November 30 2023
Navigating Digital Marketing in 2024 Part 2: Content Trends Impacting the Search Landscape and User Experience (UX)
What’s Next in Content for Digital Marketing?
Content will remain the foundation for successful SEO rankings and website performance in 2024. There’s a lot out there on content trends for the coming new year, but what should you consider implementing into your digital marketing plan?
Coming off a volatile year in algorithms and technology updates, TopSpot looks to inform marketers and businesses with information to help organizations plan their digital marketing strategies via our blog series, Navigating Digital Marketing in 2024. In Part 1, we looked at artificial intelligence (AI) news and updates, which content will play a crucial role in as the technology develops.
In Part 2, we focus on the content trends impacting the search landscape and user experience (UX). By making sense of the changes made this year and how they will affect content needs for successful SEO programs and user-friendly websites next year, your Team can make choices that differentiate your business online.
The Importance of Rich Results and Featured Snippets
Today, when you search on Google and Bing, you’ll see more bells and whistles than a decade ago and changes keep coming. In fact, within the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen an uptick in certain SERP features and shopping ad placements.
Since 2014, the traditional list of blue links has been joined by rich results, including images, videos, and featured snippets (formatted text results). With AI results joining the landscape, search engine result pages (SERPs) are pushing traditional organic results further and further down.
This means a strong content strategy must fulfill more criteria via technical SEO techniques and formatting that populate these newer search features at the top of the page. These features can prevent further scrolling and click-through to landing pages given the answers appear directly. This means, if it’s not your site featured, your brand will get missed.
SERPs are pushing traditional organic results further down the page, making content formatting an essential element to strategies in 2024.
New SERP Features
Google has introduced or updated several new featured snippet results over the last year, each of which centered around a certain content structure. These snippets include tables and bulleted lists, and the prevalent “People Ask” dropdowns. The statistics on how these populate search landscapes are compelling:
- 19% of all SERPs have featured snippets
- 7.3% of all SERPs have two or more featured snippets
- 50% of mobile screens are covered by a featured snippet
These numbers will likely increase next year. The layout, structure, and language you use in your website content will continue to impact your SEO results. These changes show that search is moving toward direct website excerpts to provide faster answers in a variety of formats for a better user experience. How you structure your web pages helps search engines determine content importance and how to display it.
When undertaking SEO strategies to fulfill the needs of these new result types, it is not recommended to over-consolidate or reduce content. Keywords and quality content are still at play here when it comes to rankings and what the algorithm selects. Structure your content to satisfy these changes by breaking up text with other formats like bulleted lists, charts, or imagery without reducing the answers that fulfill user intent. Technical SEO support can provide the backend needs in structured data to help your brand populate these results.
An example of how structured data/content populates new SERP features.
The Importance of Video When Differentiating Your Brand Online
Another thing to note is the importance of video, which continues to see a higher percentage of SERPs populated. Google continues to update and adjust not only the way they rank, but the formats used to present them, including its partnership with YouTube.
When adding video content to your site, speak with your marketing team so that SEO needs are included in the final product’s content. You’ll want to feature these high up on the page due to a new Google indexation report for videos, which tries to detect the prominent video. Also, multiple videos on a page can conflate the results of this report. Consider the relevancy of video content to page content as well as place priority on each video featured.
What Organic Search Features Have Changed?
As they made way for AI and other featured snippets, Google downgraded the visibility of two types of rich results that relied on structured data: How-To’s and Frequently Asked Questions. How-To results displayed images and steps needed for a task and was depreciated in September.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) populated question-and-answer content. Going forward, Google will only display FAQs for high-authority websites or trusted sources of information on a particular subject including government, university, or hospital system sites.
If you have created content and structured data for FAQ results, there is no need to dismantle your work as it will cause no visual effect on results in Google. Other search engines, like Bing, may pick it up. From a UX standpoint, FAQs on your landing page help your users navigate information on your website, and this content still ranks for non-rich, organic results.
In fact, having a question-and-answer format on your website is viable for organic features like “People Ask” and is boosting performance in AI-based search engines. If you think about user intent and search habits, what’s entered into a search bar is often in the form of a question. This format then aligns with that behavior, making it essential to content strategy.
What’s Your Takeaway?
As result pages change, checking in on your results frequently will put you in your customers’ shoes so that you can adjust not only how you show up in these results, but create a better user experience. Look at the SERPs of the landscapes you want to populate and note the types of features dominating those results. Going beyond what the competition is showing, look at how they are showing i.e., what features they populate, and how your content can populate those features.
Check in soon to read Part 3 of this series, Platform and Algorithm Updates. To learn more about improving SEO and optimizing your content for the new search landscape, contact your account team, or if you are not a TopSpot partner, contact the TopSpot Team.Tags: content, SEO, ux