July 25 2023

Google Helpful Content Update: How Will Your Search Rankings Be Affected?

As we all know, Google is constantly rolling out new updates. The latest Helpful Content Updatewas designed to help its algorithms understand content created from a personal or expert point of view. This change is part of Google’s ongoing effort to reduce low quality content and make it easier to find useful and authentic content in their search results. Why is this important? Because to be successful in organic rankings, companies and institutions will need to be very granular and create a massive amount of content to compete.

What Is Google Changing?

Google has outlined two main changes with this update.

  1. The first will be improving how algorithms rank results in search overall, with a greater focus on content with unique expertise and experience.
  2. The second is understanding which content is created from a personal or expert point of view, allowing them to rank more useful information on search. Google’s definition of expert content is going deeper than a “scratch the surface” familiarity with a topic.

The Google E.A.T. acronym will be also changing to include an additional “E”. E.A.T. is a component of Google’s search quality rater guidelines. The new acronym will now stand for Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trust (E.E.A.T.). This is a way that Google is letting users know that they value firsthand or life experience on a topic. Along with this, Google is placing a renewed emphasis on the trust aspect of E.E.A.T.

What Does This Mean for Your Website & Rankings?

Google’s new update is specifically coming after content that has been created to rank well on search engines, also known as search engine first content or SEO content, rather than to help inform people. The algorithm will downgrade websites with content that it deems are built for search engines and not humans. Likewise, websites will be rewarded for better and more useful content that is written for humans and to help others. Using AI or ChatGPT to completely create your content could also lead to a decrease in rankings. That doesn’t mean that AI still can’t be helpful for coming up with initial topics, outlines, or keywords. But it can’t be relied upon to replace what humans do.

So, what should you do? If you aren’t following these guidelines, It is time to shake up your company’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and remove unhelpful content. One of your main goals should be to focus on creating people-first contentwhile utilizing existing SEO best practices to bring additional value. Not sure if you are on the right track with people first content? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand experience and a depth of knowledge?
  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or website that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?

Keywords will no longer be as much of an influencing factor in rankings. This doesn’t mean that you should stop doing keyword research, because this will still help you target your content towards audience needs. But keyword density is becoming less relevant, and overuse will be even more likely to get flagged by Google. HubSpot encourages websites to keep their keyword density in the 1 to 2% range to stay on the safe side. Websites should also make an effort to incorporate intent-based keyword research to make sure content stays extremely relevant to searchers.

New Best Practices to Follow When Creating Content:

The Search Engine Journal has compiled several fundamental principles you should adhere to, to ensure content is deemed helpful.

  1. Stick to Your Area of Expertise: Content on your website should focus on topics within your expertise and with the intended audience in mind. For example, financial institutions should focus on content that relates to their financial products, services, and financial topics. Websites should have one primary focus or else you risk visitors and search engines getting confused.
  2. Demonstrate First-Hand Experience: Content on your website should demonstrate depth of knowledge. Content about products or services should be based on experience and made clear with original photos or data/insights. This is what is going to make the content unique and valuable to Google. These insights will help position you as an expert in your field.
  3. Provide Sufficient Answers: Content that leaves readers feeling like they need to search again for better information is not considered helpful. You should aim to provide a holistic solution for the reader. To do this, you need to understand what the users search intent is.
  4. Avoid Making Nonfactual Claims: Websites should avoid making claims that are not factual. For example, a financial institution should not suggest that their rates are the lowest in the state if they in fact are not.

ZAG Interactive Is Here To Help

Our team of strategists, marketers, and copywriters are fully up to date on the latest Google changes and are already helping our existing clients make the switch to people-first content. We can work with you to determine which unhelpful content should be removed, topics that could be helpful to your audience, implement tasteful content optimizations to include the perfect number of keywords and complete SEO audits to determine where you stand in on the search engine results page. Contact us today to make sure your search rankings aren’t slipping.

  • Analytics
  • SEO

posted by
Brianna Dudding
Brianna Dudding
Digital Strategist

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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