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Google Helpful Content Update [People > Bots]

Google Helpful Content Update [People _ Bots]

Ready or not… it’s here! That’s right, Google’s helpful content update is out, and all SEO specialists look something like this now:

mr-bean-shocked

The question is whether there’s any real reason to panic. Is this update a game changer, or does it follow the line of progress that the previous Google updates started?

Let’s find out together.

Google Helpful Content Update: What’s New?

Google has been following the same logic in all their last couple of updates. Namely, search engine results should be people-centric and try to satisfy the search intent and user demand to the fullest extent possible.

So, there’s nothing too groundbreaking or shocking in terms of changes implemented by Google. Instead, the focus is on how the user experience can be improved, and false information, as well as misleading articles and spammy content, be reduced to a minimum.

Basically, the evergreen rules of how to write good content apply here even more. Here’s what you need to do:

How to write good content

  • Be detailed. Try to be as detailed as possible about the topic you’re writing about, without spamming unnecessary information, don’t write just for the sake of reaching a certain word count. (It’s a myth that Google has a preferred word count).
  • Offer as much value as possible. Avoid rephrasing articles and not adding any value to your writing. There’s no benefit to the reader unless you provide it.
  • Provide only accurate information. Sometimes, when you are in a hurry, you think you can save yourself some time by not properly researching and double-checking facts. This is harmful to not only you, but your readers as well, and, can lead to problems for your website.
  • Write with expertise and using personal experience. If you’re writing a software review, for example, use the tools and then share your personal opinion about it from your experience with it. It’s not useful to anyone to simply write vague statements that have no relevance, especially if you’ve never used the product you are writing about.
  • Satisfy the demand of your audience. Before you start writing, analyze the SERPs and see what people are looking for. There might be a content gap, or a need for specific information that’s currently missing. It’s pointless to write just for the sake of it – it’s much better to do research and prepare content that readers will truly enjoy.
  • Structure your content properly. Your content should be easy to read, and skim through. This means applying short, readable sentences and paragraphs, structuring your headings to include the most important information, and including rich media like images, GIFs, videos, and so on.

Google Helpful Content Update: Key Takeaway Points

  1. Readers are more important than search engines.
  2. First-hand experience is essential when writing.
  3. Use AI to assist you, not to do the job for you.
  4. Don’t write false or inaccurate statements.
  5. Always try to include added value to your content.
  6. Focus on being an expert in your niche.

1. Readers > Search Engines

This isn’t a shocking revelation, as Google has been trying to put more and more emphasis on the quality of the UX over the last several years.

In this update, once more, the main goal is to urge content creators to stop trying to over optimize articles for search engines. Instead, the main focus should be on what readers are searching for.

2. First-hand Experience

Don’t try to write about smartphones when you’re still using an old Nokia flip phone. Not only would it be ridiculous, but readers that have experience in the field will quickly catch up and realize you have neither experience nor expertise.

If you do have to write on a topic you’re completely unfamiliar with, it’s a better idea to spend some time researching, and ultimately gain at least a little understanding and experience with what you’re dealing with.

3. AI Is Not the Answer

AI is not at the level you think it is. It’s very far away from the all-knowing machine you’ve read about in sci-fi books. In reality, what AI writing assistants can help you accomplish is to increase your productivity.

However, avoid repeating the mistakes of some content writers that fully rely on AI to generate their articles. You should always double-check the results of AI writing, and apply the necessary edits and corrections.

4. Double-Check Your Facts

Always double-check your facts! Even if you’re convinced about something, it doesn’t hurt to quickly make sure you are, indeed, correct.

Due to the dynamic nature of digital marketing, and writing, sometimes writers don’t have the time to check their facts, and this can be detrimental to the entire marketing efforts of your business.

The mistakes might go unnoticed at first, but sooner or later, readers will realize you are posting misleading information, and there goes your brand reputation and credibility. Again, never forget to check your facts.

Actually, editors should also be involved in this process. You know, sometimes honest mistakes are made by authors, and that’s when a good editor can come into play and fix any errors before it’s too late.

5. Add Value to Your Content

No one wants to read the same old thing over and over again. Thus, what’s the point in recycling other websites’ content and rephrasing it, in order to have an article on the subject?

Rather, look for ways you can add some value to your text. It could be an infographic, an experiment you’ve conducted, or a short video you’ve created.

6. Be an Expert in Your Niche

Ultimately, one of the most important things you can do is to be an expert in your field. You might be tempted to write articles on hot topics in order to get more traffic. However, that can have quite the opposite effect.

For instance, let’s say you have established yourself as an expert in sports. It would be odd to post content about new open-source software for ‘x’. In fact, you will most likely not even attract any new visitors, and your existing ones will be wondering what’s going on.

Of course, if you can think of a creative way to combine a topic that sounds unrelated to your own field of expertise, go for it. However, keep in mind that not all topics can be combined.

Summary

The recent Google Helpful Content Update is nothing to be afraid of, unless, of course, you’ve been dealing with bad SEO practices, or just writing to please search engines.

Subsequently, if you’ve been following the best practices for writing, always placing the reader first, and looking for ways to add extra value to your content, then you’re good to go.

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