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21 Need-to-Know SEO Trends to Follow in 2024

Picture of Connor Wilkins
Connor Wilkins

CMO, Direction.com

21 Powerful SEO Trends to Utilize in 2024

Mastering today’s most cutting-edge SEO techniques paves the road that leads to tomorrow’s search visibility success.

As 2023 draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead and prepare for the SEO trends that will drive success in 2024. By learning cutting-edge techniques and leveraging emerging opportunities early, brands can gain a competitive advantage in the new year.

Data shows that the SEO landscape is evolving faster than ever before. In 2023 alone we saw several major updates that have shaped best practices, including additions to Google’s famous core updates and incremental changes to its page experience ranking factors. As the market continues to mature quickly, search visibility will take more than checking off a list of basics—it requires understanding user behavior, search engine capabilities, and where the industry is headed.

This article will equip your 2024 SEO strategy for the opportunities to come. I’ll be covering 21 rising trends across key areas like voice search, featured snippets, link building tactics, AI capabilities, video optimization, and more nascent technologies to keep on your radar. You’ll walk away with a data-backed list of core focuses for the months ahead along with actionable recommendations for each.

By evaluating your current efforts against these trends and integrating the highlighted growth opportunities early, your brand can hit the ground running in 2024.

21 SEO Trends to Leverage in 2024

#1. Core Web Vitals: The Pulse of 2024 Rankings

Core Web Vitals (CWV) represent a vital set of page experience metrics that every serious SEO strategy must now optimize for sustained rankings success. Introduced by Google in 2020, they provide real-world speed and interaction data on critical user-centric factors.

Specifically, CWV analyze loading speeds, responsiveness, and visual stability across three key dimensions:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures how fast the main content loads
  • First Input Delay (FID): Tracks responsiveness when users click or tap
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Records disruptive movement of page elements

Google confirmed that CWV now help determine search rankings as part of their 2021 page experience update. And the search leader plans to continue relying more heavily on these visibility drivers through 2023 and beyond.

So what’s the best way to step up your site’s CWV performance? Here are three high-impact optimization tips:

  1. Perform interactive testing to pinpoint UX pain points
  2. Audit site design for heavy files sizes, inefficient code
  3. Implement progressive enhancement with graceful degradation

Getting ahead of Core Web Vitals benchmarks entering 2024 gives your site a tremendous early mover advantage. Don’t leave these vital few seconds to chance—CWV can determine victory, or unacceptable defeat.

#2. Content-Focused Keyword Research: The 2024 Mindset Shift

Gone are the days of simply targeting exact match keyword phrases and calling it a day. As search engines continue evolving toward conversational AI, researching user intent through a content-first lens will separate the site visibility winners and losers.

Google’s algorithms already better understand context, concepts, questions and conversational queries. Simply using plug-and-play keywords without considering informational value for users will tank 2024 rankings.

Instead, shift your research process to align with three big changes:

  1. Identify valuable topics and content themes that attract users
  2. Map targeted questions that quality content can answer
  3. Surface knowledge gaps where your expertise needs to fill

Approach this process with tools like Google Trends, AnswerThePublic, and UberSuggest to reveal hidden insights. But also incorporate real user data through surveys, support tickets, and social listening.

The sites that shift to provide content that anticipates user needs will be the least disrupted by Google’s upcoming semantic search advancements. Don’t obsess over keyword difficulty metrics—start researching like an inquisitive human.

#3. Automated Content Creation: Manage the Risks, Maximize the Value

Automated content creation tools represent a potential high-reward, high-risk opportunity for SEO in 2024. When applied judiciously, they enable brands to scale content output at an unprecedented rate. But in irresponsible hands, they harbor threats of duplicate bloat, formulaic experiences, and credibility concerns.

The defining factor is strict governance through human oversight and strategic configuration. Set topic boundaries, personalized data inputs, and quality control guardrails to maximize unique value. Treat machine capabilities as production assistants rather than autonomous creators.

Use AI content features available in tools like Jasper, Jarvis, and Copy.ai. But implement the same scrutiny given to human writers through manager editing, attribution tracking and plagiarism checks.

Wielded properly, automated creation will become a competitive advantage in 2024 by amplifying content breadth and freeing up human writers for depth. But left unchecked, it may well tank brand trust through spam, thin content and loopholes exploited by competitors. Tread carefully to realize the incredible potential.

#4. Personalization & Relevance: Users Expect It in 2024

Generic experiences no longer make search engine or user experience cuts in 2024. With personalized content, recommendations and tailored offerings now the norm on popular sites, users expect the same precision relevance across the web.

SEOs who segment landing pages, product selections and on-site experiences based on visitor demographics, interests, search intent and behavior will gain an edge through higher conversions and engagement.

Tactics like geo-targeted content, predictive lead scoring and lookalike profiling help serve users exactly what they want when they want it. Just remember—convenience should never compromise privacy without informed consent. Tracking and targeting must uphold ethical data collection principles.

Think beyond the keyword—view every visitor as an individual with unique problems to solve. Building real relevance at scale hinges on both automation and empathy. Use personalization responsibly starting today to earn consumer trust and loyalty into 2024.

#5. Voice Search Optimization: Identify Key Moments

Here’s a surprising voice search stat—while 30% of mobile searches now happen via voice assistants, 70% of people don’t actually use voice search monthly.

The takeaway? Voice commands don’t represent an always-on need driving blanket optimization. But they do intermittently emerge around key high-value moments in the user journey—usually on-the-go informational lookup or transactional conversions.

audit where those moments emerge across your site’s top conversion funnels in 2023. Then in 2024, deploy voice-specific landing pages, structured data markup and conversational content to target the voice search share during those micro-moments.

Remove unnecessary words from page titles, highlight key conversion keywords users verbalize, and use tools like Answer The Public to model natural language queries.

Then monitor vocal interactions via search console to continually refine. The brands achieving sustained voice search visibility in 2024 certainly won’t be the ones taking a spray and pray approach. Prioritize those value moments first.

#6. Structured Data for Rich Results

Structured data allows search engines to interpret complex page elements and display visually engaging rich results. With Google continuing to upgrade and recommend schema markup use, structured data SEO separates visibility winners from losers.

Best practices include deploying:

  • Review data for star ratings
  • FAQ data for featured snippet answers
  • Product data for pricing, specs, availability
  • Job listing data for employment searches

Appropriate schema use allows you to earn media-rich result placement with current standards. Then as new additions launch under the broader knowledge graph, you’ll be prepared to optimize quickly with existing markup expertise.

Use tools like Google’s structured data testing tool and Screaming Frog’s schema markup validator to configure elements correctly on key landing pages and templates in 2023. Then simply expand these as Google’s graph evolves deeper into under-represented industries in 2024.

#7. Mobile Optimization: Don’t Miss the First Impression

Consider that 9 out of 10 users arrived to your current homepage via a mobile device. The mobile-first mandate holds even stronger with evidence suggesting 75% of those visitors bounced if page load exceeded 3 seconds.

Resist the temptation to brush off core web vital enhancements and progressive processes under the false assumption that “mobile optimization is covered.” Especially with 5G removing connectivity burdens in 2024, seconds matter on that tiny screen.

Follow Core Web Vitals benchmarks, prioritize above the fold load efficiency, and test across various devices in 100% mobile simulation mode. Don’t lose up to 90% of visitors instantly based on first tap experience shortcomings.

#8. Link Building Tactics: Authentic > Automated

Artificial link building techniques traditionally focused on scalability will tank authority entering 2024. Tactics like blog comment spamming, bulk outreach for paid guest posts, and spammy web 2.0 properties already face heavy scrutiny.

The viability window for automated, high domain count opportunities will slam shut thanks to machine learning capable of detecting and devaluing manufactured signals. Meanwhile authentic community participation, influencer partnerships and transparency-focused news coverage will ascend authority.

Reflect real relationship building in your outreach processes. Seek niche collaborators doing public-good work aligned with your brand values and content mission. Prioritize labor-intensive pitches with context over mass emails expecting instant placements. And remain patient remembering that genuine trust flows slowly—but steadily compounds long-term.

#9. AI & Machine Learning Capabilities

Artificial intelligence and machine learning offer incredible opportunity to scale SEO growth efforts entering 2024. As the technology matures quickly, AI can automate previously manually intensive tasks like:

  • Keyword research and discovery
  • Content optimization for search
  • Technical diagnostics and site migration
  • Algorithm research and update tracking
  • Social listening and review/mention monitoring
  • Landing page and ad testing through multivariate experiments

When evaluating machine learning SEO solutions, watch carefully for overly broad claims around human replacement. While neural networks and predictive modelling achieve powerful augmentations of human strategy, outright autonomous mastery remains years away due to limitations processing semantics, causation and novelty generation.

#10. Search Intent Optimization

Since Google mainly understands words, not meaning, the burden falls on brands in 2024 to interpret user intent behind queries and optimize accordingly. Failure to align page content, offers and calls-to-action to match transactional, informational and navigational searcher goals will sink conversions.

Install search analytics like Grow and Searchmetrics to uncover insights around what motivates key organic traffic segments. What problems do they want solving? What questions demand answers? What paths indicate they’re still exploring solutions vs. ready to buy?

Build landing experiences tailored to each funnel stage. Then monitor behavioral signals like time-on-page, click depth, button clicks and form drops to gauge how well pages actually address intent. Refine pages with mismatching outcomes.

#11. Generating Featured Snippets

Featured snippets represent prime SERP real estate up for grabs in 2024. But merely optimizing content for keywords will no longer reliably earn snippet placements. Google’s algorithms now interpret page content to serve answers directly to questions.

Audit your highest traffic informational articles and determine what questions they already answer. Identify gaps where competitors rank for snippets that your content could feature. Then optimize pages explicitly for conversational Q&A while working core topics and keywords in naturally.

Formatting also holdsgrowing influence. Address questions clearly in opening sentences using grammatical cues like “here is”, “to address this”, “in answer to”, etc. Break down complex topics into numbered or bulleted lists for easy scanning. And emphasize key help phrases to improve clipping accuracy.

#12. Video SEO

Video deserves SEO investment regardless given its massive viewer consumption. But optimization faces marginal returns given lengthy processing times for transcripts. The defining factor in 2024 video SEO comes down to a single make or break decision—YouTube or standalone video player?

YouTube earns über authority within search rankings thanks to immense viewer signals. Optimizing titles, descriptions and inbound links on YouTube directly transfers power to owned video properties then syndicated across the web.

Alternatively, uploading videos to standalone players involves starting SEO from scratch without leverage. You face an extreme uphill battle securing rankings for organically found owned video content off YouTube.

So choose one platform and commit fully to build momentum over years not months. Half-efforts stranded between YouTube and owned video SEO splinter benefits, leaving visibility just out of reach.

#13. Local SEO Tactics

As mobile drives continued growth of nearby searches for physical store locations, services, events and local inventory, branding beyond GPS-targeted paid ads gains importance for multi-location organizations. Fortunately, foundational local SEO lacks complexity.

Start with complete and consistent NAP data (name, address, phone number) across major business directories like Google My Business, Apple Maps and Bing Places. Then build location and city-specific landing pages optimized with local keywords.

Finally, cultivate community trust through reviewer engagement, local sponsorship partnerships, in-market service awards and participation in city subreddits. Remain locally active both digitally and physically. These table stakes will pay dividends as competitors inevitably overlook local SEO entirely in favor of paid channels.

#14. Optimizing for Voice Assistants

One-third of all searches will happen via voice assistants by 2024. And while mobile screen results attract most attention now, audio-only responses gain ground as smart speakers and connected cars expand capabilities.

These voice search results get triggered by natural language queries outside typical “keyword mindset” parameters. Optimize by focusing on conversational long-tail question variations with succinct, quotable answers.

Expand schema FAQ markup to cover common queries. Feature an “about us” audio snippet on smart speaker skills. And incorporate opportunities to redirect from vagueness to your offerings through command variations.

Voice assistants simplify and expedite purchases for known brands. Establishing your brand early and often through voice optimization helps associate your solution when users have transactional or local intent.

#15. Ecommerce SEO

Ecommerce brands constantly fight the tension between investing in PPC vs. SEO for product discovery and promotion. While shopping ads expand reach efficiently, organic rankings earn sustained discovery by deal-seekers and authority associations by bargain hunters.

Core elements like product schema markup, comparative guides and expanding informational articles will always anchor ecommerce SEO. But drawing organic traffic hinges on executing differentiators like personalized site search, video demos, AR try-ons and creative on-site merchandising.

Give shoppers a compelling reason to explore and engage that paid ads simply can’t match through interactive experiences and customer-centric content. Earn that hard-fought organic market share that converts long after seasonal paid ad funds dry up.

#16. Optimizing for User Experience

Site speed and mobility once dominated user experience discussions. But holistic UX optimization now includes more advanced dimensions like personalization, intent interpretation, journey sequencing and contextual integrity.

Complex ranking algorithms assess how well sites understand and adapt to diverse visitors to determine authority and relevance. SEOs must now also serve as UX strategists mapping journeys, uncovering pain points through data and interviews, and prototyping solutions tied to business goals.

Core web vitals surely remain table stakes. But pursuing experience optimization reveals hidden pockets of untapped value. Build your site credibility by transforming universal user challenges into memorable brand moments.

#17. Content Distribution Networks

Content distribution and syndication networks represent popular link building tactics promising niche blog placements and brand visibility associations. But as domain authority factors now weigh page-specific metrics, not all networks bring created equal value.

As you evaluate syndication services entering 2024, prioritize contextually relevant blogs boasting recent high-quality articles with decent domain authority. Avoid networks populated by inactive sites, spam links and keyword-stuffed bloat content.

The most effective distributions strategically align your brand with legitimate industry authorities rather than domains filled with lists of mixed quality advertorials. Though higher cost and lower volume than mass low-quality networks, legitimate placements bring lasting organic equity and referral traffic.

#18: SEO Technologies to Monitor

While last year’s cutting-edge SEO tech holds little bearing on upcoming trends, consistently monitoring innovations positions savvy brands to capitalize on emerging capabilities early.

Upcoming semantic search advances will surely disrupted established best practices. Keep an eye on natural language processing around long-tail inquiries and contextual page interpretations. Voice answer data sets also bear watching as they continue expanding.

On the link equity front, shifted emphasis toward page-specific authority metrics will completely rebalance external signal valuation. And the creator economy’s rise suggests opportunities around partner content networks.

Measure anticipated search changes against your site capabilities for potential impact. Then get a head start on early experiments with new formats as they go live for wide adoption.

#19. Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

Google’s ratcheting emphasis on website expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) will surelywang websites promoting misinformation, selling questionable products or services, and lacking editorial integrity or transparency.

Ensure your brand avoids risky areas by confirming author and company credentials associated with your site. Establish thought leadership and professional qualifications through correctly attributed articles, press features and conference talks relevant to your content topics and offerings.

Also incorporate supporting evidence and credible reference links to reinforce expertise claims and back bottom-funnel medical, financial and legal advice. Prominently display contact information and policies around corrections plus identify key personnel and decision makers by name.

#20: Structured Data Adoption

From ratings and reviews to expanded product detail and FAQ markup, Google encourages brands to implement structured data schemas aligning with new search result modules and snippets. Pages lacking appropriately coded metadata now face demotions from rich result eligibility.

Prioritize schema markup expansion once your site meets core technical SEO benchmarks. Test current structured data using the structured data testing tool and Google’s rich result test before adding new code. Fix errors or unsupported data before expanding schema types to additional pages and categories.

Closely monitor emerging schemas added from Google’s broader knowledge graph to identify new optimization opportunities as they go live. Early schema adoption positions brands to capitalize on added visibility as competing sites overlook expanding possibilities.

#21: Technical SEO Fundamentals

Before innovating at the bleeding edge of SEO’s evolution with emerging formats, brands must lock down foundational website architecture, information security and speed protocols. Google still demotes sites with crawling errors, mobile responsiveness issues and thin overall content quality.

Technical auditing ensures you don’t jeopardize easy visibility wins through correctable oversights around accessibility, site maps, metadata and broken links. Prioritize fixes in these areas over speculative efforts that promise marginal impact if foundational signals suffer.

Balance innovation with seamlessly sound infrastructure. Speculative SEO advancements mean little on a site that leaves you stranded on a 404. Master the basics before chasing trends.

Your 2024 Digital Marketing Compass is Set

We just uncovered the 21 most pivotal emerging opportunities poised to deliver sustainable search visibility in 2024 — from personalization to voice search, video SEO, technical foundations and more.

While radical strategy changes may not prove necessary for all brands as core algorithm updates roll out, keeping your optimization model flexible positions you to capitalize early if disruption does strike your niche.

More importantly, the mindset shifts revealed around optimizing for machine learning capabilities and ever-savvier consumer expectations should resonate regardless of your specific focus area. Prioritizing user experience and understanding intent now represents the true north direction for visibility seekers rather than chasing vanity metrics like backlinks and keyword density.

Use this roadmap of rising SEO trends as your guide over the coming year. Keep tabs on Google’s updates and conduct site audits with each new rollout. But also trust the foundational principle driving lasting organic equity since the inception of search: produce content and experiences aligned with what searchers want.

Google’s machines increasingly focus on understanding and satisfying their human users above all else. Any commitment to that customer-focused aim will earn visibility in 2024 and beyond even if specific tactics fade.

Own what’s next in SEO by dedicating to helpfulness long after hype fades. With the core principles above applied diligently to your evolving strategy, brace for liftoff upon entry to the new year. Your optimized SEO trajectory will launch your brand on a smooth ascent toward higher rankings in 2024.

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