Happy New Year! In this issue, we’re delving into some crucial topics that demand attention. Stick around to the end for a glimpse of the significant developments in SEO trends that are on the horizon, which promise to be game-changers you won’t want to overlook.

Artificial Intelligence

It’s impossible to ignore the topic of AI, and boy, do we have some points to discuss. Large language models (LLMs), which underpin most AI technologies, are ace at echoing back information, but fall painfully short in the creativity department.

When it comes to AI, my advice is straightforward: deploy it for monotonous tasks. Whether crafting job ads, emails, authoritative blogs, web copy, or SEO articles, AI can handle it—quality notwithstanding.

However, if your projects require a spark of creativity and narrative flair, opt for a human writer. My forecast foresees consumer exasperation over the deluge of lackluster AI-generated content hitting their screens in the coming year.

Google Labs AI

We’ve all heard the mantra about AI’s impact, but Google Labs AI merits special attention. It’s uncertain whether Google Labs will permeate the whole Google ecosystem, but one thing is clear—it’s brutal for organic search visibility.

With this feature active, even top-ranking results are dwarfed and relegated below the proverbial fold. And the irony? This AI often churns out rubbish. But since AI is the new blockchain craze of 2023/24, brace yourself for the hard-earned top SEO positions to be eclipsed by inaccurate, algorithmically produced answers.

Google’s stance? Early 2023 Google decried this type of output as spam, yet the lines seem blurred when their own systems are involved.

Upcoming AI Models

Many of you might have experimented with existing AI models like Google Bard, ChatGPT, GPT-4, GPT-3.5 Instruct, Claude, Bing, etc. You may have noticed that these AIs seem stuck in the past, with knowledge cutoffs around 2021. This isn’t surprising since LLMs excel with human-produced content.

Since GPT-3’s beta launch, a significant portion of web content is AI-generated—about 10% today, compared to 0-2% five years ago. This trend raises concerns about the oddities that emerge when AI trains on content produced by its ‘kin.’

SEO’s Changing Landscape

Google Labs AI seems poised to obliterate traditional organic search.

In the past, I appreciated when search engines prioritized keywords, making searches efficient for those familiar with the system. Nowadays, it appears full sentences are required, which favors new users but ignores the advanced ones. Annoyingly, there are reports of Google ignoring boolean-search operators, which only adds to the frustration.

How can SEO professionals adapt? By focusing on delivering genuine value. Similar to our experience with Featured Snippets, we can find a way. However, Google’s AI currently promotes its AI content, allowing only Google to reap the benefits—despite utilizing our content for training. Consequently, I’ve shifted my strategy to prioritize featured snippets and Google Business Page rankings, which has paradoxically bolstered organic rankings as well.

Forecasts for SEO Trends in 2024 and Beyond

What’s in store for SEO looking forward? The trajectory isn’t purely contingent on whether Google Labs goes mainstream. AI content is inevitable. Therefore, the focus should shift to areas like:

  • Local SEO: Essential and lucrative, coupling SEO with local businesses is crucial. Take a look at the Back SEO Agencies application.
  • Advanced On-Page SEO: Expect the demands for on-page SEO to reach unprecedented heights. Don’t disregard Schema and ensure your internal linking game is strong.
  • Captivating Content: Don’t underestimate the power of clickbait.
  • Engaging Content: Human creativity excels in producing content that keeps viewers intrigued through videos or easily digestible text.
  • Social Media & Directories: These are easy authority backlinks and make your business seem legit. Be active on every platform.
  • Customer Reviews: For anyone involved with Local SEO, the significance of genuine reviews is clear. With the prevalence of bogus reviews, discernment is key, and platforms like Google might not tackle this until Amazon takes the lead.

Your experiences could very well prove me wrong, and I would relish hearing about your local SEO triumphs.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have an intriguing story to tell, or if you’re keen on securing more local SEO clientele—let’s set up a meeting to explore how we can support your endeavors.

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