Google People First Content
Google has announced a new content update that aims to put people first. With an ever-growing amount of content on the internet being written purely for search engine purposes, Google is cracking down and saying that the written content that will rank the best needs to be people focused.
With the update due to be rolled out by the end of August 2022, there’s no time like the present to start improving your content. So, what does Google’s aptly named ‘Helpful Content Update’ mean in real terms for website creators, online writers, bloggers and marketeers? It means, in Google’s own words, you must avoid “creating content for search engines first”.
This is not a new idea, after all the internet should be full of useful information that is there for the reader and not just for the search engines. Google say their Helpful Content Update is part of a broader effort to “ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results”.
Putting people first with your web content
So just how will this update work? The changes will introduce a new site-wide signal that Google will consider, among many others signals, when ranking web pages. Google’s systems will automatically identify content that seems to have “little value, low added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches.”
This is not a new idea. Things are already very different, in terms of web content quality, compared to how they were ten to fifteen years ago. Gone are the days of mass content farming where online articles and web pages would be so full of keywords and links that the page would be virtually unreadable. However, this doesn’t mean that people don’t still write content purely for search engine optimisation purposes, without much regard for quality and originality.
In a lot of instances writing content that will please the algorithms is completely understandable, as everyone wants their website or blog to rank well on the search engines, don’t they? However, there are ways of creating well-written, people-first content that not only reads well but is also optimised to be found online. This is the ideal, this is what Google really wants. And if you want to be found online, it seems you’ve got to give Google what they want!
According to Google, their aim is to “better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well”. So, just how do you focus on people-first content? The key idea is to concentrate on creating useful, readable content whilst also still utilising SEO best practices. So, what are some tips that Google gives on doing these two things?
How to create people-first content
There are a few ways to ensure a people-first approach, according to Google. Firstly, it’s about knowing your audience. Do you have an existing or intended audience that would find your content useful? You need to know who you are aiming your articles at, for example, if you’re a recruitment business you should write about news and developments on that subject that your sector would find interesting.
Secondly, does your content demonstrate that you know your subject and have experience with it. Having a strong level of knowledge behind your content is very important, it helps give your website authority and purpose. Ask yourself will someone who has read your content, who is experienced in that sector, feel like they’ve learned something? Will they feel like they’ve had a satisfying experience? Re-read what you’ve written and ask yourself these questions, is your content something you’d want to read yourself?!
These are two important factors that give your content and ultimately your overall business authority. Google also says it is helpful to ask yourself some SEO-focused questions when assessing if your content strategy is going in the right direction, this way you will avoid what they term a “search engine first approach”. Be honest, is the content written mainly to please the search engines or to inform your audience? If the answer is the former, then you need a change of direction.
Ask yourself if you are taking too much of a scattergun approach. In other words, producing content on many different topics in the hope that some of it could perform well in search. If you are producing wide-ranging topics that you are not that knowledgeable on, perhaps you are using automation tools or just summarising what others say without adding much value. Potentially leaving your audience to search again and look up the subject on a competitor’s website.
Perhaps you are writing about subjects that are trending without considering whether they are relevant to your audience or whether they would really be interested in them. Or are you writing about a subject that has no answer, like a release date for a product for instance, and simply speculating on information without real authority or concrete facts?
Any of these content faux pas will get you penalised by the Google search engines, as your content could be deemed to be too heavily search engine focused. As Google take a higher authority on content with their new update, they are urging people to focus on quality not quantity with their B2B content marketing. Both existing and newly launched sites will be monitored under this update.
Making effective website content changes
Google’s content assessment process is entirely automated, using a machine-learning model. So, what can you immediately do to help your website to rank better? Google say it could actually be beneficial to remove unhelpful content to help with the ranking of other content. But how long will it take for a website to do better if this spammy content is removed? Apparently, it could take a period of months for the signal to recognise and re-rank an improved site.
The good news is that even if your site is deemed by Google’s update as having unhelpful content, it could still rank better if some new people-focused content is added to the site immediately. This is where including some informative, useful and well-written content could make all the difference to your website ranking. Using some ‘putting people first’ type of content could really help put your website first too.
If you would like some help with your website content, Digital Media Stream are experts at crafting quality wording for websites and can put together a content marketing strategy for your business. We can create content for you or offer some useful tips to improve your own content writing. Get in touch today and we’ll help you to boost your content so that it really works for you and your website.