Is SEO Dead in 2024? How to Prepare for SEO’s Future

When you want to find out about products, do you flip through a newspaper or magazine or go straight to Google Search?

Marketing has changed drastically through the years, from print ads and newspaper displays to digital pop-ups and email campaigns. In the last few years, search engine optimization has been hailed as one of the top marketing strategies.

What made SEO unique above many other forms of marketing was the ability to reach billions of people with your content without spending thousands in advertising fees.

However, the competition has become fierce, and Google has cracked down on allowable SEO strategies. In the process, did Google eradicate SEO? Or is there still a place for SEO in 2024?

Explore SEO’s journey and where it is headed to learn whether SEO is dead.

Is SEO Dead?

The short answer is no.

Search engine optimization relies on three truths to remain relevant:

  • search engines must exist
  • your audience must use search engines
  • you must be able to influence whether or not your content appears in search results

If those three factors are true, SEO is alive and thriving. According to research we conducted alongside Databox, 62% plan to increase their SEO investments, while only 2% plan to decrease them.

content marketing seo chart

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Another question you might have heard marketers ask is whether organic search is dead.

Organic search is the traffic you gain from content appearing in search results that users click on. Since Google’s search results are still organic, it’s safe to say that organic search is not dead. However, ranking in organic search is becoming increasingly complex.

The Evolution of SEO

While SEO still thrives, how SEO looks has evolved and will continue changing. It must change to survive the shifting algorithms. As a result, many of the SEO strategies you have come to rely on are becoming less effective and some strategies are becoming obsolete.

In Google search’s infancy, the algorithm used a simple keyword identification process. Unfortunately, not all digital creators had the audience’s best experience in mind. They began playing the system, stuffing content with irrelevant keywords to grab a high-ranking position.

Google soon caught on and had to create a more complex algorithm to weed out spammers.

Another SEO strategy that has existed since the beginning is link building, which generates links from other websites supporting your site’s authority. Yet again, content creators abused the algorithm by mass-purchasing low-quality links to falsely build their site’s authority.

Google saw the poor SEO practices and adjusted the algorithm to penalize shady link-building practices while rewarding ethical SEO practices.

Google continues this process of weeding and prioritizing, causing continuous change. Its latest updates are proof of this.

For instance, Google’s March Core Update caused significant disruptions across many websites, as numerous site owners reported sudden drops in traffic and rankings. This update particularly targeted low-quality content and websites that relied heavily on outdated SEO tactics, emphasizing the importance of maintaining high-quality, relevant content and ethical SEO practices.

How Google’s Algorithm is Impacting SEO Today

Recently, Google adjusted its algorithm due to digital content creators mass producing low-value content, often generating generic content from AI. In response, Google informed content creators that it will prioritize unique content that demonstrates original ideas, experience, and expertise.

Google repeatedly shows us that those who try to beat the system often find themselves on the wrong side of Google. However, those who focus on the reader and create high-quality content will not feel the impact of Google’s changing algorithm as harshly.

Because Google is becoming more competent at detecting manipulative SEO strategies, it may be time to reframe your thinking about the algorithm and SEO. The imbalanced focus on meeting an invisible to-do list caused content to lose its ranking and brands to lose authority.

It is like when a teacher hands a study sheet to a class. Even though the class has an entire book of knowledge, they only focus on the concepts in the study sheet to pass the test. Those students are learning to pass a test, not gaining knowledge to use in the real world.

In the same way, when marketers focus on a small “cheat sheet” of SEO tasks instead of seeing the big picture, they create content only to pass an algorithm. They miss out on opportunities to build a wealth of authority through quality content readers will seek out, connect with, and respond to.

However, you can stand out from those marketers by staying on top of the algorithm and always going above and beyond, keeping the end prize in sight. You will remain strong in Google ranking if you keep your readers the central focus of your SEO.

Here are a few ways that can look:

  • Attract high-quality backlinks by having link-worthy content
  • Provide unique value other competitors don’t offer
  • Share personal experiences and knowledge
  • Build a positive user experience

What Matters Most in the Algorithm?

Even though you understand that you should create customer-centric content, and the traffic will come, you still want to do as much as possible to improve your chances of attracting traffic. Remember, these strategies build ON TOP of quality content and should never replace investing in the customer experience.

Here are a few practical tips for creating customer-centric content that stands the test of time while satisfying the Google algorithm to give your content the best chance of ranking.

Understand Your Customer And What They Want

When we say understand your customer, we want you to dig deeper than their pain points and demographics. Take a look at what drives them to search engines in the first place. This is known as your customer’s intent.

There are four search intents:

  • Informational: Searches for information
  • Navigational: Searches to find a specific website
  • Commercial: Searches to explore products and services
  • Transactional: Searches to complete a purchase or perform an action
4 ssarch types

As Google becomes more intelligent, thanks to advanced AI technology joining the game, it will rate content on how well it meets the user’s intent behind searches.

For example, if you were to search for a “digital marketing agency near me,” you wouldn’t want to see a general article about digital marketing. You want local addresses and customer reviews.

Google can now gauge a user’s intent and end goal based on their search. It then displays the most relevant content based on that intent.

To rank, you must also understand the intent for any keywords you write about and create content around that intent.

Create High-Quality Content

We keep repeating the phrase “quality content,” but by whose standard? Google defines the standard of high-quality content in search engine ranking.

They base their quality standard on what users want.

Google helped simplify quality standards in the acronym E-E-A-T:

E-E-A-T is especially crucial for ranking in YMYL searches. “Your Money or Your Life” are topics and content significantly impacting people’s health, safety, and financial well-being. These also tend to be the most lucrative topics to write on, thus making them far more competitive.

Google recognizes the importance of these topics as they impact people’s health and safety. Therefore, it holds YMYL content to a much higher standard.

For example, medical-related searches are far more likely to turn up results from highly respected medical journals and hospitals than from a hobby blogger.

To have the possibility of ranking for YMYL topics, you must show Google that you are also a highly respected authority in the field through your expertise, experience, authority, and trust factor. These can come from:

  • Positive feedback from satisfied customers
  • Quality, smooth-running online experiences and websites
  • Unique, insightful content
  • Original ideas
  • Online bios demonstrating your experience
  • Backlinks from respected sites
  • Links to high-authority sites

Write for Google Snippets and SGE

Users often fall into two categories: those wanting quick answers and those researching in-depth answers. Targeting both audiences has its benefits.

Most searches can fall into the first category of quick answers. Think of the person searching for information on converting teaspoons to tablespoons. They don’t need a full rundown of your history of baking. They want one number, and then they are gone again. These keywords tend to be longtail keywords looking for precise information.

The temptation might be to leave quick searches alone since those people are unlikely to become steady traffic. In fact, because of Google’s search generative experiences and “People Also Ask” sections, users don’t even need to click your link to read the answer.

However, if you target some of those quick questions with snippet-worthy content, you might find yourself consistently featured near the top of searches, which might bring in traffic over time.

Additionally, you’ll want to focus on detailed topics. For instance, if someone searches “How to excel in content marketing,” they are probably looking for a thorough guide or resource. This keyword can bring in a lot of website visitors if you rank well for it.

Is SEO in Demand in 2024?

Yes, SEO is still in demand and will remain crucial for visibility as long as search engines exist and your audience continues using them to find information. The question remains: How are you responding to the changes in SEO?

We can help you stay ahead of the competition by building strategies around the future of SEO so you are always one step ahead.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO services.


Justin Staples

For 15 years, Justin has guided businesses on a transformative journey through strategic marketing and design to craft their unique online identity.