By Andrew Oziemblo
When the digital marketing age first dawned, most companies started out their digitized efforts by focusing on things like building websites for their companies, learning how to use analytics, creating digital and social media ads, and figuring out how to rank in search engine results.
Little by little, companies and marketers became more and more digitally savvy. But as their own marketing efforts evolved, so did search engine algorithms — and more importantly, so did the way audiences consume marketing content. Because companies have turned to flooding their audiences with digital ads and popups to create income, consumers have become increasingly resistant to these ads, now finding ways to avoid them altogether.
Around 30% of all internet users are now using ad blockers to remove pesky ads from the websites they peruse — and a large number of those users are younger generations. According to a Deloitte Global survey, more than 17% of consumers ages 18-34 block ads in four or more categories. This means that today’s largest consumer audiences — Gen Z and millennials — probably aren’t even seeing most ads targeted directly toward them.
And so companies large and small began to realize that their audiences no longer wanted loud, in-your-face marketing — they wanted real, authentic and helpful content. This led Google to push companies to create more of this content: In August of 2018, Google turned content marketing into a priority for companies that wanted to improve their digital marketing efforts by creating what marketers now call the E-A-T algorithm update.
The new algorithm completely changed how Google ranked websites in search results, focusing on three core components: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (hence the E-A-T nickname). By successfully implementing all three concepts into a website, companies can start to improve their SEM rankings within Google.
The expertise component can be achieved through thought leadership efforts, such as being referenced or linked to in news articles. The authoritativeness component can be realized through consistent user reviews and mentions, and the final component, trustworthiness, is accomplished often by posting blogs or FAQs filled with relevant information about your industry and brand.
This algorithm change, combined with the knowledge that consumers want genuine content rather than ads, led marketers to embrace the fact that in 2019, content is king. Blogs, FAQ pages, e-books and white papers all became crucial parts of every company’s website in an effort to master the E-A-T algorithm and provide consumers with the content they crave.
But now, people don’t just want content to read — they want content in the form of videos. Video’s popularity has exploded in recent years: Now, more than 250 million hours of videosare watched each day on YouTube, and it has become the new format of choice for younger Americans: According to a surveyconducted by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, the next generation of teen and tween consumers have doubled the amount of time they spend watching online videos every day since 2015.