Is SEO dead in 2024? No. But it IS changing.

SEO will stay relevant as long as people are searching for information online. But the approach to what works in SEO is evolving – in a big way. 

I’ve worked in SEO for four years and content marketing for over a decade. In this blog post, I’ll explore what’s changed in search and what I’m doing to adapt my approach so I can keep pulling in the traffic (and, more importantly, revenue).

AI is Changing Up Search

You may have noticed some changes recently when searching on Google. Some of the results now include AI-generated descriptions, summaries, and other information right there in the search results.

This new “Search Generative Experience” (SGE) aims to provide more direct answers and reduce the need to click through to other websites.

I often get asked how this affects efforts to rank highly and drive traffic from Google searches. It’s a fair question since search is rapidly evolving. Google is focused on giving quicker, more useful answers directly to users.

This means links in results may get less immediate clicks, but I don’t think SEO itself is dead or going away. There’s still a ton of value to be had for sites in ranking well and appearing prominently in results.

But it does change the game a bit. Having quality content that really provides what searchers want grows increasingly important. There’s also a lot of value in promoting the human experience side of things, to offer something beyond what AI can serve up.

Simply optimizing just for Google bots rather than for visitors is becoming less effective. Now rankings favor pages that are crafted to genuinely aid users, almost in a conversational way.

So while SEO evolves in response, its core purpose remains: guiding relevant users to websites by means of organic search. The keys to success now lie in developing an even stronger understanding of user intent, then pairing it with better on-site content.

5 Ways I’m Switching Up My SEO Approach For 2024 (So You Can Too)

Gone are the days when you could simply launch a blog, churn out content, and expect to rank well.

Even if you’re producing high-quality, valuable content, that alone is no longer enough. Instead, your SEO-led blog should become just one piece of your larger “online brand universe”.

So, what do I mean by an online brand universe? Essentially, it’s about building a consistent presence across multiple channels on the internet, showcasing your expertise and establishing unshakeable authority. 

Google wants authentic brands, not just faceless niche sites that anyone can set up and populate with a bunch of low-quality AI-generated content

What truly strengthens your site’s online authority is having an active presence on another channel, one that’s focused on the same core topics and drives relevant traffic back to your website.

This could be YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or other platforms that make sense for your niche.

As you post more content on these channels, you’ll likely notice an increase in organic branded searches coming to your main website. For instance, people typing your name or business brand directly into Google. 

This tells Google that your website has real authority, beyond just the non-branded search terms that bring searchers to your blog posts. And that’s a highly positive signal of a website offering quality experience for users.

So, what am I doing in 2024 to build my own online brand universe? Well, I’m taking a multi-pronged approach and this what it involves:

#1. Blog Consistently

Don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely not saying you should stop blogging.

Publishing high-quality blog posts still plays a vital role in your overall content strategy. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you focus on. In the brave new world of search, your content strategy must have several different pillars.

Because blogging remains important, I’m continuing to post new content at least weekly on this blog. I’m targeting mainly problem-solving search terms that help my audience overcome their challenges with SEO-led content.

This consistency helps to cement my status as an authority on the topic, while also encouraging the audience to sign up for my email list and eventually book coaching with me.

What’s more, I’m also going “off piste” with some of my content, publishing more thought leadership style pieces rather than always chasing keywords. Basically, I’m trying to write with my audience constantly at the forefront.

#2. Build a Solid LinkedIn Presence

My presence on LinkedIn is the first of my supporting content pillars.

The topics of my LinkedIn posts are similar to the ones I write about on this blog: SEO, content marketing, LinkedIn growth, and AI tips. Keeping things consistent like this is an important step in building cross-platform authority in your niche.

Another thing I do on LinkedIn is strive for lots of audience engagement. I do this by replying to as many comments as possible on my posts, while also leaving my own comments on the posts of relevant creators. Not only does that build community, but it also keeps my profile visible in the algorithm.

As a result, more people visit my LinkedIn profile. Some of them will also click through to this website. They may also search for me by name, which signals to Google that I’m known as a brand (of sorts), beyond just the keywords that drive users to the blog you’re reading now.

#3. Bring Video Into The Mix

Around three weeks ago at the time of writing, I launched a new YouTube channel.

The goal here is to publish relevant content that complements the topics I cover on my blog and LinkedIn (feel free to subscribe and help me grow this channel).

YouTube is a search engine in its own right and can drive evergreen traffic in the same way a blog does. Hence, running the two of them in tandem is a great way to build authority across the web.

What’s more, having a video based presence is a useful defence against the rise of AI-generated content. Again, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of AI when it’s used as an assistant. But I’m not in favor of faceless, auto-generated content. It pollutes the Internet and detracts from the human side of audience and community building.

On the bright side, this leaves things wide open for us humans to build a presence through video-based content. People like looking at other people, not robots. Watching you on YouTube is a great way for potential clients to get a sense of your personality and decide whether they’d like to work with you.

Yes, making videos is a little more time-consuming (especially for solopreneurs or small teams). But keep reading to the end and I’ll explain more about the repurposing strategy I’m currently using.

It’s early days and I’m still finding my way with YouTube. But I plan to stick with it long enough to see some decent results.

#4. Grow My Owned Audience

We live in days of frequent and unpredictable algorithm updates and shadow bans. If you’re unfortunate enough to fall victim to one of these, it can devastate your business at a moment’s notice.

That’s why one of the best things you can do to protect your business is to get your audience off your rented channels and onto your owned ones. That generally means driving them to sign up for your email list.

One of my main goals with the cross-platform approach is to consistently drive leads from all these channels to my email list, giving me an owned audience that acts as the ultimate safeguard against algorithm updates.

Your email list is basically the only place where you can build an audience that no-one can take away from you. That’s why it’s so valuable. If you haven’t already started building your list, what are you waiting for?!

πŸ‘‰ You can join mine here

#5. Use AI to Repurpose Ideas

At this point, you’re probably thinking “this all sounds like a lot of work”. Well, you’d be right. 🫣

Building your online brand universe isn’t something you can achieve overnight. But the long-term payoff is well worth it.

Once you’re established as an expert in your niche, you’ll find opportunities (and new business) coming your way much more often.

The great news is – lots of AI tools can make you faster and more efficient at repurposing ideas into content suitable for multiple platforms. My top AI writing assistant at the moment is Claude.

I use these tools to help me repurpose content in a human way, which means I control the tool carefully rather than just giving it free rein to write whatever it wants.

Keep in mind that each platform has its own preferred content structure. You have to teach the AI tool how to write properly for your target platform (e.g. LinkedIn vs a YouTube script). I’ll expand upon this concept in more depth in a future post (and share some tips on how I do it myself).

SEO Tactics To Avoid In a Post-HCU World

Now I’ve given you an idea of what you should be doing, let’s take a look at a few things to avoid.

#1. Over-Optimization

It’s important to strike a balance between optimizing for search engines and creating user first content. Google doesn’t like it when you over-optimize your content.

The trouble is, the barrier to what actually counts as ‘over-optimization’ is getting ever lower. That’s not helped by the existence of certain plugins and tools that give ongoing “SEO scores” as you draft your content.

That dopamine hit from seeing your score turn green can be quite addictive. But in reality, these tools often encourage over-optimization. That’s why I’ve given up using optimization tools for the time being. I’ve taken them off the backend of my WordPress site, so I’m less tempted to chase cheap dopamine while writing my articles.

What’s more, I’m even de-optimizing some of my old blog posts. For example, I’m removing exact match keywords from the subheadings, instead making the subheadings more compelling and descriptive.

I’m also minimizing the amount of times I’m using the target keyword within the text. I always tried to avoid “keyword stuffing”, but I’m hoping that some further de-optimization will help keep things on track.

#2. Obvious Link Building Tactics

Another area where people run into problems is with link building. And I’m not necessarily talking about the obviously dodgy things like link farms. I’m talking more about tactics like guest posting and link insertions.

While these tactics used to work well in the past, they seem to be falling out of favor lately. Google is getting wise to the tactics and maybe penalizing sites that overuse them.

Nevertheless, it remains important to have good quality external links pointing to your site. I’m focusing on a couple of reliable tactics which I think are still the safest ways to improve your external link situation.

First, I’m establishing relationships with people in my niche, including freelance writers, mainly via LinkedIn.

As a result, I often get asked to contribute expert quotes to articles about topics in my niche, such as content marketing and SEO. That usually results in a nice juicy backlink to this website. For example, I recently got one from HubSpot.

Another great way to get backlinks is through digital PR campaigns. I haven’t done any of these yet, mainly because they’re pretty time-consuming to plan and implement. But they’re well worth the effort.

Using freely available data to create something original and valuable, then telling journalists about it so they can write about you is a solid method of capturing high quality media backlinks. It’s also a huge signal to Google that you’re truly an expert in your niche.

Actionable Next Steps

So, by now I hope I’ve convinced you that SEO is NOT dead. πŸ™ƒ

Plus, I also hope this article has given you some insights and actionable tips for adjusting your approach to organic traffic for 2024 and beyond.

Building your online brand universe may seem like hard work, but take it from me, there are lots of handy tools and strategies out there to make it faster and easier.

Want help with growing organic traffic for your business? Check out my SEO coaching services here.

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