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Google: Machine Written Content May Be Okay For Ranking Soon One Day

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Google has talked about how machine written content is currently against Google’s guidelines but some day might not be. We heard Google talk about this change in 2017, yes over four years ago, but still today, machine generated content is against Google’s guidelines. But that may change soon, suggests John Mueller of Google.

John Mueller spoke about this topic again, just this past Friday, about how Google will eventually not care if the content is generated by a machine or a human but rather if the content is overall quality. This came up at the 54:19 mark where John said “my feeling is at some point that is going to shift a little bit in the sense that we’ll focus more on the quality rather than how it was generated.”

John feels that some time in the near future that “some mix of maybe automatically generated content and human curated content I imagine will become normal.”

You can listen to it here at the 54 mark:

Here is the transcript:

From our guidelines it is the case that if it’s automatically generated content it should be blocked by robots for example. But my feeling is at some point that is going to shift a little bit in the sense that we’ll focus more on the quality rather than how it was generated.

And that’s something where I could imagine that there might be some setups for automatically generated content where you can actually create something that is fairly useful, where based on maybe the input data that comes in it’s actually something that is useful for people. So I know for example I think in the US some of the news sites use feeds from the different institutes for earthquake detection and they will automatically generate a news article if they see that one of these feeds says oh there was an earthquake in this big city. And they will take this automatically generated content and publish it initially because it’s like as soon as possible get the information out there. But they’ll also have people who go in and actually create something useful on top of that.

So some mix of maybe automatically generated content and human curated content I imagine will become normal. But we’ll continue to have the the really low effort automatically generated content as well where people just say oh I want to target this keywords give me five paragraphs of text and make it look like it’s written in English. And you like a normal person looks at it and reads through it and says this doesn’t make much sense or these sentences don’t fit together. And this kind of low effort content I think will continue to be something that our systems will try to recognize as low quality maybe spam and treat appropriately. And in the end if it’s low quality content it doesn’t matter if it was written by a person or by a machine, it’s like it’s not that useful for people.

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Forum discussion at YouTube Community.

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5 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Search Strategy

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With the global economic downturn, inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and uncertainty due to the Ukraine war, this year’s holiday shopping season promises to be very challenging. Will people be in the mood to spend despite the gloom? Or will they rein in their enthusiasm and save for the year ahead?

With these issues in mind, here are five considerations to support your search engine optimization strategy this holiday shopping season:

1. Start early.

Rising prices are likely to mean shoppers will start researching their holiday spending earlier than ever to nab the best bargains. Therefore, retailers must roll out their holiday product and category pages — and launch any promotions — sooner to ensure their pages get crawled and indexed by search engines in good time.

Some e-commerce stores manage to get their pages ranking early by updating and reusing the same section of the website for holiday content and promotions, rotating between content for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine gifts, Fourth of July sales, etc. This approach can help you retain the momentum, links and authority you build up with Google and get your holiday pages visible and ranking quickly.

2. Make research an even bigger priority.

With all the uncertainty this year, it’s vital to use SEO research to identify the trending seasonal keywords and search phrases in your retail vertical — and then optimize content accordingly.

With tools such as Google Trends you can extract helpful insights based on the types of searches people are making. For example, with many fashion retailers now charging for product returns, will prioritizing keywords such as “free returns” get more search traction? And with money being tighter, will consumers stick with brands they trust rather than anything new — meaning brand searches might be higher?

3. Make greater use of Google Shopping.

To get the most out of their holiday spending, consumers are more likely to turn to online marketplaces such as Google Shopping as they make it easier to compare products, features and prices, as well as to identify the best deals both online and in nearby stores.

Therefore, take a combined approach which includes listing in Google Shopping and at the same time optimizing product detail pages on your e-commerce site to ensure they’re unique and provide more value than competitors’ pages. Be precise with product names on Google Shopping (e.g., do the names contain the words people are searching for?); ensure you provide all the must-have information Google requires; and set a price that’s not too far from the competition. 

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4. Give other search sources the attention they deserve.

Earlier this year Google itself acknowledged that consumers — especially younger consumers — are starting to use TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites for search. In fact, research suggests 11 percent of product searches now start on TikTok and 15 percent on Instagram. Younger consumers in particular are more engaged by visual content, which may explain why they’re embracing visually focused social sites for search. So, as part of your search strategy, create and share content on popular social media sites that your target customers visit.

Similarly, with people starting their shopping searches on marketplaces such as Amazon.com, optimizing any listings you have on the site should be part of your strategy. And thankfully, the better optimized your product detail pages are for Amazon (with unique, useful content), the better they will rank on Google as well!

5. Hold paid budget for late opportunities.

The greater uncertainty and volatility this holiday season mean you must keep a close eye on shopper behavior and be ready to embrace opportunities that emerge later on. Getting high organic rankings for late promotions is always more challenging, so hold some paid search budget back to help drive traffic to those pages — via Google Ads, for example. Important keywords to include in late season search ad campaigns include “delivery before Christmas” and “same-day-delivery.” For locally targeted search ads, consider “pick up any time before Christmas.”

The prospect of a tough, unpredictable holiday shopping season means search teams must roll out seasonal SEO plans early, closely track shoppers’ behavior, and be ready to adapt as things change.

Marcus Pentzek is chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, the global provider of search data, software and consulting solutions.

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