SEO Fundamentals: Laying the Groundwork in 2024

Ever wondered why some websites seem to magically appear at the top of search results (besides or below the paid ads) while yours languishes somewhere on the dusty second page? The answer lies in the mysterious realm of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. But SEO isn’t just about keyword stuffing and technical mumbo jumbo anymore. In 2024, it’s about understanding your audience and aligning your goals with theirs, creating valuable content, and playing the long game.

So, what exactly is SEO, and why should you care?

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The practice of increasing website traffic by enhancing visibility on search engines through organic (non-paid) methods.
  • SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Ranking: The position that a website holds on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a specific keyword.

Simply put, SEO is the art and science of optimizing your website to rank higher in search results for relevant keywords. This translates to more organic traffic, more leads, and ultimately, more business. In today’s digital landscape, where online visibility is crucial, a strong SEO strategy can be your golden ticket to success.

SEO button

Now, what’s the trick? Where’s the Magical SEO Button?

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there’s no quick tricks or magic button when it comes to SEO. But, there are strategies and solid techniques that I can definitely share with you.

E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trust

E-E-A-T is “The Way” to ranking at the top of the SERP in 2024.

This is the way to ranking to the top of SEO

In the ever-evolving landscape of online search, where competition is fierce and algorithms keep shifting, one constant remains crucial: E-E-A-T. Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust (it used to be E. A. T. Expertise, Authority, and Trust) are the essential qualities Google seeks in websites it deems worthy of gracing the top of search results. And guess what? Building a strong E-E-A-T foundation is not just about impressing search engines; it’s about earning the trust and loyalty of your real audience.

So, show off your credentials, certifications, awards, testimonials online. Get 5-star Google Reviews and Facebook Recommendations. Create high-quality content to showcase your knowledge, cite credible sources, and obtain press releases. Provide accurate contact information and be transparent. Build backlinks and referrals from reputable websites and sources, and collaborate with industry leaders, etc.

Be Creative and Authentic

In 2024, the call for original content ideas has never been louder. With the rising of generative AI, there are too many replicated content ideas on the internet competing for user attention and search engine ranking. Not replicated content, but ideas… generative AIs are very good at taking one piece of original content, rewrite it and make it look authentic, sometimes even with higher quality and more convincing than the original piece. Hopefully the search engines will be smart enough to determine the original piece. However, we’ve entered an era it takes more effort and creativity to create high-ranking content. Therefore, true originality now requires more creativity and effort than ever before. To stand out, your content needs to be creative, authentic, and a little controversial. It’s actually not that hard if you try. I often find that my best ideas come to me when I’m away from my desk, whether I’m walking, driving, or just daydreaming. Remember, humans possess a creativity that machines can’t replicate. Embrace this fact to lead in the era of AI-dominated content creation.

Keywords, Long-Tail Keywords, User Intent

  • Keyword Search Phrase: Words or phrases users enter into search engines to find information.
  • Long-Tail Keyword: Longer, more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they are closer to making a purchase or specific inquiry.

While keywords are still important, 2024 SEO is all about understanding user intent. It’s not just about matching specific words; it’s about creating content that answers the “why” behind those searches. Think long-tail keywords, natural language, and topics that truly resonate with your audience.

Here are 3 examples of long-tail keywords for different businesses:

  1. Best organic protein powder for athletes with dairy intolerance” (vs “protein powder”): This targets a specific audience (athletes) with a specific need (dairy-free) within a broader topic (organic protein powder).
  2. Where to buy organic heirloom tomato seeds online in Canada” (vs “tomato seeds”): This focuses on a niche product (heirloom tomato seeds) with a geographic constraint (Canada) and emphasizes an online purchase method.
  3. DIY organic laundry detergent recipe for sensitive skin” (vs “laundry detergent DIY”): This offers a solution to a specific problem (sensitive skin) through a specific method (DIY) within the organic product category.

Your Goal
= Search Engine’s Goal
= Audience’ Goal

Remember, the search engine’s goal is the same as yours: to deliver the most relevant and helpful information to users, based on their search intent. When you align your content with this objective, you’re on the right track. The key is to ditch the robot-speak and write for real people. Craft engaging, informative content that addresses their needs and pain points.

SEO: The Marathon, Not the Sprint

SEO is a long-term investment that requires patience, consistent effort, and a focus on quality over quantity. Don’t expect overnight results, but trust that the foundation you build today will pay off in the future. As I always say: “Slow and steady wins the SEO race“.

SEO Should be Baked Into Your Marketing

Think of SEO as an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. It’s not just about launching a website and hoping for the best. It’s about actively planning, implementing, and growing your online presence with SEO baked into every stage. Whether you’re in the research phase, developing your website, or aiming for steady growth, SEO should be there, supporting your efforts.

In my upcoming blogs and newsletters, I’ll delve deeper into specific SEO strategies and techniques tailored to each phase of your online marketing journey. So, stay tuned, and get ready to unlock the true potential of your website with the power of SEO!

Bonus Tip

Remember, your ideal audience is the driving force behind everything you do online. Take the time to understand who they are, what they search for, and what resonates with them. This knowledge will be your guiding light as you navigate the ever-evolving world of SEO.