Another day, another Google update.

The latest core update to the Google algorithm for SERP is here. Curious as to what that means for you and your business? Check out our in-depth review of the new helpful content update, how it affects you, and how we’re helping our clients thrive during this time.

Part 1 – The Algorithm Update

Google’s latest helpful content update prioritizes original content that connects searchers to relevant and accurate information, creating an overall satisfying experience to users.

Specific Algorithm Changes

Google’s search algorithm will now include a helpful content ranking signal, specifically a site-wide signal that Google weighs in among other classifiers to better rank a web page or site. This new signal relates to how helpful—or not—content is to a user’s specific search intent (whether someone is looking to learn something, make a purchase, etc.). The primary goal of this update is to encourage content creators to put people first and machines second.

Currently, this update only applies to English-language searches, although Google plans to roll out this update to other languages in the future.

Part 2 – Quality Content Boogaloo

Let’s dig into what putting people first really looks like when writing content (and beyond).

What Counts as “Helpful Content”?

Let’s start by identifying what helpful content is not.

Unhelpful content, according to this new update, prioritizes anything other than what human readers want. It can include low-quality content, or content that is inaccurate, duplicated, poorly written, doesn’t answer a query, and/or unnecessarily long, written for the purpose of hitting an arbitrary word count instead of staying concise and on topic. It can also include content that is unoriginal, or content that merely summarizes what someone else has said and doesn’t add anything new or of value to a topic.

The saying “one bad apple ruins the bushel” applies to Google’s latest content update. Namely, low-quality content can negatively impact your entire web site’s ranking in Google search results. Having even a few low-quality web pages can tank your entire site’s domain authority and individual web pagesSERP rankings.

Irrelevant content doesn’t offer readers the satisfying experience they crave. To get the SERP results you want and give readers what they are hungry for, offer up a smorgasbord of good, helpful content for your readers to E A T up.

E A T Helpful Content

Remembering to E A T (Expertise Authority Trustworthiness) can help you produce content users actually want to consume.

  • Expertise – Write about what you know—not just what you think will rank well—and cite your sources. (Tip – Cite only high-quality, relevant sources.)
  • Authority Establish yourself as an authority by sticking to what you know, staying up to date on industry trends, and producing original content. (Tip – High-quality backlinks signal to Google and readers that you are an industry expert.)
  • Trustworthiness – Consistently produce reliable, accurate, relevant original content, and people will come to accept that your brand is trustworthy. (Tip – Cut unhelpful, poor-quality content from your site.)

Write for People

Avoid a site-wide catastrophe by writing less for robots and more for human searchers (a novel concept, we know). This type of content is what Google refers to as “people-first content,” or content that is written foremost with human readers in mind, not search engine optimization and search engine traffic. Prioritizing people-first content doesn’t mean you should abandon SEO best practices entirely; it simply means that these practices take a backseat to real human users.

Combining a people-first approach with a comprehensive SEO strategy can offer top-notch user experiences that will leave people coming back to your site for more. And trust us—Google will take notice of that and reward you for it!

People First, Always

Today’s tech standards put sci-fi of the past to shame. Some of the newest gizmos to grace the digital marketing world include content-writing software. While this software is quick and cheap, it removes something critical from the writing process: the human element.

And that human element is something that can absolutely make or break a new site or web page with the new helpful content update.

Let’s put it another way. Even with recent strides in machine-learning tech, current AI is nowhere near what it needs to be to create the high-quality content that readers (and Google) will love. The best way to create people-first content? By hiring real people!

But we don’t think that being people first ends with content.

We pride ourselves on our people-first approach at Digital Strike – Targeted Marketing. To us, being people first means:

In today’s digital world, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and drown in a sea of data. We stay afloat by putting people first, always.

Update: Google has launched another Google Helpful Content Update in 2023 we did a full breakdown on it here.

Kristen Greif

Learn more about Kristen Greif

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