What is the most important SEO skill for 2024?

This is a tough one, but if I have to choose, I’d say anticipation will be the most important SEO skill in 2024.

Runners up for the most important skill:




Check out my other article on important SEO ranking factors in the age of AI.

If you look at the top lists of SEO skills you’ll find Google, anticipation is usually not even mentioned. 

So what the heck am I talking about with anticipation?

I’ve been doing SEO for over 20 years.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the digital landscape is constantly changing.  

It will continue to change.  I believe that so strongly that it is almost a religious belief at this point.  

In my view, there is a 0 percent chance the pace of change will slow down.

Google will keep evolving, the internet will keep changing.

What worked 5 years ago likely won’t work today.  (Honestly, what worked 5 months ago might not even work well right now)

The problem is that a lot of SEO experts fail because they fall for the trap of looking at what worked in the past.

If you search for what is ranking number 1 on Google now, then you are looking in the rear view mirror.  

It is like looking up at a star now.  What you see happened millions of years ago, because the stars are millions of light years away.

You need the skill of anticipating what will rank number 1 in Google in the future.  (Don’t think too far into the future, because that is too hard to predict).  

Instead, think about the next couple of Google algorithm updates.  Imagine the type of content they will want. 

My favorite tool for anticipating the future is exploding topics.  

This is like Google Trends, but it tells you the topics that are exploding in popularity. 

You can use the exploding topics trends tool to predict what will be searched for in the near future.

Wayne Gretzky, arguably the best hockey player of all time, famously said, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.

Let that sink in for a second.  He is talking about anticipation.

With my 20 years experience in the industry, what do I anticipate will happen with SEO?

That’s the million dollar question.

But here’s what I think will happen with SEO in 2024 and probably 2025:

  1. Google will keep doubling down on the importance of E-EAT

E-EAT stands for:

They will continue to care more and more about “who” wrote the content (which website), compared to the quality of the content itself.

Read my thoughts on how to improve your E-EAT score  

  1. Authenticity will matter more than before.  

There is so much AI generated content that it is insane.  Google recently did a major algorithm update in March 2024.  They also changed their definition of spam, and started manually penalizing websites who use too much AI generated content.

We can all use ChatGPT or Google’s Gemini to create our own AI generated content.  People don’t want to read your AI generated content on your website.

We will be starving for human voices, experiences, and insights.

Google recognizes this, and they will be adjusting their algorithm to prop up human voices in the search engines.

Share your experiences, good and bad.

Share your opinions.

Share your personality.

Share a story of a speeding ticket you got.  Talk about your relationship. 

Give an analogy that you thought of.

Be a human.

Here’s an example. It is 12:32 am right now as I type this.  I’m lying on my couch and thinking about going to bed.  I’ve got to wake up before 7 am tomorrow, to get my 6 year old ready for school, and then walk him to the bus stop.

It’s true, and you can probably tell it’s true because ChatGPT doesn’t write stories like that.  It has no experiences.  

Did that little story help this article?

I’d say yes, sort of.  Now you know I’m a human.  Hopefully Google will know too.

(I’m worried people will figure out how to hijack this with ChatGPT, but that’s a little way in the future)

  1.  Make unique content

The old advice was always to make high quality content.  The problem is that AI can whip up content that passes the old definition of being high quality.

Of course you need to think about high quality content, but think more specifically about being unique.

This goes hand in hand with being authentic.  Any of your own personal experiences will be unique.

But think beyond just your personal experiences.

Be daring.  

Say something that hasn’t been said before.

AI is perfectly capable of reading the top 10 articles in the search rankings, and then rewriting another article based on those previous articles.

If you are good at playing around with the AI, you might even make your new AI article sound coherent.  

But your new article won’t be unique.

It won’t be insightful.

Fun fact:  Lately I’ve been putting my own articles into AI content checkers to see how likely they think my own writing could be an AI.  

This article was 9% likely to have been written by an AI according to the free tool I just used.  I’ve never seen an AI write like this before, but who knows.

My guess is that Google will be judging content in this way as well.

And the point is not just to “trick” Google.  The point is to actually be authentic and make unique content.

Don’t just write things that are based on keywords only.

Author Andrew Best


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