You have written an amazing article about vision problems and tips to improve it. You also carelessly recommended a dietary supplement. And you expect site traffic to hit the sky… Do you?
Wait for Google’s review to pass first, because the search engine will be looking at a few things before passing judgment:
• Does the reader understand what they need to do to be able to read the fine print effortlessly, are they getting solutions to the problem?
• Is it full of hype and descriptions of the supplement? Have you tried it yourself, are you an expert on the subject to speak confidently about its benefits?
• Is it overflowing with keywords and phrases as if it is only aiming for top rankings?
Depending on the answers to these questions, your site will either be among the leaders in the SERPs or face a rapid free fall, even hiding. It is precisely in this judgment that Google has endorsed itself after the new update for useful content .
We dedicate an entire article to it – attention!
THE REASON : If the business is able to use the update correctly, get into its tone, it has a great chance through the content on the site, increase visits and win not only users, but also customers.
To help you with this mission, we have collected the most important and practical ones for you to apply. This is what you will read until the end of the material:
- Google Helpful Content Update – a brief anatomy
• Crime and Punishment – which content is low quality and NOT rewarded, can even lead to very bad consequences
• Approaches and ideas for good ranking of content and site, according to Google criteria
• Checklist for creation and optimizing content for search engine reward
Let’s unravel the mystery of the update…
What is Google Helpful Content Update and why is it critical for business?
Google’s main goal as a search engine is to provide users with the best quality information relevant to their expectations and stated needs. And this is the red thread that manifests itself in the form of updates . This is also the case with the new one activated last August.
How is it different from others and how does it work?
In July 2022, a product review update was released that affects site reviews for better ranking. That is, it affects only a certain section of the site.
The new one has no restrictions – it covers the entire content of the site, all pages .
All types of websites are targeted – blogs, affiliate sites, e-shops, service sites, corporate. Both new and existing – it’s a bit like starting from scratch.
As you know, in the last few years, Google’s machine learning algorithms have developed quite well. This update represents a significant change from previous content ranking methods. Traditionally, the search engine takes into account a number of factors, such as number of incoming links, search volume, content usefulness, overall user experience, technical SEO factors.
With this update, an even greater emphasis is placed on the quality of the content itself . The mentioned factors continue to have weight. BUT, from now on, they are not the only ones that the search engine will keep in focus.
The essential change is that when ranking content, its USEFULNESS will be an even more significant factor.
The first paragraph in the update documentation (instructions) sheds light on the motivations and meaning of this:
“Google Search is always working to better connect people with useful information. To that end, we’re launching what we’re calling the “Useful Content Update,” which is also part of a larger effort to ensure that people see more original, useful content written by people, for people, in search results . Below you will read more about the update and the things that creators should be aware of.”
Let’s briefly try to “translate and decode” the message :
We strive to provide users with authentic and valuable information by providing them with accurate results for their search queries. This will enable them to find answers without having to navigate between different websites.
In addition, we want to ensure that unique content is seen by users, which in turn is a guarantee that it is authentic and different.
We don’t like texts written using artificial intelligence tools. To us, this is spam. Also included in the “bad” column are those extracted from elsewhere, rewritten or paraphrased by a tool, with no real value added.
And in continuation of this logic, we will always promote original content created by subject matter experts.
No matter how big a site is, if there is another one with useful materials, guidance and solutions that satisfy users, the reward is for them – to be ahead in the results list, not the big one.
Simply putting general information on the site without considering the expectations of the visitors sends us a signal that it is useless and will cause us to make the site harder to discover.
This is basically what the Google team is telling us…
One might think that good SEO practices are falling out of favor, not important. The truth is that they will have more power when they support the preference for creating content centered on the user and their needs. Such for the people (people-first content), not for the search engine.
American SEO analyst David Ramos says:
“I think the lines between good user experience (UX) and good search engine optimization (SEO) are getting more and more blurred, and that’s a good thing. If you make things that real people will like, you win. The latest update just pushes us a few more steps in that direction.”
What content does Google queue or hide?
We will approach psychologically – with the black points, displayed on the basis of the Google documentation. When one knows what NOT to do , then it is easier to build a working strategy because one avoids mistakes.
Bad content that does NOT deserve a ranking boost:
1. Does NOT provide in-depth, detailed and valuable knowledge, an individual and critical view of the issue, a different perspective, first-hand experience.
The best example of this is an influencer’s articles on his personal blog. He stretches lokumi for cosmetics of a certain brand that he has not even used, there is not a single useful sentence. And the goal is clear – text written to make the algorithm’s eyes look good. To show the cream, not to give competent advice to a person suffering from dry skin, for example.
2. It does NOT satisfy the user’s curiosity, needs, leaves him with questions and doubts, so he continues his search in other sources.
If you publish articles on the topic of “starting your own business”, there is a way to know if you answered the questions of the visitors and they were satisfied. Just track with one of the tools like Hotjar their behavior on the site – how many minutes they spend on the article, do they scroll down quickly, do they close it within seconds.
3. NOT only on certain pages, but throughout the site it suffers from a lack of primary focus, purpose.
Just imagine a bowl of grapes online place – read writings from personal development to motherhood, your own business, science, technology. Can you tell what exactly you would go back to him about, what topic he would give you reliable information on? Would you recommend it to someone about a problem?
If you turn the pancake over to your website as well, you’ll find out if Google will red card you.
4. Abounds in many and varied topics or niches without own expertise available. It touches on current topics because they are widely discussed, not to cover the needs of an existing audience.
No matter how good advice you give about smoothing out wrinkles with the great help of plastic surgery (quite a narrow niche), you will not sound convincing and authentic when the overall content is about skin and hair care. Simply because the site is not of a clinic, but of a beauty center that has no expertise in this.
5. It promises to give definitive answers to questions about which the boundaries are still blurred, there is no consensus, and the disputes have not subsided.
Things are written without being officially confirmed, rumors are presented as reliable information. We all experienced the second at the beginning of the pandemic with the information on fines for not wearing masks, for example.
Put simply, this is misleading, deceiving consumers.
Methods and tactics with which your content will successfully pass the test of the new update
We will not attempt to “investigate” how the algorithm works here. Hardly anyone would dare to do it.
We’ll show what content that meets the new update’s criteria looks like and analyze some of the reasons why.
WHO says what will save us when we have a headache?
Pay attention to WHO , because this is one of the devils that gives advice about the direction of the site’s life in search – up or down.
Let’s see what we get when we type in the keyword HEADACHE .
The “Nurofen” website appears first – with material with valuable information about the causes, the problem and the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
A few years ago, with this very article, Epis.bg ranked first for the keyword headache. And since it is a searched word, it is normal that the views of the text have reached 1,400,000.
Over the years, the site has gathered good power (indexes) and Google trusts it. As of today, however, the article is on page….8 of the list. Yes, the subject has been delved into well enough, the reader can get what he needs.
BUT…Google is betting on health-themed sites like Nurofen. After all, WHO better knows about headaches than those who have been dealing with it for years.
This is precisely the subtle difference:
In the “health” niche, the search engine considers as high-quality what is published on medical portals, pharmacy and drug sites, hospitals, medical universities, health centers.
That is , this is their main theme , it fits them like a glove. It acquires even greater weight when it is commented by a proven expert in his field – a doctor who also shares his own experience, as in the materials of Puls.bg.
When the practice is misunderstood and applied, it results in a Frankenstein…
Let’s say you have a site about sports (news, interviews, events) and it enjoys a lot of traffic. And writing super quality material on unconventional, previously unheard of methods to fight headaches, you still won’t hurt to be an authoritative source in the medical niche.
Your readers will find it slightly strange, they won’t take it seriously. Because they enter the site to get information in the area in which they consider you reliable – sports.
As they say “DO NOT do this at home!”
It is important to mention that the additional reason for the result shown above is also the medical update of 2019, which is acting with full force and reason.
The authority of the content on the site increases when it is “armored” with two more important elements :
1. Richer information about the author : title, certificates, photo, link to a personal site, the full biography and even more importantly, Google yes knows about him.
For an article on tips for fighting oily skin in an online cosmetics store, the best author would be a dermatologist with his own practice, additional courses and certifications.
This holy grail of the site and the company as a whole is based on real customer experience.
Therefore, Google looks for external sources that clearly show it – such as reviews on Google My Business.
Both their number and their context matter.
A credible and detailed review has more power than a customer being disappointed by a merchant’s service.
To verify your reputation, the search engine also digs for testimonials from trusted experts, news articles, awards, and generally any authentic information that points to your site or your name.
Such as when a business wins an award in a specific industry. And this is reflected in detail on the website of the competition, links from the website of the business have been released.
For industries where there are no clearly defined experts, user engagement and popularity are considered evidence of reputation.
A rod with a sweet lure or serious and padded expertise
Google is able to capture which of the two the site has chosen in the overall content to judge the ranking. Here’s how it works in practice:
We run a search on the key phrase HIGH BLOOD and the first place that comes up is the online food supplement store Botanic with the article “High blood pressure – causes, symptoms, complications, treatment”.
It is far from a good layout, as it does not have relevant and attractive images, which by default contributes to better rankings.
But WHY is it in the first place?
A look at the main elements of the snippet tells us. The title and description are straight to the point, understandable and NOT designed as click bait.
The other results on the first page have a similar structure with gravity around the topic – symptoms, what are normal values, the difference between low and high blood pressure.
If we go to page 6, the picture changes and there are headlines – bait – “How to lower high blood pressure in a minute and without drugs”.
Will you really believe that the promised miracles will happen if you follow the advice?
The texts do not even scratch the level of expertise, and the sites are a type of blog in which the health topic is a part – a type of “filler”, but not a focus. It often happens that the sites are satellites. Which brings us back to the point about authority.