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The Top SEO & Content Marketing Trends for 2024

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Overall, the most important content marketing and SEO trends for 2024 center around creating valuable, comprehensive, human-first content that demonstrates expertise (think: E-E-A-T) while leveraging AI assistance and preparing for SGE to mitigate any potential organic traffic loss.

SEOs must adopt an always-on, agile approach and understand the big picture behind E-E-A-T to succeed in 2024 and beyond.

Content marketers must return to proven best practices, including quality over quantity, cross-channel content distribution, and accessibility prioritization, to future-proof content performance moving forward.

If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that there’s a constant—if not overwhelming—state of change within SEO and content marketingContent Marketing
Content marketing is a marketing discipline with the goal of increasing awareness and scope for products and brands in the desired target group with content published on the web and offline.
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. The rapid integration of AI combined with significant automation and software advancements over the last 12 months is enough to make any SEO, content, or digital marketer feel like they’re falling further behind by the day.

So, what is the future of SEO and content marketing in 2024? Contrary to what you may expect, both are trending toward a more human-first and user-centric approach powered by AI intelligence and collaboration.

We analyzed dozens of the most impactful content marketing and SEO trends for 2024 to provide you with predictions and recommendations that future-proof your digital strategies. Find out what steps to take now to develop a more sustainable SEO and content marketing strategy that will deliver reliable results and growth not just in 2024 but in the years ahead. (Plus, find out which trends you can ignore entirely.)

What is the future of SEO in 2024?

With Google's impending Search Generative Experience (SGE) potentially reshaping SEO and search as we know it, the emphasis on providing high-quality, comprehensive, experience-driven content has never been higher.

Simultaneously, Google is getting better at sniffing out the bad apples—AKA auto-generated and low-quality content.

To stay ahead of the curve, you'll need to adopt an agile, value-focused, user-centric mindset that keeps you one step ahead of future disruptions and Google's frequent algorithm updates.

Here are the 2024 SEO trends to prioritize to help you gain a competitive advantage and future-proof your efforts.

1. The SGE impact on SEO will be significant. Prepare now or risk everything.

The truth about Google’s SGE is that no one knows when it will launch and what it will look like when it does. However, we are seeing signs that the launch could be coming soon, as Google has started showing AI-generated answers from SGE for all users on a small percentage of search queries.

SGE could drastically reshape SERPs, SEO as a whole, and user behavior by providing in-depth, far-reaching answers that don’t require a click-through to the source websiteWebsite
A website is a collection of HTML documents that can be called up as individual webpages via one URL on the web with a client such as a browser.
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. Or, it could launch in a scaled-down version that users rely on for quick answers, similar to how rich search resultSearch Result
Search results refer to the list created by search engines in response to a query.
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types, like Answer Box and People Also Ask, already function.

Regardless of when SGE launches, it’s irresponsible not to prepare now.

Patrick Reinhart, VP, Services and Thought Leadership, Conductor

It’s easy to spiral about the potential effects of SGE on organic traffic given the forecasted surge of zero-click searches, but you should focus on identifying which steps to take now to optimize your website for an AI-powered search experience.

How to prepare for SGE:

  • Be cautious about believing any in-depth SGE SERP analyses or reports that claim to know exactly which pages SGE pulls results from and why.
    • There’s too much unknown right now to have a complete understanding of SGE. We won’t have reliable answers until SGE fully leaves Google Search Labs, and we can analyze the impact on SERPs for all users over a longer period.
  • That being said, ensuring your site leverages structured dataStructured Data
    Structured data is the term used to describe schema markup on websites. With the help of this code, search engines can understand the content of URLs more easily, resulting in enhanced results in the search engine results page known as rich results. Typical examples of this are ratings, events and much more. The Searchmetrics glossary below contains everything you need to know about structured data.
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    effectively, follows the latest SEO best practices, and is optimized for discoverability, crawlability, and indexability can give you a headstart.

2. Expect organic traffic to decrease (*when SGE launches).

Yes, it’s true that if SGE is officially launched in its current iteration, then websites may experience a decrease in organic traffic.

But, searches leading to a click will remain the same. Why? People will click through to a website pagePage
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less often but search more often, so essentially, the numbers even out.

The one caveat is that some industries will get hit harder than others. Especially those with content that is easily answered by SGE and doesn’t require a click to the website for additional information or context.

  • If this is a concern for you, consider a targeted strategy centered on the historical optimization of older, evergreen pages. Offset a potential dip in traffic and better align with a human-first SEO content strategy by investing in and expanding evergreen content so it’s richer, expertise-driven, and solves a problem (the more in-depth, the better!) for your audience.

3. E-E-A-T has never been more important. But you have to understand what it actually means to achieve future SEO success.

E-E-A-T is everywhere you look. While it’s important, what’s more important is understanding what it means and how it should inform your strategy. To do that, you have to understand the bigger picture.

E-E-A-T is a guide, not a ranking signal. It’s not five boxes you can check to be E-E-A-T approved. Box-checking will set you up for failure. If you understand the overall concept, what it entails, and what’s attached to it, you’ll be better positioned for success in 2024.

Steven van Vessum, Director of Organic Marketing, Conductor

For example, Google’s helpful content update last year is rooted in the E-E-A-T guidelines and is a part of a broader effort by Google to implement higher standards when assessing the quality and credibility of content.

E-E-A-T is about earning your place at the top of the search engine results page. By following Google's guidelines and providing the highest-quality content to users, you are proving to Google that your site deserves to rank highly.

In the age of AI, it’s more important than ever to build trust and humanize your content with first-hand, personal experience... Multiple Google system updates are creating extreme visibility fluctuations for sites across a variety of industries, but the sites that best demonstrate lived experience—along with expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness—are the ones left standing.

Jordan Mazza, SEO Specialist, Amsive Digital (opens in a new tab)

Now is the time to take a crash course on all things E-E-A-T so you can adopt this new mindset and adapt SEO and content strategies accordingly.

Consider these your go-to resources on E-E-A-T and how to adapt your SEO content strategy accordingly.

Now, to the fun part: which SEO trends you can ignore entirely.

Simply put, if voice search were going to “happen” in the way it’s been predicted to within search, it would’ve already happened.

Despite the predictions year after year that this is the time voice search will change SEO, it never comes to fruition. We’re all still typing in most of our searches ourselves, even with virtual assistants on our phones. Voice searches will be used for easily answered queries like weather forecasts, but the rest of our answers will come from typing in questions on search engines the old-fashioned way.

At the end of the day, if it can’t be measured, how important can it be?

2. Evolving search ranking factors.

Ignore ranking factors. Yes, we said it.

You need to focus on the bigger picture, like concepts such as E-E-A-T. You’re thinking too small when you limit your SEO strategy to ranking factorRanking Factor
The term “Ranking Factors” describes the criteria applied by search engines when evaluating web pages in order to compile the rankings of their search results. Ranking factors can relate to a website’s content, technical implementation, user signals, backlink profile or any other features the search engine considers relevant. Understanding ranking factors is a prerequisite for effective search engine optimization.
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alignment. Google’s ranking factors are almost entirely ML-driven at this point, so this mindset of tracking and focusing exclusively on search engineSearch Engine
A search engine is a website through which users can search internet content.
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ranking factors is something all SEOs and marketers need to move away from.

What is the future of content marketing in 2024?

The future of content is largely centered around returning to tried-and-true best practices, with a renewed focus on content quality and increasing productivity and efficiency within workflows through AI.

However, a return to the basics still requires a nuanced approach, especially with the implications of AI-generated content, the unknown impact of Google’s SGE, and the challenges of capturing attention in a digital world inundated with low-quality content.

Prioritize the following 2024 content marketing trends to break through the content noise and produce content that converts at scale.

1. AI shifts from center-stage to a supporting role within content workflows.

AI won’t, in fact, be writing all of your content.

2023 was all about the hype of generative AI advancements, with everyone calling it the end of human writers, given the tech could generate all types of content.

But as we learned from brands who jumped on the auto-generated content bandwagon—looking at you, Sports Illustrated —and the clear message sent by Google in the recent March 2024 core update , AI can’t replace the intrinsic humanness needed to create quality, long-form content, and search engines will penalize sites that try to sneak AI content through.

Instead, AI should be integrated into content creation workflows to reduce the most time-intensive aspects, including topic ideation, keywordKeyword
A keyword is what users write into a search engine when they want to find something specific.
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research, content outline generation, content promotion, and optimization.

AI is a tool, not a replacement.

Nick Gallagher, Sr. SEO Strategy Director, Conductor

If 2023 was hype, 2024 is strategy. AI is your content collaborator. It’s up to content marketers and teams to get strategic about when and where to use it to increase efficiency, speed up content creation, and expand the reach of content, so they can focus more time on the human elements AI can’t replicate.

It’s important to keep in mind that Google isn’t against using AI within content creation processes. You can—and should—leverage it to increase efficiencies and create human-first, high-quality content. What you will get penalized for is content written entirely by AI.

2. Quality > quantity remains true. Prioritize leveraging trust and experience within content to improve quality.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, and again, and again. More content ≠ Higher rankingsRankings
Rankings in SEO refers to a website’s position in the search engine results page.
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. It’s all about your content quality.

Users are being bombarded with low-quality, auto-generated content. They want content created for humans by humans with proven experience in solving their specific problems. For 2024, building trust and leveraging first-hand experience will be the core differentiators that determine content success.

What’s ahead for SEO and content marketing in 2024

The future of SEO and content marketing is pivoting towards a more user-centric, human-first, and expertise-driven approach. Optimizing for Google's potential Search Generative Experience (SGE), doubling down on content quality over quantity, creating accessible, value-focused content that demonstrates E-E-A-T, and leveraging AI as a supporting tool rather than a content creation generator will be core objectives to achieving sustainable success in 2024 and the coming years.

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