The world of SEO is always evolving, with constant updates to search engine algorithms and new techniques emerging, it can be hard for beginners to keep up and know where to start. The strategies that worked yesterday may not be as effective today. So how do you ensure your SEO efforts in 2024 put you ahead of competitors?
IN this beginner’s guide, we’ll highlight the essential SEO strategies you need to know for 2024 and beyond. These are evergreen best practices that align with Google’s core algorithmic functions. By focusing on improving website content, technical performance, authority, and relevance, you can gain a lasting edge.
What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, involves optimizing a website to improve its rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) and earn more organic traffic.
As an essential part of the overall digital marketing strategy, SEO focuses on earning unpaid, organic search traffic, separate from paid search marketing.
Simply put, internet users search online, a solid SEO strategy helps your website show up prominently in the results for relevant queries. According to First page sage, 68% of all clicks go to the top three organic search results. So if you’ve got a business online, investing in a SEO cannot be overlooked.
SEO Essentials for 2024
Zero-position or zero-click searches have become a major trend in SEO. These occur when a user finds the answer they need directly on the search engine results page (SERP) without clicking through to any other site.
The main triggers for zero-click searches are Google’s SERP features like:
- Featured snippets – Top-of-page boxes with a brief answer to the query
- Local packs – For “business near me” searches
- Carousels – For recipe, video, product searches
- Expanded shopping results
Featured snippets, sometimes called “position zero”, display a sentence or two directly answering the query using text extracted from a site’s content.
Some experts worry featured snippets divert traffic, but a better strategy is optimizing content to attract clicks despite position zero. To do this successfully, you need to incorporate frequently asked questions, structure information clearly and concisely and add relevant images to encourage clicks.
The goal is creating content so compelling and informative that users want more details beyond the snippet. By embracing featured snippets instead of avoiding them, and crafting content accordingly, you can turn zero-click searches into an opportunity rather than a threat.
Optimize Your Content
To set the ball rolling, one of the easiest ways to start generating organic traffic is to start optimizing existing content.
The first step in optimizing your content is to determine the optimal word count and keyword density. Defining the right word count isn’t set in stone; some queries need long, comprehensive content, while others only require a concise answer.
Another effective tactic is refreshing old content that has declining traffic and rankings, known as content decay. Updating outdated posts is easier than creating new content from scratch. Look at related searches and questions in results to uncover user intent and align your content accordingly
One crucial aspect of your SEO is writing your meta tag and description. The tag and description informs the search engine what you content is about and if optimized correctly, generates clicks.
The title tag is an HTML element that tells search engines and users what a page is about. To write clickable tags, you need to focus on using unique keywords for each page and keep them under 60 characters so they don’t get cut off in search results.
For meta descriptions, aim for 120-156 characters. Also, consider including a call to action, benefits and keywords to the descriptions to drive. Write your descriptions in a conversation tone as this can boost clicks.
Page speed or how fast your website loads is very important for the overall user experience of visitors. When your website loads slowly, it drops engagement and lowers search results.
Google reports that when the load time increase from 1 to 3 seconds, the probability of visitors leaving right away increases by 32 percent.
So how do you fix this? Begin by checking the performance of your web pages. To do this, you can use tools like GTmetrix, Google Pagespeed insights and Pingdom.
How to improve load time
The first step is to pick a hosting platform that provides premium services, including page speed. You shouldn’t compromise on quality performance for price.
Next, consider using images that are optimized in formats like JPEG, WebP, and SVG. To compress and resize images, plugins like WP Smush will do the job without losing the quality.
Another method if increasing load time to cache your webpages. Caching allows you to store copies of a site’s file and this saves the time it takes for the server to generate and serve a web page to a visitor.
One of the most notable advancements in the SEO world is the incorporation of augmented reality. Augmented Reality blends digital information seamlessly into the real world, enhancing user experiences and influencing search behavior.
The experiences created from AR are interactive, one that captivates users. It increases the time spent on a website and generates more inbound links. For instance, a furniture retailer can utilize AR to enable customers to visualize products within their homes, driving engagement, repeat visits, and garnering backlinks from other sites.
In the coming years, businesses will need to creatively integrate AR into their digital strategies, offering engaging experiences to customers and maintaining a competitive edge in search engine rankings.
Optimize for Voice Search
According to statista, voice-assisted search was 4.2 billion, which means that search engines and results are becoming more conversational. To cater to this growing audience, you’d need to start with using long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords, containing three or more words, are vital for ranking in voice search queries. People often use natural language questions and phrases when speaking to voice assistants, so long-tail keywords, such as “how to play the piano” are semantically natural.
However, it is important for the content to offer value rather than blatantly stuffing keywords. By providing a detailed resource focused on long-tail phrases, you can improve voice search visibility.
Within the content, format some keywords as subheadings and install schema markup for FAQs to highlight the questions directly. Include images and videos demonstrating the process to aid comprehension.
Optimizing a single piece of content around one primary long-tail keyword and closely related phrases creates a hub of expertise on that subject. This aligns perfectly with voice search behavior and establishes your website as a trusted authority.
Backlinks are links from external sites pointing back to your content. More backlinks, especially from authoritative sites, can boost your domain authority and search rankings. However, focus on quality over quantity, as Google evaluates backlinks based on factors like relevance and anchor text.
So, to earn high-quality backlinks, you need to create valuable, and useful content tailored to your target audience.
Start by reaching out to relevant sites and suggest linking to your content if it would benefit their audience. Also, you should consider analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to find new link-building opportunities.
According to Backlinko, 33% of internet users spend at least 2 hours watching videos. Videos occupy substantial real estate on Google’s search results pages (SERPs), both on mobile and desktop. Google frequently displays “video carousels” – collections of recommended videos related to the search query.
These carousels appear for about a third of search queries, presenting major SEO opportunities to dominate target keyword rankings.
One well-optimized video prominently displayed in the video carousel can build brand awareness and interest for your target customer base. However, creating and posting videos alone won’t guarantee success. To ensure your videos are seen by your target audience and rank well for relevant search queries, a well-structured video SEO strategy is essential.
Building an Effective Video SEO Strategy
A robust video SEO strategy serves as your roadmap to maximize the impact of your video content. It begins with setting clear objectives, such as achieving rich snippets in search results, boosting conversions, enhancing brand awareness, and acquiring backlinks through social shares.
Understanding Your Audience and Creating Content
Before crafting video content, you must thoroughly understand your target audience. Employ A/B testing, social listening, and analytics tools to gain valuable insights. Create videos tailored to your audience and aligned with your goals, then establish a content calendar.
Selecting the Right Video-Hosting Platform and Promotion
Decide whether to self-host videos on your website or use third-party platforms like YouTube, depending on your objectives. Your video SEO strategy should also encompass a clear promotional plan to ensure your content reaches a broader audience.
Optimizing Videos for Maximum Impact
To enhance video performance, consider adding subtitles for accessibility and improved SEO, select compelling thumbnails, craft engaging titles with relevant keywords, and optimize video descriptions. Additionally, embed videos effectively, cross-promote on multiple platforms, and ensure your videos are mobile-friendly.
With these condensed insights, you’re better equipped to create a powerful video SEO strategy and make the most of your video content in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
SEO strategies are constantly changing, so it is important that you stay on top of trends and adjust accordingly to stay relevant. Stick with the fundamentals like creating valuable content, building backlinks, and leverage video content.