It can be difficult to keep up when it comes to SEO and digital PR. From working at the hands of Google to the ever-changing media landscape, strategies have to adapt and it can often feel like the gut-wrenching rollercoaster that tests even the bravest nerves. We expect 2024 will be no different.
To help overcome and face the challenges of working with all this change, we’re sharing our predictions for 2024 Content SEO and digital PR trends that you should bear in mind for the upcoming year.
Content SEO Trends
As Google continues to push helpful content, it’s our job as SEO’s to keep up, providing users with the content that best meets their needs and answers their queries quickly, easily and appropriately. With this in mind, these are the 2024 Content SEO trends we predict will be at the forefront of Google updates and content strategies during the next year.
1) Ethical Content
2023 saw huge strides in the E-E-A-T approach to content with some big helpful content updates that saw sites across a lot of niches taking a hit. In 2024, the question of ethics behind all content found online will get louder. As more scams and schemes using AI to try and fool both the search engines and the users come to light, 2024 will see Google finding new, innovative ways to ensure content comes from ethical authorities – along with new ways to penalise those who try and take advantage of these. Relevancy and content that makes sense coming from particular brands and particular ambassadors will become more and more imperative.
2) A Face Behind The Screen
While faceless blogs may have once been the crux of the internet and as AI-generated authors continue to crop up on our newsfeeds, 2024 will be the year of needing a face to the name. Google will champion real information from real people who have a real vested interest in the topic they’re discussing. Those who try to join irrelevant conversations will be penalised for even trying.
3) Integrated Content
As marketing teams look for ways to make their budgets go further and as Google responds to the changing user journey, SEO will see an even bigger influence of other platforms like TikTok that will impact strategy. What’s more, with the crossover between PR, link-building, affiliates and influencer marketing, the content will go further beyond SERP rankings and it will need to compete.
4) People Always Asked – Zero Click Searching
The ‘people always asked’ section offers more opportunities for a zero-click search. Like a featured snippet, these sections allow a user’s query to be answered directly on the SERP without having to click through onto a website. As these sections become more prominent it means that strategies need to consider new metrics to show the power of optimisation beyond site visits. It also means that SEOs need to ensure time is being dedicated to the strategy to directly answer search queries that can improve brand search visibility for relevant questions.
5) Champion Re-Optimising
Finally, content housekeeping is going to continue to be imperative to a successful content strategy in 2024. As updates roll out, historic content can make or break a site’s SEO success – depending on how well they’ve upkept it. Keeping up to date with content pruning by getting rid of old content and verifying facts, figures and dates from an authoritative source will all help content compete fairly in the SERPs.
If you want to learn more on the benefits of content housekeeping, take a look at the results of our project with this content pruning case study.
Digital PR Trends
According to figures from the latest Census, there are almost 9,000 more PRs in England, Wales and Northern Island than there are journalists. This, paired with waves of redundancies at some of the UK’s biggest regional newspapers means that it’s becoming harder than ever to cut through and build links.
While no one can argue that it’s a difficult time to be in the digital PR industry, how we approach these challenges can be make or break. As it is with content, putting the user first is crucial if you want to stand out from the crowd. This means meeting journalists’ needs as well as their readers.
1) Affiliate Links
Anyone working within digital PR will have noticed the significant increase in affiliate links making their way into some of the media’s biggest outlets. While landing coverage in dream publications may be enough to boost brand awareness, the disappearance of organic follow and no follow links from these sites is a scourge to many digital PR and SEO teams alike.
How you approach and report on these affiliate links should be based on your strategic goals. Are you aiming to build brand awareness, drive sales or boost traffic? An integrated approach should be taken towards these links and could even be incorporated into your larger marketing strategy to your benefit.
If your goal is purely SEO focused you may want to change your approach when building your media list to include niche publications which is where our next point comes in.
2) Old School Link Building
While we’re always looking forward to new tactics and strategies there’s no harm in going back to tried-and-tested methods for building links. A strategic approach to media lists based on your goals is one of the best ways to avoid building affiliate links.
Identify smaller, niche publications where you’re more likely to build organic links that will help to boost your visibility in the long-run. While it can be tempting to default to the arguably flashier major publications, from an organic perspective your time may be better spent focusing on lesser-known sites that will provide you with that elusive follow or no follow link. Building relationships with these sites and their authors will set you in good stead for long-term link building success.
3) Expertise with Added Value
In line with Google’s ever-changing E-E-A-T guidelines, providing journalists with credible experts is more crucial than ever. Just as we predict ethical content and a face behind the screen will play a big role in 2024, as will an ethical approach to sourcing relevant expertise for the likes of journalist requests and campaign commentary. Amongst the noise of AI-generated, jargon heavy “expert comments”, those who prioritise real expertise with new angles and human insight are likely to succeed when it comes to landing coverage and links.
4) Reactive PR Still Reigns
Over the past 12-18 months there has been a huge shift away from larger, big budget campaigns into a reactive-first approach. Reactive PR is the most efficient way to put your brand at the heart of the news agenda giving you multiple opportunities on a daily basis to land those links. We predict that reactive PR will continue to dominate most digital PR strategies and drive the majority of results in 2024.
5) Responding to Site Performance Through Reactive PR
While any digital PR strategy worth its salt should always have keyword priorities at its heart, how you incorporate this into your reactive approach should be high on your list of priorities for 2024. A fluid approach to reactive PR means that you can quickly react to any real-time keyword position movement and page performance.
Take time every week to look at exactly which pages and keywords could benefit from focused reactive PR campaigns and links to improve performance and share this across your teams. Ideate and incorporate these keywords and themes into your press releases with keyword anchor text before tracking their performance once you’ve built links to your target pages.
6) Weird and Wonderful Hacks
We’ve seen a steady increase in the number of strange “hack” style reactive PR on some of the world’s major news outlets. Think outside of the box when it comes to creating reactive campaigns which will not only grab a journalist’s attention but also their readers.
Cost-effective hacks are perhaps the most topical example to take inspiration from as the cost of living remains at the top of everyone’s minds. What cheap and easy tips can you provide to help the general public save money or time on the most mundane tasks? Social media and online forums are a great source of inspiration. From car detailing videos on TikTok to enthusiastic cleaning and DIY pages on Facebook, anecdotal posts are the perfect source for hacks like these.
As always, despite trends and fads gaining new names and new angles, the crux of SEO and digital PR never really changes. Setting out with users and journalists at the centre of your overarching strategy and finding interesting, original and creative ways to meet their needs is all that you really need to be able to do. Everything else required to secure links and rank well should naturally follow.
For more content and PR insights check out the NORTH blog and learn more about our SEO methodology.