SEO is constantly changing and adapting, and that means to stay modern and effective, your SEO strategy should be changing and adapting as well.
While there will always be core fundamentals in SEO that work, there are changes and new techniques happening all the time, some of which are worth investing in, while others are best left behind.
As you plan your overall marketing strategy for 2024, here are some techniques you may want to build into your overall SEO strategy to keep it modern, consistent, and effective – in addition to the core fundamentals that you’re probably already doing:
Producing High-Quality, Helpful Content
A successful, high-quality content strategy is one of the most important parts of a successful SEO strategy. Without high-quality, helpful content, your chances of seeing success in your SEO strategy are a lot lower; this is especially true as we head into 2024.
in 2023, Google made 2 major changes to their search algorithm that focused on content, specifically, to their helpful content system.
Basically, it severely penalized content that was written specifically for SEO and that didn’t provide the best result for the person searching; but it also rewarded high-quality content that was considered helpful to the person searching. These series of updates were considered to be expansive and really affected a lot of websites that weren’t focused on helping people.
At the end of the day, Google simply wants to show the best possible search results for what the person doing the search is looking for, and while there are a lot of different signals Google uses to determine that, focusing on writing high-quality, helpful content can help you meet most of them.
What is high-quality, helpful content?
It’s well-written, well-constructed, well-thought-out content that has value to the person reading it. It’s content that informs the person and answers whatever question brought them to your piece of content in the first place. It’s content that’s well-formatted and stylized so that it’s enjoyable to read. It’s content that solves a problem for them, and that they see as being helpful.
Into 2024 more than ever, an investment in your content strategy is an investment in your overall marketing strategy.
★ Want to learn more about building a successful content strategy? Have a look at these posts:
- Optimizing Your Content for Humans (And Not Just for Search Engines)
- Writing Successful Real Estate Content that Converts
- Creating an Evergreen Real Estate Content Strategy
- What it Takes to Build a Solid Content Marketing Strategy
Plan for Google Generative Search
With the introduction of Google’s AI-driven Generative Search Results last Summer, the way people search and view search results is about to change in a big way. Although it’s still in the early phases and continually being updated, (and only available by opting in as part of Google Labs) it seems highly likely that Google will roll it out to everyone in 2024, so your SEO strategy should be ready for it.
Generative search results basically shows a summarization of search results, while providing credit to the sources it was taken from.
While the current search results we all know still display below the generated results, the screen is primarily taken up by the generative search results (especially on mobile).
Because it’s continually being updated and refined, we don’t know exactly how it works yet or how it will work when it does roll out, but there are still a few things you can do to prepare your SEO strategy for it:
- Get More Google Reviews: For searches like “real estate agents in cityname”, Google’s generative search results primarily seem to reward agents with the most Google reviews (among a few other things). While Google reviews have always been an important part of a strong SEO strategy, it’s an area you’ll absolutely want to focus on growing in 2024. Much like your overall SEO strategy is never done, your review strategy is never done either as you can never have enough Google reviews.
- Plan Question-Based Content: For question-based searches like “selling my parent’s home” or “what conditions to include when buying a home” (or any other question-based search) Google generative search provides a succinct summarization with source credits, and your best chance of showing up as those source credits is by producing high-quality, helpful, well-optimized question-based content around those topics that you want to rank for. While this has always been a good way to build your content strategy, it’s more important than ever heading into 2024.
- Plan for Zero-Click Searches: While zero-click searches and generative search results aren’t exactly the same, the approach to dealing with them is similar: working towards getting rich snippets. While it’s most likely that rich snippets will be overshadowed by generative search results, the approach you take to getting a rich snippet is likely similar to how you display as a source credit. If you’re interested in doing a deeper dive, you can learn more about zero-click searches right here.
★ If you want to learn more about Google’s Generative Search Results, and opt-in to using it via Google Labs, you can do that right here. Just keep in mind that if you’re in Canada, it’s not available yet, but you can opt in and access it with a VPN.
Quality, Not Quantity, Backlinks
Backlinks are an extremely important part of your overall SEO strategy, but it’s not just about the number of backlinks you have. As Google updates its spam detection algorithms, focusing on quality versus quantity is more important than ever (although, it’s always been important).
While Google continually rolls out updates, one of the focuses they focus on in their spam detection updates is on finding low-quality backlinks and penalizing websites that are using them as a way to artificially inflate their number of backlinks.
What makes a low-quality backlink? If you’re buying links for some shady website, just because you think the number of backlinks matters more than their quality, you’re most likely getting low-quality backlinks from those websites, and Google knows it.
High-quality backlinks, from a reputable well-known website, take a lot more effort to get, but it’s an effort that’s worth putting in.
If you’re producing high-quality content, you’re more likely to get high-quality backlinks from reputable websites, often organically, and that will be more important than ever as we go into 2024.
★ Want to know more about backlinks? Have a look at this post called: Why You Need an External Link Building Strategy for Your Real Estate Website.
Better Quality Listings
You’ll probably notice that a common theme for SEO focuses in 2024 is high-quality, well-written, helpful content; nothing beats producing content that solves a problem, that people find valuable, and that people enjoy reading.
But high quality doesn’t just stop at blog posts; it also applies to real estate listings. Just because a listing is yours, doesn’t mean it will display anywhere near the top of search results. Chances are, there are a lot of more reputable, more authoritative websites that rank higher for your own listing than you do, and while that has to do with authority, it also has to do with quality.
There are a couple of content-related things you can do to improve the search prominence of your listings (provided they’re added manually and not added automatically through an IDX feed or equivalent.
For example, you can:
- Write a Better MLS Description: If you manually add your listings, and you copy/paste the same MLS description, you’re probably not going to rank in search results. That’s because doing so gives your website the exact same information as all of the other more authoritative websites, and doesn’t differentiate you, which is a key way of improving your listing’s position in search results.
- Write a Descriptive, Clickable Meta-Description: If you’re able to custom write the meta-description of your listing, you absolutely should. Not only does it help, again, differentiate you from more authoritative websites, but it also can improve your click-through-rate if it sounds more interesting and people engage with it more as a result (instead of just pulling and displaying the default meta-description text).
★ Want to more about how to improve your listings in search results? Have a look at this post called: Strategies to Get Your Listings to the Top of the Search Results.
★ Want to learn a bit more about building an SEO strategy? Have a look at these posts:
- Optimizing Your Content for Humans (And Not Just for Search Engines)
- Writing Content for SEO as a Real Estate Agent
- Building a Well-Rounded SEO Search Strategy for Your Real Estate Website
- How to Start Building a Solid Real Estate Local SEO Strategy
Voice-Based Search Optimization
Most people have access to a voice-based search device. Whether you say “Alexa”, “Hey Google” or “Hey Siri”, voice-enabled search is all around us and people continue to use it more and more when they’re looking for answers.
And because so many people use voice-based search, it makes sense to optimize your content for voice-based search devices.
It isn’t easy, but one of the best ways to help position your content for voice search is by writing answer-based content that starts with who, what, where, why, or how; and ensuring that content is written in a conversational tone.
There’s quite a bit more involved to make it successful of course, but it all starts with having a solid overall SEO strategy in place and producing high-quality, answer-based content, and you’ll be taking the first step towards better positioning your content for voice-enabled search devices.
SEO is Never Finished
The key to a successful SEO strategy is to understand that it’s never finished. SEO is a constantly moving target, but it’s also made up of core fundamentals. By ensuring your core SEO strategy is solid, and building in new strategies and techniques if they make sense to, you’ll have a solid SEO strategy in place that returns on your investment time and time again.
After all, continued investment in your SEO strategy is continued investment in your marketing strategy.
Want to learn more about SEO and get more traffic to your website? Our SEO Strategy Building Guide is a mix of curated content and self-guided workbook that will help provide insight on how you can build and implement a modern SEO and overall search strategy.