The Evolution of SEO: Trends to Watch in 2024

SEO is a three-letter abbreviation short for Search Engine Optimization. It is a digital marketing strategy used to increase the number of users who visit a website and the ranking the website gets closer to the top results of a search engine. It is important for businesses to use SEO service as a strategy in digital marketing since companies can gain an edge in generated traffic and increase in customers. SEO is crucial in this technology-driven era. It can make a company’s issues and highlights noticed by a greater number of people in a short time frame. The ability to reach this global audience and translate the information into something they can understand. Using SEO as a marketing strategy has shown to have a high impact on the public’s perception of a newly started company, established business, or a company seeking to gain public interest. With the information age, the majority of the population are searching for answers on a search engine, and when the topic is relevant to a company it is the most opportune time to have the public discover the said company. An example often used is when a consumer has some product in mind and is considering making a purchase. Whether it’s due to the quality of the product, price, or just curiosity they will look online on the various choices pertaining to what they are looking for. How much the consumer looks into it may vary, but the more said consumer is presented with the possibility to procure the product from the company, it increases the chance of it actually happening. SEO does this by raising the link to the company’s website closer to the top of a search engine, the easier it is to find the more the consumer will look into it, and the more consumers will consider procuring the said product.

Definition of SEO

After the suggested Jagger update, it seems that the search engines are placing increasing weighting on the factor of the content’s age. It has always been known that some form of aging delay exists, but it now seems that content could be prepared in advance of its optimal publication. A small change to the indexing algorithm can cause huge swings in the SERPs (search engine result pages) and therefore increased SEO is in the interest of cost-efficient reliability. This is more complex than ranking a page higher up; a promoted increase in the relevancy of the top few results can cause a proportional increase in organic traffic from less cost competitive terms.

SEO has always been a moving target. Search engines’ algorithms are a closely guarded and constantly evolving secret, which causes their results pages to continually change. Compare this to the quicksand of constant new web pages, and it looks likely that this continual change shall remain.

Many companies now consider they achieve a higher ROI from their search engine marketing than any other marketing strategy. This is usually a result of the low start-up costs to a marketing campaign of SEO, the (relatively) quick and long term ROAS (return on ad spend) compared to a PPC campaign, and the low long term costs associated with acquiring a high search engine rank.

Search engine optimization is a multi-billion industry. SEO is an evolving practice which is gaining a lot of importance in the marketing of any company. Search engine optimization allows to get your site, your product, your service or your company to top ranks in the search engines. Increasingly it is also a fundamental part of any marketing plan. This might seem like a statement of the obvious but it is only in recent years that the importance and the true cost of the free traffic provided by search engines has been realized.

Importance of SEO in Digital Marketing

SEO is essential in digital marketing because it is the idea that visibility will be a very key factor in regards to the placement of pages with whatever it is consumers are looking for. An increase in traffic from a search engine can very much so increase the chance that whatever is being sold will get their name in front of a mass audience. Cost efficiency is also an important factor as to why SEO is so crucial. In general, the idea with any marketing strategy is to spend as little as possible and reach the most amount of people. If done correctly, SEO allows for this to occur with very little effort. As opposed to outbound sales or cold calling, which can be effective, SEO cuts costs and increases profitability in the long run.

In the digital age, there is a digital marketplace and it’s populated by Internet users who can and will buy just about anything they want from the comfort of their own homes. This has created the new and exciting field of digital marketing. One of the most important aspects of digital marketing is the ever-changing Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Marketing is a process that goes through a variety of changes and trends. The main goal of marketing is essentially the same as it was a hundred years ago: it’s to try and get products and services in front of people who might want to buy them. However, as a result of the fast pace of technology, the way in which we do this is changing.

Current SEO Landscape

From the late 1990s until 2012, the success of SEO was somewhat defined by a set of core traditional techniques. These techniques are underpinned by the building of keywords to obtain high organic rankings for searches, the use of link building to increase PageRank and relevancy, and the use of on-page optimization in using meta tags and keyword saturation to generate search hits. Keyword building traditionally involved overloading pages with words and phrases observed by Santoso (2012), “Keywords were used anywhere from 100+ to 1000+ times on a page, leading to a barrage of different keywords on one topic.” This approach was abused and led to skewed results for searchers as pages would often not contain relevant information. Over time, a series of changes to search engine algorithms (notably Google’s Panda and Florida updates) have forced the demotion or penalties of pages employing traditional techniques in keyword research and link building. This was publicized by Granzin (2015), stating that “Panda effectively buried the traditional strategy of creating upstream or downstream keyword-laden pages designed to capture long-tail search traffic.” The change has led to the isolation and categorization of specific keyword data and a move by Google to promote quality content and topic-based pages through an array of mostly on-page optimization. Major changes since 2012 have reached an extent where market alternatives to traditional SEO are now considered to be of benefit for online promotion.

Webber (2014) makes it clear that the world of SEO is one that is constantly in flux. In order to be effective, SEO practitioners must adapt to new trends, changes to search engine algorithms, evolving market and consumer trends. This is a sentiment that is reinforced by Yarkony (2014) who states that a comprehensive SEO strategy will involve constant iteration and commitment to learning. Despite this, there has traditionally been a somewhat stable and formulaic approach to SEO defined by elements such as keyword research, link building and on-page optimization. However, it has been argued by Kohl (2013) and Granzin (2015) that the success of traditional techniques is now varied as a result of demotions and penalties enforced by search engine algorithm changes. This has led to the migration from ‘old school’ SEO techniques to a transition of new and innovative methods resulting in the juxtaposition of traditional and emerging trends in the SEO landscape. On this basis, in evaluating the current landscape of SEO, it is appropriate to discuss traditional techniques, the new methods which are defining the future of SEO, and the challenges faced in such a transitional period.

Traditional SEO Techniques

SEO has undergone significant changes in the last few years. Traditional SEO focuses heavily on the understanding of a search engine’s technology, the content tracked by the engine, and what the engine user is searching for. Using a variety of tricks in an attempt to manipulate rankings can often be harmful when the evolving algorithms don’t catch the trick and the site is penalized. Using outdated methods can often cause more harm than good and can no longer be considered a good practice in the industry. Traditional SEO is now a high-risk, high return game; it often yields results and can create a business, and some of the time it can take away what a business already has and cause visibility to lose to competitors. This is a business risk where no one can predict the outcome. Traditional SEO techniques and framework were all based around the search engine and manipulating the factors that could boost or obtain higher rankings on SERPs. These methods are still used, and ironically some are still effective, mainly due to the fact that SEOs can always count on there being a portion of the search engine’s users providing they can target, that being engine users themselves. Some of the most notable traditional tactics still used are keyword spamming and cloaking. Keyword spamming has been effective, but it can ruin the quality and eloquence of text to users and often detract real potential customers away from a site. Cloaking is an all-or-nothing tactic where a page is written for the search engine spider or bot, and an entirely different page, often of different content, is given to the user. This will be used to obtain rankings for a particular keyword on the first page of the engine in hopes to garner higher traffic for said term to the site. Both methods are no longer recommended and can be harmful to a site and its URL. Keyword spamming can fail to deliver desired ranking increases and often only increase the likelihood of a search engine penalty. Cloaking can be highly risky and URL destructive, being found out and possibly de-indexed from the engine. These methods are, however, relevant to the evolution of SEO, as there is a clear contrast between traditional tactics and the future of organic search.

Emerging SEO Trends

The now is significant for SEOs. Nearly 80% of thought pioneers in the space accepted that AI was either a significant part, or associated with, all pieces of SEO (positioning, watchword research, interface building, content improvement, etc) and will just turn out to be more significant. This standpoint shows that the effect of AI on SEO ought not be belittled. Significant tech monsters have just begun to make their drive with ventures, for example, BERT, from Google and Watson, from IBM. These, and other propelled AI activities, will look to improve an assortment of inside and outer confronts for an association, which will have suggestions on a brands SEO methodologies. The coming up of voice search, and the undeniably rich outcomes gave by web indexes, are additionally territories that AI is changed to upset.
There has been a truly observable move towards information adaptability in the previous year, and this is required to increment significantly further in 2022. Information has been marked by some as ‘the new oil’, and its taking care of and understanding ought to be of fundamental significance to all SEOs who intend to contend in the advanced scene. This will include a more noteworthy accentuation investigating and understanding information that is accessible either inside or remotely. It might require the fostering of new abilities to handle, and understanding enormous arrangements of crude information. Friendly plan has been at the cutting edge of SEOs’ brains for quite a while, and this is required to fill in significance. Turkey’s new page experience positioning element, set to dispatch in May 2021, shows the significance set on site UX, and this subject has been reverberated by individuals from Google on various occasions. Such was its significance that experts were given an all-encompassing time frame to change and plan for these progressions.

Challenges in SEO Implementation

As search engines undergo change, there is considerable churn in the SEO space, both in terms of techniques used and industries/individuals attempting to leverage SEO.
In a general sense, the search engines are attempting to fight webspam and low-value add content, in an effort to provide the best search experience and to ultimately maintain/grow market share.
This has led to the need for more professional SEO execution, as one tactic to offset declining efficacy is to increase the volume of tactics being used.
The idea of it taking more to do SEO is an interesting one and is a description I hear often in relation to various SEO tactics, which is a consideration of ROI for the particular tactic.
In general, the competitive landscape is one where effort and reward are trending positively in comparison to say link building a few years ago, where the reward was high, and it did not take much to achieve. This, for the most part, is a positive change as effort and reward aligning suggests a stable ecosystem, from a macro perspective.

Future Trends in SEO

These developments pose some era-defining trends that we’ll see take over the next half-decade. The first one is that there will be an even bigger shift towards the holistic marketer. Data analysis will automate more and more reactive decision making, which means SEO specialists will be freed up to think more strategically and to plan integrated search strategies. The second trend is a metaphorical game of cat and mouse, as SEO specialists try to outsmart the machines in understanding what data and optimizations are making the most positive difference to their marketing effort. It’s already recommended to take a scientific approach to SEO and fully utilize the available data (80% of SEOs think this is highly significant to being successful in the industry), and that’ll be even more necessary in years to come.

AI’s first major footprint in the SEO community was with the introduction of the machine learning Google algorithm RankBrain. And from there, we’ve seen an influx of automation of tasks, with smart learning systems taking on reactive data analysis and giving us insights on how to use it.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been areas of intense focus and growth in the past four years. 24% of respondents say AI is the future of digital marketing, and you can count SEO in that. In fact, AI has the potential to transform almost every aspect of SEO; everything from search engine algorithms to on-page optimization.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in SEO

With page experience signals currently being scheduled to be launched in June 2021, these signals could influence rankings for specific pages not just keywords for mobile and desktop searches. This provides a fresh way for SEOs and digital marketers to assess and improve search ranking performance of specific pages with defining SEO objectives and key results to monitor the changes in page traffic and engagement from specific queries. This means Google will soon provide more specific examples and past data for when web pages have experienced changes in search ranking performance for certain types of visits from users, i.e., discover which queries have a high number of impressions but a low CTR and why this is the case.

In 2020, Google announced that its page experience signals will be included in Google Search ranking. The page experience signals measure aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for page experience is an outcome of combining Core Web Vitals, which is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of a page, with existing Search signals which include mobile friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. This is where Google says that “If you improve the page experience,” Google will improve your traffic and engagement.

User Experience and SEO

There has already been a huge shift in search engine algorithms focusing on ranking high quality content as opposed to just content which includes the most target keywords. More recently, there is an even bigger push for websites to have a mobile-friendly site, which is part of Google’s mobile-first index initiative. This is because mobile-based search has now far surpassed that of desktop and other devices. More than 50% of all Google searches are now done on mobile devices. With this mobile-first index, Google aims to provide the majority of the users with the most relevant and high-quality search results – and there is a higher incentive for website owners to meet these expectations. This is because with a mobile-first index, Google will primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages in searches. Previously, the index used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance to a user’s query. Website structured data and metadata are still a big part of SEO because search results are increasingly becoming rich, visually stimulating, and easy to interact with. This is because users are more likely to interact with search results that provide a more visually enticing experience. Richer search results can include descriptive text snippets, video carousels, or image carousels. Richer results can give users a better sense of the type of information available on your site and can even encourage higher click-through rates on a site. This can, in turn, signal to search engines that your content is of high quality, and it may even improve your rankings. All of these features aim to enrich the experience of a user searching for information as well as the experience of a user clicking through to a site. This is, therefore, a clear indicator that there will be a bigger push to deliver the highest quality UX to satisfy user intents and to match the expanding features of enriched search results. In conclusion, websites should evaluate the intentions of users that are looking for their site and deliver the best experience via mobile-friendly UX with enriched content that matches the user intent. This is because these elements are aligning ever closer to modern search features and expectations.

Video and Visual Content Optimization

The result is that video content will take on more of the traditional SEO tactics that we see with text-based content. Video snippets will become a common search result and with the data taken from transcriptions, search engines will be better equipped to understand what the video is about. This will increase the importance of properly labeling video content in a way that is accurately descriptive of the video in question. Coming up with relevant titles, tags, and descriptions will be the key to success, and the more accurately these are applied, the better the results that the content will yield.

The use of video and visual content continues to grow, and with it, the importance of optimizing that content so that it can be easily searched and found by search engines. While efforts to transcribe video content have existed for years, the accuracy of these methods were far from perfect. With the development of machine learning algorithms, we can expect that to change. Transcriptions will be automatically generated using speech recognition software, and those transcriptions will be added to the HTML of the page, making the content searchable. There have already been tremendous advancements in the abilities of these algorithms and it is likely that, within the next few years, they will become a staple in the world of SEO.

Local SEO and Google My Business

The goal of dominating local search results will only become more important as the internet continues to evolve. At the end of 2013, 80% of Americans said they had used the internet to find information about a location. That was 5 years ago and is sure to be even higher now. 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same. These numbers are quite high and only continue to increase.
With the rise of mobile consumers and on-demand services, it is imperative to position yourself in mobile advertising. With a large portion of mobile searches having local intent, there is a great deal of value in having a local ad. At the end of 2016, Google released the ability to add an extension to your search network campaign that enables you to show your business location to mobile users. Any sort of feature like this will be beneficial to local search, so it is important to continue to adapt with future Google trends. SaaS companies will continue to thrive, and what better service to offer than SEO. Local businesses are the biggest benefactors in close range B2B companies. Local businesses are starting to understand that the internet is a big driver of their success and are oftentimes uninformed with best SEO practices. This gives SaaS companies much opportunity to develop and grow new products.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button