The Top 5 SEO Trends for Small Businesses in 2024 (+ Tips)

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Written by

Seren Nurgun

Working with online and local businesses for the past 3 years, she has generated over 278K clicks from Google.

The world of SEO literally changes faster than the seasons do. Which is why savvy small business owners (or the SEO pros they hire!) who care about SEO traffic need to stay updated as much as possible.

Because Google has ~92% market share of search engines overall, people take notice when the company makes changes. At least they should – what worked pre-2018 doesn’t work anymore.

Based on research, Google’s changes, and what 15-year SEO veterans have said, I’ve compiled the most important SEO trends for 2024 and beyond. But why stop there? It’d be boring if it did. To help business owners, bloggers, course creators, and others, I’ve also included a boatload of actionable tips in each section. Let’s get into it!

01. Increased Focus on Brand Authority

To help combat against the surge of mass-produced, low-quality AI content, Google is increasingly putting a focus on strengthening the weight of trustworthy brands.

That’s why you’ll see Forbes ranking higher for ‘best affordable lawnmowers’ instead of websites by actual yard workers or gardening enthusiasts. This isn’t perfect, and sometimes Google gets it wrong by valuing a brand higher than the quality of the content.

Another way Google’s paying attention to brands is by introducing site names in search results. Here’s an example:

an example of a site name in google search result pages

Understandably, Google introduced this feature in order to make it a lot easier for searchers to recognize the brand’s they know and find what they’re looking for faster. Google’s engineers are just doing their best to keep the top results on Google high-quality and easy to find, which you might’ve also noticed, is harder than it sounds.

So what does that mean for you?

  1. Add your business to high-quality directories (I can do this for you!)
  2. Be a guest on more podcast episodes
  3. Write guest posts on others’ blogs
  4. Publish high-quality, SEOed blog posts on your blog (I can also do this for you!)
  5. Grow your social media accounts
  6. Make sure your site name is accurate by googling your business name

02. Prioritization of Authority on Topics

Don’t worry – topical authority sounds more complicated than it actually is. When you’ve got a lot of it, it means your website is one of the go-to’s for your niche and main topics. Google rewards websites that have a lot of topical authority because when a website covers a niche from all angles, it’s a better experience for readers and searchers and proof that that website holds a deeply knowledgable hub of information on that niche. Readers are able to browse and more easily find complete answers to what they’re looking to learn more about.

Let’s say you’re a fitness coach for marathon runners and you want to develop your topical authority on marathon running. In that case, you’d want to write about subtopics like:

  • Does marathon running help or harm your knees?
  • How to start marathon running
  • Is marathon running bad for your heart?

And so on to cover as many aspects of marathon running as you can. Apply this to your niche and you’ll be way ahead of your competitors who are writing about a bunch of different topics.

03. Introduction of AI

In case you missed it, Google announced it’s working on a big change to search called Search Generative Experience. It’s essentially an AI thats purpose is to provide results to searches in a better, faster, easier way for searchers. They continue to test a lot of things about it, but the goal is to eventually embed it into the Google Search we all know and use.

source: Search Engine Journal (screenshot taken May 2023)

Google had been working on AI things for several years now, and only released Bard and announced they’re working on SGE after OpenAI came out with ChatGPT and formed an alliance with Microsoft’s Bing. Of course, that sent Google into panic mode.

While Bard is already released (it’s like ChatGPT, and not infused into Google Search), SGE isn’t live yet at all. It’s currently being thoroughly tested. Google needs to first make sure the release of SGE doesn’t negatively impact their business model, as it makes a healthy majority of its revenue from selling ads through search engine marketing (note: SEM is different from SEO). There’s no publicly announced release date for SGE, so no one knows how it’ll affect the ROI of SEO exactly. Although there are predictions of course, which I won’t get into here.

So what does that mean for you?

  • Continue to publish high-quality blog posts
  • Double down on strengthening your brand online
  • Build your online reputation
  • Grow your social media accounts

04. Increase of Transparency

Most likely to fight against spammers and scammers, Google launched the ability to see a social media account’s amount of followers or subscribers right in search results. This allows searchers to find a brand’s account a lot easier among a sea of fakers and pretenders.

If you search your ‘business name + social media account’ (like sweetsea digital instagram), you’ll immediately see how many followers/subscribers you have on that account. Here’s an example:

an example of social media followers shown in google search engine results pages

While there are a lot of good reasons for Google to make this change, a HUGE con is that there’ll be people who’ll pay to buy followers/subscribers to artificially inflate their numbers. So over time, determining which account’s genuine and which isn’t will become even harder.

So what does that mean for you?

  • Grow your social media accounts (without buying followers)

05. More TikTok-Y

In May 2023, Google launched a new feature in an attempt to introduce more of the human experience and perspective that makes TikTok so attractive. It’s called Perspectives. And you might’ve already seen it at the top of Google Search.

an example of perspectives on google search engine results pages

It acts as a filter that specifically highlights related social media content, blog posts, forums, Q&A sites, etc. to showcase more creator-y content.

Because TikTok continues to gain popularity as a search engine, Google’s taken notice and trying its best to keep Gen Z and Gen X’s attention. The jury is still out on how Perspectives will impact how young people use Google.

So what does that mean for you?

  • Create more search-oriented social media content (ex. what is, how to, why, does, etc.)
  • Grow your social media accounts
  • If your target audience is on TikTok, prioritize creating search-oriented content there

Writer’s Note

If you found this helpful, be sure to bookmark this page! Every year, I’ll come back here and update this page with the latest SEO trends. Of course, if something crazy happens in the SEO world before a year comes around, I’ll still pop in and do an update. If you think you’ll forget to check back often (it happens, no judgement), connect with me on Instagram to get the latest!

Feb 8, 2024

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