's anticipating the shifts that shape the future of SEO. Success hinges on harmonising technology with user-centric approaches, unlocking visibility potential in the ever-changing online terrain.

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