Nothing gets the internet talking more than an apocalypse. So it’s no surprise that every year, some pundit says SEO is over. And with the rise of AI, voice search, and an ever-evolving SERP, it’s hard to know the future.
But no matter what, businesses will always want to be found by their audiences. In this article, we’ve gathered some predictions about future SEO trends to keep your content marketing efforts successful in 2024 and beyond.
Ah, AI. Here we are again.
AI has been one of the most prevalent content marketing trends this year. Everyone has a take on it. People claimed AI would kill content writing, AI would make writers obsolete, and even that AI writing isn’t real. And some people wonder if AI-generated search results will kill SEO.
Here’s the truth. Yes, generative AI is revolutionizing how we create and produce content. But it doesn’t beat basic human psychology. Human beings are curious by nature. We’ll always seek out answers to our questions.
And as long as we keep searching, SEO will be important.
That doesn’t mean AI won’t have an effect, though. It can support your rise in the search rankings by optimizing your content for SEO. AI can also conduct research at superhuman speeds, produce data-driven insights, and create bulk supplemental content. You just shouldn’t use it for everything.
Key takeaways: Think of AI as your SEO expert assistant, doing the heavy lifting when it comes to SEO optimization. AI platforms like Keyword Insights can streamline your SEO research by generating thousands of keyword ideas in seconds and grouping them into clusters. Also, using the right input and prompting strategy, AI can edit and revise your content to increase its SEO optimization.
High Quality, Relevant Content
In February 2023, Google released a statement saying it will always prioritize quality content, regardless of whether humans or AI created it. They also announced that using AI to generate content primarily to manipulate ranking in search results violates Google’s spam policies.
Using generative AI to create bulk content quickly is one of the most common mistakes marketers make. That flood of mediocre content has led Google to increase the influence content quality has in its algorithm.
So, as everyone creates the same generic AI content, those at the forefront will create top-tier content critical to ranking high. Even better if you can find experts skilled in SEO content writing.
Key takeaways: It’s kind of ironic. In creating the ability to generate average-level content at an unprecedented scale, AI has also created a new emphasis on high-level, human content. Implementing an airtight AI content creation strategy to ensure you bring a personal human touch to your marketing will skyrocket you up the rankings.
Voice & Mobile Search
In the first year of being readily available, voice search skyrocketed from a statistical zero to around 10 percent of global search volume. That amounts to about 50 billion voice searches every month. By 2026, more than half of U.S. internet users will use a voice search assistant.
Voice search has caused two things to start happening already. First, people speak differently than they type. Voice searches are typically longer than typed-in searches. That makes tools like long-tail keywords more important than ever.
Second, people often use voice search to find a product or service that’s near them location-wise, making local SEO critical as well.
Voice search also goes hand-in-hand with mobile phones. Google has already prioritized mobile-first indexing, using the mobile version of a website as its primary source for indexing and ranking. That makes building a mobile-friendly website another of the SEO trends to watch out for.
Key takeaways: Don’t just optimize for SEO; also aim for VSO (voice search optimization). The ever-growing popularity of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant makes treating every content piece as a potential voice search essential. Some tips for voice search optimization include:
- Incorporate questions and keep your content conversational
- Identify and optimize for long-tail keywords
- Make your website mobile-friendly
- Prioritize local SEO when applicable
- Increase site speed
- Aim for featured snippets
“Zero-Position” or “Zero-Click” Searches
Zero-click searches have been one of the more prominent SEO trends for awhile now. They occur when a user finds their answer without needing to visit any website outside the search engine results page (SERP). The majority of zero-click searches are a result of Google’s SERP features. This could be a featured snippet, the Local Pack for businesses-near-me searches, carousels for recipes, or the expanded Google Shopping features.
A featured snippet, sometimes called “position zero” is a rich result at the top of the page. It’s often in larger text. Google shows a sentence or two directly answering the search query from an organic result.
Key takeaways: SEO experts worry about position zero because it can eliminate website traffic. But we think it’s better to embrace the featured snippet. When faced with zero-click searches, try to build helpful content that makes people want the long answer. How? Here are a few tips:
- Answer frequently asked questions
- Incorporate question words
- Structure information naturally
- Include imagery
- Use schema markup
In 2022, Google added another E into the EAT mix. E-E-A-T (sometimes called double-EAT in the business) stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Adding “experience” shows that an author’s real-world experience is another vital part of determining the value of content.
But it all ties back to trust. Creating topical authority around your brand makes you the go-to source for a specific topic or question.
One of the best ways to build your website’s topical authority is by incorporating topic clusters.
Topic clusters are a “hub and spoke” strategy. You create a comprehensive pillar piece around a topic (the hub). Then, you identify and craft subtopic content pieces around the pillar piece.
Here’s the most essential part: you internally link all your subtopic pieces back to the original topic. Conversely, the pillar page should link to all the subtopic pages. That type of strategy builds a content ecosystem that should have a powerful effect on your search ranking.
Key takeaways: Trust is the core component of SEO content going forward. With AI bots, content farms, and other black hat practices on the market, create high-quality content that also builds authority around your subject to earn readers’ (and Google’s) attention.
- Create topic clusters to create a robust content ecosystem
- Be transparent and show your sources
- Spend time writing author bios for your blogs. Prove that you know your stuff
- Write for the user, not the algorithm. E-E-A-T is a factor considered by real testers, not the Google bot. Google works with 16,000 Search Quality Raters who assess content
How to Prepare for Future SEO Trends
As long as there are search engines, there will be SEO. Regardless of the advancements in technology, you need to be ready to embrace and adapt to the changing SEO landscape.
If you’re frustrated staying up-to-date with all the changes, having a trusted content partner can be the difference maker. At ClearVoice, our content writing services can help you create high-quality content that builds topical authority and catapults you up the search rankings. Talk to us to learn how.