Google are forever tweaking and updating its search algorithms to help websites that work hard on Search Engine Optimisation achieve the best possible ranking.
Their August 2022 update, called the ‘helpful content update’, is the next in a series of enhancements Google has introduced this year, and the search engine giant has clarified that this latest update is “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content” in search results.
For content creators, digital marketers and website owners, this means reviewing existing websites and marketing content to ensure that the new markers Google is looking for are present.
And whilst it’s likely that your website and marketing content is already meeting many of the requirements, we thought we’d give you some pointers to check against to help you meet the new updates and maximise your rankings in Search.
#1 Create content that meets Google’s EAT requirement – Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness
This may sound counter-intuitive, after all, we are suggesting ways to be found more often in Google Search.
But what Google is looking for is content that meets a site visitor’s expectations, or in other words, people-first content. To help you assess this, can you answer ‘yes’ to the following questions?
· Is your current target audience likely to find the content on your site useful if they came directly onto the website, for example from a digital banner or email link?
· Does your content clearly show in-depth knowledge and expertise?
· Is your website focused on your area of expertise or business, with each page or section clearly showing that focus?
· Once a person looking for specific information has visited your website, will they feel they’ve found what they were looking for?
· Will they also leave your website feeling it’s been an overall satisfying experience? In other words, was navigation simple, were they able to find what they were looking for, submit a request, buy something?
#2 Create content for people, not search engines
Whilst it is essential to create content that meets the various SEO best practices, Google will soon see through any attempts to overload your website or marketing content with too many of the same keywords, phrases that aren’t written in natural language structure and so forth.
What they’re really looking for is content that’s written for people – the best way to describe how to go about doing this is as follows: let’s say, for example, you’re an expert on vintage cars which you advertise and sell through your website.
When you’re at a friend’s birthday lunch and there are other people there who ask you what you do, and you begin to explain, the way you do so should be likened to the way your information is presented on your website.
You’ll then find enthusiasts who may ask you more questions – as you answer them and give that level of detail and interest that truly shows you’re an expert, once again that’s the language and dialogue you should look to replicate on your website.
To help you assess whether you’re on the right track, have a look at the following questions – to these, you should be answering ‘no’!
· Is your content too diverse and not focused enough because you’re hoping that a ‘spray and pray’ approach will attract a wider audience?
· Are you mainly summarizing content from other sources without adding significant value of your own?
· Are you trying to work in as many keywords as possible in places where they don’t really belong?
· Do your sentences sound contrived, and not the way you’d say them if you were speaking to a person directly?
· Do you try and sound like an expert when in actual fact you’re really not that clued up on the subject?
· Does your content leave visitors having to go to other websites to complete their research into a topic?
· Does your content offer information that isn’t actually correct, or purports to know something that isn’t yet known, for example a release date for a new album, vehicle model or similar?
· Are you writing content and bulking it up to match a perceived ‘ideal word count’ from Google?
Once you’ve been through the above, you should have a really good idea of where your website and content marketing strategy is in relation to Google’s latest update.
And if you find areas that need improvement, don’t panic, there’s always time to update and improve things, and Google’s update will take a couple of weeks to roll out anyway, so there’s no need to rush into things.
To help you assess your website and digital marketing content, please download the Google Content Quality and Helpfulness Questionnaire at the following link: Go to Google Docs
And if you need help and guidance around creating new content, amending and improving existing content or developing a new content marketing strategy, speak to us today on 01223 550800 or email email@example.com.