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When it comes to navigating a period of recent upheaval, few industries have had to deal with change as much as the world of search engine optimization. It was chaotic, to put it mildly.
After surviving the seismic changes of Google’s Helpful Content Update, rolling out in the fall of 2022, SEO professionals have been caught up in the uproar triggered by OpenAI ChatGPT program in early 2023. In February, Google released guidelines for content created by artificial intelligence. Then, in March, it released its first Core Algorithm Update of 2023, followed by a page experience adjustment in April and a significant review system update.
The month of May then arrived, and with it, the annual Google I/O developer conference; this is where the Alphabet Co. announced the gradual deployment a new update for its helpful content system. The update is designed to help the company consider personal and expert perspectives, incorporating a high value placed on experience when it comes to its search results and ranking system.
Suppose we step back and examine the myriad changes throughout 2022 and 2023; we sift through the fog of the “AI vs. Human” content creation debate. Clearing up any confusion, we can focus on the fundamentals of “people-driven content creation” moving forward.
For a truly impactful user experience, designers should prioritize each part of Google’s EEAT guidance: experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. When paired with an effective page experience, quality content will satisfy the algorithm and, more importantly, the visitors.
Google’s useful content update and focus on people-centric content
At the end of 2022, Google completed its Update useful content rollout, a major course tweak designed to be a punch against an overabundance of SEO content first. The goal was to better recognize and reward websites that prioritize people-centric content.
The company is fighting a relentless battle against the worthless, meaningless content that clutters the internet and endlessly frustrates internet users looking for – you guessed it – truly useful content. Google has long been committed to ensuring a quality user experience for everyone who uses its search engine, and with good reason. Website visitors not only deserve high-quality content, but also easy-to-find resources.
From the company Q2 2023 The main March update had similar intentions to the initial useful content update. The company explained, “The changes are intended to improve how our systems evaluate content as a whole.”
First announced in May, the new wave of changes is driven by the same motivation. In addition to a new “Perspectives” filter designed to highlight relevant experiences of others in search results, the progressive update also aims to find “hidden gems” often lost in “unexpected or hard-to-find places”. find”.
Quality content matters whether it comes from AI or human effort
In February 2023, Google clarified its position on AI Generated Content, clearing up the smoldering confusion. The company prioritizes high-quality content, whether generated by humans or machines.
On the Google Search Central blog, the company wrote, “It is important to recognize that not all uses of automation, including AI generation, are spam. Automation has long been used to generate useful content. More so, he continues, “AI can fuel new levels of expression and creativity, and serve as an essential tool to help people create great content for the web.”
This is the heart of the matter: AI is a tool, not a full replacement. It is one tool among many in the creator’s toolbox.
However, it is abundantly clear that using automation or AI strictly to manipulate rankings in search results is considered a violation of company anti-spam policies. The company has a long track record of prioritizing the integrity and reliability of high-quality content.
Intent is the key to Google’s algorithm
When creating content, it is important to begin by clarifying your intention. What is the content of a website used for? The search algorithm is finely tuned to identify generic content markers designed only to grab the attention of crawlers exploring nooks and crannies.
Operate with the intention of delivering “original, valuable content that provides a satisfying experience,” and you’ll set yourself up for success, with the caveat for content creators that any end product “adheres tightly to their area of expertise. “. In 2023, experience could be a finalist for SEO Industry Themes of the Year.
Three questions can serve as effective safeguards during the creative process; Google recommends asking: who? How? For what?
- WHO is the author? Is the signature easy to find? Is additional information about the author(s) accessible or obvious?
- Is that clear how a content item has been created? Is there evidence to support the information provided? Was automation or artificial intelligence used in the creative process? If yes, why?
- For what was the content created? More specifically, how is it useful or useful for visitors?
Adding an E to EAT: the importance of a clear experience
Above all, Google’s ranking systems aim to identify content demonstrating expertise, experience, authority and trustworthiness (EEAT). In December 2022, Google added the second E for experience.
They recognized the importance that visitors place on the validity of information. They want to see proof of an author’s relevant experience. The more the visitor believes in the experience and knowledge of the author, the more likely they are to trust the authority and reliability of the content, and the better their overall experience.
Focus on quality content to improve user experience, however you achieve it
A constant throughout the evolution of Google’s search algorithm is the importance of user experience. Ensuring quality websites are populated for any query is the foundation of visitor retention. A positive user experience encompasses many elements outside of content quality, such as the performance of a site’s pages, but ultimately, content is king.
However you decide to incorporate AI technology into your creative process, the quality and intent behind the content and level of expertise showcased should serve as your benchmarks for lasting success. of your website.