Google recently rolled out a “helpful content update,” which aims to prioritize “people-first” content and rank it ahead of content written directly for search engine optimization (SEO). This article covers how this impacts the blogging community and provides tips to ensure your content meets the new requirements so your blog can continue to succeed and grow.
“People-First” Content – What? Why? How?
Google is constantly trying to improve its ranking system so consumers get the information they are searching for. According to a statement on Twitter, “[they’re] improving Search so you’re less likely to find content made for search engines, and more likely to find helpful, authentic information — particularly for education, entertainment, shopping and tech content.”
Bloggers want to write people-first content but also feel pressure to rank in order to be seen. We’re hopeful this new algorithm will help prioritize the content you write and share.
To help ensure your content is flagged as “people-first,” here are some tips based on Google’s guidance:
- Have a niche
Google wants users to know what to expect from a specific site. If your blog is a travel blog, make sure you have a lot of travel-related topics. The more specific focused your site is, the more likely it provides value for the target audience and meets the new criteria.
Although it can be tempting to combine multiple interests into one blog–we are people with multiple passions, after all – the best way to avoid being flagged as “unhelpful” is to write to a target audience on a singular topic. If you have more than one theme you want to blog about, you can always create multiple sites to cover them especially if they are unrelated.
- Demonstrate expertise
Having “people-first” content means that it is vital to add value rather than simply repeating what others have already said. Remember, you are your blog’s most valuable resource. Readers come to your blog because you offer something unique and different–your voice, your experience, and your expertise.
When thinking about starting a blog, choose a topic that you are knowledgeable about. Ask yourself what new expertise you have to offer to the blogosphere. When posting, include personal experiences, pictures, research, unique insights, and opinions. Help your readers, and Google, build trust in the information you share.
- Give helpful and complete information
One of the most important components of a “people-first” site is that your posts answer the questions they are written for. If google searches find your blog article and have to go back to google after reviewing it, that’s a bad sign and likely penalized in Google’s search ranking algorithm. Also avoid click bait titles and articles, like promising to announce a movie’s release date when one hasn’t yet been set. Google is cracking down on this type of misdirection.
For years, bloggers have been advised to write long-form posts that capture as many keywords as possible. However, long articles aren’t always what readers are looking for. A post that is long simply to have a lot of keywords without adding value is counter to the “helpful content” guidelines and runs the risk of being tagged “unhelpful.” Readers should feel like their query has been sufficiently answered without having to go to an additional source.
- Provide a user-friendly experience
Google wants users to have a positive online experience. To create this, think about how readers feel when visiting your site. Ask yourself: is my site easy to navigate? Is it visually appealing? Can readers quickly and easily find what they are searching for?
Blogging for The People
Algorithm changes happen all the time, and, as bloggers, we must learn to adapt and find ways to serve our audience and our blog. Google’s new update changes the way pages are ranked, prioritizing articles that provide a “people-first” experience. To ensure your blog continues to thrive under this new system, follow the tips above to benefit your readers and earn a “helpful” Google ranking.