The ability to anticipate and adapt to changes in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is more critical than ever for B2B marketers. As we move through 2024, significant shifts in how Google processes and presents searches are underway.

These changes, driven by advancements in technology and shifts in user behaviour, necessitate a forward-looking approach to remain competitive.

In this article, we look at the anticipated transformations in Google search over the next 12 months, focusing on three pivotal trends: Search Generative Experience (SGE), the growing use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in content creation and optimisation, and the increased use of video content.

The rise of Search Generative Experience (SGE) and its impact on SEO

SGE represents a pivotal new stage in search technology, marked by the integration of advanced AI to understand and present information from diverse sources in a manner that is both relevant and personalised to the user’s query. In simple terms, Google is going to be using AI to pull together a snapshot of information to return to user’s search queries, pulling the answers from different sources across the internet.

The emergence of SGE necessitates a significant shift in how content is conceptualised, created, and optimised. For B2B marketers, this shift underscores the importance of prioritising depth, relevance, and comprehensive coverage in content strategies to align with the principles underlying SGE.

  • Content depth and relevance: content must go beyond surface-level information and keyword optimisation to provide deep, insightful analysis that addresses the user’s intent comprehensively. Marketers should focus on creating content that serves as a definitive source on specific topics, incorporating expert opinions, data-driven insights, and thorough explanations to cover subjects from multiple angles.
  • Diversification of content formats: to maximise visibility in SGE-driven search results, diversifying content formats is essential. This means embracing a mix of text, visuals, videos, and interactive elements to cater to the SGE’s preference for rich, multimedia responses. Creating content that blends informative articles with supplementary videos, infographics, and interactive tools can make the information more engaging and accessible, thereby enhancing its appeal to both users and the SGE algorithm.
  • Enhancing domain authority: the importance of domain authority is likely to increase with SGE, as it tends to prioritise content from reputable, authoritative sources. Strategies to enhance domain authority include publishing high-quality, original content regularly, earning backlinks from respected industry sites, and ensuring a seamless, user-friendly website experience. Such efforts can contribute to a site’s reputation as a trusted source of information, improving its standing in SGE-driven search results.

The advent of SGE compels marketers to adapt by focusing on the quality and comprehensiveness of their content, exploring a variety of content formats, and striving to enhance their domain’s authority. By aligning content strategies with the demands of an AI-driven search environment, B2B marketers can better position their businesses for visibility and success in the digital marketplace.

The growth of AI in content creation

As AI technology becomes more widely used yet sophisticated, its applications in content creation and optimisation are expanding, offering B2B marketers new opportunities to enhance their content’s relevance, engagement, and performance, and their strategies’ efficiencies.

AI’s role in content creation has evolved from simple automated writing tasks to more complex applications that can significantly impact SEO and content quality. Today, AI tools are capable of generating images, videos, and interactive elements that can make digital content more engaging and tailored to specific audiences.

We have already seen how AI can assist in creating high-quality, informative content in less time than it would take to create from scratch. As it becomes more widely accepted by digital agencies, to the point where it is practically necessary to stay competitive, the focus shifts to how we can make content stand out from all of the other AI-generated content that is now being published.

Through customisability, detailed prompts and editing done with a keen eye, AI technologies allow for the personalisation of content at scale, making it possible to tailor messages, recommendations, and content formats to individual preferences and behaviours. This level of personalisation can significantly increase engagement rates and improve the user experience, leading to higher conversion rates and customer loyalty.

Due to the nature of AI and the way it learns, it will be able to monitor the performance of content across different platforms, providing insights into what works and what does not. This analysis can inform future content strategies, helping marketers to focus their efforts on the most effective topics, formats, and distribution channels.

Ethical considerations and best practices when using AI

Google’s guidelines emphasise that AI-generated content should meet the same standards as content created by humans, focusing on providing genuine value to users. The primary goal of using AI in content creation should be to enhance the value offered to users. Content should be informative, engaging, and relevant, addressing the needs and interests of the target audience. With thorough editing and attention to detail, this will work to benefit SEO targeting as Google typically favours content that is informative and bespoke.

While leveraging AI, maintaining transparency about the use of AI-generated content can foster trust with the audience. Its use is controversial in some circles due to questions about content ownership and fairness. However, as marketers and businesses use it more frequently, it is becoming accepted, and its benefits are highlighted in the results its use can generate. Marketers should strive for a balance between AI-generated and human-curated content, ensuring that the final output retains a genuine, authentic voice that resonates with users.

The advancements in AI present a wealth of opportunities for B2B marketers to elevate their content creation and optimisation efforts. By embracing AI’s potential to enhance content quality, personalise user experiences, and refine SEO strategies, marketers can stay ahead in the competitive digital landscape.

Video content and its impact on SEO

Video content’s appeal lies in its versatility, accessibility and effectiveness across various platforms, from social media and websites to email marketing campaigns. It caters to the growing consumer preference for visual and interactive content, making it easier for brands to capture attention in a crowded digital space.

  • Engagement and retention: videos have a proven track record of increasing engagement metrics, including time spent on the page and click-through rates. They have the unique ability to hold viewers’ attention longer than text, which can significantly reduce bounce rates and improve website rankings.
  • Conveying complex information: for B2B marketers, video is an invaluable tool for explaining complex products or services in a straightforward and engaging manner. Through visual storytelling, brands can break down intricate concepts into digestible pieces, making their offerings more accessible to potential customers.

Integrating video content into your digital marketing strategy can drive not only engagement but also rankings in SERPs. Search engines like Google prioritise content that enhances the user experience. Videos can increase the amount of time users spend on your website, signalling to search engines that your site provides valuable content, which can lead to better rankings.

Videos can also appear in rich snippets and featured snippets in Google search results, offering greater visibility and a higher click-through rate than standard listings. By optimising video titles, descriptions, and tags with targeted keywords, B2B marketers can improve their chances of appearing in these coveted positions.

To fully leverage the potential of video content, B2B marketers should adhere to a set of best practices designed to maximise visibility and engagement:

  • Make videos accessible: provide a comprehensive transcript for each video, which can improve indexing by search engines and accessibility for a broader audience.
  • Host videos on your domain: whenever possible, host videos on your own website before uploading them to social media or video-sharing platforms. This approach ensures that traffic generated by your videos benefits your site’s SEO rather than that of third-party platforms. When placing them on your site, ensure you follow best practices by placing them on a well-written page which clearly explains what the video is about.
  • Create engaging thumbnails: custom thumbnails can significantly increase the click-through rate of your videos. An engaging, relevant thumbnail acts as a visual cue that encourages users to click and watch.

As technology continues to advance, the importance of video content in SEO strategies is only set to increase. AI video features, from generated visual assets to entire videos, will save marketers time, and as the technology advances, will become more relatable to audiences.

By leveraging the power of video to engage and inform audiences, brands can significantly enhance their online presence, driving both short-term engagement and long-term organic success.

Head of SEO at I-COM

Hannah Spelman has been the head of SEO at digital marketing specialists I-COM for three years. With a full decade of experience under her belt she delivers SEO and digital strategies for clients at the forefront of the industry.