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February 2024 SEO Industry Updates & Predictions

  • Industry News
  • By multiple authors
  • 7 minutes read

Our February industry updates include some of the latest stories from the world of search and a few predictions for the year.

Google announces 3 new Chrome features to get more helpful suggestions

The what:

Have you ever browsed Google without having an exact idea of what you’re looking for? If you’ve answered yes, you’re in luck! Google rolled out three new search features in Chrome to help you find what you’re looking for, even if you’re not exactly sure what it is you’re trying to find.

Suggestions based on what others are looking for, more images for suggested searches, and search suggestions even with a poor connection, are all possible through Chrome following this release.

The why:

The rollout of these new features is an exciting continuation of Google’s commitment to transforming the way people search. In 2023 we saw how AI shifted the world of organic search and increased the rate of innovation. Google’s experimental introduction of the SGE into their SERP showed us they were willing to make big leaps to compete and try to improve the way people search by changing to the traditional search experience.

For everyone:

Getting suggestions based on what others are looking for will enable Google to try and provide you with an answer based on previous users' searches. This enhancement will help searchers save time and enable collaboration between like-minded searchers without having to interact with anything other than the search bar.

More images for suggested searches feels like a significant upgrade from the previous experience of Chrome only displayed images that matched your exact search. More images will support and foster creativity for searchers by providing visual examples of related products and services. If I start searching for a mid-century modern nightstand, I like the idea of also seeing examples of lamps, rugs, and other product images related to my initial search.

Search Suggestions even with a poor connection will improve the accessibility of search for users everywhere. Whether you’re on the subway or in the middle of the woods, you’ll have the ability to access the information you need even when you have a bad network connection.

For Conductor customers:

Keep up with the latest in organic search by checking out the Conductor Academy or one of our upcoming virtual events.

Google announces an expanded partnership with Reddit

The what:

Google’s announced partnership with Reddit should not come as a surprise. Many folks throughout the industry have lamented about the saturation of Reddit content in Google Search results. Search Engine Journal noted , “ has seen the fastest growth in search of any domain and is now one of the web’s largest.” With the partnership now official, we can expect to see more Reddit content throughout the search experience.

Trended view of the total number of ranked keywords for Reddit
Graph provided by Conductor's Explorer feature

The why:

With access to Reddit’s Data API, Google shared they will have access to unique content, fresher information, and enhanced signals. This collaboration is an effort to improve search and make it easier for people to benefit from that information. Interestingly enough, Google stated, “This expanded partnership does not change Google's use of publicly available, crawlable content for indexing, training, or display in Google products.”

For everyone:

Review your current keyword rankings to determine where Reddit results are now a SERP competitor. Conductor’s data indicates Reddit’s total number of ranked searches has increased by over 170% since February of 2023. Investigate opportunities where Reddit content outperforms your own and ensure you have an understanding of your brand's presence and sentiment on the platform.

For Conductor customers:

  • Review Market Share reporting to determine if Reddit has emerged as a SERP competitor for any priority keyword groups.
  • Use Rank Comparisons to compare your keyword performance with Reddit for potential overlap for tracked searches.
  • Pro Tip: Add Reddit as an SEO Competitor in Comparison Web Properties to monitor their performance vs. your tracked keywords.
  • Expand your research using the domain comparison feature in Explorer to find additional untracked keyword competition and opportunities between Reddit and your website.

SEO industry predictions for 2024 & beyond

In this special edition of Conductor’s Industry Updates, we’re going to highlight some of our customers who are SEO experts and curating insights from thought leaders in the industry.

The focus of this section is to explore the anticipated trends and developments within the SEO landscape in the upcoming months and the remainder of 2024. Our valued customers break down what they expect the SEO landscape to look like and how to navigate the evolution of search in 2024.

The shifting dynamics of “share of search” and online attention

By Jessica Rogers, Enterprise SEO & Content Management at FedEx

As we navigate the evolving SEO landscape, our focus is and will be on the transformative impact of "Share of Search" and the increasing fragmentation of online attention.

Jessica Rogers, Enterprise SEO & Content Management, FedEx (opens in a new tab)

The traditional metrics of "Organic Search" are undergoing a fundamental shift, signifying that websites are no longer the sole repository of information and services. Thus, in 2024 it will be crucial to partner with omni-channel teams to meet customers where they are and have quality content and experiences that address customer searches, user intent, next-click actions, cross-device experiences, and so on.

For FedEx, our commitment to reaching customers when and where they are is central to our strategy. Here are some examples where we are seeing “share of search” and fragmentation of online attention.

Fragmentation of online attention:

User-generated forums and social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram are offering advanced search functionalities and predictive content based on user behavior. This can pose a challenge if your primary goal is to drive traffic back to your website. Again, building unique search-based experiences and content on these platforms will be crucial in 2024.

AI tools and changing user behavior:

  • AI tools like voice search and chatbots are disrupting the previous methods for users gathering and engaging with digital content.
  • AI platforms are facilitating conversational interactions and providing personalized information based on user prompts and input. Thus, customers are bypassing traditional web browsing and multi-page clicks.

Other share of search contributors worth referencing:

  • Local listings are prioritizing geographically relevant results, displayed directly on Google Maps, reducing reliance on individual websites for location lookup.
  • Mobile apps are providing seamless access, eliminating the need for users to navigate traditional websites.
  • Web App Integrations: For FedEx, we’ve seen an increase in universal tracking apps and merchants providing user actions directly within that shared ecosystem, affecting traffic to owned websites.
  • Google's Search Generative Experiment (SGE), Carousels, & Featured Snippets: Google's ability to generate answers on the search results page reduces the necessity for users to click through to websites. Concise summaries in featured snippets satisfy user intent without requiring website visits. This is beneficial for those customers seeking quick answers; however, can impact visits to your website if that is a primary goal.
  • Rise of Zero-Click Searches: The phenomenon of "zero-click searches" further contributes to declining web traffic, as users find information directly on search results pages.

In conclusion, the SEO landscape in 2024 demands a strategic, holistic online presence that goes beyond traditional metrics. Focusing on brand awareness, engagement across platforms, and prioritization of quality content and user experience will be crucial for meeting customers where they are in this dynamic digital environment.

By Cassandra Venere & Ileana Ponce from EY

Is SEO dead? Not at all. I believe every platform has a unique value proposition and the product and algorithm are focused to deliver on that value. People consume content differently and use platforms that suit their individual needs. Your SEO strategy is just as relevant as your strategy across other marketing channels, and omnichannel is now more important than ever

Cassandra Venere, National Paid Media Lead - Search and Display, Ernst & Young (opens in a new tab)

With a decade of global marketing leadership experience, I understand the importance of a well-implemented organic strategy. Patience and resilience are key, especially with last year's introduction of AI. AI and voice search optimization provide opportunities for authenticity, engagement and improved user experiences. For continual SEO effectiveness, as a team, we’re adopting AI tools to enhance our rankings and revise our content strategies, prioritizing authoritative authorship. I recommend you familiarize yourself with the nuances of SEO and understand your audience well. We owe our SEO success at EY to teamwork and collaboration in the dynamic, ever-evolving world of digital marketing.

Ileana Ponce, Digital Marketing - Website and SEO Lead, Ernst & Young (opens in a new tab)

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