Breakdown of Google’s Helpful Content Update

Business Content Marketing Latest News Reading Time: 5 minutes

In 2020, our Founder and Director, Adam, sat in the office and said: “I want to rebrand to be people-first. People are everything to me and the business and everything will move to be people-first over the next couple of years.”

Fast forward to August 2022, and Google announced their latest changes to the algorithm in the ‘helpful content update’ that put a big focus on people-first content.

Now we’re not saying that Adam is psychic, but if you’re looking to have your palms read, he’s currently taking bookings.

So, with this new update, what does it mean for your content and your website as a whole?

Keep reading to see our breakdown of what Google has announced in the update, and how you can make your website content as people-first as possible.

Helpful, People-First Content

The changes brought in by the helpful content update will be good news for all you value-focused content creators out there.

The goal of Google’s new update is to reward content that provides a lot of value to the reader and leaves them feeling that they’ve had a ‘satisfying experience’.

This means that if you’re creating valuable content that’s meeting your audience’s needs and expectations, and you’re following Google’s SEO best practices, you’re setting yourself up for a winner.

Google mentioned in their update that if you’re doing the following, you’re likely to be going the right way about creating people-first content:

  • You focus on creating useful content for your existing audience or a new audience that you’re trying to reach.
  • You clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge
  • You create content that is relevant to and suits your website’s primary purpose
  • You create content that leaves people feeling like they’ve sufficient learned about a topic to achieve their goal
  • You create content that provides a satisfying experience to your users
  • You’re keeping Google’s guidance for core updates and product reviews in mind.

Put Your Search Engine-First Content in the Bin!

Okay, maybe don’t go throwing a load of your content out the window just yet, but maybe start thinking about a review of your website content.

With people-first content being rewarded, search engine first content is being penalised.

The new signals that were added with this update will be used by Google to identify content that is written primarily to please search engines or just to capitalise on new, but irrelevant trends to rank higher in search results.

Any content that falls under those categories will be deemed as unhelpful and will be more likely to rank lower than people-first content.

Google has listed a load of content tactics that could negatively affect your rankings after the update. So, if you think you might be guilty of any of the below, it’s time to rethink how you’re writing your content.

  • Creating content that is primarily focused on attracting search engines, rather than people
  • Writing lots of content on different topics in the hopes that some of it will rank highly
  • Using extensive automation to produce content on a load of topics
  • Simply summarising what other content creators have already said, rather than providing your own value
  • Writing trending topics that wouldn’t normally cover, just to get more traffic
  • Creating content that doesn’t fulfil the reader’s needs, leading to them having to go elsewhere for information
  • Stretching out or cutting your content too short to meet word counts that you may have heard about – Google doesn’t have a preferred word count for content
  • Writing about a niche topic that you’re not familiar with, just to get more traffic
  • Promising information in your content that it doesn’t contain – essentially writing misleading titles to get more traffic

How do you Write People-First Content?

Writing people-first content is quite simple, but if you’re starting from square one with your content strategy, it can be quite daunting to fill your content calendar with top-notch, engaging content for your audience.

So, here’s how to get started.

Harness your expertise

Your expertise is fuel for your content.

If you have knowledge and information that you think will be of value to your audience, turn it into a blog post, video or any other form of content that will help to educate your audience.

The more you show that you know what you’re talking about, the more likely you are to become an authority in your space.

If Google sees that your website is a go-to source of information or value in your industry, it’s good for your SEO.

Stick to topics that are relevant to your business

It might seem like a good idea to capitalise on popular news stories or trending topics, but if it has no relevance to what you do or the audiences that you want to target, it’s pointless and frustrating for your audience.

It’s also frustrating for search engines too. Aside from now the risk of harming your rankings with unhelpful content, you could also cause confusion for Google with what your website is about.

Stick to the topics that you know, that your audience will love, and that will help to reinforce your SEO with keyword-rich content.

Address your audience directly

Writing your content as if you’re speaking to a single member of your audience can be more satisfying for your audience.

First-person writing helps to visualise information to your readers and helps them understand how to apply the knowledge and information that imparting to them to their own businesses, projects, and goals.

If your audience comes away satisfied that they’ve learnt enough from your content to fulfil their search intent, they’re more likely to return to your site and consume more content – and that’s what Google is looking for!

Review your current content

It’s not all about creating new content. You should also be going back through your website and updating your older pieces of content too.

If you’ve been guilty in the past of writing content just for search engines, then you need to either remove that content or rewrite it so that its more people focused.

Updating older pieces has always been a good way of breathing new life into outdated or stale content, but now it helps to avoid having the rest of your content dragged down by a few content mistakes you’ve made in the past.

As a rule of thumb, any content that has no relevance to your audience, just delete it. But any content that you think could be valuable to your audience, then give it an update!

To stay up-to-date with future Google updates, go give us a follow on LinkedIn if you haven’t already!

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