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10 Content Marketing Trends To Watch In 2023

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10 Content Marketing Trends To Watch In 2023

Check out these content marketing trends you’ll want to have on your radar as you strategize for a successful 2023.

A triage of increased consumer demand, search and content convergence, and AI awareness makes 2023 a challenging but opportunistic year for content marketers.

As the demand for content hits an all-time high, quality and helpful content is becoming a number one priority.

This, combined with a meteoric rise in AI-generated content, represents a paradigm shift in how marketers approach content.

Content Marketing Trend For 2023: A New Content Battleground

Many of the content trends we identified last year still remain vital and have not changed.

For example, the focus on intent and proving value, the fusion of multiple media formats, and the emphasis on the processing and utilization of data as an informer have not changed.

The same applies to the vital art of storytelling and account-based content marketing. However, as content production surges, a lot has changed.

The content marketing market is poised to grow by $584.02 billion during 2023-2027.

2023 represents a new content battleground for content marketers, with billions of pieces published by brands, individuals, and machines.

As a result, ensuring your content is discovered and consumed by its intended audience will be more challenging.

Marketers are competing on a new content battleground where quality meets quantity, and organizations need to compete for consumers’ attention in different ways.

Let’s take a look at 10 content marketing trends in 2023.

1. Digital And Content Evolution

For all the talk over the last few years around digital disruption, the reality is that it has already happened. We are now in a period of evolution, meaning content marketers must change mindsets and skill sets.

As more organizations focus on personalization and the user experience, old content strategies must be updated for multiple new digital experiences across critical moments in the customer journey.

With so much online content that addresses the top of the funnel, are marketers missing the mark at the bottom? After all, executives want to see content that converts and helps the sales cycle.

In addition, while marketers experiment with new technologies, are they utilizing their existing ones?

Content creates data. According to the IDC, the Global DataSphere is expected to more than double in size from 2022 to 2026.

Are marketers using what insights they currently have access to or focusing on what is new?

Tips

  • Tap into your existing digital technologies for real-time search and data insights to better understand what motivates your prospects.
  • Balance utilizing what you have vs. what you may want in the future.
  • Keep an eye on your data and understand what you have before you create more.
  • Let the data you have now help inform future decisions.

Read more on SEJ:

2. AI Growth And Conversational Infusion

The introduction of OpenAI and ChatGPT allows marketers to interact with technology in a conversational manner for the first time.

As a result, AI will be infused into content marketing strategies at a scale never witnessed in our lifetime.

ChatGPT reached 100 million monthly active users just two months after launch.

While this is not another ChatGPT post (there is plenty out there!), I believe it is essential to understand how AI has evolved and what it is before you build content and generative AI strategies.

Image from author, March 2023

Tips

  • Understand before you experiment.
  • Experiment and balance this with what content goals you currently have.
  • Exercise caution with generative AI and ensure it has human supervision.
  • Do not create for content’s sake; think of the reader, not the robot.
  • Follow Google’s guidelines on Helpful Content Update and E-E-A-T.

Read more on SEJ:

3. Content, Search, And SEO Fusion

Recent search engine guidelines such as the Helpful Content Update and Product Review Updates mean marketers need to be more thoughtful about the content they create.

Content needs to be created for the human reader rather than a search engine ranking to stand out from the noise.

As content, search, and SEO strategies fuse, marketers must rethink what they write and how SEO, content, search, and digital teams work together – and with AI.

The introduction of ChatGPT has caused a stir.

Personally, I believe too many marketers are reading and experimenting, offering opinions, and sharing clippings. The worry here is that both SEO professionals and content marketers lose focus on the now.

With over 90% of organizations planning to utilize SEO more this year, it is essential to focus on high-impact strategies and consider how and where AI-generated content fits in.

Tips

  • Think about who will want to read your content before you start.
  • Utilize SEO insights to inform content strategies for PPC.
  • Combine SEO and PPC to have more control over the customer experience.
  • Leverage AI but approach generative AI with caution and supervision to avoid penalties.
  • Embrace automation for SEO tasks that do not need a manual touch.

Read more on SEJ:

4. Purpose And Differentiation

Content that lacks purpose will struggle to compete on the search engine results pages (SERPs). To ensure content is discoverable and found online, differentiation is needed.

Marketers need to rethink why they are producing, how, and who for.

They also need to ensure that branded content and messaging are relevant to the intent of their target audience and meet their needs and wants.

Changes to SEO/search algorithms (64%), changes to social media algorithms (53%), and data management/analytics (48%) are among the top concerns for B2C marketers.

As more content goes online, consumers can find it hard to find the information they really want and need. As a result, marketers will need to find new ways to differentiate their content with creativity, new formats, research, and unique approaches.

For example, let’s be honest, at the moment, the internet is awash with articles on AI and ChatGPT. However, I only read 20% from sources I trust, as everyone seems to be an AI expert at the moment.

Content will be being duplicated at scale, and we should expect a rise in spam, content detection, and copywriting technologies very soon!

Tips

  • Write with purpose and passion, something AI cannot replicate.
  • Think about how you can combine multiple content formats in major assets.
  • Utilize visuals to complement text.
  • Know your market, product, message, and goals before writing anything.
  • Think how you can be different compared to others who will be covering similar topics.

Read more on SEJ:

5. Visual Variation

Visual content is in demand, from visuals for search experiences and ranking to infographics, images, and charts.

With the explosion of text-based content online produced by humans and machines, visual content marketing can help simplify content. It also offers alternative ways to interact with consumers.

For example, video is the top channel for B2B marketing, and the hot new trend is short-form video. TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts are now some of the most popular media for brands.

Harnessing the power of video SEO can dramatically increase the visibility of your content across search engines. In addition, you can optimize your videos for higher rankings by refining and adjusting specific elements.

Tips

  • Look at YouTube suggest and SEO keyword research for ideas and recommendations.
  • Match your content so it is relevant for the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel – demo videos work very well at the bottom of the funnel.
  • Create short-form video content (60 seconds) so you don’t lose consumers’ attention.
  • Repurpose long-form videos.
  • Share and promote.

Read more on SEJ:

6. AI Experiments Vs. Experience

As I mentioned earlier in his article, experiment with new technologies.

With ChatGPT reaching 1 million users in just under two months, marketers are experimenting with AI-generated content at a massive scale.

The best content marketers will learn how to work with AI.

This means understanding limitations and exercising caution while adding their experience to produce and supervise AI content tools set to flood the market.

Only 10% of marketers currently use AI to generate content, but over 58% plan to increase their usage this year. This shows that many marketers are exercising caution while they see:

  • How generative AI and new tools/applications perform and where and when to use them.
  • How new AI features will be baked into search engines, and what this means.

Undoubtedly, we will see a super-accelerated use of AI, but it’s also vital that experience content marketers drive experimentation and selection and supervises its usage.

Tips

  • Find time to experiment with ChatGPT with a lens on how it can help with your specific content needs.
  • Remember to look at the plethora of tools that help with creation, distribution, and measurement – think full cycle.
  • Before publishing anything, fact-check, edit, and copy-check – add your personality.
  • Keep a very close eye on how it is showing on the SERPs and its performance.

Read more on SEJ:

7. Focus And Process

The core fundamentals of good content marketing have not changed. Marketers should not lose focus on that.

In 2023, production and approval processes will need to change. Organizations will need to adapt to the fact that AI is going mainstream. They must adapt processes to accommodate AI to help inform and assist content marketing strategies.

40% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy; 33% have a process, but it’s not documented, and 27% have no plan.

When anything new, it is natural (and essential) that humans want to experiment. However, marketers also have current goals to achieve, so balance is needed.

Managing time and resources will become necessary to balance the scales. Do not lose focus on what you need to do now while keeping an eye on the future.

Tips

  • Do not lose focus on your current goals.
  • Look at the best use cases for the usage of AI and where in your content marketing funnel it fits.
  • Insert this into your process – once you are certain you have selected the right technologies.
  • Ensure you have a content marketing expert supervising inputs and approving outputs.

Read more on SEJ:

8. Consistency, Consumption, And Value

Consistently producing content for content’s sake will not reap the rewards. Instead, quality over quantity will lead to better engagement in 2023.

Too much content can confuse consumers. This is especially true for content with no relevancy, shows no authority, and offers little value.

83% of marketers say focusing on quality rather than quantity of content is better, even if it means posting less often.

If people don’t consume your content, there is no value in creating it in the first place.

Furthermore, people don’t consume media in silos, so it’s important to distribute your content in multiple formats across multiple channels.

Tips

  • Ensure you are consistent in your tone, voice, and messaging per your marketing personas.
  • Test a few different formats for your content (i.e., blog vs. video) and see what performs.
  • Measure value beyond traffic and look at bounce rates, engagements, and conversions.
  • Ensure stakeholders are aware of brand value and lift if messaging is a key goal.

Read more on SEJ:

9. Intelligent Automation

Conversational and generative AI has taken most column and opinion pieces over the last few months. However, the use of AI automation for many other use cases has been on the rise for years.

This includes use cases such as the intelligent automation (IA) of website error detection and automated fixes, curation, distribution, and reporting.

68% of B2B marketers implement automation in their marketing strategy.

In the current content climate, it’s essential to know how generative and conversational AI differs from other AI applications, as per point No. 2 earlier in this article.

AI can be used for various tasks, such as generative applications, image recognition, etc.

Furthermore, intelligent automation takes this capability further by analyzing output from the decision-making process to execute increasingly complex workflows without manual labor.

This goes beyond what standalone generative and conversational AI offers.

When comparing intelligent automation vs. artificial intelligence, one could not exist without the other; they must go hand in hand if businesses want the best results possible.

Tips

  • Ensure you list standalone AI tools vs. platforms that already have AI baked into their tech stack.
  • Utilize intelligent automation for backend web fixes, internal linking, and reporting.
  • Use automation technologies that can give insights and automate time-consuming technical tasks.

Read more on SEJ:

10. Human And Machine Symbiosis

AI will not replace humans. Nothing can beat human empathy, judgment, and creativity. If humans and machines work together, it will not replace content marketers’ jobs.

Content marketers’ jobs are not at risk for those who are thoughtfully embracing AI to A (assist) and I (inform).

AI is not ready to make unsupervised decisions.

Human-In-The-LoopImage from Klippa, March 2023

Success lies in balancing human input, supervision, judgment, and skill.

Expect to see an increased focus on collaboration between humans and machines. AI should aim to augment human capabilities and improve overall content marketing performance.

Read more on SEJ:

Conclusion

The bar is high in the new content marketing battleground; “average” content will no longer do.

We are set to see a content explosion on the web, and only those who create unique, helpful, and differentiated content will stand out and win.

Embracing and utilizing AI is an obvious must, but so is exercising caution and aligning it with human capital.

The link bait headlines titled “AI is here to replace…” is fluff in marketing!

Processes need to change; marketers will adapt, and those who can balance current and future focus will progress professionally and personally.

Tap into these content trends for a more innovative and ultimately successful marketing strategy this year.

More Resources:


Featured Image: 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock



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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

Google removed the Covid-era structured data associated with the Home Activities rich results that allowed online events to be surfaced in search since August 2020, publishing a mention of the removal in the search documentation changelog.

Home Activities Rich Results

The structured data for the Home Activities rich results allowed providers of online livestreams, pre-recorded events and online events to be findable in Google Search.

The original documentation has been completely removed from the Google Search Central webpages and now redirects to a changelog notation that explains that the Home Activity rich results is no longer available for display.

The original purpose was to allow people to discover things to do from home while in quarantine, particularly online classes and events. Google’s rich results surfaced details of how to watch, description of the activities and registration information.

Providers of online events were required to use Event or Video structured data. Publishers and businesses who have this kind of structured data should be aware that this kind of rich result is no longer surfaced but it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a burden, it’s not going to hurt anything to publish structured data that isn’t used for rich results.

The changelog for Google’s official documentation explains:

“Removing home activity documentation
What: Removed documentation on home activity structured data.

Why: The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

Read more about Google’s Home Activities rich results:

Google Announces Home Activities Rich Results

Read the Wayback Machine’s archive of Google’s original announcement from 2020:

Home activities

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Olga Strel

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Google’s Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

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Google's Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, Gary Illyes, Analyst at Google, revealed that the search engine takes a binary approach when assessing a website’s lastmod signal from sitemaps.

The revelation came as Illyes encouraged website owners to upgrade to WordPress 6.5, which now natively supports the lastmod element in sitemaps.

When Mark Williams-Cook asked if Google has a “reputation system” to gauge how much to trust a site’s reported lastmod dates, Illyes stated, “It’s binary: we either trust it or we don’t.”

No Shades Of Gray For Lastmod

The lastmod tag indicates the date of the most recent significant update to a webpage, helping search engines prioritize crawling and indexing.

Illyes’ response suggests Google doesn’t factor in a website’s history or gradually build trust in the lastmod values being reported.

Google either accepts the lastmod dates provided in a site’s sitemap as accurate, or it disregards them.

This binary approach reinforces the need to implement the lastmod tag correctly and only specify dates when making meaningful changes.

Illyes commends the WordPress developer community for their work on version 6.5, which automatically populates the lastmod field without extra configuration.

Accurate Lastmod Essential For Crawl Prioritization

While convenient for WordPress users, the native lastmod support is only beneficial if Google trusts you’re using it correctly.

Inaccurate lastmod tags could lead to Google ignoring the signal when scheduling crawls.

With Illyes confirming Google’s stance, it shows there’s no room for error when using this tag.

Why SEJ Cares

Understanding how Google acts on lastmod can help ensure Google displays new publish dates in search results when you update your content.

It’s an all-or-nothing situation – if the dates are deemed untrustworthy, the signal could be disregarded sitewide.

With the information revealed by Illyes, you can ensure your implementation follows best practices to the letter.


Featured Image: Danishch/Shutterstock

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

There’s one thing standing between you and several days of SEO, socializing, and Singaporean sunshine: your boss (and their Q4 budget 😅).

But don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Here are 5 arguments (and an example message) you can use to persuade your boss to send you to Ahrefs Evolve.

About Ahrefs Evolve

  • 2 days in sunny Singapore (Oct 24–25)
  • 500 digital marketing enthusiasts
  • 18 top speakers from around the world

Learn more and buy tickets.

SEO is changing at a breakneck pace. Between AI Overviews, Google’s rolling update schedule, their huge API leak, and all the documents released during their antitrust trial, it’s hard to keep up. What works in SEO today?

You could watch a YouTube video or two, maybe even attend an hour-long webinar. Or, much more effective: you could spend two full days learning from a panel of 18 international SEO experts, discussing your takeaways live with other attendees.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve speakers from around the world.

Our world-class speakers are tackling the hardest problems and best opportunities in SEO today. The talk agenda covers topics like:

  • Responding to AI Overviews: Amanda King will teach you how to respond to AI Overviews, Google Gemini, and other AI search functions.
  • Surviving (and thriving) Google’s algo updates: Lily Ray will talk through Google’s recent updates, and share data-driven recommendations for what’s working in search today.
  • Planning for the future of SEO: Bernard Huang will talk through the failures of AI content and the path to better results.

(And attendees will get video recordings of each session, so you can share the knowledge with your teammates too.)

View the full talk agenda here.

There’s no substitute for meeting with influencers, peers, and partners in real life. 

Conferences create serendipity: chance encounters and conversations that can have a huge positive impact on you and your business. By way of example, these are some of the real benefits that have come my way from attending conferences:

  • Conversations that lead to new customers for our business,
  • Invitations to speak at events,
  • New business partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, and
  • Meeting people that we went on to hire.

There’s a “halo” effect that lingers long after the event is over: the people you meet will remember you for longer, think more highly of you, and be more likely to help you out, should you ask.

(And let’s not forget: there’s a lot of information, particularly in SEO, that only gets shared in person.)

The “international” part of Evolve matters too. Evolve is a different crowd to your local run-of-the-mill conference. It’s a chance to meet with people from markets you wouldn’t normally meet—from Australia to Indonesia and beyond.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve attendees by home country.

If you’re an Ahrefs customer (thank you!), you’ll learn tons of tips, tricks and workflow improvements from attending Evolve. You’ll have opportunities to:

  • Attend talks from the Ahrefs team, showcasing advanced features and strategies that you can use in your own business.
  • Pick our brains at the Ahrefs booth, where we’ll offer informal 1:1 coaching sessions and previews of up-coming releases (like our new content optimization tool 🤫).
  • Join dedicated Ahrefs training workshops, hosted by the Ahrefs team and Ahrefs power users (tickets for these workshops will sold separately).

As a manager myself, there are two questions I need answered when approving expenses:

  • Is this a reasonable cost?
  • Will we see a return on this investment?

To answer those questions: early bird tickets for Evolve start at $570. For context, “super early bird” tickets for MozCon (another popular SEO conference) this year were almost twice as much: $999.

There’s a lot included in the ticket price too:

  • World-class international speakers,
  • 5-star hotel venue,
  • 5-star hotel food (two tea breaks with snacks & lunch),
  • Networking afterparty, and
  • Full talk recordings to later share with your team.

SEO is a crucial growth channel for most businesses. If you can improve your company’s SEO performance after attending Evolve (and we think you will), you’ll very easily see a positive return on the investment.

Traveling to tropical Singapore (and eating tons of satay) is great for you, but it’s also great for your team. Attending Evolve is a chance to break with routine, reignite your passion for marketing, and come back to your job reinvigorated.

This would be true for any international conference, but it goes double for Singapore. It’s a truly unique place: an ultra-safe, high-tech city that brings together dozens of different cultures.

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Little India in Singapore

You’ll discover different beliefs, working practices, and ways of business—and if you’re anything like me, come back a richer, wiser person for the experience.

If you’re nervous about pitching your boss on attending Evolve, remember: the worst that can happen is a polite “not this time”, and you’ll find yourself in the same position you are now.

So here goes: take this message template, tweak it to your liking, and send it to your boss over email or Slack… and I’ll see you in Singapore 😉

Email template

Hi [your boss’ name],

Our SEO tool provider, Ahrefs, is holding an SEO and digital marketing conference in Singapore in October. I’d like to attend, and I think it’s in the company’s interest:

  • The talks will help us respond to all the changes happening in SEO today. I’m particularly interested in the talks about AI and recent Google updates. 
  • I can network with my peers. I can discover what’s working at other companies, and explore opportunities for partnerships and co-marketing.
  • I can learn how we can use Ahrefs better across the organization.
  • I’ll come back reinvigorated with new ideas and motivation, and I can share my top takeaways and talk recordings with my team after the event.

Early bird tickets are $570. Given how important SEO is to the growth of our business, I think we’ll easily see a return from the spend.

Can we set up time to chat in more detail? Thanks!

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