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January 19, 2024

5 Things to Know About SEO & Digital Marketing in 2024

If you thought there were tons of 2023 digital marketing updates, hold onto your hat because 2024 is already off to a hot start. 

As we go into another year of significant changes, brands seeking to drive results through digital channels need to adapt quickly to capitalize on opportunities. 

From the pace of AI’s evolution to looming privacy regulations, there are plenty of unknowns heading into 2024. But one thing is for certain: SEO and digital marketing are only going to become more competitive. 

To help you stay ahead of the curve in what’s sure to be another frenetic year, here are five things businesses need to know about SEO and digital marketing in 2024.

The World Wants a More Private Web

Image of a laptop with a web browser open. Overlaid is a locked pad lock to symbolize privacy online.

Most of us have been impacted by a data breach. If it hasn’t happened to you, it’s happened to one of your friends or family members. 

Here’s what we’ve learned: The best way to keep our personal information secure is to avoid sharing it in the first place. 

From individuals to regulatory agencies and even industry leaders, the global push for a more private, more secure web will continue to gain steam in 2024. However, this means creating personalized experiences and retargeting users will be more challenging for digital marketers. 

The change is already underway, as Google blocked third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users at the start of Q1. It’s the beginning of a testing and trial phase for APIs from Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which aims to give marketers solutions that yield valuable user data without compromising privacy. 

By the beginning of Q3, Google aims to have completely removed Chrome support for third-party cookies. 

Sure, Chrome is well behind other browsers in making this move, but with such a massive market share, it’s a major change for the entire digital ecosystem. 

If you haven’t already begun adapting for this cookie-less future, it’s time to explore viable alternatives such as first-party cookies, zero-party data collection, and the offerings from the Privacy Sandbox. 

AI’s Impacts Will Broaden

Image depicting the emergence of AI tools in digital marketing. Centered is a computer monitors with search results and robotic arms extending from either side of the monitor. Surrounding the computer are various icons to illustrate digital marketing including shopping bags, gold coins, an ascending green chart, and a video player.

While the first half of 2023 was filled with excitement for revolutionary AI tools, the latter half of the year saw increasing scrutiny in the form of lawsuits and impending regulations. 

From Google Bard’s infamous stumble that saw Alphabet stock lose $100 billion in market value to regulations and lawsuits and ongoing hallucinations, it’s clear AI still has a long way to go. 

But 2023 was a year of incredible growth for AI, and this expansion will only continue throughout 2024 as AI models become more capable and developers continue to make refinements. 

So, what exactly can we expect from AI in SEO and digital marketing as we enter 2024?

Enhanced Insights and Productivity for Marketers

AI might not be in a position to take jobs away just yet, but as it progresses from crawling to walking and, eventually, running, professionals need to explore these tools early and often, incorporating AI into their workflows where sensible. 

For example, content writers can use AI to boost their productivity and then leverage that bonus as an opportunity to build skills and grow into new, more lucrative roles. Website analysis, reporting, and other processes can all be made more efficient with existing AI tools. 

If your team isn’t already using some of these tools, or at least considering them, you’re leaving money on the table and running the risk of being left behind. 

AI-Assisted Search

With the September rollout of Microsoft Copilot, the anticipated 2024 release of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), the ability to search using your smartphone camera, and other advances, the world is set for monumental shifts in how we search. 

It’s sure to create a more valuable user experience, which should drive growth for Google, Microsoft, and others. 

But for those of us doing our best to thrive in the ever-changing digital landscape, any changes to the search experience can be disruptive. Specifically, many predict the rise of AI in search will likely lead to more crowded SERPs and an increase in zero-click searches.

The Future of Search Results

If AI answers crowd out organic results and give searchers the answers they need without ever having to click through to your site, you may find yourself asking: What’s the point of SEO in 2024? 

Though there’s no denying that AI in search will have a considerable impact, it’s worth noting that answer boxes will likely feature links to one or multiple sources, and people looking for context will likely click through. 

This essentially means content marketers will need to focus on creating content that goes beyond simple answers to common questions. Instead, create content worth reading all the way through that provides additional context, information, and perspective. 

Digital Marketers Will Focus on Personalization in 2024

Regardless of industry, we compete by delivering value that customers can’t find elsewhere. When it comes to SEO and digital marketing in 2024, that means providing a personalized experience that puts the user first. 

An easy-to-navigate site. Clear shipping and return policies. Comprehensive product descriptions. A transparent, genuine “About Us” section. Yes, these are enterprise SEO essentials, but none of them contribute to the personalized experience users are coming to expect. 

However, as mentioned earlier, we’ll all have less data as third-party cookies ride off into the sunset, and the data we do collect won’t be nearly as accurate or complete. 

While this will make it challenging to deliver a personalized experience that draws valuable customers deeper into your sales funnel, it’s not a dead end. 

First- and zero-party data will provide a solid starting point. Personalizing the user experience means delivering the right message at the right moment, whether it’s a banner ad, product recommendation, or how-to guide. 

That brings us to another digital marketing cornerstone: world-class content. 

There’s No Substitute for E-E-A-T and Quality Content

The necessity for SEOs and digital marketers to publish high-quality content certainly isn’t new, but 2024 will bring more substitutions and diversions that could cause some of us to miss out on this key element. 

As we discussed earlier, there are plenty of ways AI tools can enhance workflows and productivity. But if you find yourself tempted to tap generative AI as a replacement for content written by real humans, think twice. 

For starters, AI is regurgitative in nature. It scrapes the web and can do an excellent job of clearly and concisely communicating complex information. However, AI can’t contribute anything new to the conversation because AI doesn’t have real-world experience. 

When it comes to high-quality content, experience is crucial. 

Don’t take our word for it—just ask Google. The search giant has long used Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which is one of many methods Google utilizes to evaluate content quality to determine rankings. 

These guidelines, originally E-A-T (for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), were updated in December 2022 with another E which stands for—you guessed it—experience. 

If you haven’t done something for yourself, you can’t meaningfully show others how to do that thing. Conjecture and theorize all you want, but true subject matter experts are those with firsthand experience. 

From travel recommendations to consumer guides, weather forecasts, and product reviews, Google wants to serve search results that align with the E-E-A-T guidelines. AI-generated content fails right off the bat because it’s incapable of demonstrating real-world experience. 

Search engines know it, and so do your target audiences. 

AI certainly has its place in SEO, and even content creation, but it’s not a full replacement for world-class content written by people, for people. 

Expert Strategy Is Essential for SEO in 2024

Image depicting the importance of working with a digital marketing expert. This includes a web browser window and a professional pointing at positive results.

The web is more dynamic than ever, which means digital marketers must take a targeted approach to increase search engine visibility to boost traffic, conversions, and revenue. 

The set-and-forget days of SEO are over (they’ve been over for years). Similarly, throwing different SEO techniques at the wall to see what sticks will prove cost-prohibitive and ineffectual. 

No two businesses are identical. Even if you’re selling the same products in the same vertical as a competitor, you may be targeting a different audience, and you likely have your own definition of success. 

Pushing your priority pages into the top organic search rankings will always be key, but in 2024, brands need to establish a broad online presence and adopt an omnichannel approach.

When it comes to PPC vs SEO, rarely can enterprises afford to put all their eggs in one basket. Though they’re often imagined in diametric opposition to one another, SEO and PPC can deliver outsized benefits when implemented in tandem. 

But again, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution—the ideal blend of PPC and SEO will be different for each business. 

In 2024 and beyond, adaptivity will be a core element of any effective digital marketing strategy. 

As the world moves toward a more private web and the way we search fundamentally changes, businesses need to be prepared to meet their customers wherever they are. 

At the end of the day, effective digital marketing comes down to ROI, and measuring the efficacy of your SEO strategy and tactics requires accurate, transparent reporting, as well.

Achieve Sustained Search Dominance with VELOX Media

The SEO field is more specialized than ever in 2024. Partnering with the right digital marketing agency can make all the difference for enterprise brands looking to scale. 

At VELOX, driving exponential growth is our specialty. We take an ROI-focused approach as we leverage our proven expertise, cutting-edge research, and the latest technology to create tailored campaigns that exceed client expectations and drive exponential growth. 

Contact VELOX today to see what sustained search dominance can do for your business in 2024.

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