Ready for a new Google algorithm update? High-quality and relevant content is now more than ever the key to success.
Have you ever searched for something on Google and ended up facing a website with low-quality, robotic content that doesn’t answer your question and you needed to keep searching further for your answer?
And did you then wonder why it was ranking so high up on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages)?
This year, Google decided to address the problem and boost the content of quality for its users.
On August 25, it started rolling out a new algorithm update called ‘Helpful Content’. This new adjustment aims at matching user queries with websites that offer higher quality content and are better matched to a user’s search intent.
While improving the search process, the new algorithm may be making content creation a little more complicated. So let’s take a closer look at the Helpful Content update and how it can affect your content marketing strategy.
What is ‘Helpful Content’ All About?
The Helpful Content update was launched on August 25 and full implementation should take around two weeks. The new update offers a number of improvements to help searchers find useful content that was made by people (vs. robots or unqualified copywriters).
According to the search giant, the update should help people see more people written, high-quality, and valuable content in search results. In short, Google now prioritises valuable content that was made by people, for the people.
With this update, Google is adding a new ranking signal. It will detect low-quality content that offers little help and minimal value to the searcher.
One of the reasons why Google is tweaking its algorithm yet again, is that it’s losing its audience to the competition. For example, around 40% of young people use TikTok or Instagram instead of Google to find a place to eat.
This trend away from Google Search to other platforms is a concern that is being addressed in this Helpful Content update.
While many Google algorithm updates affect websites on a page-by-page basis, this one is different. The Helpful Content Update rolls out site-wide.
This means that if Google sees that the overall content on your website is low in quality, it will push your entire site down the SERPs.
For you, this means that your whole website needs to contain well-crafted quality content across every page. Websites that have been created with content purely for search engines, will no longer be rewarded in the same way.
Is This Really New?
Is the ‘helpful content’ update really something new?
Google has been prioritising high-quality content for many years. Companies, marketers, and marketing copywriters already know the critical importance of providing relevancy, information and value to the reader.
So, what has changed?
To help companies evaluate their content creation strategies, Google provided several helpful questions. If you answer ‘yes’ to all of them, then this upgrade is unlikely to affect your rankings.
Content for Search Engines
One of the most important goals of creating high-quality content is to achieve higher rankings.
Some marketers rely heavily on keywords or adjust the topics they write about, create headlines and sub headers in order to satisfy search engines.
While this has helped you occupy higher spots on the SERPs, such an approach steals value from your content and doesn’t give the user a valuable and satisfying experience. That’s exactly what Google is trying to address with the new update.
This year, creating content for search engines and getting away with it will become much harder. That’s why it’s imperative to conduct a content audit and find out which pieces require tweaking.
Useful Tips to Adjust Your Content to the New Requirements
Even if you already offer excellent content, there are a few things you may need to tweak.
Keeping the new ranking signal in mind, review your existing content pieces and make them more valuable with a clearly defined user goal for the page and a commitment to providing useful information that will give the user a satisfying experience.
The goal of any web page or website should be to hold user interest for as long as possible by answering as many questions and enquiries as possible within the content provided all in one place.
But how do you do this?
Focus on Your Expertise
When trying to incorporate relevant industry keywords, some companies create content that they don’t have sufficient expertise in. This means they are then spread ‘thin’ across many areas, rather than being focused into their true area of expertise.
For example, if you are a company that offers cybersecurity services, you may be providing content related to software maintenance and general IT support. While these services often go hand in hand, your lack of true expertise could hurt content quality.
Consider avoiding any secondary topics that you can’t offer real expertise in. Stay on the subject and provide value with something you are truly an expert in.
Be Careful with Trendy Content
Content that revolves around the latest trends is an excellent example of content created specifically for search engines.
Sure, writing about the latest Kim Kardashian affair will bring thousands of visitors to your website. However, if your specialty is not in the specific area of fashion and celebrities, the conversion rate will be close to zero.
Before now, such an approach to trendy content only hurt your conversion rate. But now, it can hurt your rankings which will have a longer lasting effect on your overall website performance.
Share First-Hand Experience
When announcing the new update, Google stresses the demonstration of first-hand experience and depth of knowledge. More often than not, online retailers hire copywriters to provide descriptions of products they have never used before.
While this works great for search engine rankings, it carries little value to the customer.
Make sure your product descriptions are authentic, practical, and useful and ‘solve’ all the possible problems you customers might be experiencing. You can take advantage of UGC (User-Generated Content) to make them even more valuable.
Choose a Niche and be an Expert
The new update asks each website to have a primary focus or topic. This means that you can no longer cover a huge variety of subjects, as can you possibly be an expert in ‘everything’.
This has been a strategy before especially in the digital marketing space where you find agencies offering ‘expert’ services across SEO (search engine optimisation), PPC (pay per click advertising), website development, content marketing, digital marketing, email marketing, graphic design, video, and social media marketing. Each one of these areas requires specialist expertise so writing about each and everything no longer means you have a primary focus.
So, choose a niche for your website and focus on creating content around it. While this doesn’t mean that you need to abandon the rest of your topics, you need to limit them to something you have true expertise in.
At Content Box, we specialise in strategic marketing and content design, both written and visual. While we offer a range of other digital marketing services also, this is our niche that we blog about regularly and where we can bring extraordinary value to our clients and become know as the experts in our field.
So, niching and sharing expertise, is the new way forward. Don’t be a jack of all trades, be a master of a few!
Boost User Experience
Boosting user experience is the driving force behind Google’s updates.
While you are reviewing and changing existing content or creating new content to suit the latest requirements, focus on the user experience.
Ask yourself, if I was visiting this site, what would I be searching for, and would my questions be answered?
You need to more than ever, focus on the purpose of the visit to your site and understand the mindset of your customers. Solve your customers pain points by addressing their concerns and questions and make the information easy to access.
And please, make it easy for them to contact you by including a phone number … that is answered!
All too often the phone number is hard to find and the contact us page requires a form to be completed, adding you into a mailing list for you to be bombarded with emails.
If you don’t want to be contacted easily by a potential customer, then don’t have a website!
These are simple yet common oversights that can boost user satisfaction considerably and keep people on your site.
So how do you know if your content stacks up?
Running a content audit is a good place to start.
Start by using these 5 key questions to evaluate your existing content or content that you are considering creating:
- Does this content focus on solving problems for a specific audience?
- Does this content demonstrate the first-hand experience and expertise?
- Does the content align with the main topic of your website?
- Are you providing sufficient answers to the user’s question?
- Is the content easy and satisfying to read?
Consideration of these points will help ensure content quality, relevancy, and compliance with the new update requirements.
Meeting Helpful Content Update Fully Armed
While it may seem complicated, adjusting to the Helpful Content update doesn’t have to take long. Especially, if your content marketing strategy is on point.
At Content Box, we support the new changes since they bring more value to the reader and add more clarity to Google’s requirements. Creating top-quality content that is visually engaging and well-crafted and is focused around educating and informing an audience, so they are able to make better decisions, has always been a top priority.
Need help to see how your content stacks up with these changes? Ask us for our Content Evaluation Checklist today!
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