The changing SERP and what this means for brands looking to capitalise on SEO traffic in 2024.

The Evolution of SERPs in 2024

Search is changing and has been evolving throughout 2022/23. The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is now constantly evolving, as Google continues to run tests based on location, personalisation, and queries.

This continuous experimentation has led to significant developments, influenced heavily by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Brands looking to capitalise on SEO traffic need to stay informed and agile throughout 2024. By understanding these changes and adapting their strategies accordingly, they can improve their online visibility and performance.

Collaborating with a specialist in Ecommerce SEO Agency can provide the expertise necessary to navigate these complexities and achieve sustainable growth.

In 2022 Google carried out 80,000 experiments that resulted in 4,000 improvements to search. They also carried out 894,660 search quality tests and 148,038 interleaved side by side tests with quality search raters.

This data is fed back into the machine learning algorithm as data points.

The change to the SERPs has been accelerated based on the development of OpenAI and Microsoft’s collaboration with OpenAI. Google is known to see OpenAI as a threat and although as a company Google is far more advanced with AI/ML than Microsoft Google didn’t see this coming, which prompted the 2023 “code red meeting” within Google’s top rank management team. Since then, Google has tried to keep up with product launches including (Bard) Gemini (the prototype launch video lacked authenticity) and SGE (Search Generative Experience), which is currently being tested in over 120 countries. These releases have been rolled out in a rapid succession and will likely not be used for the entire SERP either. Based on testing so far, these result types will compliment the existing core SERP offering an alternative experience, indicating that Google still may be unsure as to the best route forward.

Google has also recently released organic product listing ads (PLAs), another result type to now include with the SERP for relevant product queries.

It is safe to say Google is in a state of flux.


The Impact on the Google SERP by Contenders Such as TikTok

TikTok is a major rising contender for content discovery and certain demographic segments are using it as a search engine, which aligns with the Chinese brands marketing message “it starts on TikTok” and app development with a search function becoming the primary navigation mechanic. 

Search data is starting to be shared by TikTok (e.g. the recent insights and creator insights areas) that reports search queries people are typing into the platform are sales funnel-based problems – solutions and as the platform with its new shop area becomes more monetised for retail brands who target specific demographic segments in 2024/25 it remains an area for R&D monitoring and testing.

TikTok is now starting to monetise its traffic, by introducing a new shop area and increasing ad spend from advertisers taking to the platform. The platform is now offering consumers an alternative environment to search for information and serve their intent online, which for some queries and interests is proving to be a richer, more dynamic, and immersive experience that a SERP page currently offers.

However, as much buzz as there is around TikTok as a search engine it really only serves creative content in a short form format, targets very specific terms (think YouTube 2006) and is creator-led (when it becomes brand it loses its authenticity).

Whilst TikTok is commanding the attention of marketers worldwide, its ambition to compete with Google as a search engine still has some way to go.

TikTok’s video format works well for certain topics and interests such as food, music, and travel, but other topics it may not offer as much value, for example B2B products and services.

From the following graph, we can see that even for these topics and subjects search volumes are still significantly higher on YouTube.

We therefore have to consider a user’s intent, and how this may change when they visit a SERP such as Google or exist inside an app such as TikTok.

In a recent study it was found that Google is still responsible for nearly 70% of all web traffic referral. YouTube is 3.57% TikTok is not currently listed.


Adapting to the Future of Search

It’s clear that search will continue to evolve rapidly throughout the rest of 2024, and beyond. Platforms like TikTok are emerging as serious contenders, especially among the younger demographics, particularly Gen Z, offering a fresh approach to content discovery and search.

However, traditional search engines like Google remain dominant, constantly innovating to stay ahead of the competition. Brands must stay informed, leveraging insights and expertise from SEO Agency experts to optimise their strategies. By doing so, they can ensure they are well-positioned to capitalise on shifting trends and maintain a strong online presence.




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