Did you know that in this digital age, 93% of online experiences begin with a search?
Meaning, if you are a software company and your company website doesn’t appear on search engine results pages (SERPs), you are going to miss out on a lot of potential customers.
On the other hand, it’s worth noting that 75% of these searchers never scroll past the first page of these SERPs. This is why, as a software company in 2024, you simply can’t ignore SEO.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of optimizing your website and its content so it will rank higher on the SERPs of relevant search queries. When you rank higher on Google or other search engines, you can generate more organic traffic to your website, which in turn will result in more leads, conversions, and, ultimately, revenue for your software business.
However, executing SEO can be easier said than done. It requires a carefully crafted strategic approach that considers your niche, industry trends, target audience, competitors, and marketing/business goals. Not to mention, the requirements to rank higher on SERPs are constantly changing as:
- User behavior shifts according to the trend movements
- Google and other search engines update their algorithms
In short, your software company needs a constantly updated and optimized SEO strategy.
In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about how to adapt and future-proof your SEO strategy in 2024. By the end of this article, you’d have learned about the following:
- Why is SEO important for software companies in 2024
- Adapting to the changing search intent and target audience’s behavior
- How AI and machine learning affect SEO and how to leverage them to improve SEO performance
- Optimizing your website for voice search and conversational queries
- Adapting to the new E in Google’s EEAT
- How to develop engaging, captivating, and authoritative content that builds loyalty
- Techniques to improve your SEO ROI with data-driven insights
Learn how to develop trustworthy and captivating content to build loyalty. Also, discover techniques for enhancing your SEO ROI through data-driven insights.
Ready to take your SEO and digital marketing game to the next level? Let us begin.
Why SEO is Important for Software Companies in 2024
The basic objective of SEO is for the website to rank higher on the SERPs of relevant keywords. In turn, ranking higher on the SERPs can offer many benefits for software companies, such as:
- Boosts your credibility and reputation
When your website ranks higher on the SERPs for relevant search queries, it will be considered credible, high-quality, and trustworthy by both your users and the search engines.
In the long run, consistently ranking higher on the SERPs can help you build a positive brand reputation for your software company, generate more leads, and attract more customers who trust your brand and product/service.
- Generates more organic traffic to your website
By ensuring your site is ranking high on relevant search queries and topics that your potential customers are searching for online, you can improve the visibility and exposure of your software company’s website.
By getting more organic traffic, you can essentially drive more qualified leads to your website without spending money on expensive advertisements. In fact, the latest data suggested that SEO generates more traffic than social media by over 1000%.
- Improves your conversion rate and ROI
Driving more traffic to the website alone may not provide enough value to your business.
Instead, properly executed SEO can help ensure the traffic coming to your website is relevant and qualified: they should be interested in your software product or service.
A core aspect of SEO is about optimizing your website content, structure, and design so they effectively meet your ideal audience’s needs, pain points, and preferences. This practice alone has been proven to increase your conversion rate by more than 2%.
In turn, the increase in conversion rate will also help improve the ROI of your marketing efforts.
- Creating a competitive advantage
The modern software industry is highly competitive and rapidly evolving. New software products and services are being released seemingly every day, and older players must constantly play catchup with the newer competitors and new technologies.
With that being said, a solid SEO strategy can be an effective weapon for software companies to create a competitive edge and stand out from the crowd. By ranking higher than your competitors on relevant keywords and topics that matter to your target audience, not only can you attract more qualified prospects to your website but also prevent them from visiting your competitors’ websites and choosing your competitors over you.
Keyword research—an important aspect of SEO— can also help you identify and capitalize on new opportunities and trends in your niche and industry.
How SEO for Software Companies Has Changed in 2024
SEO, as we know, is a continuously evolving field, but arguably it has changed even more rapidly in recent years, especially in the heavily technical software industry.
That is why software companies need to stay on top of the game and stay updated on the latest developments and SEO trends in 2024. Here are some major ones to consider:
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The rise of ChatGPT has dramatically catapulted the mainstream popularity and adoption of AI in day-to-day lives, including when users are searching for information.
AI (and machine learning) has heavily affected SEO in several ways, forcing marketers to adapt their SEO strategy. Here are some of them:
- Google and other search engines have incorporated AI and machine learning in their search algorithm, allowing them to better understand user intent, behavior, and preferences, on top of data like location, device, and browser. This enables more accurate and personalized search results for users.
- What it means: marketers and SEO professionals need to optimize websites and content for natural language understanding, search intent (instead of solely focusing on keywords,) and voice search.
- Tools like chatGPT, as well as AI content generators like Jasper or Ryte, make it easier and faster for users to generate professional-grade content that is high-quality, engaging, and SEO-optimized. However, AI-generated content also poses new challenges both in quality and ethical issues, such as bias, misinformation, and especially plagiarism/duplication.
- What it means: marketers and content creators need to be extra careful and responsible in using AI-generated content. All content purchased from third-party must be reviewed whether it is AI-generated, and thorough editing before publication is mandatory.
- AI and machine learning tools enable SEO professionals and marketers to more accurately analyze data, identify opportunities, monitor performance, and automate SEO-related tasks. For example, AI can help perform keyword research faster and more accurately, optimize content, find link-building opportunities, and more.
- What it means: SEO marketers and professionals must leverage AI tools to enhance their SEO campaigns and improve efficiency. However, this may also translate into increased standards of quality and tougher competition in the near future.
- The shift from keyword-based to intent-based search
Google and the other search engines’ latest algorithm updates mean the search engines are focusing more on understanding and catering to the searcher’s goal and purpose behind a search query rather than simply finding web pages that are optimized for certain keywords.
The advances in AI, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) have enabled Google and search engines to more quickly and accurately analyze the semantics, sentiment, and context of search queries in relation to user’s behavior, demographics data, preferences, and location.
More specifically, Google has improved its dialog processing and natural language understanding with LaMDA, AI-powered technology to handle open-ended conversations.
Some of the implications of this development are:
- SEO marketers must pay more attention to the different types of search intent, and find the most relevant and valuable keywords for their target audience according to these search intents and their stage in the buyer’s journey:
- Informational: searchers are looking for information about a topic, finding answers to questions, or finding solutions for their problems. For example, “What is SEO.”
- Navigational: the searcher is already looking to visit a specific website but uses the search bar instead of inputting the full URL. For example, “Instagram login.”
- Commercial: the user wants to compare different products or services, mainly in their research, before making a purchase decision. For example, “iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S23”, “best VGA cards in 2024,” and so on.
- Transactional: the searcher wants to buy a specific product or service, or perform a specific action. For example, “ buy Air Jordan 1” or “book a hotel in New York.”
- SEO marketers and professionals need to craft and optimize their content (choosing the right type and format, etc.) to match the search intent of the targeted keywords. For example, queries with informational intent may require in-depth guides, tutorial videos, or blog posts. On the other hand, transactional queries may require comparison content or optimized product pages. Content in 2024 and going forward must be properly optimized for natural language understanding, voice search, and search intent.
- SEO professionals need to regularly measure and improve their content performance while paying attention to engagement and user satisfaction metrics: dwell time, bounce rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, feedback/reviews, and more. Based on these metrics, SEO marketers should optimize and adjust the content to more effectively answer the user’s search query.
- EEAT is the new EAT
For quite some time, Google has used the concept of EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) to evaluate and rank websites. Google’s human evaluators used EAT to evaluate the quality and credibility of websites, and while EAT is not a direct ranking factor, it reflects what Google expects from high-quality content that is eligible for the top spots in the SERPs.
In December 2022, however, Google added a new “E” for Experience, changing EAT to EEAT.
Experience here means that the content creator has actually experienced the topic they are covering, allowing them to provide valuable and authentic insights to the readers. For example, a product reviewer should have used the product they are reviewing.
How does this affect SEO for software companies in 2024?
Software companies must be able to demonstrate experience (it’s critical to understand that experience is not always the same as expertise) through their content while continue to display their reputation, credentials, and credibility in their niche (for traditional EAT) by:
- Providing clear and detailed information about the software company and its products or services. Elaborate the company’s expertise and experience in developing and delivering high-quality software solutions for the target market.
- Clearly communicating information about the software products or services, such as key features, benefits, pricing plans, installation, support, and others.
- Implementing strategic usage of screenshots, images, videos, demos, and case studies to showcase how the software solution works and how it can solve the user’s pain points or problems.
- Showcasing their credentials, awards, accolades, or certifications that can demonstrate the company’s trustworthiness and authority in the niche/industry.
- Consistently publishing high-quality and relevant content on their blog or website that informs, educates, or entertains their target audience.
- Encouraging existing customers to leave testimonials or reviews.
- Collaborating with other reputable software companies, websites, or relevant platforms by guest posting, and contributing as a guest in podcasts, webinars, etc., to improve exposure and credibility.
- Changes in core web vitals
“Core web vitals” are a set of metrics used by Google to measure the user experience and performance levels of web pages, which are traditionally based on three main aspects: visual stability, loading, and interactivity.
The technical definition of the core web vitals is as follows:
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): CLS refers to the number of times a web page’s content shifts or moves unexpectedly during its loading process. For example, when an image changes its position without any user input, leading the users to lose their place on the page. CLS measures visual stability, and to maintain an optimal user experience, the CLS score should be less than 0.1.
- FID (First Input Delay): FID refers to the time it takes for the web browser to respond to the very first user interaction on a web page. FID measures interactivity, and the optimal score should be less than 100 ms (milliseconds).
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): refers to the time it takes for the largest content element on the web page to become visible. LCP measures loading (page speed) performance and should be 2.5 seconds or lower.
However, quite recently, Google announced that it will replace the FID metric with a new metric called INP (Interaction to Next Paint) in March 2024. Contrary to FID, INP measures the amount of time from when a user starts interacting with a page to when the browser “paints” the next frame. INP is both more accurate and consistent than FID since it does not depend on the user’s network conditions or device.
Google has announced that INP will affect web page ranking in Google Search. To maintain an optimal user experience, a web page should have an INP score of less than 100 ms.
Website owners, marketers, and SEO professionals should start measuring and optimizing the website’s INP scores. Leverage performance monitoring tools like PageSpeed Insights, Chrome UX Report, Lighthouse, web-vitals library, or more to measure your site’s current INP scores and identify areas you can optimize.
- Increased requirements for image optimization and accessibility
Using images (including photos, infographics, etc.) in your content can improve its engagement and visual appeal, but when not managed well, it can slow down the website’s loading speed and overall performance.
As we know, page speed and user experience are both critical ranking factors, so content creators need to optimize their images to ensure the right format and quality without sacrificing page speed. Here are the best practices for doing so:
- Use the right image formats according to their purposes. For example, JPEG is considered the appropriate format for photos, while PNG is ideal for icons and logos.
- Resize and compress images to reduce their file size, but do not sacrifice quality. You can use tools like Tiny PNG or Squoosh to quickly compress and optimize images in bulk without compromising their quality.
- Use responsive image formats that can automatically adapt to different resolutions and screen sizes. This is especially important to make sure your images are mobile-friendly. You can use the sizes and secret attributes to provide multiple image versions for different scenarios.
Additionally, marketers should provide captions, alt tags, and structured data markups to improve their images’ accessibility and search performance:
- Use descriptive, informative, and relevant alt tags for every image. The alt tag should describe what the image is about in a concise way. Avoid using generic alt tags.
- Add captions to provide additional information or explanation for the images.
- Use structured data markup to add metadata for images that are part of a larger content (i.e., an article.) This practice can help Google display your images in rich results.
- Incorporating video marketing into the SEO strategy
Traditionally, SEO has always been focused on textual content like blog posts or eBooks. Yet, with the rise of videos in popularity and how Google now considers user experience metrics as ranking factors, marketers should consider incorporating video marketing as a part of their SEO strategy.
Publishing high-quality video content on your website can significantly increase dwell time, engagement, and even conversion rates, all of which are considered important ranking factors. With videos capturing the attention of users and keeping them on your website longer, it will signal to Google that your content is relevant and engaging, which can improve your page’s ranking.
Not to mention, videos can be very effective in showcasing the features and benefits of your software product, as well as providing social proof through case studies, testimonials, or video reviews, which can help improve conversions.
To adapt to this trend and start leveraging video marketing in their SEO strategy, marketers should consider following these best practices:
- Focus on providing value with your video content instead of solely publishing videos just for the sake of it. Identify the target audience of the video, the purpose of the video, and what value does it provide.
- Choose the right type and format of the video. Depending on the target audience and the video’s purpose you’ve identified above, the video can be entertaining, educational, inspirational, or promotional. Choose the right format to deliver the video’s content, whether it’s a live stream, a webinar, a product review, a product demo/tutorial, etc.
- Content is everything. Make sure the video’s content is well-produced so it’s informative, relevant, and engaging. The video should have an attention-grabbing introduction, a clear structure, a compelling message, and a strong call-to-action (CTA.)
- Make sure the video has good audio and visual quality and is properly optimized for mobile devices. In many cases, audio quality is just as, if not even more important, than visual quality, so don’t compromise.
- Optimize the video for search engines in the following areas:
- Title: have a relevant and compelling title that includes the target keyword. The title should have a hook to immediately grab the viewer’s attention.
- Description: the video description should be informative with a summary of the video’s content. Include relevant keywords and links in the description, but focus on providing information.
- Tags: the video tags should include the target keywords and phrases that match the viewer’s intent.
- Transcript: provide a complete text transcript of the video content. Include target keywords naturally when possible.
- Publish and promote the video effectively by leveraging various platforms and channels. You should publish the video on the website itself but also on YouTube, social media (i.e., Instagram), and other platforms that can reach your target audience. Promote the video through email marketing, social media, paid advertising, influencer marketing, or other promotion channels to drive traffic and get more views.
Best Practices to Future-Proof Your SEO in 2024 and Going Forward
Above, we have discussed some of the important changes in SEO trends and search engine algorithms. Going forward, we can expect SEO to continue changing and evolving due to various factors: Google’s algorithm updates, changes in user behaviors, technology advancements, changes in the competitive landscape, and more.
In this section, we will discuss some of the best practices to adopt so you can future-proof your SEO and content strategy, according to these latest trends and developments in the industry.
Let’s begin with the first one.
- Develop content for human readers, not for Google
One of the most important best practices in SEO is to develop your content for people and not for search engine algorithms.
Google’s algorithm updates are always about providing a better experience and relevance for its users. So, if your content provides value and answers to your target audience’s needs, problems, and questions, your content will always meet Google’s preferences.
Thus, instead of focusing on technical things like keyword optimization (or worse, keyword stuffing) or grey-hat/black-hat tactics aimed to manipulate the algorithm, you should focus on developing clear, helpful, and valuable content that engages your human readers.
Consider the following:
- Understand your target audience: the most important foundation for a successful SEO strategy is a thorough understanding of your target audience. Who are they? What are the queries they use? How can you help their needs and provide value?
- Keyword research: start your content development process by performing keyword research to find out what queries and topics your target audience is using and looking for. Leverage tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Ubersuggest, among others, to conduct keyword research faster and more effectively.
- Create a content plan: based on the keyword research results, develop a content plan outlining the type, format, topic, and outline of your content, among other details. When planning your content, focus on ensuring your content matches your target audience’s needs, pain points, and especially search intent.
- Write informative and engaging content: use an attractive title (can be keyword-optimized, but focus on human readers,) a logical structure, and a strong summary/conclusion. Use headings, subheadings, blank spaces, bullet points, images/videos, and other elements to break up bodies of text and make the content easier to read.
- Keyword optimization: use keywords naturally, sparingly, and strategically throughout your content and metadata information (title tag, meta description, etc.). Focus on providing useful information, data, examples, or engaging stories that cater to your target audience’s preferences and help solve their problems.
- Create evergreen content
Aim to develop evergreen content—a piece of content that remains useful, valuable, and relevant for years and can stand the test of temporal changes.
Evergreen content can help you attract consistent organic traffic to your website while, at the same time, establishing your authority, credibility, and trust in your niche.
Here are some best practices on how to create evergreen content:
- Choose evergreen topics: there are always topics in any niche/industry that are always in demand and would attract a substantial amount of audience. Choose topics that are not tied to a specific trend, season, or event. How-to guides, tutorials, best practices, case studies, and FAQs tend to be evergreen.
- Avoid dates and references: a useful trick to make your content evergreen is to avoid using references that can make it irrelevant or outdated, current year/month/day, latest events, time-specific news, time-bound statistics/data, and so on. It’s best to use general phrases or terms that can apply to any time period.
- Update your content regularly: even if your content is already evergreen, it’s best to refresh/update it from time to time to keep it fresh and relevant. You may need to add new information if there are new changes or developments in your niche or if there are any new changes in your audience/s behaviors. You can also target new keywords or topics that you want to rank for, which can also improve traffic to this content.
- Prioritize Quality over Quantity
While a key aspect of SEO is publishing content regularly, it’s more important to publish high-quality content.
Do not sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity, instead, focus on consistently creating high-quality content that meets your target audience’s needs, preferences, and expectations. High-quality content must also meet the standards preferred by the search engine’s algorithm.
High-quality content is:
- Valuable, accurate, well-researched, comprehensive, and up-to-date
- Easy to read with proper grammar (free of errors), using clear language
- Well-structured and divided by headings/sub-headings, bullet points, and images, so it’s not just a block of texts
- 100% unique and original
- Optimized for search engine algorithms. Naturally using relevant keywords, metadata optimization, and backlinks
- Aligned with the needs and goals of the software company and the target audience
- Measured based on analytical data and audience feedback, and improved accordingly
- Support SEO with Other Marketing Channels
While SEO is definitely powerful, it can still benefit from the support of other digital marketing channels, such as social media, influencer marketing, email marketing, online advertising, and more.
Diversifying your digital marketing efforts can allow you to reach a wider audience, improve your brand awareness, maximize retention, and reduce your dependence on search engine algorithm changes and shifts in SEO trends.
Consider developing a more holistic digital marketing strategy by utilizing these different channels to support your SEO campaign. Monitor and measure the results of the different channels, see what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Keep Up With the Latest Changes and Updates
Since SEO is, again, constantly evolving, it’s very important to stay on your toes and keep yourself up with the latest updates in new technologies, shifts in user behaviors, market trends, algorithm changes, and more.
Leverage tools like Google Trends, and Google Alerts and monitor social media conversations to keep track of what’s happening in your industry/niche.
SEO should be a vital part of any software company’s digital marketing strategy, being a powerful marketing tactic that can help you increase your brand’s visibility, organic traffic, and, ultimately, revenue.
However, SEO is constantly and rapidly evolving, and if you don’t keep up with the latest user expectations and the changing landscape, you are simply playing to lose.
To future-proof your SEO strategy for 2024 and going forward, you can follow the tips and best practices we have shared in this guide. However, the main foundation remains whether you really understand your target audience’s needs, preferences, and goals.
If you are consistently publishing high-quality content that is relevant and valuable for a sizable target audience, you will always be aligned with Google’s algorithms and philosophy.