Learn how the Google Helpful Content Update impacts your B2B content marketing strategy.
Google dominates the global search engine market, with around 83% of the market share as of July 2022. Google rolls out algorithm updates now and then, aiming to modify the results pages to serve users in a better way. And every core update from Google tends to create ripples through the content marketing world.
One such latest update is the Google Helpful Content update which is sure to trigger profound ground-breaking changes in how we create content.
All online content creators and marketers need to be alert, stay on top of all Google algorithm updates, and apply these changes to their content marketing strategies.
These changes directly impact your content ranking on SERPs, which means you must be ready to adjust your strategy according to the updated algorithm. Although it may look like a daunting task to adapt to the changes and secure a spot on the first page of Google, it’s all about being up-to-date with Google’s best practices.
If this update has gotten you worried about your traffic growth, then don’t worry, as we’ll explore what exactly this update means for SEO and how to fine-tune your content marketing efforts to keep up with the trend and stay on the right track.
What exactly is the Google Helpful Content Update (H.C.U.)?
Over the past few years, Google’s updates have always aimed to break manipulative strategies such as keyword stuffing in favor of value-driven content, focusing on user experience.
The Google H.C.U. is a big step towards persuading websites to publish more original, helpful content written by people and for the people.
Along with the other Google ranking signals, this update will establish an algorithm that identifies low-quality, low-value content lacking meaningful content. Since it is a site-wide algorithm, the entire domain is likely to rank low if there are many unhelpful published articles.
As it targets content that prioritizes user value over ranking, Google will use the algorithm to incentivize creators who deliver human-first content to their readers. Hence, to earn their users’ trust, websites must provide content they know that searchers will find valuable, thus leading to user-friendly content written by and for humans.
What does it mean for your business?
- Better ranking if you have unique and quality content
- More helpful product reviews based on first-hand experience where people can easily find original and high-quality reviews
- Google will consider AI-generated content spam and use its machine learning algorithm to detect it.
- Content made for clicks and ad monetization won’t work any longer.
- Even though there’ll be no manual penalties, you will start losing organic visibility.
What Does Google H.C.U Mean for Content Marketing?
As it’s already been established that engaging your audiences with value-added and helpful content will help you climb higher in the SERPs and generate more organic traffic.
When Google makes changes, as a content marketer, it’s essential to know how it will affect you and then make appropriate changes to your content strategy. Here’s what you should know:
Focus on People-First Content
Google has constantly emphasized ‘people-first content,’ which means content that helps your readers better, providing them with in-depth content information and a positive experience.
When you publish content to your Website, you should write content keeping your target audience in mind. This doesn’t mean you should overlook the SEO practices you’ve been implementing. It simply means that the optimization tactics should come second in prioritizing to provide additional value to searchers further.
To ensure your Website uses the people-first approach, Google encourages you to ask yourself the following questions.
- Is your Website content written by people with in-depth knowledge about the subject?
- Do you have an audience that finds your content helpful, and is the purpose of your site clear to you and your audience?
- Does your target audience find the content valuable as it came directly from your business site?
- Do your readers receive all the information they were looking for from your content without having to search elsewhere?
- Does reading your content leave your readers feeling like their experience was satisfying?
- Do you consider Google’s guidance for product reviews and core updates?
You’re on the right track if you answer yes to most of them.
Don’t make it only about the search engines
Yes, SEO is a key to your content performing well and your site’s visibility, but it does become a concern when you’re only focused on the search engines. So, your content and rankings will suffer if you don’t prioritize your readers.
Google has shared the questions you must ask yourself to determine if you’re taking the search-engine first approach.
- Does your content prioritize drawing users from search engines rather than creating content for humans?
- Do you produce content in large numbers on various topics hoping that some could perform well in search results?
- Do you extensively use automation or A.I. to create content on different topics?
- Do you summarize other existing content without providing any new value or insight?
- Do you create content on trending topics instead of writing what your current readers need?
- Do users read your content from start to finish and feel they need to do another Google search on the same topic?
- Do you write content according to a specific word count because you think Google has a preferred word count?
- Do you write about a niche topic without expertise just because it will attract more traffic?
- Do you create content that promises to answer questions that have no real answer?
If you answer yes to most of the questions, then you need to reevaluate your website content and strategy to focus on people first.
How Can You Prepare for Helpful Content Update?
You have nothing to worry about if you’re already creating valuable and helpful content. Google H.C.U. will eliminate unhealthy competition and sites that use unscrupulous tactics to outrank you.
But if you’re not, here are a few things you can do to transform your content strategy and ensure you focus on your readers.
Focus on Your Niche
If you’re putting out content outside your niche, it’s time to make a change, as you don’t want Google to think you’re focused on rankings and search engines rather than your readers. So, it’s time to change your approach and create content that proves your authority in your industry.
Once you’ve found your niche, Google advises sticking with it and understanding that your audience comes to you for high-quality online content. For example, stick to that niche if you have a food blog or Website. Don’t write about finance and investments because these are trending topics and may drive traffic to your site.
Showcase Your Expertise and Authority
Experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E.A.T.) with the subject matter increase a website’s value for the user and Google.
If you think you’re helping your readers by writing about topics without passion or expertise, then you’re wrong. Every subject requires a knowledge base, and your reader can easily recognize it if you don’t have the expertise in that particular niche. For example, you cannot write a review about a service or a product without ever using it.
Instead, create content where you can showcase your expertise and authority on a subject and focus on those topics where you can talk endlessly. When you produce well-thought-out content, it proves that your strategy is more focused on the authority you have in your field.
Once people start seeing you as a trustworthy resource, they keep coming back to you whenever they need any info about your industry.
Ensure that your Website has a clear purpose
A website can’t produce content for everyone. This will be unhelpful to visitors and make it difficult for search engines to understand your site, and it won’t be categorized correctly. You can always create several websites to produce content about diverse topics.
Your published content should have a primary purpose, and Google can crawl your site to find the purpose and focus of your content. Build your site around one subject area, making it your niche. Avoid giving in to trending topics outside your niche to help your target audience find you easily.
If your content maintains your established niche, Google will know where to put you when searchers look for data that’s part of your expertise.
Provide detailed information to address a reader’s questions
What do you expect when you open a blog post after searching on Google? You expect all of your questions to be answered in detail, right? But more often than not, you stumble upon uninspiring and bland content that barely addresses your needs, sending you back to find another resource on the Google search page.
As already discussed, your content marketing should center on a people-first approach. Provide articles with verifiable statistics, information, and evidence to avoid sending your readers to run another search to find better content.
If your reader moves from your site to another without any further communication, or as Google calls it, a bounce, it signals that their experience with your site was unproductive and did not match their search intent. The higher the bounce rate, the lower your ranking because each bounce is a vote that your page lacks the value your reader is looking for.
Providing detailed, long-form blog posts will benefit your users as they can access all of the information in one place, and Google will also reward you by moving up your page in the SERPs.
Always think about the user experience
When users get what they are looking for in a specific website easily, they keep returning to the same site, as the overall experience you provide to your readers makes a difference. And if the visit is coupled with a conversion, you’re on the right track.
If you want people to revisit your Website and rank you high in the SERPs, you need to focus on providing a satisfying experience every time. Your content should be clear and enjoyable, with topics that interest the readers and also answer the questions that they may have. Your audience should have the pull to stay longer on your site and be satisfied with the answers they found before leaving your site.
It is also advisable to ensure that your Website is not slow to load, has confusing navigation, or is cluttered with too many ads. So to improve user experience and make it helpful and enjoyable to your users, you must focus on the following:
- Keeping your content detailed and easy to read.
- Having a good combination of trending and evergreen topics in your content marketing strategy
- Providing your users with exactly what they’re looking for from the first click
SEO efforts and algorithmic changes are crucial, but putting user experience first has become paramount. This is what the people using Google expect and what the search engine aims to achieve. If you’re already putting people first over prioritizing search engines, then your content marketing strategy is on the right track.
The Google H.C.U. algorithm aims at finding the right balance between creating people-first content and staying updated with changes. So staying faithful to your current and future users with authentic content will earn you rewards from Google in the long run.
Need help optimizing your content marketing strategy according to the new update?
Feel free to reach out to me or contact my team at Contensify to step up your content marketing game!