What is the main aim of Google's new update?
The main aim of this update is to get people to focus on content for their target users rather than trying to rank online and producing lower value content for your website visitors. This means that Google will reward those who write content to have a use and purpose for their user and display them in search results. While they will penalize businesses who have focused content around trying to create content for search engines.
What Does Google recommend?
Google recommends that creators focus on content for their target users first, while also utilising Search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices to bring searchers additional value. Google provides the following questions to determine if your website fits what they are looking for.
- Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
- Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they've learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
- Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they've had a satisfying experience?
- Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?
How to avoid creating bad content for search engines
Google’s advice on having people first focused content does not invalidate traditional SEO practices. SEO is applied to customer focused content. Content created with SEO first tends to be correlated with unsatisfying content. To avoid creating bad content for search engines, follow the below rules.
Keep to your brand & industry
Keeping to your brand and industry will help you keep your content customer focused. If you find yourself writing articles or content that you typically wouldn’t talk about with your audience, just to build search terms or keywords for Google, this is typically a sign that you shouldn’t be adding it to your website. Businesses who offer a wide range of activities/ products/services, often worry about their content and disparity for SEO. It is okay if your business offers a wide range of services because they fall under one parent category - your business. It is only when you branch out of your industry and expertise, that it becomes an issue.
Keep your content fresh and original
How much time and the originality of your content will tell you how well it will perform on Google. If you find yourself rewriting other people's articles and not adding any additional value, these will not rank well. Someone else is the authority in the industry, you are just reflecting their ideas. As such Google will prioritise the experts who deliver the most value to their searchers.
Do not automate content, quality is better than quantity
Many small businesses believe that they can use a plugin/widget to duplicate pages and change a few words. This is not the case. Automating content generation will not fool the engine, the algorithms are smart and they know when you are populating low quality content that has no purpose for your target user. You are better off having one quality page with all the information your user requires, rather than 100 pages with the only difference being the town or city name.
Are you trying to hit a word count when your create a page?
The more information you can provide your user, the better. You don’t want them leaving your website with unanswered questions. This is why experts write 2000 words or more. However, this is not a rule set in stone. The Google search algorithms are not ranking content based on how many words you have on your page. They are ranking it based on value to your website user. In some cases you will need to write 2000-4000 words on a topic, but in some cases it may only need a paragraph. Write for use, not for length.
Are you providing false information?
The customer focused content update wants you to provide helpful information to your user. If your information is not correct, up to date or leads the user to believe you are answering a question that has no answer, you will be ranked accordingly. E.h are you suggesting a release date for a product that hasn’t been announced yet? Remember, the algorithms have access to a wide range of data and they can quickly determine the value of your website content.
Provide enough detail for your user
Has your website content provided enough information that they do not need to look at external sources? This could be another competitor or your social media pages. Google wants their users to find the information they are looking for in the fastest time scale possible. If your content requires additional information that you haven’t provided, Google will favour websites that have this content over yours.