SEO

SEO predictions: 5 things we can expect to see in 2024

Ever reminisce about the days when sprinkling a few keywords on a page was like hitting the SEO jackpot in the search results? 

In 2024, the world of SEO is the exact opposite of easy. 

However, for those of us who love to solve SEO puzzles, it’s an exciting time when we’re faced with new challenges and massive opportunities. 

This year, it’s all about diving deep into the techy side of SEO, getting cozy with AI tools for content and figuring out how to manage rising costs without breaking the bank. 

Let’s look at five vital SEO business insights in 2024 to help you get a bird’s eye view of what to expect.

1. SEO continues to get bigger and harder

For those of us who have been in SEO since the ‘90s, we remember the simple days of ranking webpages. 

Each year, SEO becomes more complex and harder to win. 

Just look at all the changes that happened in SEO in 2023 alone – not the least of which was Google’s Search Generative Experience, which can put SEO on its head again. 

Plus, the ranking algorithm continues to evolve yearly to uncover the most relevant webpages as Google refines its technology. 

Bottom line: There is no “easy button” in SEO. You can expect to work a little harder to compete in 2024 than last year.

2. Technical SEO grows in importance 

A highly competitive search environment means every little bit counts. The more you refine your website for users, the better you can compete.

Without technical SEO, creating the optimal user experience is impossible. 

Therefore, there will be an increased dependency on technical SEO for success. 

If you are still only relying on surface-level on-page SEO tactics (keywords, meta information, etc.) and ignoring the technical back-end of your site, you will not have much of a chance. 

And even if you are moderately doing technical SEO, the skill level you need to win at technical SEO is increasing. 

Take things like Google’s “page experience” initiative and all the minutiae that went with that. 

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3. AI will change your content strategy

AI tools are changing the future of content creation – just how it will change the future of SEO remains to be seen. 

We are in massive experimentation mode with AI content creation tools. 

After many months of seeing how AI content can help (or hinder) businesses, one thing is clear: Do it right and you can create quality content and increase your profits. Do it wrong and you’ll churn out nothing more than spam.  

Google says you’ll violate their spam policies with the wrong AI content: 

“When it comes to automatically generated content, our guidance has been consistent for years. Using automation – including AI – to generate content with the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results is a violation of our spam policies.”

But, if the AI content is user-centered, it’s perfectly well and good to use AI tools to assist your content creation efforts:

“This said, it’s important to recognize that not all use of automation, including AI generation, is spam. Automation has long been used to generate helpful content, such as sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts. AI has the ability to power new levels of expression and creativity, and to serve as a critical tool to help people create great content for the web.”

So, how do you strike the right balance when using AI-generated content? 

Today, the gold standard is the right AI tools paired with expert human content analysis and editing.

For more, read “AI content creation: A beginner’s guide.”

4. Prices are going up 

It’s no secret that the cost of everything is going up. 

Most are facing increasing business costs in 2024, according to Kiplinger, including interest rates, inflation, energy costs, transportation, insurance, travel, building expenses, and technology. 

The cost to attract and retain the best digital marketing talent will also be an issue for some. 

Kiplinger predicts some industries may restrict pay raises in the coming year, and some will implement modest pay hikes of up to 4.2% for employees.

You can do the math on how much it might cost to retain experienced search marketers by seeing this Search Engine Land search industry salary survey

If you want to retain people with 10+ years of experience (for my agency, that is the minimum amount of experience we allow for client-facing staff), you will need to offer an attractive salary and benefits package. 

The cost of doing business will also impact many service-based SEO firms, so the cost of hiring SEO firms is likely to rise. 

5. Hiring the best will matter

With rising costs, many businesses are in a predicament with their SEO. Fortunately for bigger players, they can invest in the best SEO services. 

Companies (many within the $26 million to $2.5 billion annually range) will increase digital marketing spend by about 9% in 2024, the CMO Survey by Deloitte predicts.

Unfortunately for smaller players, the question will be, do I want it cheap, or do I want it right?

And as we know, cheap SEO is a near-death experience

However, that doesn’t mean that the little guy doesn’t have a chance. Larger companies may have more resources, but they are less nimble. 

And for all the resources these larger corporations have, they may not be implementing the best (or some of the lesser-known) SEO strategies. 

Regardless of the company’s size, hiring the best SEO help will matter – whether in-house or an outside SEO firm.

Companies that prioritize SEO because they know its value can get creative by diverting budgets (for example, advertising budgets) as needed to retain the best and most skilled SEO talent.

For more on this, find out what percentage of your budget should go to SEO.

The keyword for 2024: Adaptability 

As we head into 2024, we rely on the same SEO mindset of years prior: adaptability. SEO demands the flexibility to turn on a dime. 

Getting creative with budgets so that you can hire the best SEO talent to guide your business through 2024, while focusing on innovative strategies and technical website analysis, will set your business up to weather any storm that comes your way this year. 

Cheers to a successful 2024.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About the author

Bruce Clay

Contributor

Bruce Clay is the founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing optimization firm providing search engine optimization, PPC management, paid social media marketing, SEO-friendly site architecture, content development, and SEO tools and education.
Clay authored the book “Search Engine Optimization All-In-One For Dummies,” now in its fourth edition, and “Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals.” He wrote the first webpage-analysis tool, created the Search Engine Relationship Chart® and is credited with being the first to use the term search engine optimization. Bruce Clay’s renowned SEO training course is available online at SEOtraining.com.

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