Google has always been committed to connecting people with the most helpful information possible. With their new “Google helpful content update,” they aim to ensure that searchers see more original, valuable content written BY people and FOR people. This doesn’t mean that SEO is no longer important – following Google’s SEO guide is still in your best interest. However, creating content that primarily caters to SEO strongly correlates with content that searchers find dissatisfactory – and your site may be penalized as a result (read: rank even lower on SERPs).
So what does this mean for your website? And more importantly, what does it mean for your content creators?
The New Google Helpful Content Update: The Basics
The “Google helpful content update” is Google’s way of addressing the issue of unhelpful or low-quality content in SERPs. Content written by people and for people is going to be favored over content that is written primarily for search engines.
It might seem counterintuitive, but strictly focusing on SEO makes your content lack personality, interest, and substance – the building blocks of good content!
Google will be devaluing content that is designed for SEO (i.e. keyword-stuffed articles and low-quality, thin pages) in favor of content that is genuinely helpful to searchers. Content on sites that have been deemed to contain high levels of unhelpful material is less likely to perform well during a search.
What Google Considers “Helpful Content”
If you answer “yes” to all of the following questions, Google will likely find your content helpful to searchers.
- If your intended audience navigated straight to your blog, would they find your content useful?
- Does your content indicate first-hand expertise and deep knowledge in your industry?
- Does your website have a clear focus or purpose?
- Will a reader feel that they’ve learned enough about the topic to achieve a goal after engaging with your content?
- Will your audience be left feeling satisfied after reading your content?
- Are you following the guidance for core updates and product reviews?
Content creators should focus on writing people-first content that is genuinely useful, informative, and satisfying if they want to see their site rank well in Google searches.
What Content Does Google Consider Unhelpful?
According to Google, the new update launches a new site-wide ranking signal that can instantly detect low-quality content (aka, the type that doesn’t add value for searchers). This signal will be used as a ranking factor for all searches, not just those related to the core updates Google has launched this year.
Some examples of unhelpful content include:
- Clickbait headlines that don’t match the article
- Deceptive ads or affiliate links
- Keyword-stuffed articles with little substantive information
- Pages with little or no original content
- Excessive pop-ups or intrusive interstitials
- Malicious content or hacked sites
- Automatically generated content
- Text copied from other websites without adding value
Keep in mind: Sites determined to have high amounts of unhelpful content will not perform well in Search. To counter this new measure, remove unhelpful content on your site to boost rankings (and not get beat out by better content)!
Creating Helpful Content for Your Site
Now that you know what Google is looking for in the Google helpful content update, it’s time to revamp your site’s content strategy. How can you make sure your content fits the bill?
Here are a few tips:
Write for your audience first and foremost – not for Google
Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Your content should aim to do the same. Write with your audience in mind first, and Google second.
Make sure your website has a clear purpose or focus
Your website’s theme, feel, and content should have a specific purpose that is reflected on every page. This will make it easier for Google (and your audience) to understand what your site is all about.
Create content that is truly helpful and informative
Your content should be well-researched, accurate, and add value for the reader. It should also be original – not copied from other sources. Plagiarism is frowned upon!
Answer your audience’s questions!
Most people consult Google for answers. Write content that directly answers the questions your target audience is searching for. Google loves fresh, relevant content, so stay up-to-date on industry news and trends to ensure your articles are timely.
Focus on the reader experience
Your content might be the most valuable content out there, but if it looks like a wall of text, readers will quickly get bored of it. Breaking up your content into smaller paragraphs, adding images, and using headlines are all great ways to make your content more user-friendly.
Looking to the Future
It’s no secret that Google is the king of the internet. Backing up this claim is the fact that Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second – that’s more than three billion searches per day!
With such a large market share, it’s important for content creators to understand Google’s ranking signals and how they can impact their websites.
Keeping informed of Google’s algorithm updates is the best way to ensure your website is visible to searchers. The Google helpful content update” is just one of many changes we can expect Google to roll out in the coming months and years.
By following these tips, you can be sure that your content will be Google-approved and help your site rank higher in search results. Higher rankings mean more traffic to your site – so it’s a win-win for everyone involved!
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Whether you’re looking to get more people clicking on your content or need a whole website refresh, we can help!
Our digital marketing experts can help you create a content strategy that Google (and your audience) will love! Get in touch with us today to learn more.