Google is always working to better connect people to helpful information, hence why they are constantly updating their algorithm.
On 25th August 2022, they released what they are calling the “helpful content update” that’s part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original and helpful content. The rollout could take up to two weeks to complete.
In their statement, Google said that they want to reward content that offers visitors a satisfying experience, stipulating that content that doesn’t meet visitors’ expectations won’t perform as well.
Continue reading to find out more about the update and things creators should consider.
How it works?
Google’s helpful content update is a sitewide signal that identifies low-value content. It targets websites with high amounts of unsatisfying or unhelpful content or content written for search engines first.
With the number of blog posts increasing every day, Google wants to do something to counter the volume of content on the web. They advised content creators to audit the existing content and remove any unhelpful content to help the good pieces rank better.
How to create content that will be successful with Google’s new update?
Well, the only solution is to follow Google’s long-standing advice to create content for people, not for search engines.
Focus on creating human-centred content and only use SEO practices to bring searchers additional value. If you are not sure about whether your content is human-centred, answer the following questions:
- Do you have an existing or intended audience that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate a depth of knowledge and first-hand expertise?
- Does your site have a primary focus?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling like they’ve learned enough about a topic to help them achieve a goal?
- Will someone reading your content leave feeling they had a satisfying experience?
Does SEO still matter?
Yes, if you do it right.
Although Google is earnest about having a people-first content approach, that does not invalidate following SEO best practices. You can still optimise your content for SEO to boost your ranking but avoid taking search engine-first approaches like:
- Writing topics outside of your niche simply because they are trending
- Creating high volumes of content on different topics in hopes that some of it will perform well in search results
- Summarising what others have to say without adding more value
- Writing content that leaves readers feeling like they need to search again to get more information from other sources
- Writing a particular word count because you read that Google has a preferred word count
- Using extensive automation, specifically, AI content writing and copywriting tools to produce content on many topics
- Entering a niche topic area without any real expertise with the sole purpose of getting search traffic
- Promising to answer a question that has no answer. For example, suggesting there’s a release date for a product but it hasn’t been confirmed.
What can you do to prepare for Google’s new update?
Google’s helpful content update will cause radical changes in search results in the next few weeks. So, how can you prepare for the changes about to come? Here are a few dos and don’ts.
Audit your content
Taking unhelpful content off your website and leaving what is relevant is a good place to start. If you have over-optimised content or scaled content on your site, get rid of it now. Doing this before the update rolls out will give your good content a chance to be indexed and ranked by Google.
Look at changes on the keyword and URL level
Sometimes your website loses rank because of irrelevant keywords. Keywords reveal a searcher’s true intent, so make sure that you’re using words and phrases that align with your target audience’s needs. Additionally, check your URL to ensure that visitors are able to make out what the destination page is about. Using relevant keywords in your URL can help improve your ranking, but don’t create an unuseful URL just to include a keyword.
Look for shifts in user intent
Core algorithm updates can lead to a different understanding of what users want to achieve with a search, so if you lose ranks, search for patterns across keywords that changed in rank.
Don’t draw conclusions when updates are still rolling out
Google’s helpful content update is still rolling. Shuffling things during the rollout will only cause more confusion, so allow the dust to settle before you make any drastic changes.
Don’t go with your first assumption
Out of the need for preservation, you will be tempted to start making changes as soon as possible, but don’t. before you make any conclusion, gather as much data as possible, compare your conclusions with other content creators and look for commonalities.
Don’t panic when your site dips
This might sound counteractive when your site is losing rank, but drastic overcorrecting can do more harm than good in the long term. If you haven’t been aggressive with SEO tactics, take your time, plan, and make small changes as you go.
If you are well acquainted with digital marketing, it will help to have a digital marketing expert to walk you through the changes about to happen.
Contact us today, to speak to one of our digital marketing experts.