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SEO Trends in 2024: 3 Things We Are Keeping an Eye On

If you haven’t already noticed, the best practices for Search Engine Optimization change a lot. Our SEO team spends a lot of time keeping up with these changes so we can give our clients the best possible SEO results. Here are three major SEO trends that we are keeping an eye on in 2024.

1. AI-Curated Search Results

Love it or hate it, artificial intelligence is here to stay. Remember when Microsoft announced a new, AI-powered version of its Bing search engine early last year? As you would expect, they aren’t the only ones experimenting with AI-assisted search results. 

Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) is an experimental feature for the Google search engine that is already available for select users in the United States and several other countries. The primary goal behind SGE (and other Google AI products like Bard)  is to elevate the user experience on Google. SGE achieves this by offering AI-generated results incorporating information from various online sources. This approach enables SGE and Bard to directly generate contextually relevant responses to intricate questions on the search engine results page (SERP). You can even ask follow-up questions to get the exact answer you want.

Here’s an example: Screenshot 2024-01-03 at 2.13.58 PM

What Do AI-Assisted Searches Mean for You?

For brick-and-mortar businesses (like dental practices), AI-assisted search results could actually be a good thing. If you ask an AI-assisted search engine like Google SGE or Bard to show you a transactional result like “best dentist near me,” it will still show you a curated list of real dental practices in your area. While the presentation of these results differs from a regular Google search, the selection process remains very similar. 

The example below compares AI results (Google Bard) with traditional Google search engine results for the keyword “dentist in White Bear Lake, MN.” While the results pages are slightly different, they show the same three practices as the top results

Google Bard Results:Screenshot 2024-01-03 at 1.59.52 PM


Google Search Results: 

Screenshot 2024-01-03 at 2.00.25 PM

What does this mean for you? Well, if you are already consistently following SEO best practices by creating authoritative, well-written content, tidying up your local SEO strategy, and have a user-friendly website, you can keep calm and carry on. The same practices that created a strong SEO presence in 2023 will continue to in 2024. 

2. A Focus on Local SEO 

Have you noticed that your practice's rankings fluctuate depending on when and where you search from? Search engines, notably Google, customize search results based on individual user behavior, location, and search history. This personalized approach aims to improve the searcher's experience by delivering more relevant and tailored results. Consequently, different users may observe entirely different search outcomes based on their unique preferences, locations, and online interactions. 

Personalized search results are nothing new, but they have more importance as the rise of AI-assisted searches leads to even more curated results. In the past, you may have been able to effectively target your entire market using only a few basic keywords, but now hyperlocal SEO strategies become more important. 

What To Do 

Hyperlocal SEO involves optimizing your online presence to attract patients in a specific and small geographic area, like a neighborhood or street. With the rise of mobile device usage and location-based searches, local SEO is all about ensuring that your practice shows up, regardless of whether the user searches "dentist Capitol Hill" or "dentist downtown Denver." For example, I live in the Green Mountain neighborhood in Lakewood, Colorado. Check out how different the first organic results are when I search "dentist Lakewood, CO" compared to "dentist Green Mountain." An effective local SEO strategy for a dentist in my neighborhood should target BOTH of these locations.

IMG_1349 IMG_1348

Target Multiple Neighborhoods with Geo-Modifiers

A geo-modifier is a refined keyword that adds a location element, like "dental implants in Lakewood, CO" or "cosmetic dentist Green Mountain." An effective local SEO strategy will use multiple relevant geo-modifiers to communicate the specific neighborhoods and areas that your practice serves. When you perform keyword research, make sure to research a variety of terms similar to the ones patients may use to search for a dentist in your market. 

 Audit Your Online Listings

Online listings like Google Business Profile, Yelp, Yellowpages®, and Healthgrades™ can be crucial for your local rankings. Ensure that your most vital information is readily accessible to potential patients across every business listing you have on the web. This critical data is often called NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number. NAP consistency (ensuring that your business's Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistent across all online business listings) is an often underestimated but essential aspect of dental SEO. Dentists striving to outperform their local competitors should also provide additional details such as business hours, a website link, relevant service categories (think implants, cosmetic dentistry, etc.), images showcasing the practice and its staff, and a comprehensive business description enriched with local keywords.

3. The Rise of Videos 

As video content consumption continues to rise, search engines prioritize video in their search results. This shift emphasizes the importance of practices to recognize video as a crucial element of their SEO strategy. While you may not think that videos are the key to attracting new patients to your practice, they actually have a lot to offer. 

The significance of video SEO lies in its impact on visibility. Videos are not only more captivating and shareable, but they also capture a patient's attention quickly. They also optimize them, ensuring they appear in video searches and standard search results, expanding their online reach. Everyone's practice has a compelling story to share. Dental videography provides an opportunity to showcase your unique aspects and to connect with your local community.

We're Here to Help

Whether you're grappling with the intricacies of local SEO or have inquiries regarding the optimization of your online visibility for AI-assisted dental searches, the GDW SEO team is ready to go! Reach out to us today, and together, let's elevate the standing of your dental practice in the competitive digital landscape.