What will search marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) look like in 2024 — as generative AI and other factors continue changing the landscape of one of the primary technologies B2B brands use to be found and to help answer key questions?
We’ve gathered B2B search marketing insights from both industry experts and our own team, and are happy to present our annual look at SEO predictions and search trends for 2024.
When I first went online nearly 40 years ago in 1984 operating a 300-baud bulletin board system, it would be six years before Archie’s FTP site search arrived in 1990, followed three years later by Excite and the other early web search engine innovators, and if there’s one aspect of search that has remained constant throughout the ensuing four decades, it’s been never-ending change.
The search marketing landscape has always been one of rapid changes, and keeping up-to-date with ever-shifting SEO machinations and technical search intricacies can be more than a full-time job for top B2B SEO professionals. Luckily, for 2024 we’ve got a wealth of SEO insight from some of the world’s leading search subject matter experts that you can use to hit the ground running as a new year of search unfolds.
Let’s jump right in and see how top search marketing practitioners expect 2024 to change the way brands do business, and why it’s shaping up to be a year unlike any other for search.
1 — Clear Signals of Real Human Authorship
Founder& International SEO Consultant, Orainti
In 2024 I expect that:
- Showing clear signals of real human authorship, experience and authority becomes a must for content to rank well across any vertical
- With the release of search generative experience (SGE), most sites that actually offer products or services directly —rather than being just informational middlemen — retain their traffic, although this will shift from mid-of-the-funnel pages (PLPs) to bottom-of-the-funnel ones (PDPs).
- Google will continue to release more features in two lines:
- A more visible e-commerce layer to become a stronger and more complete contender to Amazon, offering many more functionalities and insights within their results to become the destination and avoid referring traffic to other marketplace platforms, and:
- Community and socialization features to compete with the popularity of TikTok as a search platform by Gen-Z. This has already started with “human first” perspectives, seeing other people’s notes (comments) now in test, and the ability to follow topics.
“In 2024 I expect that showing clear signals of real human authorship, experience and authority becomes a must for content to rank well across any vertical.” — Aleyda Solís @aleyda
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2 — Google Search & How AI Changes Content Generation
Founder, Search Engine Roundtable
AI is all the craze and it will continue to evolve and big a very big deal in 2024, as it was in 2023. It will be interesting to see how content generation using AI will adapt in 2024 and if Google Search will deal with it next year. No real big shocking prediction from me, I think everyone will agree, it is all about AI.
“It will be interesting to see how content generation using AI will adapt in 2024 and if Google Search will deal with it next year.” — Barry Schwartz @rustybrick
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3 — User Experience Creates Sustainable, Long-Term Success
CEO, Boot Camp Digital
It is called search engine optimization, not search engine creation. Too many SEOs focus on search engines while every other aspect of user experience or strategy takes a back seat. The idea should be to create content, website experiences, etc., for users and optimize them for search engines. We don’t create for search engines and optimize for humans. SEOs tend to be very technical and tactical based on the guidance from Google.
As search engines get smarter and look at more robust signals, user experience is playing a greater role. Updates and guidance from Google for years have shown a strong focus on user experience and signals. Focus more on optimizing for users and their experiences while optimizing for search engines, and you’ll have a long-term strategy.
“As search engines get smarter and look at more robust signals, user experience is playing a greater role.” — Krista Neher of @BootCampDigita
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4 — Finer (and More) Work on the Vertical Channels
Traffic generation as the headline of the industry (to which SEO is also assigned) is getting more finely divided by the years. Additional devices — from smartphones to smart-TVs and maybe voice-activated AI gadgets — change our way of content consumption. The coming year will add more channels and more potential traffic in various corners of the web and our industry will follow these traffic sources.
We will see more emphasis on vertical channels like TikTok, YouTube or Snapchat, which run their own algorithm that can be worked — just like many do on Amazon. More clients will come with applications to us — the SEOs — to make those accessible to “search” or to be better presented in those channels. From AI-plugins to 3D VR apps for various headsets, the coming year will only broaden the potential touchpoint to the searcher, and “user engagement” will one of the most-used buzzwords.
“2024 will add more channels and more potential traffic in various corners of the web and our industry will follow these traffic sources.” — Ralf Schwoebel @orgaralf
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5 — More Personalized & Useful Search Experiences
Analytics Director, TopRank Marketing
Search engines will continue to take steps towards providing a more personalized and useful search experience with search generative experience (SGE), while navigating the pressure to balance user experience (UX) with monetization and properly giving credit to the content contributing to search results. New specialties in paid search and SEO will develop as SGE results gain a larger share of search results. Analytics teams will be tasked with providing more context to paid and organic search channel performance, as it’s yet to be seen how SGE will impact the steady traffic that many sites currently rely on. Agencies should be prepared for flexibility in their scope of work, ensuring clients have clarity and confidence about the possibility of a strategic shift if necessary.
“Agencies should be prepared for flexibility in their scope of work, ensuring clients have clarity and confidence about the possibility of a strategic shift if necessary.” — Seth Epstein @SrirachaForAll
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Putting 2024 B2B Search Marketing & SEO Trends to the Test
2024 will see B2B marketers taking SEO and search marketing into a new year filled with more AI challenges and opportunities than ever — especially for B2B brands — and although the insightful predictions we’ve examined here from Aleyda, Barry, Krista, Ralf, and Seth are sure to play out in altogether new and sometimes unpredictable ways, they can also help shape your organization’s own SEO efforts in 2024 and beyond.
Thanks to all of the top search industry professionals who contributed trends and predictions to our annual look at the year ahead in SEO.
To learn more about B2B search marketing, check out these addition recent resources we have published:
Search is only one facet of a well-rounded B2B marketing strategy, yet one that plays an important role in campaigns that attract, engage, and convert. Find out why firms including Adobe, LinkedIn, SAP, Dell, 3M and others have chosen to work with TopRank Marketing — drop us a line.
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