Why creator-led content marketing is the future of search
The era of creator-led search is set to reshape how we approach SEO, content marketing and digital PR efforts. Here's how we can embrace it.
Search is in the midst of a content revolution. We’re at a time where content creators reign supreme and the search universe is no longer confined to the traditional boundaries of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
As SEOs, we’d be foolish to ignore the potentially seismic shifts we are seeing implemented, seemingly on a weekly basis.
And at the heart of it all? Content creators.
This article will delve into the implications of these trends and explore why the era of creator-led search is upon us. We’ll look at:
- How content creators are changing the game with their unique ability to inspire, educate, and entertain their audiences.
- Why their impact is beyond influencing visibility on SERPs – but also breathing new life into the digital PR space and making “search everywhere” not just a concept but a reality.
Understanding creator-led content marketing
Creator culture, influencers and content creators are terms that are probably not new to anyone reading this article.
The emergence of YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and other socially driven platforms has facilitated the emergence of content creators – individuals or groups that are leading conversations, entertainment, and more across the internet and beyond.
The easiest example to draw upon would be that of James Donaldson, a university drop-out turned content creator who has successfully developed an enormous community of followers on YouTube.
From humble beginnings, sharing “Let’s Play” content, to be specific, to owning a themed burger business and range of “feastable” sweets.
MrBeast (You instantly know who I mean now, huh?) has conquered the YouTube algorithm and is far and away the world’s most famous content creator.
MrBeast epitomizes what it means to be a content creator. He excels at creating inspiring, educational and, most importantly, entertaining content.
And here is where the parallels between content creators and our SEO efforts begin to align.
As SEOs, our job is to create inspiring, educational and entertaining content for a SERP.
Content creators? They’re doing the exact same thing, just for a different SERP. So, the lines between traditional SEO and creator-led content are becoming increasingly blurred.
Evolving user behaviors, emerging technologies, and Google algorithm changes make creator-led content a viable SEO opportunity for brands, especially those who can leverage strong and engaged communities, just as creators do.
‘Perspectives’ will change the game
Google’s “Perspectives” feed is a new search filter that will be added to users’ SERP feeds. It offers users the opportunity to explore results from videos, blogs, forums and other social platforms.
Liz Reid, VP of Search at Google, explained how the perspectives feed will exist to show users a more “lived experience,” as previously explored on Search Engine Land.
Overall, its introduction is a clear signal of support for Google’s recent shift toward E-E-A-T.
These shifts by Google are a defense for the search engine giant, following its own admission that users are turning to platforms like TikTok and Instagram for certain queries.
Up to 40% of Gen Z users prefer to search on these platforms vs. Google (for certain queries) and experience is seen as integral to that user behavior evolution.
Simply put, users seek content that provides answers effectively and comes from a place that shares a user’s values, thoughts and feelings, providing an authentic experience on a topic, product or service.
And who can do this more effectively than anyone on the web? You guessed it, content creators.
Content creators are already leveraging their skills to inspire, educate and entertain their audiences, creating strong communities as they do so.
Now, brands can work with like-minded, aligned creators, all to the benefit of visibility on a SERP through the perspectives feed.
Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.
If content is king, experience is queen
Integral to the perspectives feed, “experience” is a theme that is quickly emerging to be a vital aspect of SEO strategy today and beyond.
I consider Google’s addition of experience to its E-A-T standards a combative response to the emergence of AI in content.
More importantly, it has provided this huge opportunity for brands who want to deliver exciting content.
Let’s get specific. Experience refers to the knowledge, understanding or skills one can effectively demonstrate through their exposure to a product, topic or service.
Users are looking for that “lived experience” within the content they engage with.
Content is often referred to as king when discussing marketing and brand awareness, a sentiment I tend to agree with.
But, where content is king, experience is most certainly queen.
Users are looking for content that is focused on them, speaking directly to them authentically and genuinely. One way in which brands can achieve this is by demonstrating experience within their content.
Content creators are uniquely positioned to demonstrate this “lived experience” while allowing brands to connect with a wider community in this favorable authentic, and genuine way.
Not only can creator-led content marketing be effectively deployed to gain visibility upon the emerging perspectives feed, but significantly, that content contributes to brands achieving their SEO goals upon the normal SERP.
Users are already migrating searches and putting their trust and faith in their favorite content creators.
By embracing creator-led SEO, brands can ensure they are at the heart of those conversations, reaping the benefits across the entire search universe.
Brands should be looking to repurpose and recycle creator-led content within their SEO content, ensuring they send clear “experience” signals to Google.
Supercharged digital PR
Digital PR may also leverage content from creator-led campaigns.
The communities behind content creators are what make creator-led content marketing efforts excel. A further “win” for this point is the shareability of content.
When a content creator is considered a key voice or thought leader within a space, publications are likely willing to share their thoughts, opinions or content due to having a similarly aligned audience who will find value in such content.
So, when a certain influencer is leading a trend on TikTok or when a creator is discussing their recent experiences with a product or service, it makes sense that publications will shout about this content as they look to engage with their own audience effectively.
For example, when Charli D’Amelio launched her signature coffee drink in partnership with Dunkin’, publications in the coffee niche, including Coffee at Three, happily shared the content, exploring the partnership, trying the drink and sharing thoughts with their community.
If we leverage this strategically, we can develop full digital PR arms of our SEO strategies supported with a foundational effort within creator-led content efforts, further aligning the “search” universe.
At a time when journalists are becoming tired of our usual digital PR campaign ideas, creator-led content marketing really could supercharge and revitalize the space.
The expanding of the search universe and search everywhere
All this brings us nicely to the idea of “search everywhere” and the expanding search universe.
One thing I have noticed within my time in SEO is that brands’ efforts with content marketing are often very disjointed.
However, creator-led content really does offer a capability to diversify our search efforts whilst aligning our strategic forces.
This alignment is what I refer to as “search everywhere.”
Such an approach is the commitment to delivering a comprehensive, integrated approach to content marketing, which involves:
- Optimizing a brand’s presence across the entire search universe.
- Encapsulating all the platforms and channels leveraged by a brand’s target audience as they progress through their search journey.
To increase visibility, improve engagement and drive conversions by building a relationship with a target audience where they are consuming media, searching for information and eventually, purchasing products/services.
And once again, creator-led content marketing is a tool that can be utilized perfectly within such an approach, especially following the announcement of the Perspectives feed.
Users invested in TikTok content?
Leverage a TikTok content creator to engage and build relations with their ideal audience on that platform, guiding them through the various stages of the user journey via strategically created content designed for the specific focus of a certain stage of the journey.
Work with certain influencers to develop initial awareness content before moving to different creators who are perhaps more suited to the latter stages of the journey.
This will vary from brand to brand, and likely include developing content across platforms, but the benefits are clear.
Look at these statistics that have emerged as conversations about TikTok being a search platform have grown.
- 87% of Gen Z respondents trust the information that they search for on TikTok
- 58% said they’d purchased something they saw on TikTok
- 67% say TikTok inspired them to shop, even when not looking to do so
And TikTok isn’t the only platform seeing this development.
We see multiple searches migrate to other platforms with typically less associated friction than a traditional SERP. Pinterest, Instagram and Reddit are some examples.
Tip: If you want to see this migration at a topic level, install the Glimpse Chrome extension and head to Google Trends.
Here, you can input a topic and see which platform is experiencing the largest trend for that topic. This is a great way to see where to invest your content marketing efforts.
Driving better engagement with creator-led content efforts
The era of creator-led search is not merely on the horizon. It’s here.
It promises to reshape how we approach SEO, content marketing, and digital PR.
The influence of content creators is becoming increasingly pivotal. It will enrich the SERPs through Google’s Perspectives and offer opportunities to revitalize the digital PR space with compelling narratives and authentic experiences.
The advent of “search everywhere” is the epitome of the democratization of the search universe. Platforms like TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, and Reddit are becoming trusted sources of information.
The statistics speak for themselves, reflecting users’ high levels of trust and engagement with content and therefore brands they discover on these platforms.
In this new era, brands have an unparalleled opportunity to leverage the power of creator-led content marketing.
By partnering with creators who resonate with their target audiences, they can deliver content that truly speaks to users’ values, thoughts, and feelings.
In doing so, brands can send clear “experience” signals to Google, build meaningful relationships with their audiences across various platforms, and ultimately achieve their SEO goals.
As we move forward, the shift toward creator-led search will undoubtedly continue to shape the future of SEO and digital PR.
By embracing this shift, brands can position themselves at the forefront of their industry, harness the potential of the expanding search universe, and truly make their mark in this new era of search.
And that’s why creator-led content marketing is the future of search.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
New on Search Engine Land