Content marketers know that buyers turn to the search engine (Google, for short) throughout the buyer journey. But Google created a lot of disruption in with seemingly endless core changes that had marketers and SEO experts scrambling. Some of those changes started at the back end of 2022 – with its E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trust) standard. Followed by the addition of another E and T (E-E-A-T-T) for Experience and Transparency. Of course, there was also the sunsetting of Google Analytics with the release and (stiff) learning curve of GA4, and finally the meteoric rise of generative AI.
I looked at the top five most popular MarketMuse blogs for the year to see what marketers were curious to learn. And not surprisingly, they wanted to learn how to better optimize for E-E-A-T, and also, how to better plan in general.
Here’s our countdown.
With Google’s landmark study in 2011, marketers were faced with the uncomfortable knowledge that they no longer controlled the buyer journey. Even worse, they might not have an opportunity to tell their stories to prospects. It was no longer about ad campaigns — it was about storytelling. This marked the beginning where leading brands realized they better have someone in charge of content. Still, the role of a content strategist is fairly young, not completely understood by executive management, and is varied across industries. It may be viewed as an SEO position — or a Content Marketing one.
And indeed, the Content Strategist is expected to create a blueprint for driving targeted inbound traffic into the marketing funnel with engaging content in all formats. The person needs to be a hydra with expertise in Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Storytelling, Editorial, and even Content Operations.
With all these skills necessary to succeed, it’s not surprising that Content Strategy: A Complete Guide is a perennial favorite and came in at number 5. The page weighs in at a hefty 9500 words — because it is indeed a comprehensive tome. Bookmark it as a handy reference tool.
Did I mention that a content strategist needs to be an expert on SEO? That means having an understanding of the technical aspects, not just what’s written. The Complete SEO Content and Technical Audit Guide is a time-saver (and career-accelerator) as it provides an in-depth tutorial on how to figure out what you have, what you need to fix (or update), and identify gaps.
It gives you the basics on what you need to know regarding technical jargon (e.g. 301 redirects). It also provides guidance on what to do when you have two pages that are pretty similar. (You don’t want them competing for traffic).
Prioritize your long to-do list of content that you want to improve by using MarketMuse’s Topical Authority and Personalized Difficulty analysis. If you aren’t familiar with “Personalized Difficulty,” it’s a calculation of how hard it would be to win a topic — based on your domain expertise.
Think of it this way. The degree of difficulty in becoming an Olympic swimmer is different for a nationally ranked swimmer in high school vs someone who has only floated in a backyard pool.
Personalized Difficulty rating by MarketMuse is a must-have tool for any content planner.
The Google core update of Dec ’22 hastened the importance of topic clusters. To show expertise over a given subject (the first E in E-A-T) you had to have, not one article on a given topic, but a cluster of articles to offer comprehensive coverage of a specific subject.
What Are Topic Clusters reveals the secret to quickly becoming a domain expert by walking you through the elements necessary (a pillar page, supporting pages, and internal linking — with descriptive anchor texts.
What I like about this blog is that it helps communicate the rationale behind creating all this content — which might help in rationalizing budgets.
Our second most popular article this past year was once again on content strategy. Like I said, management often doesn’t have a good understanding of what they want from the role. Perhaps they don’t understand the purpose of all that content — particularly if they are very campaign and MQL oriented.
If this sounds like your situation, stress no more. This article can help you manage up effectively by showing you how to map content to various business goals. It provides an important list of questions that management must answer — in order for you to plan an effective strategy. Questions like, how will you value this content?
Importantly, What Is Content Strategy? (With Examples) shows you different types of content various brands are putting out at various stages of the funnel. The piece also includes links to create content strategies
At the top of this post, I mentioned that Google created a fair amount of agita for content marketers and SEO experts with its new quality standard, E-A-T. How impactful is that standard? At SMX Next 22, Google’s Vice President of Search, Hyung-Jin Kim, said “E-A-T is a template for how we rate an individual site. We do it to every single query and every single result. It’s pervasive throughout every single thing we do.”
The A in E-A-T is Authority — and to show authority you need to construct a knowledge graph around entities (people, places, and organizations) and link them to various topics/domains. The Knowledge Panel is a byproduct of having established this authority. It’s automatically generated from facts stored in Google’s Knowledge Graph. The graph taps factually accurate information (e.g. Sundar Pichai is the CEO of Google) from authoritative sources like Wikidata and Wikipedia — and shows the relationship between those entities.
Which brings us to the most popular blog on MarketMuse for 2023 – how to get a google knowledge panel.
The blog offers best practices for updating your wikipage, establishing domain expertise through social media, and using schema mark-up to help crawlers understand the structure of your site.
It’s easy to see how the Knowledge Graph will play a huge role in generative AI technology — as it helps the machine to construct more accurate responses to conversational questions.
I have a feeling this blog will be very popular in 2024 as well.
What you should do now
When you’re ready… here are 3 ways we can help you publish better content, faster:
- Book time with MarketMuse Schedule a live demo with one of our strategists to see how MarketMuse can help your team reach their content goals.
- If you’d like to learn how to create better content faster, visit our blog. It’s full of resources to help scale content.
- If you know another marketer who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Diane Burley has three decades experience creating high-impact content at scale. As a published author and seasoned technologist, she translates complex concepts into clear, engaging messaging that connects with audiences. She can help you build a content factory that drives results.