The latest Google Core Update in March 2024 has had a significant impact on the digital marketing world, particularly for those who heavily rely on automated content creation. This update aims to reduce spammy content by over 40% and prioritise helpful, high-quality sites by addressing the surge in generative AI content.

The update raises important questions about the use of AI-generated content in content marketing and SEO:

  • Should we prioritise human-generated SEO content moving forward?
  • Does AI have a place in content marketing?

    Let's delve into these questions!

Understanding the March 2024 Google Core Update

Google’s search updates are always a big deal, but the March 2024 Google Core Update stands out like a neon flamingo at a penguin party!

With AI tools now more accessible and sophisticated, the internet has exploded with AI-generated content. But while AI can produce vast amounts of content at scale, the output quality often varies. This is leading to a proliferation of low-quality, spammy content – and Google’s latest update seeks to curb this trend by refining its algorithms to better identify and penalise such content.

The key objective of the Update is clear: to enhance the user experience by elevating high-quality, valuable content and demoting content that doesn’t meet these standards.

Rethinking content post-update

What does this mean for content marketing, AI and SEO? Here are a few tips to help you thrive on the back of this new update:

1. Emphasise quality over quantity

With Google’s new algorithm, the focus is squarely on quality. Rather than churning out a high volume of lacklustre posts, concentrate on producing fewer but more in-depth and well-researched articles. High-quality content that provides real value to your audience will fare better in search rankings.

2. Conduct regular content audits

Review your existing content regularly to ensure it meets Google’s quality standards. Update or remove outdated or low-quality posts that could harm your site’s rankings. This helps maintain a high standard across your website and signals to Google that your site is consistently valuable.

3. Invest in original research and insights

Original research, case studies and insights are invaluable in the eyes of Google. This type of content not only demonstrates your expertise but also provides significant value to your audience, making it more likely to be shared and linked to by others. Investing in original content will also set you apart from competitors relying solely on AI-generated material.

4. Focus on UX

Google’s algorithms increasingly prioritise the user experience. Ensure your website is easy to navigate, mobile-friendly and fast-loading. High-quality content combined with a great user experience will help improve your search rankings and keep visitors engaged.

The ongoing value of human-generated SEO content

While AI has transformed content marketing, it hasn’t completely replaced human-generated content. Human writers can infuse copy with personality, empathy, and creativity, resulting in higher-quality content that resonates deeply with readers. The best writers can also better understand and address target audiences' nuanced needs and preferences.

To truly understand the value of human-generated SEO content, we took a look at how some of our client’s websites have performed post-update:

Client A: Total organic traffic and keywords year-to-date

Client A: Total organic traffic and keywords year-to-date

As of May 2024, Client A’s website ranks for an additional 10,416 keywords in the top 100 positions since the March 2024 Google Core Update - an increase of 92.6%. This includes 2,337 new keywords on page 1 of Google SERPs. It’s still early days, but we expect to see an increase in organic search traffic over the next few months!

Bc has been working with Client A since 2017, and during this time we’ve published high-quality SEO-optimised blog content, typically on a monthly basis. But it’s not been a set-and-forget process - as their content library has grown and SEO has emerged, we’ve also implemented a topic cluster approach to organise their content and managed a number of campaigns focused on updating old content and optimising their website for search.

Most recently, we’ve audited their landing pages and content offers, converting some older gated content that was no longer generating leads into pillar pages so that they can continue to deliver value in a fresh format.

Client B: Total organic traffic and keywords year-to-date

Client B: Total organic traffic and keywords year-to-date

As of May 2024, Client B’s website ranks for 5,224 keywords, up from 3,689 in March (+41.6%), including an additional 143 keywords on page 1. While not as meteoric as Client A's, the results likely reflect the smaller keyword volume for the industry in which Client B operates.

Client B is also a long-standing Bc client. Regular SEO blogging has been a mainstay of our content marketing, but we’ve also run campaigns in recent years to update and optimise old content. At times, this has also meant retiring blogs or content offers that were no longer relevant to their target audience. 

Uniquely for Client B, we’ve also deployed a local SEO strategy to improve the search visibility of their 20+ branches around Australia. This has led to some excellent results ranking for high-value bottom-of-funnel keywords.

How AI and human copywriters can work together

With these results, we can’t deny the power of human-generated content. But where does this leave AI in content marketing?

It’s important to remember that using AI during content production isn’t inherently bad. Ultimately, AI tools can still provide value throughout the content production process, from idea generation to optimisation:

Generate ideas

AI tools can analyse trending topics and keywords, providing a wealth of ideas for new content. This helps writers stay ahead of the curve and create relevant, timely articles that resonate with audiences.

Complete initial desktop research

AI research tools like Perplexity and IdeaApe can quickly gather and summarise information from various sources, offering a solid foundation of facts and data. This saves time and allows human writers to focus on what they do best - using these insights to craft compelling copy.

Create outlines

AI can help generate detailed outlines based on input keywords and topics. Using ChatGPT to pull together a quick outline can provide the roadmap you need to ensure all essential points are covered and the content is structured logically.

Draft content

For repetitive or straightforward content, AI can draft copy for human writers to refine. This initial draft provides a starting point, making the writing process faster and more efficient.

Optimise for SEO

AI tools like Neuron Writer and MarketMuse can optimise content for SEO by suggesting keywords, meta descriptions and other on-page elements. This ensures that the content is not only high-quality but meets Google’s stringent requirements.

By integrating these AI capabilities with human expertise and creativity, content creators can produce work that is both efficient and engaging. AI does the heavy lifting of data processing and initial drafts, while human writers infuse the content with originality, emotion and a nuanced understanding of the audience. This collaboration leads to content that is not only optimised for search engines but also truly valuable to readers.

Content production into the future

The March 2024 Google Core Update marks a significant shift in the digital marketing landscape, emphasising the need for high-quality, valuable content. While AI tools will continue to play an important role in content creation, they cannot replace the unique abilities that human writers bring to the table.

By blending the strengths of AI and human creativity, focusing on quality over quantity, and continuously refining your content, you can navigate this update successfully and maintain your presence in search rankings.

Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.

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