There is a lot going on right now in the world of information technology and how we look for information. Most notably ChatGPT. With all of this in mind, we provide an overview of possible next steps to take to future-proof your SEO strategy.
Content is becoming more than the king
In the Google guidelines, we read:
“ We suggest focussing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what the Google algorithms seek to reward.”
And they mean it.
On 25/08/2022 as well as on 05/12/2022 there were big updates also known as the “helpful content update”.
Google describes the “helpful content update” as follows:
“The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.”
In recent months, we have also seen a lot of different so-called SPAM updates, which are penalizing websites with low quality content. The full overview of Google Search ranking updates can be found here: https://developers.google.com/search/updates/ranking
All of these updates to the Ranking algorithm are pushing the E-E-A-T quality standards for Search.
Since a couple of years, Google is using a framework to assess the quality of content based on E-A-T. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. At the end of 2022, Google added an extra E in the guidelines that stands for Experience.
You can find the latest update for the quality rates here: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2022/12/google-raters-guidelines-e-e-a-t
With the new update, Google also puts Trust more in the middle “because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how good the Experience, Expertise or Authority may be”.
This means Google needs to be able to know who is the owner of the website and based on that it can make an assessment if this source is trustworthy. Google is also going a further in what it will use to assess trust of the source, it takes into account different types of content like videos, user generated content and also social media posts.
The new E for Experience is all about informing the users about how the product/service works in real life. For example, if you are looking on how to rank your website better in Google, you’ll want to read something from an SEO expert, but if you’re looking for someone to build a website you’ll want to find a developer that can build a website from scratch.
This new E is also connected to previous Google updates in 2022 (23/03/2022, 27/07/2022 & 20/09/2022) where they put more emphasis on the reviews of products.
Some concrete advice:
- Be transparent with your users (who are you, why should they trust you, …)
- Have a good “About us” page
- Cite credible sources
- Add customer reviews on the page where possible
- Collaborations with high quality websites for link building has to be explored
- Have a clear purpose for every page on your website and adapt the creator of the content to suit it best
Can AI become the new king?
Artificial intelligence is the biggest buzzword right now. Since Open AI has opened ChatGPT for the public, everyone is talking about AI and how it can be applied in their jobs and personal lives.
To understand why ChatGPT is so good at providing human-like answers, we need to look at how it actually works. ChatGPT is based on the GPT-3 algorithm. The breakthrough in natural language processing came from a technique called autoregressive language modelling. It comes down to a connection of each word in a context with the possible next word. The algorithm then picks the word that is most likely to follow the last word.
Let’s say that GPT-3 learned on the CLICKTRUST website. It knows CLICKTRUST is a digital marketing agency. If we start a sentence with “CLICKTRUST is”, the most likely next words are “digital marketing agency” because the word CLICKTRUST is often found together with “digital marketing agency” in the same text.
Some people say ChatGPT and GPT-3 are just mathematical tricks looking at the highest likelihood of the next word, and that it doesn’t really understand the context.
For this reason, even when the information it is showing is wrong, ChatGPT will always look confident while telling lies. The reason why the information is wrongly shown is that the likelihood of that combination of words is the highest. ChatGPT ignores the fact that the message of the sentence is incorrect. Even when you ask it to give the source citations, it will create some for you, but they are non-existent.
Tools that can measure if a text is written by a human or an AI use the same logic. They calculate the likelihood of word combinations and based on that they make the decision AI or Human writer. Luckily for us, there is AI that can help you to re-write your article to reduce the likelihood of word combinations and avoid being detected as AI content.
Have a look at content detection tools like:
- Content at Scale’s AI Detector (only works in English, but also when texts are translated)
What the future brings is hard to predict. One thing is certain, AI is here to stay. You can’t beat AI, but you can join it to make your life easier.
Digital marketing was already used to working with AI, but the latest changes have a particular impact on SEO. If we get an answer to all our searches from a chatbot directly as if we asked a friend, why do we need to care about our position in the SERP? There is no SERP in ChatGPT. Time will tell what the impact will be on SEO, but in the meantime we can use ChatGPT to help us in digital marketing.
We recently wrote a blog article on how we can use ChatGPT as a digital marketer.
There is more than text to get answers
Although Search is still the first tab in Google results, we see more and more content from other tabs included in the Search tab. There are the News tab, the Shopping tab, Video, and of course Images.
Imagine you want to fix your washing machine at home. The query you’re typing in Google is very likely to start with “How to …”. For queries that start with “How to”, Google is serving more and more video content. This makes sense, as an explanatory video is often more helpful than a text listing the different steps.
A good case of how this type of video can be used to drive business is Spareka.fr. They are a business that repairs household appliances and provides spare parts. They know the first step in the research of their clients is a “How to” search. To capture these searches, they created a YouTube channel full of videos explaining how to repair specific household appliances.
These videos serve 3 purposes:
1. They help the searcher do the repair themselves.
2. If they need the spare part, they can buy it at Spareka.fr.
3. In case the repair is too difficult, Spareka has shown their expertise, and they get contacted to do the repair.
When content is created to answer questions of users, we need to think broader than text only. Sometimes videos or infographics are more helpful to answer questions. This needs to be reflected in your SEO strategy for the coming year. SEO on videos and other content types will become more important and will also be shown more and more by Google directly in the SERP.
What to do for 2025?
- SEO can’t be about only website traffic and attributed conversions any more.
- Create of different types of content aside from texts with SEO in mind.
- Input from SEO on the content that is already created or being created for other marketing purposes.
- Prepare your organization for AI. Don’t try to fight it, but embrace this opportunity and experiment with it.
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