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SEO Estonia 2024 Review: 5 Key SEO Trends Shaping the Future of Organic Search

By Miglė Bačinskaitė
From June 12–14, Fortis Media’s SEO team attended the SEO Estonia 2024 conference, where industry leaders gathered to discuss the future of digital marketing. Our team was there to soak up the latest insights and innovations to enhance our strategies. In this article, we share the top 5 trends that we believe will shape SEO strategies in the coming years.
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What is SEO Estonia?

SEO Estonia is an annual conference hosted by SEO experts Kyle Roof and Karl Kangur, held each summer in Tallinn.

This year, the event featured 17 world-class speakers and a diverse audience of global and local talents. The goal was to share knowledge and discuss the SEO practices that will lead organic search marketing in the coming years.

Kyle Roof took the stage to explain his famous “Rhinoplasty Plano” and “lorem ipsum” tests, highlighting how Google’s crawlers operate. Roof emphasized the importance of conducting our own tests rather than just following industry chatter.

Experts like Karl Kangur, Sebastian Heymann, and Julian Goldie shared top link-building techniques for 2024.

AI and ChatGPT SEO were hot topics, with Julian Goldie and Robert Niechciał offering valuable insights.

The heart of the conference was the discussion around core updates and Google leaks, featuring speakers like Jared Codlin and Kasra Dash, who spoke about Google penalties and strategies for recovery after deindexation.

Returning with a wealth of insights and excitement, here’s what we took from the conference and the winning strategies we’ll consider (and what we might pass on) for Fortis Media’s SEO approach.

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Trend 1: The Rise of Blackhat SEO Testing

At this year’s SEO Estonia conference, testing and case studies were key themes, with a notable focus on blackhat SEO techniques.

Blackhat SEO involves manipulating search engine rankings through methods that violate search engine guidelines.

Techniques like SEO stacking and tiered backlinking were explored to see how Google responds. Tiered backlinking involves layering multiple backlinks to boost their impact, while link stacking increases backlink power through layering.

The focus on blackhat SEO shows an interesting trend in the community.

SEOs seem eager to challenge Google’s guidelines, figure out what works, and what’s overlooked during updates, and understand what triggers penalties. Not only that, specialists are also looking for shortcuts and quicker wins in SEO, especially with the rapid advancements in AI.

However, while these methods can lead to faster rankings, they are not sustainable and carry risks of being thrown out of Google for good.

Fortis Media strictly avoids blackhat SEO, but we understand that testing and experimenting to find sustainable, white-hat strategies will be a key trend going forward.

Trend 2: Google Updates and the Importance of Testing

With Google releasing its latest update in March and the Google’s documentation leaks in May, it’s no surprise that surviving Google’s algorithm updates was a hot topic at this year’s conference.

Every speaker emphasized the importance of testing any idea you might have and not just trusting the “talking heads of the community.”

The takeaway? To be sure something works, you need to test it yourself.

Jared Codling, an expert in SEO growth hacking, introduced practical frameworks like the ICE framework (Impact, Confidence, Ease) and underscored the importance of A/B testing and historical testing for key SEO elements like titles, headings, and word count.

Kasra Dash shared his experiences with website recovery and future-proofing SEO, recounting how 400 of his websites were deindexed after a Google update.

He highlighted that “it can take six months to recover after an update.” To bounce back, he advised focusing on topical coverage, building a knowledge hub for seed keywords, and maintaining a solid content structure to protect rankings from penalties.

In short, continuous testing and adaptation are becoming increasingly important each year to thrive amidst frequent Google updates.

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Trend 3: Topical Authority and the Rise of Entities

The SEO landscape is evolving, and this year’s conference put a spotlight on the importance of topical authority, semantic SEO, and entities.

Straightforward SEO tactics are no longer enough to achieve visibility on Google. Instead, building an entity and a comprehensive knowledge base is crucial for long-term success.

Topical authority involves becoming a go-to source on specific subjects through in-depth, comprehensive content. The more you cover a topic thoroughly, the more search engines see you as an authority.

Building an entity means creating a well-defined brand identity that search engines can recognize and trust. Using structured data and consistent branding helps Google understand who you are and what you offer.

Additionally, user experience (UX) plays a critical role in establishing authority. This includes site speed, mobile-friendliness, and easy navigation.

So, it looks like in 2024, SEO will be all about these advanced concepts. Brands that invest in high-quality content and create a strong, recognizable online presence will see better visibility and higher rankings.

Trend 4: AI and Automation Are Revolutionizing SEO Practices

AI and automation have been shaking up the SEO world for some time, bringing new capabilities to the table. At SEO Estonia 2024, the spotlight was on how these technologies can improve our daily work even more.

AI tools like NEURON and Perplexity are game-changers, automating repetitive tasks and delivering sophisticated data analysis. This shift lets SEO specialists focus more on strategy and creativity, while AI handles the routine work.

A standout point was AI’s role in content creation and optimization. By analyzing top competitors, AI can generate content outlines that ensure your material is comprehensive and competitive. This process, known as content sculpting, can boost content quality and relevance.

However, keeping content unique remains a challenge that wasn’t fully addressed, and it’s something our team will be exploring further.

Looking ahead to 2024, AI and automation will be crucial in SEO. Brands that embrace these technologies will streamline processes, gain deeper insights, and craft more effective strategies, meeting evolving search engine and user demands.

Trend 5: N-E-E-A-T-T, or Notability and Transparency in SEO

Jason Barnard was one of the standout speakers at this year’s SEO Estonia conference, offering insightful perspectives on Google’s perception of SEO.

He was one of the speakers highlighting the growing recognition of entities in the Google Knowledge Graph, communicating the need to clearly define your brand identity to both your audience and Google.

Barnard introduced his expanded N-E-E-A-T-T framework (Notability, Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, Transparency), adding notability and transparency to the well-known E-E-A-T.

He stressed the importance of creating the right content for the right format and distributing it where your audience is looking. Effective content packaging for Google is essential to be featured in assistive engines and suggested by AI. To gain AI trust, Google must first trust you, which requires having comprehensive brand assets in place.

Barnard also pointed out the importance of focusing on research over just search.

“Clients search sometimes, but they’re doing research all the time,” he noted, highlighting the need for content that satisfies ongoing research needs.

So, it’s obvious that N-E-E-A-T-T principles will be pivotal in SEO, enhancing content quality and transparency. Brands that prioritize these principles will earn trust and loyalty, ensuring long-term success in a competitive digital landscape.

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SEO Estonia 2024: Was It Worth It?

The SEO Estonia 2024 conference was packed with insights, spotlighting key trends that are set to shape the future of organic search:

  • New Frameworks: Introduction of N-E-E-A-T-T and ICE frameworks to enhance SEO strategies.
  • AI in SEO: AI automates tasks, allowing SEOs to focus on strategy.
  • Google Leaks: Leaks highlight the importance of testing over reliance on advice.
  • Brand Identity: Strong brand identity and topical authority are crucial for SEO.
  • Holistic SEO: Comprehensive strategies combining brand building, content, and UX are essential.

With short and to-the-point 30-minute talks, it was insightful, engaging, and definitely worth the attention of our team. The strategies discussed will be instrumental in refining our clients’ SEO practices.

If you’re interested in seeing these strategies in action and want to take advantage of them firsthand, contact the Fortis Media team and let our experts lead your brand to success.

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