It’s always good at the start of a new year to take stock of where you’ve been, and where’d you’d like to go. As a content team, we took on a lot of new challenges last year, but in many ways feel like we’re only at the beginning of where we want to be with all that’s opening up for the year ahead.
Rather than offer a summation of the biggest content trends for 2023 – let’s be honest, all the “10 biggest trends” pieces have already been done in January, and are often employing a little guesswork – we thought we’d take you through some of the biggest topics on our radar, and lift the lid a little on how we may use them in 2023.
So, here goes, these are things to watch in content:
AI: Killing content or a useful sidekick?
AI content, particularly the content options provided by industry sensation ChatGPT3 – one of our team has been getting to grips with ChatGPT3 in-depth this month – have been a big focus of late 2022 and early 2023 for pretty much everyone involved in content.
As with most new innovations, there are a range of responses to the trend, from those who see it as a harbinger of doom for authentic content, not to mention a stealer of jobs when ‘the robots’ do all the writing. There are others who have dived in feet first and handed over much of their content creation to AI, seeing a range of results in terms of success. There are others who are very open to the potential of using AI content, but are still unsure of how Google will receive and rank AI content in the months to come and are worried the risks outweigh the potential rewards.
For us, it’s ultimately about exploring the potential of AI content processes to strengthen and streamline the quality and efficiency of our work in key areas, to free us up to spend more dedicated time on the areas that benefit most from the ‘human touch’.
There are elements of the content creation process that AI is already demonstrably gifted (can an AI be 'gifted'?) at - when steered correctly - for example preparing a page structure with suggested headings and topics. Other areas where AI can refine processes that are time-intensive when done manually include keyword research, keyword categorisation and a level of competitor analysis.
The potential of AI processes - that we’ve worked closely on shaping to suit our needs - to take on certain tasks, could then allow our content creators more time and freedom to focus on what matters most; channeling those sources of research & analysis into the most engaging, informative and entertaining content possible.
Audio on SERPS: How to strike the right tone
For many brands, the SEO potential of audio has largely been overlooked. They have traditionally viewed their audio output and their presence on SERPs as relatively separate. Audio snippets are for social, podcasts are for the audio streaming platforms, while their ‘written copy’ ranks on Google.
While we are joining other areas of our team in thinking of the potential of video in both SERP analysis and digital outreach, one area of real focus for us as a content team is the potential of audio content to rank on SERPs.
For those clients of ours who are putting the time and effort into making podcasts that provide users with genuine insight, we want to help them maximise the value of their creative output and get as many eyeballs – or should that be ear buds – on it as possible.
To key elements for properly ranking audio content on SERPs are description and transcription, two processes by which we can signal to Google exactly what value the podcast offers to users. But beyond that, there is keyword research and trend analysis which can help inform potential audio topics, site architecture considerations to provide the ideal placement for your audio content hub, outreach potential to bring links into some of your audio content resources.
Essentially, the potential of audio SEO is as strong as it’s ever been, and we’ll be looking to make the most of it this year.
At the end of 2022, Google’s quality rater guidelines were updated: E-A-T became E-E-A-T. Now, ‘Experience’ counts as much as being an Expert, Authoritative and Trustworthy. In essence, this means that Google will now start to recognise value in content created by an author who has first-hand experience in the topic they’ve written about.
In many ways, it’s an obvious continuation of the previous quality measure; you'd like to think that anyone recognised as an authoritative and trustworthy expert has reached that position through a level of first-hand experience. But we all know that is not always the case, particularly online where countless people seem to present themselves as experts on everything from economic policy to viral pandemic responses to football tactics, often without any experience in that field.
So, if this helps the quality of content being offered to users elevate and refine even further, we’re all for it, and will definitely be looking to highlight the first-hand experience of our expert clients in the content we create for them.