Have you noticed page ranking changes starting around mid-August? The Google Algorithm almighty has spoken, and small businesses need to listen up!
To help your existing or intended audience get the most relevant information for their needs, Google Search has announced the release of the Helpful Content Update.
It’s important to know that all websites with what Google considers to be unsatisfying or unhelpful content are impacted by this update – but even if your website has been impacted by this update, have no fear!
As a dedicated Vancouver SEO agency, Seeyu Studios is here to share everything entrepreneurs and marketers need to know about Google’s Helpful Content Update and other algorithm updates.
Plus, check out our Helpful Content Checklist below to create content that helps your customers reach their goals, and builds trust with them for lasting relationships.
What is the “Helpful Content Update”?
First announced on August 18th, 2022 on Google’s Search Central Blog and its Twitter account, the Helpful Content Update is aimed at helping creators (business or site owners) to create content that provides genuine value for their customers.
To help you provide better value for your audience, Google will reward websites that feature "high-quality" content in its search results. The blog post announcing the update stressed the importance of creating content written for users, and not for search engines.
How Does This Update Impact Small Businesses?
For online entrepreneurs and publishers, this Google announcement is good news for you. Creating more helpful content with SEO best practices in mind will encourage improved traffic and engagement from the target audience for your business.
With the Helpful Content Update release, small businesses should focus on publishing consistent content that’s genuinely helpful for their customers. This can be a challenge, as many small businesses don't have the manpower or resources to produce and publish high-quality content on a regular basis. Luckily, small business marketing often allows for more flexibility and experimentation to find solutions for improved conversions.
This update is a good reminder to review your website’s content strategy and ensure that information published is relevant to your audience if you want to increase your chances of generating organic search traffic.
Keep reading to learn how you can help your business create better content for your customers!
What is Helpful Content According to Google?
When we think of information that’s “helpful”, we usually think of intelligence or expertise.
However, this notion can lead to more nuanced questions for business owners, such as:
- What does good content look like through the eyes of Google (and its algorithm)?
- Do we need to be the best in the business to reach a wider audience?
- What do your competitors have that helps their content rank higher than yours?
Think with Google has published an article which sheds light on some of these questions.
Here are the 4 key elements of “good” content according to brand consumers:
- Relevant: Does your audience actually care about the topics you’re covering? Make sure your content is approachable by speaking directly to your customers’ needs.
- Intellectual: Are you bringing new insight in the content you publish? Provide value that helps your customers make informed decisions.
- Sensorial: For video content, are you creating content with the 5 senses in mind? Consumers prefer “unique storytelling” that’s thought-provoking over “cinematic quality” productions.
- Emotional: Does your content invoke feelings that your audience may not have had before engaging with your content? Does your content create an emotional transformation?
Furthermore, there are three (3) simple actions that small business owners can take today to ensure that your content is up to Google's standards.
How to Create Helpful Content for Your Target Audience
Regarding Google’s Helpful Content update, here are a few tips to help you create better content:
1. Demonstrate First-Hand Expertise as an Expert in Your Field
Are you writing content that serves your customers? If you're going to write about a topic, it helps to have some experience with it.
This way, you can offer your readers valuable insights that come from real-world knowledge.
For example, if you own a local pet grooming service, you could write an informative blog post about the best way to care for a new puppy, with anecdotes and tips you’ve learned by grooming young pups with your own two hands.
2. Show Real Expertise with Proof
Google wants its users to get content from experts, so it's important to position yourself as an authority on your topic.
Not an expert in your field yet? That's okay. Wherever you are in your business journey, you can boost authority by doing in-depth research and writing about what you've learned on top of what you already know.
For example, if you're a plumber, you could write a blog post about the different types of plumbing pipes and which ones are best for certain applications. For eCommerce stores, make sure visitors are able to find high-quality customer reviews across the web – especially when they’re in the conversion stage of your buyer’s journey.
3. Create Content that Prioritizes Your Customers’ Needs
One of the goals of Google's update is to reward content that puts users first.
Whether you’re creating product pages or blog posts – consider user accessibility, like expanding to other languages to better serve country or region-specific audiences.
For example, if you sell clothes, you could write about trending styles seen in specific cities, and share images or UGC (user generated content) wherever possible. If you’re a health & wellness service provider, you could share blogs that help to improve your customers’ lives before they step into your office.
The best way to get clarity on what your customers need is by doing thorough keyword research.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your small business publishes helpful content that Google's update is designed to reward, and content that provides greater value for your customers.
In turn, you increase the chances of generating search traffic and converting more visitors into customers.
August 2022 Helpful Content Update: Checklist
To make sure your content is in good standing, use our handy checklist to stay on track:
- Are you writing to a specific target persona?
- Have you shown your expertise with first-hand experience?
- Does your site show a clear niche focus?
- Does your content make the reader feel like they've reached their goal?
- Will your reader leave feeling satisfied or even rewarded?
- Does your content comply with Google's core updates and guidelines on product reviews?
- Are you writing for humans rather than search engines?
- Do you have a clear and thoughtful content strategy in place?
- Are you relying on AI software tools to produce mass amounts of content?
- Are you paraphrasing from research more than providing field insights from your expertise?
- Do you write about trending topics, even if they don’t relate to your products or services?
- Does your reader feel satisfied with their visit or do they need to go elsewhere for more information?
- Are you forcing articles to reach a certain word count from misinformation?
- Is the information you’re publishing accurate and accessible?
While the update is good news for small businesses, it is important to note that the changes will not happen overnight. It will take time for Google to adjust its algorithms and start rewarding helpful content.
Other factors that could impact your new content’s rankings include off-page and technical SEO factors we’ll be covering in upcoming SEO blog posts, so be sure to stay tuned for more helpful tips and resources.
Need a Hand with Creating Helpful Content?
In sum, Google’s latest content update is yet another reminder of the importance of helping your customers reach their goals.
The takeaway is this: quality over quantity. By following best practices for SEO and producing quality content, you can ensure that your site continues to perform well in search results despite new algorithm changes.
If you ever need help, contact an SEO professional who can help you create content that meets Google's standards. Our agency’s expert SEO consultants are always happy to help – get in touch with our team if you ever need a hand! We’re always just an email away.