Are you ready for the ‘Helpful Content’ update?
Once again Google have released details of its latest search algorithm update, this one is called ‘The Helpful Content Update’. Google said this update will “tackle content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines”.
In other words, this update is building on Google’s desire to rank only the best content out there. Always remember, with search marketing, all Google wants to do is to “provide the searcher with the best possible search results to answer their query”. It’s whole business model relies on doing this better than anyone else out there.
It stands therefore, that if content has been written, predominantly to rank highly in search engines, and not to help the user, it doesn’t help Google reach it’s mission as described above.
Google says the update will “help make sure that unoriginal, low-quality content doesn’t rank highly in Search”. So, if you are writing content with the purpose of driving search engine visibility and traffic, you might be hit by this unless that content is written with helping the user in mind.
At Lilac James we produce content for clients and also mentor them in creating their own content, particularly where the information is specialist (our copywriters would have a meltdown if I asked them to produce content on the intricacies of micro pump technology for example!).
Our process is simple:
1. Assess what questions are being asked by your customers about your products and services
We use SEMrush to do this, they have a ‘Keyword Magic’ tool that gives you various questions, search volumes and competition levels surround your selected keywords. This saves a great deal of time in researching ideas for great bits of content in your niche.
If you don’t have SEMrush, there are other tools available such as answerthepublic.com which gives you various questions surrounding keywords BUT unfortunately doesn’t give you volume or competition levels.
2. Analyse the competition levels
There is no point writing blogs and articles to attract search traffic where the competition is unreasonably high. When you find good ideas for content, assess who is on page one currently for that search term. Ask yourself, is the question being sufficiently answered, if it’s not, there may be a great opportunity for you.
Consider your domain authority in comparison to the websites appearing on page one. Domain authority is certainly a less reliable measure of search success than it used to be, but it still gives you a ballpark idea if you can successfully rank on page one.
If everyone on page one has a domain authority of 50+ and your website is 25, then you may need to find a less competitive search term to target.
3. Review what content is being supplied on page one
Google has decided that whatever is being delivered on page one right now, is what the searcher wants. Take a good look at the style of the pages, do they have videos embedded, how long are the articles, are they using bullet points etc…
Once you have a great idea of what Google thinks the searcher wants, you can look to improve upon that content. Simply ask yourself, how can I make this content better? Then go and do it!
Take a read of a previous blog post of ours about 8 Ways Blogging Helps Boost Your SEO.
Artificial Intelligence Generated Content
Reading between the lines with this update, we suspect that Google is targeting AI created, SEO optimised content.
In recent years there has been a big drive by SaaS companies to create AI generated content that ‘hacks’ the Google algorithm to rank on page one.
This is NOT what Google wants and some of the wording in Google’s update seems to indicate that this update will be targeting AI generated content.
If you have used AI generated content, keep a close eye on your positions, by early September this update will be fully rolled out in the English language and you may start to see some movement to the downside.
If we’re right about this, it’s great news for copywriters.
What action do you need to take?
Right now, you don’t need to do a great deal.
Just keep a close eye on your rankings and monitor them for signs of deterioration. Naturally, if you’ve been using software to write your website copy, or writing content for the algorithm and not for the user, this update could harm you quite a lot.
If your rankings start to slip, you’ll need to rewrite your content, following the steps above, and rewrite it to be as helpful as possible for the user.
If you have any questions at all, or if you would like to speak with an SEO expert, please email us at email@example.com and one of our team will be in touch.