Google's latest algorithm update allows content creators greater clarity about what Google is looking for, find out more in this article.
As we know, Google is continually updating its algorithm in a quest to help users find relevant, helpful content. Its latest iteration has been designed to give content creators greater clarity about what Google is looking for regarding content when it crawls sites, and emphasises even further the importance of user experience
The ‘Helpful Content Update’ focuses on serving users original and high-quality content, and aims to reward content that provides users with answers to their questions, rather than being written explicitly for SEO purposes.
So how has this latest update affected the way that you write content? Carry on reading to find out how to ensure your content continues ranking.
How does the latest Google update work?
‘Helpful Content’ began rolling out in the first week of September 2022, it has taken a little while to fully take effect.
It included a new signal that is used for ranking web pages, which highlights pages that don’t add value to users’ queries. If your site has lots of irrelevant content that is considered unhelpful, all the content on your site (even the relevant content) can be affected. If this is the case, it could take months for your site to recover.
To ensure your site is optimised towards the new update, we recommend that you have removed any ‘unhelpful’ content and are following Google’s Webmaster guidelines.
How do I write content for the new update?
If you’re currently writing content for users first, by answering the queries that they’re searching for rather than stuffing with keywords, then your content should not be, or have been, affected in a negative way. However, if the content you’re writing does not align with your area of expertise and instead uses keywords that do not align with your business objectives, then you risk seeing an impact on your rankings.
Write for users first
It’s always best practice to write for your users before you write for search engines. This is becoming even more important with the new update, as Google wants to ensure that content is useful.
Ask yourself the following 10 questions when writing your content:
- Does your content reflect the primary focus of your content and your site?
- Would your target audience find your content useful if they came to you rather than elsewhere?
- Does your content show first-hand knowledge? For example, having used a product or been to a place.
- Once a user has finished reading your content, will they feel satisfied that their search query has been answered, or will they need to search elsewhere afterwards?
- Are you producing content on multiple topics, with no relevance to one another, in the hope of ranking?
- Are you adding further value, rather than just repeating what your competitors are writing about?
- Would you write about this content topic if it wasn’t trending?
- Are you writing to a specific word count that you’ve heard Google favours (Google has confirmed that it doesn’t have a preferred word count)?
- Are you heavily relying on automation to provide content on many different topics?
- Are you keeping up-to-date with Google’s guidance on core updates and how they impact you?
Remember to keep these questions in mind when writing any content for your site, otherwise, you’re writing content for content’s sake.
What are the best practice guidelines for content?
With all the above information in mind, it’s more important than ever to put your audience first when it comes to planning and creating content. Keep your user personas in mind. These are the people that you want to read your content and keep engaged on your site – even without this guidance from Google, there’s little point in targeting irrelevant traffic.
Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t do your keyword research, this is still incredibly important! It’s more about targeting terms that align with your businesses and topics that you can answer with your expert knowledge. Last, but not least, don’t forget to think about search intent and use this to inform your content strategy: is your target audience looking for a simple answer to a query, researching with the intention to make a purchase, or directly looking to buy? It’s crucial to ensure that you’re creating content that fits both the terms people are searching for, and the reason why they’re searching.
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