AI is creating the most impactful shift in SEO since the advent of the internet. Ignore it, and you will be playing catch up.

Preparing for changes in search

In the first half of 2023, both Bing and Google gave a sense of the ways in which they’ll be integrating AI and chatlike interfaces into their search engines. Organic traffic from search engines is so central to modern marketing strategy that marketing teams everywhere stopped and took a major gulp in response. Now that we’ve all steadied ourselves again, let’s get practical.

Beginning with changes to Google

Google is a major driver of traffic and revenue to most businesses. Whether through paid search or organic, we rely on Google as one of our key acquisition sources. In 2024, changes to how the search engine results page at Google is structure will certainly impact the traffic we get from the mammoth site and the ways in which we structure our strategies.

To begin with, Google is going to introduce AI-assisted answers in its results page. The inclusion of this may keep users on the results page longer, absorb a lot of the search intent and reduce real estate for organic links.

Traditional organic results

Traditional organic results, represented by blue links on Google search engine result pages, are not going away, but they are going to get harder to secure. For starters, there will be fewer of them as AI results and other search vehicles take up real estate on the results page. Secondly, it may be harder to break into them as the top results will favor established brands. Harder, but not impossible.

Traditional optimization guidelines remain the same, but it’s worth noting that Google is putting increased emphasis on what it deems to be helpful or original content.

We call this the shift from “how-to” content to “how-I” content. As content production gets easier through AI, you may want to reposition some of your writers to do more original story development, incorporating more expert interviews and original research into your content to increase its quality.


In 2022, Google introduced the concept of “Perspectives” in its search engine results page. Perspectives, in effect, acts as a counterbalance to some of the trust issues that can arise from AI-results. Perspective brings in customer and expert opinions to accompany AI answers so that you can validate or get a different take on the answer provided. Through Perspectives, Google surfaces TikTok content, YouTube videos, Forum posts and other user generated content sourced directly from people. This presents a major opportunity for companies and organizations if they invest in community development and empowerment.

Emerging Search Engines

While not news, it’s worth keeping in mind that increasing search behavior is growing outside of Google. Sites like TikTok, YouTube, and Bing have seen major increases in search volume of the last year and we believe this trend will continue in 2024 as search becomes more purpose-tied, multimedia focused, and fragmented. If you are seeing slow-downs in organic traffic from Google, consider using AI to help you spin up pilot investments in other search engine optimization.

Tapping into the rising influence of people

As it stands today, AI is a trade-off: Speed for trust. We can trust AI to deliver us results quickly, but not necessarily with the best guarantee of accuracy. It’s why more and more people are relying on friends and family for opinions before buying something. As you saw above, even traditional search vehicles like Google emphasizing the need for that expert, individual perspective.

Word-of-mouth marketing, and its more recent lovable mutation, influencer marketing has been around for a while and underscored the role that trusted advisors play in purchase decisions. However many companies still assume influencer marketing is only a fit for consumer brands and Instagram stars. That is just the start of influencer marketing, moving forward in 2024 all companies will need to map the influence within their communities and learn to leverage those channels for acquisition.

Mapping influence in your community

Take stock of your broader community. This can include traditional and easily recognized influencers in your space – thought leaders, analysts, journalists, creators with large followings – but it should also include taking stock of the varying levels of influence of your employees, investors, happy customers, and partners. Don’t just judge influence by size of audience, judge it by specificity and impact too. You may find that a junior employee has a big public reach or a certain customer has a small reach but key contacts at a target company of yours. Understanding the flow of influence in your network is key for 2024.

Organizing your channels of influence

The last few years have brought Slack connect, LinkedIn Creator Mode, SubStack-like newsletters, and a plethora of community forums across industries. Choose a handful of channels to leverage in 2024 to activate the latent connections in your network. As you choose channels to pursue set up tracking links to be able to measure impact across them and build up their health as a distribution and acquisition channel.

Activating your community around a message

AI can make a big difference in activating your community in a way that ties back to your key messages, the brand and its core values. Create a source document with the key message and brand voice you want to preserve, then use AI to spin up variations of content based on that source material. Activate your entire company around a launch campaign, not with canned “lazy tweet” content, but with an AI tool that can turn a source positioning doc into an infinite amount of original posts that are on-message.

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