What Website Owners Should Know About Google’s New “Helpful Content Update”.
The emphasis of this update is to ensure it’s showing the most helpful content in relation to the terms being searched, increasing the chances of delivering real and useful content to users.
So what does this
mean for site owners?
This new focus on people-first content demonstrates a need for organizations to produce original, engaging, and helpful content to improve or retain their Google search rankings. When producing this type of content, it’s important to remember the longstanding advice from Google to post information created for real people while also utilizing SEO best practices.
Here's a summary of what your content should include:
to yoursite’s focus
If you’re a home renovator posting about eco-friendly cars, you might find your content isn’t performing as well as if you remain focused on your primary topic. Instead, consider writing about how to choose the right paint colour for your space or guidelines for planning a new kitchen layout.
Are you teaching someone how to perform a task, sharing insight into a process, or providing the reader with real information they can use? If not, you might need to reconsider your approach and focus your energy on creating content that helps your audience and makes them want to come back for more.
In the past, businesses could get away writing content for search engines first, but with this new algorithm update, that’s simply no longer the case. The best way to learn about writing SEO-friendly content that helps you rank on Google is to review their SEO Best Practices Guide and avoid content automation services that help you produce a large quantity of content, but of a lower quality.
With this new update, not only will Google reward sites with helpful content, but it will actually be detrimental to your rankings if you publish “unhelpful” content. They advise that you remove this type of content from your site while adding more “helpful” content to improve your ranks. As with all Google algorithm concerns, it’s all about a complex balance of many factors that can affect your results, but it’s clear with this update that the emphasis is on genuine people-generated and user-focused content.
Where do we go from here?
Understanding the impact of this update and deciding how to act on it are two separate tasks. Considering how this might affect your website performance and your organization’s bottom line can help you determine your path forward. Here are the steps you can consider when deciding on how to act on this information:
Step 1 - Consider your current business: Take a look at your business model, including your audience, advertising efforts, and website presence. It can be incredibly helpful to review your website analytics to determine where your traffic is coming from. If 30% or more of your website traffic is coming from Google, it might be important to consider next steps in helping you maintain or improve your search engine ranking. If your business lost that traffic and associated revenue, how might that affect your business? If you’re not willing to lose that traffic, it might be wise to begin planning your content strategy.
Step 2 - Review your current website content: How often do you currently update your website content? Do you already have a strategy in place that focuses on producing helpful content on a regular basis? If so, keep up the good work and thank your content writer for their efforts. If not, it might be time to consider developing a strategy that prioritizes the development of relevant and consistent content.
When we perform website audits, one of the main evaluation tactics when looking at content pages is determining the usefulness score, page goal score, and helpfulness score of the content. Consider using this approach when reviewing your own content to determine how your content is performing, or reach out to us to set up an independent content audit to get an outside perspective.
Step 3 - Determine your focus or expertise: When developing helpful content, it’s important to leave your readers with information they didn’t have before reading. This involves sharing “insider information” to demonstrate your expertise or understanding of a topic. While some old-school business owners are uncomfortable with sharing tips and tricks, it’s increasingly important for developing genuine connections with your audience and prospects. Not only does it help you develop clout for your expertise and show you know what you’re talking about, offering thorough explanations on topics can also show readers the complexity of a topic, making many decide to use your products or services to “have it done properly.”
Step 4 - Develop a strategy: While it’s tempting to say you’re going to start writing content and blog posts on a more regular basis, it’s quite a feat to actually start producing content and keep up with a plan. Create your strategy, including focus keywords, topics, and content ideas, along with a timeline for creating, editing and publishing. This can help you stick to a plan and avoid losing steam on your project. This step is important because Google loves fresh content and will reward sites that update their content regularly. Consider keeping a schedule, using web tools such as Google Trends to help you determine keywords, and give yourself an incentive to stick to your plan.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the bandwidth to develop a strategic plan, begin creating content, or sticking to a schedule, you could also outsource to the experts. We’re passionate about creating helpful content on our clients’ behalf to ensure they’re continuing to rank on Google and are benefiting from the power of content marketing.