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Ask any search engine optimization (SEO) professional or business owner about the goal of SEO, and you will receive the same response: to rank on the first page of Google. Why worry about other search results if Google still accounts for over 90% of all online searches?

Nevertheless, even with Google’s dominance, new technologies continue to emerge and change the way people search for information. Gone are the days of people relying on Google’s 10 blue organic links. Now, people search on their computers, tablets, phones, and other smart devices, all of which provide unique search experiences. Successful SEO strategies in 2024 and beyond must incorporate these new experiences. The most important experiences relate to artificial intelligence, local search directories, and social and community platforms.

Artificial Intelligence in Google and Bing Search Engines Results

Artificial intelligence (AI) is at the top of everybody’s mind in 2024. AI impacts all forms of technology, including search engines. Both Google and Bing now leverage AI applications to create more dynamic search experiences.

  • Google Search Generative Experience (SGE): Google launched the test version of SGE, its AI-powered search update, in the middle of 2023. SGE expanded over the next few months, and a November 2023 study suggested that more than 75% of Google searches showed AI results. Google’s SGE provides concise and visual topic overviews directly in the search results. It even uses AI to predict and answer follow-up queries. As such, a single search query may provide users with the same level of information they used to get with three to four queries.
  • Bing Copilot: Microsoft announced Copilot, an AI chat platform, in November 2023. Copilot integrates with Microsoft’s suite of applications, including Bing. With Copilot’s AI capabilities, Bing’s new search experience is like Google’s SGE. Bing results will often include a new sidebar that shows additional information related to the search query. However, what sets Bing apart are the new chat features. Users can directly chat with an automated assistant that helps them refine searches with more details.

How Google and Bing Artificial Intelligence Impacts SEO

New AI search engine capabilities change the search landscape, but they do not impact SEO strategies or best practices all that much. Publishing well-researched and relevant content remains the best way to rank in organic search. If anything, AI search only reinforces the importance of great content. First-page search results almost always showcase relevant content from reputable sources.

What AI search does, however, is limit the organic traffic that websites receive. Google and Bing continue to answer queries directly in search results, so there often is no reason for users to click on organic listings. Most business owners and marketers should expect less traffic to their websites moving forward. That said, less traffic does not necessarily mean less visibility. Businesses that publish quality content can reach their audiences in new AI research results, even if the level of reach is difficult to track.

Local Search with Apple Business Connect

Local SEO updates and optimizations are the best ways for businesses to connect with their local audiences. However, changes to the local search landscape mean that businesses must look beyond their location pages and prioritize offsite platforms. Google Business remains the dominant local search platform, but Apple Business Connect is primed to grow in 2024.

Apple introduced Apple Business Connect in January 2023. The tool looks and feels like Google Business. Businesses can create profiles, add contact information, upload photos, and publish updates. The main difference is that Apple Business Connect integrates with Apple Maps instead of Google Maps. There are two reasons why Apple Business Connect will emerge as a realistic alternative to Google Business:

  • Apple Maps market share: While Google Maps remains the dominant maps platform for smartphone users, Apple Maps continues to make strides toward second place. Near Media estimated that Apple Maps’ market share on iPhones grew to 37% in 2023. It is no coincidence that this market share growth occurred after the Apple Business Connect launch.
  • Apple Siri integration: Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, integrates with every Apple operating system and device. In the past, Siri provided users with basic information like directions and phone number. Now, Siri shares more detailed information from Apple Business Connect. Businesses now can connect with customers directly in Siri results.

How Apple Business Connect Impacts SEO

Business owners and SEO professionals must incorporate Apple Business Connect in their local search strategies. The easiest action to take is to treat Apple Business Connect like Google Business: claim business listings, update information, add URL tracking, optimize with relevant keywords, and publish content. Apple Business Connect does not quite have Google Business’s user base, but it will only grow in importance moving forward.

Social and Community Search Engines

While traditional search engines like Google and Bing still dominate the search landscape, they are not the only places people search. The truth is that people now go beyond search engines to find businesses and products. For example, social media platforms and community forums function as search engine for certain audiences.

  • Social media: Marketers and business owners already know the importance of social media platforms like Facebook. These platforms have search engine capabilities because users can search for businesses, products, images, people, business reviews, and so on.
  • Community forums: Many people do not realize that community forums like Reddit are search engines. Reddit alone has more than 45 million searches every day. Beyond that, Reddit posts appear in Google and Bing organic searches. More niche community forums exist in other markets and industries.
  • Video: People spend more and more time watching videos on platforms like YouTube. As such, YouTube receives more searches than any platform other than Google. People often research businesses and products on YouTube to hear from experts. And newer platforms like TikTok become increasingly important for younger audiences who want more visual search results.

How Social and Community Search Engines Impact SEO

Google and other traditional search engines remain the focus of SEO strategies and plans. However, the best SEO strategies incorporate social and community platforms as well. Business owners should prioritize the social platforms that matter the most to their audiences. Even something as simple as reviewing relevant Reddit threads may provide valuable information. Above all, businesses must reach existing and potential customers whenever and wherever they search.

CloudControlMedia and SEO

CloudControlMedia’s SEO and content marketing teams can help you plan, design, and write location pages for your website. Visit our agency services page to explore our digital marketing offerings.

Joseph Colarusso is our Director of SEO Services. With nearly a decade of digital marketing experience, Joseph uses his expertise to design, develop, implement, and manage SEO strategies that improve visibility in organic search for our clients.