As the world’s leading search engine, Google takes charge in terms of updates and recommendations for content. Changes to the Google algorithm are intended to bring more accurate and valuable results to its users, which means content creators have to follow suit. The latest Google update is called the “helpful content update”, recently announced to the shock of many and the relief of experts. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
What is Google’s Helpful Content Update?
On August 18, Google’s helpful content update was first announced. This update is intended to “ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
In the past, some creators have favored search engines over readers when making content. Instead of focusing on providing comprehensive answers to humans, such content targeted search engines and was merely designed to increase the creators’ SEO performance. This new update heavily discourages those practices.
The Impact of This Change
How will Google’s helpful content update actually impact content and its creators?
In short, Google will be prioritizing original, “people-first content” over “unhelpful” fluff. Over the next few weeks and months, don’t be surprised to see your search engine rankings change quite a bit. It will take a while for Google to shift its focus and make the change, so you may see rankings go up and down more than normal. Don’t panic; just focus on creating and improving your content as you go.
As with any Google algorithm update, it will take a while to see the impact. The update began rolling out on August 25th and will take around two weeks to be fully functional. Even then, your website may see an impact on SERPs for several months before Google can register all the changes you’ve made.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some tips you can implement today to ensure your content is more valuable and helpful.
5 Tips for People-First Content
Don’t Rely on the Trends
Trending content tends to get a lot of search traffic, and for good reason. But before you hop on any trend, ask yourself if you have the expertise and if the topic is truly relevant for your audience.
Every business has its own expertise. If you’re going to write about a trending topic, make sure you can bring in your own insights, and make sure they make sense. For instance, let’s say your audience expects tech product reviews from you. If you create a blog post about a celebrity that’s trending and only briefly relate your content back to your own expertise, your audience will be confused (at best) and unsatisfied (at worst). That’s where Google’s helpful content update would devalue your content.
To be clear: this tip doesn’t mean that you should neglect trends entirely. Giving your own insights about trending topics can be a great way to satisfy both humans and search engines. Just make sure your content is truly valuable and helpful to the reader and that it fits under the umbrella of what your audience expects from you. In other words, you don’t have to respond to every trend.
Offer Plenty of Research
Readers value research. Not only are they looking for answers to their questions, but they want to know how you got there. When you’re researching for your content, be generous and thorough. Offering data and examples from credible sources will not only improve your company’s reputation, but it will also prove that you understand just what your audience is looking for.
But you don’t always have to rely on outside research. If you’ve conducted relevant research on your own, feel free to reference it (in plenty of detail, of course). Or, perhaps you can present an example that makes the topic easier to understand.
Prioritize the Reader Experience
Your focus in creating content should be about creating a positive and satisfying user experience. Not only should your content be informative and valuable, but it should also be satisfying and easy to consume.
Think about your audience when you’re creating content. Are you writing for business executives who want detailed explanations and can understand industry jargon? Or, are you creating content for “everyday” people who want more simple language? This type of distinction is key to creating a satisfying experience for your specific audience.
Use Relevant Resources
Coming to your website and being faced with a giant wall of text is one of the most unsatisfying experiences a user can have. But when that text is broken up with helpful visuals or infographics, readers are more likely to read through the whole piece and retain what they learn from it.
Your resources can span a wide range of visual elements, from “how to” videos to infographics with statistics. Even simple demonstrative photos can add value to your content and break up your text. Users will be more satisfied overall, and you’ll benefit from providing a thorough answer to their questions.
Image Source: HubSpot
Just because you’re adjusting to Google’s helpful content update doesn’t mean you have to scrap all your old content. Even if you’ve created search engine-focused content in the past, you can make a few updates and adjustments to bring your content in line with the latest best practices.
Look through your existing content and determine whether your pieces are more targeted toward readers or search engines. If you find it’s the latter, integrate some of these other tips. Add infographics and new information, make sure your insights are relevant and research-based, and consider other SEO best practices. As we noted, it will take some time for Google to register your changes, but it will be worth the effort.
Improve Your Content Strategy with WriterArmy
With Google’s helpful content update, you’re probably going to be keeping a close eye on your content strategy. WriterArmy can help you adjust your priorities and ensure that your content is valuable to readers and to search engines.
WriterArmy is an award-winning content marketing and content creation agency that has been serving clients for nearly a decade. Our team is passionate about helping businesses create content with clear messaging and useful insights, no matter the industry or the audience. We work with every client individually and create customized strategies based on their unique goals and concerns.
To learn more about how WriterArmy can help your business navigate Google’s helpful content update and beyond, contact us today.