Emerging Trends in SEO for 2024

Staying ahead of new trends in SEO isn’t “just” about keeping up—it’s about helping you rank higher, generate more traffic, and better connect with customers. Here are five SEO trends that need to be on your radar as we enter 2024. 

1. Knowing What Google Means by “Helpful” Content

By far, the biggest trend in SEO this year revolves around Google’s definition of what constitutes “helpful” content. Previously, they were somewhat evasive regarding the ranking process for their algorithms. 

But the October 2023 update made it clear: Google’s algorithms now focused on the overall helpfulness of a website’s content.

As many content marketers are coming to realize, the scope of “helpful” goes beyond the immediate impact and quality of the words on a page. To rank well in 2024, here’s what you need to remember: 

Your Whole Site Must Be Helpful

Search algorithms these days are looking at your website as a package—having one fantastic article isn’t going to cut it anymore. Every single page has to contribute to the user experience. 

So, take a moment and ask yourself: Are all the pages on your site actually helpful and easy to use? Or are there outdated ones with mediocre content, images that take a while to load, or links that lead nowhere?

Instead of just focusing on the word “content,” think about your website as a whole. Make sure it’s a valuable resource for your visitors. When you do that, it doesn’t just help with SEO; it improves every aspect of your online presence.

The Best Copy is “Situational” Content

Over the past year, a lot of us have gotten so wrapped up in using AI to chase algorithms that we forgot to consider why we’re writing the content in the first place.

Helpful content is all about anticipating “what comes next” from the information you present. 

For example, let’s say you’re reading a blog about how to build a bookshelf. “Situational content” goes beyond just listing the materials and steps—it would offer guidance on what to do if your shelf doesn’t look level.  

On-page copy should read like a real person, not some AI bot, wrote it. In Google’s eyes, this type of content is something AI simply can’t replicate, as you need the ability to offer detailed advice while still maintaining that personal touch.

2. Artificial Intelligence Set the Bar for All Future Content

One of the most recent trends in SEO is the fact generic content has become the norm. With generative AI simplifying content creation, bad content is becoming harder to come across.

I’ll even venture out to say the worst copy you’ll find anymore would’ve passed with a “C+” grade just a few years back. 

So, how can you stand out? 

Approach content like you would a product: take an iterative approach. Spice things up by adding new sections, delving deeper into existing ones, highlighting key points, crafting personal anecdotes, or offering additional insights from your own expertise. Your ability to add authenticity, depth, and fresh insights is key to staying ahead of the AI curve.

3. Keep Your Content Fresh to Stay Competitive

Just a few years ago, refreshing your content every 1-3 years could suffice. And let’s face it: most of us only refreshed our content that wasn’t performing well. 

Now, with AI-generated content flooding the scene, it’s time to up the ante. Google’s algorithm does give weight to recent updates, and if you have content that’s currently performing well, refreshing it can help maintain that top spot. Just remember: factors like backlinks, topic authority, and content quality ultimately still hold more sway over “new” content, so allocate your time wisely. 

4. Mobile Page Performance Continues to be a Top Ranking Factor

After years of implementation, Google announced that mobile-first indexing was officially completed in the fall of last year. Yes, we’ve seen this coming. And while some might not consider this a “new SEO trend,” it never hurts to double down. Your mobile pages—and mobile pages only—are what count in SERPs. Even if your website primarily attracts desktop traffic, this rule now applies to you. 

5. Search Generative Experience (SGE) is Shifting User Behavior

Google’s rolling out AI-powered SERP snippets, or as they call it, “Search Generative Experience (SGE)”. This means users will be able to ask questions, and AI will generate answers to their queries based on existing content on the web. 

So naturally, the question on every SEO’s mind is, “Will SGE steal my traffic?”

The short answer is no.

SGE summarizes a quick answer, sure. But it still directs the reader to the best-ranking content for more information. People will keep opening full articles because they’re not going to settle for some AI-generated snippet. They want first-hand details—the kind of insights only a real person can provide.

SGE is just another one of the latest SEO trends changing the way we search, but it won’t be the end of the world for your traffic, just keep focusing on creating content that’s helpful.

Navigating the Latest SEO Trends: Tips to Prepare Your Content Strategy for This Year

Now that you know which trends in SEO demand your attention, let’s discuss how to include them in your digital content strategy:  

Write for Readers First, Google Second

For SEO content to do its job, it has to give readers the information they need in a way that’s easy to consume. You need to understand your readers’ intent so that you can create content that answers their questions. Of course, use a target keyword (and variations of it) to guide your content, but it should be done ‘naturally’.

If your content reads like a robot wrote it, that’ll hurt your SERPs in 2024. And, speaking for a lot of articles I’ve seen over the past year—it might be time to ‘go back to basics’ by writing an article on one subject rather than trying to cover multiple keywords in the same piece, but that’s ok.

Make AI Work with You—Not Against You

We all know the best content is written by humans for humans. However, AI is still a valuable asset for content outlines, breaking through writer’s block, and rewording clunky copy. Speaking for myself, AI is like a “writing assistant.”  

Here are a few ways Language Learning Models (LLMs) help simplify the content creation process: 

  • Ask AI to act as an editor and help you apply an established voice and tone to the draft
  • Summarize information that’s already known
  • Make existing copy shorter
  • Turn lengthy paragraphs into bullet points
  • Make a table out of the information you already have

Refresh Both On-Page and Backend Elements

A “content refresh” isn’t just for your on-page copy—it’s an opportunity to clean up all aspects of your site. When circling back around to freshen things up, keep the following in mind: 

  • Confirm that all data and statistics are accurate and the most up-to-date as possible.
  • Link to the newest research, case studies, and news articles.
  • Rewrite the content (that means entirely new introductions, insights, and examples.)
  • Check all internal and external links. 
  • Repair broken links or replace links with 301 redirects.
  • Keep building backlinks! 
  • A content refresh or rewrite is a great occasion for promoting your content in social media, public relations, and to your existing email subscribers.

Prioritize Mobile Friendly Layouts

When redesigning your website, here are a few “musts” for your pages:

  • Proper Character Counts: Ironically, one of the newest trends in SEO is also one of the most overlooked—Meta descriptions. Yes, you heard that right. With mobile-first indexing, Meta descriptions on mobile are limited to 120 characters (not the 160 you get on desktop).
  • Responsive Design: Your web pages need to be responsive in 2024, meaning they can serve the same content on mobile, tablet, or desktop from the same URL. 
    • To check whether your pages are mobile friendly, log on to Google Search Console and go to: Experience > Core Web Vitals > Mobile to get a complete report of your pages. 

Optimize Your Content for SGE

Don’t freak out and overhaul your whole digital marketing strategy for SGE. The basics of SEO haven’t really changed. Just keep making reputable content, get those solid links, and most importantly, create content that provides real value to your audience. 

As a general rule of thumb, you never want to make any huge strategy adjustments unless Google tells you to. Sure, it’s good to keep an eye on emerging trends in SEO. But your main focus should still be nailing that top spot on SERPs—just focus on writing helpful content for humans, by humans. 

Need an Extra Hand Keeping up with SEO Trends?

At Timmermann Group, we’re passionate about helping our clients not just keep up with the latest SEO trends, but leverage them to drive real, measurable results. 

Our agile, data-driven approach goes far beyond short-term rankings, instead engineering a self-sustaining cycle of digital discoverability that transforms your online visibility into tangible revenue growth. 

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the breakneck pace of change in SEO, let TG be your guide. Start a conversation to learn how our innovative, results-driven approach can help you dominate the search results in 2024 and beyond.