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7 Ways in Which Content Marketing Changed in 2024

The landscape of content marketing has seen significant shifts in 2024, mainly due to Google’s stringent March update. If their is one key takeaway, it is that those companies who made writers redundant for the sake of leveraging AI – are back to square one, as we will explain.

Background to recent content marketing evolution:

Content marketing is a results game and using clever marketing strategies delight both the consumer and the brand. At an operational level, successful content marketing aims to effectively produce and distribute valuable content primarily through digital channels, enhancing brand awareness, engagement, and ultimately, conversion rates. Research such as that found in the study “Digital Marketing Strategy to Increase Sales Conversion on E-commerce Platforms” published in the Journal of Administrative and Managerial Science highlights the critical role of content marketing within broader digital marketing strategies to boost sales conversion on e-commerce platforms. 

By deploying tactics like SEO, social media engagement, and content personalization, companies can attract and retain a larger customer base, encouraging deeper interaction and transaction commitment. Additionally, innovative methodologies discussed in the “Content Marketing and Big Data Ethics” article from Springer outline the use of data-driven techniques such as sentiment analysis and machine learning to refine content strategies further. These approaches help marketers understand customer sentiments and preferences, allowing for more targeted and effective content that resonates with audiences. Collectively, these studies underscore that while content marketing should drive business growth, it must also be developed ethically, considering consumer well-being alongside profitability.

Yet now we have to take a step back and consider how the latest decisions of Google reshaped all of our approaches in content marketing.

 Here’s an exploration of the top 7 changes, highlighting companies that have adapted well to the new environment.

1. Increased Emphasis on Originality

With Google penalizing unoriginal content more than ever, brands have had to ensure their content is unique. Canva stands out by enabling users to create distinctive and engaging visual content, helping them avoid duplication penalties while enhancing user interaction.

2. Rise of E-E-A-T Standards

The introduction of Extended Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) has made these elements more crucial. WebMD continues to lead by ensuring all its medical articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals, thus maintaining high E-E-A-T scores and favorable search rankings.

3. Focus on Technical SEO

Technical SEO has become increasingly important as Google cracks down on sites with errors and outdated information. Shopify excels in this area by offering a platform that ensures excellent site speed and mobile optimization, which are essential for meeting Google’s technical standards.

What's Digital Marketing?4. Integration of AI with Human Oversight

Forget the idea of letting AI do all the work because that will lead to outright de-indexing of your entire domain – as we have seen with a few hundred cases now. With increased scrutiny on AI-generated content, the integration of artificial intelligence with human editing has become a vital strategy. Companies are using AI to draft content, which is then refined by human editors to ensure accuracy, creativity, and compliance with SEO guidelines.

5. Greater Need for Transparency

Transparency in how content is created and the affiliations behind it has become more important. Patagonia has been exemplary in this regard, providing extensive details on their environmental efforts and the origins of their materials, which enhances trust and authority.

6. Deeper Content Rather Than Broader

The emphasis on deep, expert knowledge has shifted content strategies from breadth to depth. The Spruce offers comprehensive, expert-verified content in specific niches like gardening and home repair, aligning well with Google’s preference for in-depth understanding.

7. Strategic Use of Multimedia

To better engage users and extend their interaction time on site, multimedia content usage has increased. Adobe helps businesses create and integrate high-quality visual and interactive elements into their content, improving user experience and SEO performance.

Google has a rich history of taking bold and impactful action

Now let’s take a trip down memory lane. Google’s history of algorithm updates has often led to significant shifts in search engine rankings, affecting many websites across various industries. Some of these updates have famously impacted major companies, altering their search visibility and, consequently, their digital marketing effectiveness. Here are a few notable examples of past Google updates and the major companies that were affected:

1. Panda Update (2011)

The Panda update targeted websites with low-quality content, such as those with high amounts of duplicate content, thin content, or content that was not useful to users. It dramatically changed the search results and affected about 12% of search queries. eBay was one of the high-profile victims of this update. The e-commerce giant saw a significant drop in rankings for countless pages, reportedly due to its many product listings that were seen as thin content.

2. Penguin Update (2012)

Google launched the Penguin update to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results, particularly those buying links or obtaining them through networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings. This update affected about 3.1% of English queries. famously got penalized during the Penguin update for tactics that involved encouraging colleges and universities to link to its web pages in exchange for discounts on products, which Google saw as a violation of its guidelines.

Hospitality Management Software3. Mobilegeddon (2015)

This update prioritized mobile-friendly websites in Google’s mobile search results. It was a response to the increasing use of mobile devices for internet browsing. Companies that hadn’t made their websites mobile-friendly saw declines in mobile search rankings. Reddit, among others, initially struggled with this update due to parts of its site not being optimized for mobile users, affecting its mobile search visibility.

4. Medic Update (2018)

The so-called Medic Update was another significant core update that seemed to disproportionately impact medical, health, and wellness content, hence the name. However, it broadly focused on YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites. Big players in the health sector, including some popular health forums and alternative medicine sites like Homeopathy & More, saw substantial drops in their search visibility because their content was deemed less authoritative or trustworthy by the new algorithm standards.

Mobile slot games offer an exhilarating blend of convenience and fun that effectively captures the thrill of playing slots, all at the tip of your fingers!5. BERT Update (2019)

Introduced to better understand natural language processing, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) was designed to comprehend the nuances and context of words in searches. While this update didn’t necessarily “hurt” big companies, it did require many to rethink their content strategies to focus more on natural language and answering user queries effectively. Companies that relied heavily on keyword stuffing without providing real answers saw declines in traffic.

These examples illustrate how Google’s constant updates aim to improve user experience by prioritizing high-quality, relevant, and user-friendly content. It also increases profit for BlackRock and Vanguard – because each time SME’s get hurt on organic search, they grab onto pay per click for survival purposes – and Google shareholders are the ultimate winners. Major companies often feel the impact of these updates, especially if their online strategies heavily depend on Google’s organic traffic.

The above mentioned strategies reflect the evolving demands for more authentic, valuable, and technically proficient content marketing practices. Companies like Canva, WebMD, Shopify, Patagonia, The Spruce, and Adobe demonstrate that adaptability and adherence to updated SEO standards are key to thriving in the dynamic digital marketing environment.

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