Searchenginejournal’s third yearly State of SEO report holds the answers you need if you’re wondering where to put your SEO in 2024. It’s got real data straight from the source to help you steer your SEO strategy.
In the past year, big changes happened in the industry. These changes brought some things to watch out for and some new chances for folks who work in SEO.
Want to know what’s really shaking up the world of SEO? Well, there’s more competition now, and fancy things like generative AI and AI software are making their mark.
We didn’t just make this stuff up. We talked to 3,890 SEO pros with all kinds of different experiences to find out what’s happening in the industry right now.
Note: Before we delve deeper, all the figures and numbers in this article are based on Searchenginejournal’s report.
SEO in 2024: 3 Key Elements Shaping the Industry
This year, the SEO world saw some real changes due to fast-growing technology and a lot of competition. Three big things made an impact:
- E-E-A-T and Content Challenges: Most SEO experts had a tough time with their content strategies. They focused a lot on this because they knew it was important. Google made things even more interesting by adding “experience” to the mix along with expertise, authority, and trust, making E-E-A-T a big deal.
- Proving and Tracking SEO Worth: Many SEO pros found it hard to show why their work matters. They struggled to get the money they needed and had problems with clients. It looks like telling others about the value of their work in a world full of competition isn’t easy.
- Generative AI and AI Software: There’s this thing called generative AI that can make content creation faster, but it’s not all sunshine. Making content that stands out is getting trickier. Even though it’s tough, many SEO folks are excited about how it can help them work better and do better for their businesses.
SEO Experience & Career Insights
The insights of 3,890 SEO professionals give us a sneak peek into how you can keep growing in your SEO career. Check out these key points:
- Talent Competition Matters Most: The SEO experts are pretty sure that the competition for skilled people is going to be the biggest game-changer in the industry.
- The Five-Year Mark is Big: If you’ve been in the SEO world for about five years, you’re hitting a special point in your career. Almost half of the managers and more than half of the big-shot directors have spent 5 to 10 years doing SEO stuff.
- Experience Brings Opportunities: Around 27.5% of managers have 2 to 4 years of experience. That means there’s a call for SEO skills. On the flip side, lots of SEO folks with less than five years of experience are out there hunting for new chances. This adds to the fierce competition for beginner roles.
- Freelancers in the Mix: 77.9% of those who call themselves freelancers have less than five years of experience. And guess what? 69.2% of these freelancers are looking for jobs in companies, especially preferring SEO agencies over in-house gigs.
Success Tracking & SEO Budgets
SEO professionals are shifting their focus away from just measuring raw traffic to judging their success. They’re paying more attention to things like:
- Click-through rate, which got 9.2% of the attention.
- Figuring out the difference between branded and non-branded traffic, which got 8.3%.
- Keeping an eye on keyword rankings, which got 7.3%.
Regarding budget, most folks fall into the $1,000 to $5,000 range – that’s around 28.6% of the responses. And here’s what they’re expecting:
- Nearly half of the folks (48.9%) think their budgets are going to get bigger.
- About 42.2% feel like their budgets will stay the same this year.
The people who answered the survey shared their top three obstacles from the last year:
- 2% said money troubles and getting the green light for their plans were big issues.
- 1% felt like the competition in search results (SERPs) was tough to handle.
- 8% talked about having problems with their relationships with clients.
Some SEO professionals might be having a hard time showing others how important their work is. But, you know what’s interesting? A lot of the people who answered think they’re going to get more money this year (48.9%). Maybe they’ve figured out how to deal with these challenges, or maybe things are starting to even out in the industry.
The AI Technology’s Future In SEO
Most of the folks who answered the survey (that’s 72.4% of them) are feeling pretty hopeful about what artificial intelligence (AI) can do. And guess what? About 68% are considering putting their money into AI-powered stuff this year, especially those with bigger teams.
Here are the things that SEO pros really want to do with automated tools:
- 3% are keen on using generative AI.
- 1% are looking to make content with automation.
- 7% want to do content audits more easily.
Things are changing a lot in the digital world lately. There are some tricky things and some super exciting chances coming up for SEOs.
Now, as these SEO experts take a fresh look at how they keep track of stuff – all because of new technology and more competition in search results – there’s a new puzzle to solve. They’re figuring out how to better show the value of SEO and explain that value to the important people who care.
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