Google’s Helpful Content Update: What You Should Know

What is this Google’s Helpful Content Update?

Google is cracking down on low-quality, ingenuine content in pursuit of a more valuable search engine landscape. With the abundance of content on Google, searchers may struggle to find authentic, well-researched content amongst their search results. Its high-tech automated systems will help combat this in its newest Helpful Content Update, sorting content based on its helpfulness and value and therefore contributing to the content’s placement and ranking in searches. According to Google, this model is “one of many signals” that it uses to make sure your search results are relevant to your query. By using a continuous classifying process to determine what content is useful to internet users and what is not, the tech giant aims to improve the overall content found on result pages, allowing for a more reputable search experience.

If you’re putting out content under your name, you need to look out for this update. This announcement further emphasizes the need to create valuable content for your target audience, rather than content that solely focuses on ranking higher on search engines. This is SEO like never before, as it’s not just your keywords or word count that matter in your content anymore. Your intentions now matter more than ever, so let’s delve into what Google’s newest update will mean for your content marketing and SEO.

How Will this Affect Your Website?

Being smart and proficient about the kind of content you are creating will be your key to adapting to Google’s Helpful Content Update and working with it to improve your search ranking. In the past, you may have had conversations around SEO involving “hacks” to bring your name higher up in results. Google has stressed before that they do not have a specific word count that will enhance your placement on the SERP (search engine result page). 

John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, said on Twitter, “Having the same word-count as a top-ranking article isn’t going to make your pages rank first, just like having a bunch of USB chargers isn’t going to get you to the moon.” 

Instead of asking questions on how to “hack” your Google placement and place higher more quickly, you should now ask yourself about the research, motive and purpose behind your content. Shifting your conversations to how to produce meaningful content as opposed to putting out an abundance of subpar material will prove important in your SEO journey. 

What is a People-First Approach?

As discussed in the announcement of Google’s Helpful Content Update, content made for people and content made for search engines have very different attributes, all coming back to the overall quality of the work. Taking a people-first approach means improving your content through high-quality research, examples and meaningful anecdotes. It also involves presenting a high level of expertise in the content, citing reputable sources and having well-suited authors. 

Content created for people is made with the intention to spark conversation, spread ideas and distribute important information. Keeping your content-consumers in the front of your mind brings a significantly more natural approach to your writing and multimedia. Remember, people are coming to you with a specific need in mind, whether it be information or entertainment, so you need to know what people want and then give it to them. 

Conversely, content written for search engines can be seen as automated, unnatural and even robotic. If written with the sole intention of placing higher on SERPs, your readers may feel unfulfilled from your piece, needing to travel to other websites on the results page to truly answer their questions. Inserting buzzwords unnaturally will not add value, as they could obviously have been squeezed in to promote web traffic rather than enlighten consumers.

A People-First Approach and Online Reputation Management 

Putting people first will show the care you have for your stakeholders and target audience, as well as your desire to have a positive impact on society digitally. You bring something to the table with your expertise, and knowing what that is will help you hone in on the quality of the content you provide. 

If you’re not contributing to society by opening people’s minds or providing them with credible information, your reputation can turn negative quickly. In order to combat this, you need to make sure everything you put out can benefit someone who comes upon your search result. Behind these clicks are real people who hunt for information that can be of value to them. Provide evidence, show your credentials and add something new to the conversation in order to show that you’re an expert in your field and that you’re not just putting out content, for content’s sake.   

How is this New Update Going to Help Content Marketers?

Google’s Helpful Content Update will help content marketers improve the quality of their work, making sure each piece adds something to their digital landscape and the SERP. Providing content that people actually care about, and that doesn’t just repeat what another source says, will help boost your online reputation. SEO just became a lot more meaningful, and adapting to this change will be imperative to your digital content marketing. 

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