The goal of search engines has always been to provide people with helpful information. With this goal in mind, at the end of 2022, Google has released their helpful content update. As you can probably guess from the title of the update, Google has improved their search algorithm to provide users with more original, helpful content. In their words, content that is “written by people, for people.”
So, what does this update mean for your website and how can you ensure that you will continue to rank well in search results? Google will not tell you exactly what you need to do, but they provide questions to ask yourself about your website and your content to determine if your content is written for people, or for search engines. In this article, we will cover some of the most important questions to help you better determine how your site will fare with the helpful content update.
Table of contents
- Creating Content for People
- Never Create Content for Search Engines Only
- How Will This Update Impact Your Site?
- What Do You Need to Do?
Creating Content for People
The primary goal of the helpful content update is to reward websites and specific content that provides a visitor with a satisfying experience. Content that users find unhelpful, or that is clearly designed to try and fool search engines, will be negatively impacted by the update.
Let us take a closer look at what Google would consider people-first content.
- Create content that your audience would find just as useful as if they came to you in person with questions or looking for advice.
- Content should clearly demonstrate extensive knowledge of your field or first-hand experience with a product or service. As a mortgage or insurance professional, this means showing an in-depth knowledge of various loan types, qualification requirements, state-specific insurance requirements and regulations, etc.
- Your site should have a focus and purpose. Do not create content for your site unrelated to your business or industry because it is trending or because you think it could rank well.
- Reading your content should be a satisfying experience for your visitors. Not only does the content need to be well-written but a visitor should feel they have learned enough about a topic to achieve the goal of their search.
Never Create Content for Search Engines Only
Content should never be created solely for search engines. Meaning, do not write content with the mentality that you can trick search engines by writing a certain way to rank higher. Do not write content that does not belong on your site just because you think it will do well in searches.
Keep in mind, this does not mean in any way that you should disregard SEO best practices. You can still write people-first content while adhering to SEO guidelines. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if your content is written for people or search engines.
- Are you purposefully writing content with search engines in mind rather than the end viewer?
- Does your content consist of various topics unrelated to your business in hopes it will perform well in searches?
- Do you use any type of automation to produce content?
- Is your content a summary of what others have already produced or is your content adding new value to readers?
- Do you feel your content answers a viewer’s questions, or do they need to search additional sources for more information? A high bounce rate can be an indicator your content is not answering their questions.
- Do you write to a specific word count because you heard it could be beneficial? Google does not favor any specific word count in content and adding fluff to content to reach a certain word count will not benefit you.
- Are you writing about topics where you do not have extensive knowledge and simply using keywords to try and gain traffic?
If your answer was yes to many of these questions, your content is likely not written for your audience.
How Will This Update Impact Your Site?
This new update could mean big changes to your site ranking, or it may have no impact at all. Google evaluates your site based on many different factors and all are considered when determining your page rank.
One of the most important things to note about this update is that unhelpful content anywhere on your site could affect your overall site ranking. This means that if your site is found to have unhelpful content, even if it is just a few pages, your entire site rank could suffer. Even the content that would otherwise be categorized as people-first content will be affected.
Again, many other factors will be considered so you may not see a big impact with a few unhelpful pages. This update is weighted so it is likely that sites containing a lot of unhelpful content will be affected significantly.
What Do You Need to Do?
The first thing you are going to want to do is determine, based on the above information, if you are creating people-first content, or content for search engines. If you feel or know you have created content for search engines, it is time to make corrections.
Rewrite your content to focus on providing valuable information to your clients. If you have older content, be sure it is updated to include current mortgage program information or insurance requirements. Remove any content from your site that is not directly related to your industry and the products and services you offer.
If your site is affected significantly by this update, it may take up to a few months for your ranking to improve after you make changes. It is important that you take action as soon as possible to avoid any further delays and so that your ranking can start moving up once more.
Content creation is not always the easiest. If you are inexperienced and need advice or have questions regarding your current content, the advanced marketing team at 220 Marketing is here to help guide you. Reach out today and we will be happy to help you review your content to ensure you see the ranking results you want.