Content Strategy 2024: A High Level View on International SEO

By Gabrio Linari, Last Updated on 22 February 2024


1: Introduction and Google’s 2024 Updates

In today’s digital landscape, technical SEO is no longer the sole focus. Creating a robust content strategy for 2024 is essential for long-term business success.

Google’s recent updates (and HCU in particular) highlight ‘authority’ as a key ranking factor, signaling a shift in measuring quality. New features from Google I/O 2023 have also impacted search results, affecting CTRs and user engagement.

But what does ‘authority’ mean in this context? Google’s new metric moves beyond the already established E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) framework, introducing a Double-E-E criterion. The new quality assessment involves signals like visual evidence, audio content, and quantitative measurements to evaluate expertise and authoritativeness.

This change has broad implications for content marketers and SEO professionals which I have seen first hand. People panicking. We are now required to produce content that doesn’t just meet the old standards of quality but exceeds them. It’s not merely about disseminating information; it’s about crafting credible, engaging content that resonates with a diverse, global audience.

A 2024 content strategy must prioritize experience and expertise, alongside keyword optimization, content quality, and alignment with Google’s new standards.

2: The Role of Domain Rating (DR) in Your 2024 Content Strategy

The term Domain Rating (DR) often surfaces in discussions surrounding SEO, but its significance extends beyond being just another metric. Have you paid enough attention to that? In today’s increasingly competitive global market, understanding the nuances of DR can provide valuable insights into your overall web strategy.

Let’s break down what DR represents across different ranges:

0-40: Patience Is Key

If you find yourself in this bracket, your website is likely still building its online presence. If you’re aiming for competitive markets like the U.S., being in Google’s sandbox suggests a focus on less competitive, TOFU keywords. AI has revolutionized strategies for targeting these niches effectively. Keep in mind, however, that achieving a higher Domain Rating can often take a year or more for significant ranking gains.

41-60: Time to Build Up

Once you’ve crossed the 40 DR threshold, it’s time to think about medium and competitive pillars. This phase involves a delicate balance between content creation and link-building strategies. Optimization should be a continuous process, aimed at revisiting what you have and making data-driven improvements.

61-85: Pedal to the Metal

By this point, your website has established a strong presence and higher trustworthiness in Google’s eyes. Your strategy should shift towards achieving top 3 rankings for competitive keywords, allowing you to scale your content production more aggressively. Simultaneously, linking strategies should focus more on commercial pages to maximize revenue.

85+: Power Mode

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the pinnacle. At this level, every move you make can result in significant changes in your KPIs. Therefore, it’s crucial to double down on strategies that have proven successful and eliminate or optimize what hasn’t been working.

High DR isn’t the end goal; it’s how you leverage it that counts. Whether executed in-house or through external expertise, the principles are consistent. As a consultant, I provide targeted guidance so you can excel.

3: Discovering Strengths and Weaknesses

Understanding what’s working and what’s not is crucial for making data-driven decisions. As we navigate through the labyrinth of key performance indicators (KPIs), keyword intent, and content quality, I will equip you with the tools to reassess and adapt your approach effectively.

Identifying Performance Indicators

The first step involves using specialized crawling tools and Google Search Console (GSC) to establish your KPIs. By extracting tags, categories, and breadcrumbs, you will gain invaluable insights into areas where your website or content might be overperforming or underperforming. Screaming Frog anyone? That’s one of my go-to tools in my SEO toolset.

Analyzing Keyword Intent

The intent behind your targeted keywords is the next layer of complexity. Tools like Surfer SEO offer insights into whether your content aligns with Google’s current priorities. For instance, did the keyword intent switch from commercial to informational?

Google’s E-E-A-T and Rater Guidelines

A crucial facet for any SEO strategist is understanding Google’s E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) principles and the infamous Rater Guidelines (more on that later). These principles are cornerstones of Google’s algorithmic choices and are used to assess content quality. Google’s human raters use these guidelines to evaluate how well a page meets their standards for high-quality search results. If your website suffers from low E-A-T scores, this could signal areas for improvement.

Factors like site security, content accuracy, user reviews, and expertise in subject matter contribute to the E-E-A-T score. Adhering to these principles not only can increase your chances of ranking higher but also minimizes the risk of penalization for algorithmic or manual actions.

Assessing Search Intent Changes

Regularly reviewing the top 10 search results for your targeted keywords can alert you to significant shifts in Google’s algorithmic preferences. If Google starts prioritizing commercial content over informational content, for instance, you’ll need to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Social Signals and Content Performance

Social signals from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok offer insights into user engagement and content virality. Understanding how your content performs across different social media channels can inform your SEO strategy. Are you aware of those things for your brand?

The Intricacies of “Crawled but Not Indexed”

In previous roles I held as Head of SEO, I’ve faced a diagnostic challenge that resonates with many SEO professionals – dealing with content Google crawled but not indexed. This status indicates that Google has assumptions about your page’s quality based on other similar pages or URL patterns within your domain. Improving your content can reignite Google’s interest in indexing your pages. For further insights, consult resources like Understanding & Resolving ‘Discovered – Currently Not Indexed’.

Content Redundancy

Another nuance in content indexing involves Google’s perceived redundancy. If Google believes the topic is already sufficiently covered, your content may not be indexed and served to the public.

2024 SEO Prediction: Google’s Power-Efficiency Mode

Speculatively, Google could be shifting towards a more eco-friendly, “power-efficiency mode.” In an effort to be more energy-efficient, Google might reduce crawling and indexing activities, making it all the more important to ensure your content is of the highest quality and relevance.

This chapter has provided a comprehensive view into the various diagnostic tools and strategies you can employ to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your SEO initiatives. Armed with this knowledge, you are better positioned to make effective changes in alignment with your business goals.

4: Aligning with Quality Guidelines and Assessing Content in 2024

The concept of E-E-A-T, standing for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, has become increasingly influential in SEO circles. Although not a direct ranking factor, E-E-A-T is integral to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, a set of instructions followed by human evaluators who assess the quality of a web page.

Understanding the Website and Its Purpose

For a holistic evaluation, it’s crucial to understand who is responsible for the website and who has created the content on the page. This involves scrutinizing ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ pages and other resources that offer insights into the site’s ownership and objectives. Independent sources can also provide valuable reputation information.

Assessing Overall Page Quality

Understanding a webpage’s quality is a multifaceted endeavor, taking into account not just its true purpose—be it informational, transactional, or navigational—but also its alignment with user search intent. Keyword intent becomes pivotal here, setting the user’s expectations and guiding Google’s algorithm in evaluating a webpage’s relevance and utility. However, even a webpage that accurately meets keyword intent can fall short in quality if it lacks in Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).

The quality of Main Content (MC) is essential in these considerations. Factors such as effort, originality, and skill invested in content creation are scrutinized. High-quality MC, especially in Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) categories like medical or financial information, needs to be backed by credible expertise and present an in-depth understanding of the subject matter to serve its intended purpose effectively. This is where the role of experience and expertise becomes salient. Content creators with proven expertise or professional experience in their respective domains are more likely to produce content that meets the high standards of E-A-T, thereby contributing to a webpage’s overall quality rating.

Assessing MC also requires actual interaction with its functionalities, and whether the user experience aligns with the intended purpose and keyword intent. This involves a nuanced understanding of how Google perceives keyword intent, and ensuring that the MC is not just high-quality but also aligns with this perception.

Evaluating webpage quality involves understanding keyword intent, quality of MC, and essential elements of E-A-T. Google’s interpretation of keyword intent sets user expectations, while MC quality fulfills them, backed by Expertise and Experience. This layered approach to quality serves as a robust foundation for SEO, aligning with both market-specific needs and universal metrics.

A Great Resource for Assessing Content Quality

An invaluable tool for assessing and scoring your content’s quality is Aleyda Solis’ Google’s Content Quality & Helpfulness Questions. It offers a simple yet structured way for examining your content.

Customization for International SEO and Client Needs

Depending on the geography and the cultural factors, what may work excellently in one market might not be as effective in another. That’s when international SEO comes into play. While a more straightforward, facts-based approach may work well in markets like the United States or the United Kingdom, countries like Japan and Brazil may respond better to a more context-rich and relational approach to content. Therefore, understanding the cultural nuances, consumer behavior, and even legal requirements of each market can dramatically influence the adaptability and effectiveness of your content.

Secondly, client-specific needs are equally crucial for tailoring your strategy. Each client may have unique requirements in terms of what they define as “quality” content. Some may focus on highly technical, in-depth articles, while others may prioritize more general overviews that appeal to a broader audience. Similarly, the nature of the client’s business—whether it’s B2B or B2C—can significantly dictate the tone, style, and depth of the content. In the B2B realm, you might be looking at creating long-form, detailed white papers, whereas a B2C client may require quick, engaging blog posts.

Assessing the client’s industry, competitive landscape, and past SEO performance helps in tailoring strategies. Customization can extend to content types—some markets might prefer video, while others may favor long-form articles or podcasts.

Alignment with organizational goals is the final piece. The objective—be it brand awareness, lead generation, or customer retention—influences both content and SEO optimization. By aligning these goals with market and client needs, you can craft a targeted content strategy for best results.

Recent Updates to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines

It’s worth noting recent updates to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, particularly the addition of ‘Experience’ to the E-A-T acronym. For a detailed analysis, refer to this article.

By aligning your content strategy in 2024 with these guidelines, you’re not just optimizing for search engines but also ensuring that your content withstands human scrutiny. Given Google’s trend toward human-like machine learning algorithms, this alignment is an essential, future-proof course of action.

5: Executing a Refined Content Strategy

Collaborating with Internal Teams

When implementing a comprehensive web strategy, many organizations prefer leveraging their internal teams for several reasons. Internal teams often possess an innate understanding of the company’s mission, values, and long-term goals, which can be invaluable during strategy execution. They are generally more agile in decision-making and can quickly pivot strategies as needed, offering a kind of responsiveness that external teams might not match. Moreover, integrating web strategy tasks with other ongoing internal projects can be more seamless when internal teams take the lead.

However, the potential limitations of working with internal teams should not be overlooked. For instance, these teams may lack the specialized knowledge in areas such as technical SEO, content optimization, and performance metrics analysis. There’s also a risk of resource allocation issues or conflicts arising due to multiple internal priorities.

Providing End-to-End Solutions

An alternative to this approach is opting for end-to-end solutions, often provided by specialized agencies or consultants.

Such solutions are particularly beneficial for organizations that may not have the internal bandwidth or specialized skill set to execute complex web strategies effectively. These packages often include sophisticated tools and methodologies for performance tracking, enabling more precise measurement of ROI and other key performance indicators.

From the aspects of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) to the intricate details of page quality assessments based on metrics like keyword intent and Google’s perceived keyword intent, end-to-end solutions offer a holistic approach to web strategy.

Balancing Both Approaches

In SEO content strategy, a hybrid approach often suits larger organizations with diverse needs and varied internal capabilities. Internal teams may handle intricate content clusters requiring deep brand understanding. This specialization enables them to apply a nuanced 2024 content strategy tailored specifically to the organization’s core objectives.

External agencies can address specialized needs like technical SEO, localized strategies, and performance analytics. These agencies often serve as vital extensions, offering expertise not readily available within the internal team

By assigning responsibilities in this strategic manner, organizations can implement a more robust SEO content strategy for 2024. This approach takes the best elements from both internal and external capabilities, ensuring that the web strategy is not only comprehensive but also adaptable to meet specific organizational needs and goals.

Chapter 6: Conclusion and Takeaways

In summary, a successful 2024 SEO content strategy involves various factors, from audits to keyword research. Creating quality content that resonates with your audience is crucial for achieving international SEO success. Moreover, it’s important to recognize that each organization will have unique needs and goals, making a one-size-fits-all approach untenable.

The key takeaways in establishing an effective 2024 content strategy are:

  1. Comprehensive Audits: A well-executed audit provides the foundation for any successful strategy, revealing opportunities and weaknesses in your current approach.
  2. Keyword Intent and Google’s Perceived Intent: Crucial factors for a strategy that attracts traffic and delivers relevant content to users.
  3. Quality and Expertise: Quality is paramount: produce top-tier content informed by your unique expertise. As the source and subject matter expert, your backing lends credibility and authority. This is SUPER important!
  4. Strategic Collaboration: A blend of internal and external capabilities can often deliver the best results. Larger organizations often allocate complex content clusters to internal teams, while tapping external agencies for specialized needs.
  5. Adaptability: Tailoring your strategy to meet the ever-changing demands of diverse markets and client setups is crucial for long-term success.

Think Ahead.

Should businesses solely rely on Google, or diversify? Building an audience through various channels buffers against search engine volatility.

Do you run a SaaS business and have been impacted by one of Google’s HCU Updates? Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered with my SaaS Content Strategy Recovery.

In closing, I want to emphasize the importance of adaptability for a 2024 content strategy. Over my 11 years of international experience as a Global SEO consultant, I’ve witnessed significant transformations.

My journey is about continuous learning, staying ahead in industry trends, and optimizing strategies for peak performance. I’ve shared best practices that have proven effective in allowing me to navigate the dynamic world of digital marketing.