What you should know about Google’s helpful content update

Google’s Helpful Content Update is aimed at keeping Google in its top position as the world’s leading search engine. 

That really goes without question. They got to be the best by being very good at what they do.

And what they do is provide answers to questions. But not just any answer. The right answer for the exact words that are typed into that search box. And it will even give you suggestions of other things you could be asking that are related to your question. Helpful without a doubt.

What is Google's Helpful Content Update?

So Google’s new algorithm update shouldn’t really be any surprise. Called the Helpful Content Update, it is just that – about providing helpful content to people who are using their search engine. Gone are the days of keyword padding just to get ranked higher on Google. Google’s AI can now detect if what you are publishing is actually helpful or not.

Google’s own documentation states that is to ensure that “people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”

Not AI content, not bot-generated content – notice they are very specific about content written by people for people. Not AI generated content designed to lure the rankings and satisfy the search engines.

There are a number of ways the content you create, whether that is in your business blog, or your website’s page content,can be produced relatively easily and attain Google’s approval.  Here’s 9 things to consider:

Know who your target audience is

Once you can define your target audience then you need to think about what content they will find useful – and provide that. Whether it’s as a blog, a series of FAQs or just in the page content on your website. 

Have your target audience in the front of mind whenever you are developing content. Ask yourself – if they came directly to you via the phone or a face to face meeting, would they find this content helpful?

Demonstrate your expertise

Make sure your content clearly demonstrates that you are an expert in your field by showing a depth of knowledge about the topics that are of interest to your target audience. 

Give real life examples about how your product or service has helped others who are like your intended target audience and be brave enough to make the call on times when your product or service isn’t appropriate too. Your audience will appreciate it.

Consider your target audience's needs

Think about if, after reading your content, your target audience will need to go back to the search engine to find more information, or if your content will satisfy the questions they are asking.

If you don’t feel that your content will satisfy their need fully, you can do a couple of things. You can link out to other sources of more in-depth or detailed information – either on your own website or someone else’s or you can add more detail to your site.

There are several ways you can do this – add an FAQ page, develop two or more blogs that fully cover the topic, or simply add more detail to your existing content.

I don’t usually recommend sending your site visitors to someone else’s site (for fear they may never return), but there are rare occasions where this might be appropriate. 

For example, if you are referring to something which your audience may not be fully aware of or some may want more information, you might add a link to a Wikipedia article which provides more background or details. Or you might refer out to the governing body in your industry to add weight to your expertise. If you want all the nitty gritty about Google’s latest update, you can go here.

Build trust with your audience

This can be done by presenting actually useful information in your blog or site content. Content that is not easily found on other sites, because it is your unique selling proposition and your unique set of experiences that gives you the expertise that you have.

Providing information that is useful builds trust in your audience and keeps them coming back and it is a great way for them to get to know your business well before they engage you – consider it a lead generating activity for future business.

Grammar and Spelling

Double triple check the basics. Sites with grammar or spelling errors look unprofessional and untrustworthy and don’t sit well if you are trying to create a great brand. It takes a few minutes to proof read your copy so make sure you do it carefully.

If it’s not your strong suit, find someone who loves these things and ask them to do it for you. Even if you have to pay them for an hour to proof read your content each month, it will be money very well spent to make sure your brand is presented in the most professional light.

Add original content

Make sure that you are not simply copying the latest trend in order to rank well, or copying your competitors or others in your niche. Bring something unique to the table – your experience, your opinion, your research and analysis will all put a different spin on the content and set you up as the expert in your field.

Think about whether your target audience might refer later to your content in conversation with someone else – if they do then it has resonated strongly with them and they have remembered you – that is a great outcome to aim for!

There are some things you should avoid doing too, to make your content meet the requirements of the Helpful Content Update:

Don't write for the search engines

Keyword padding is a big no-no. If your article, blog or page has more than 4 or 5 references to the main keyword or long tail keyword then the bots at Google are going to get suspicious. It’s not really a natural way to write and that is what they are looking for. 

Just save yourself the agony of trying to squeeze keywords in unnaturally and write as if you were talking to your target audience face to face.

Don't deviate from your niche

Don’t cover topics on your website that might be vaguely related to your core business. Stick with what you do best. 

Fishing around for clients on the perimeter of your core topic/s will not help your Google ranking. It will make it more difficult for Google to understand what your area of expertise is and dilute your core messaging. Niche, niche, niche.

Don't substitute for the real thing

If you are using extensive automation to produce content then Google is not going to look upon this nicely. Your best bet is to schedule time to make it happen, create a topic planner, sit down at the keyboard and write.

The more you do it the better you will get and the less time it will take you. It will always take some time. That is time spent investing in the future of your business, building the credibility of you as an expert and time spent improving the chances of your site ranking well.

I’ve written a few blogs about blogging which you might find useful in your quest to provide outstanding content (pain-free). Start with these:

So, while the sound of yet another Google algorithm update can seem daunting, really its about making sure that the content that Google is serving your target audience is quality content that is reliable, trustworthy and dependable.

No-one else has your mix of skills, experiences and knowledge – use that to make your site and your brand stand out in the crowded market place!

Get in Touch

If you’d like to find out how I can help you build content that converts lookers to customers then book a free strategy session. 

In under an hour we’ll develop a plan to take your business to the next level.

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