As always Google has updated its algorithm, making big changes for content creators across the board. From small business owners looking to out rank their competitors to influencers growing their following with quirky and original content. This is what Google has to say about people first content and why you should be listening:
Google’s automated ranking systems are designed to present helpful, reliable information that’s primarily created to benefit people, not to gain search engine rankings, in the top Search results. This page is designed to help creators evaluate if they’re producing such content.
Self-assess your content
Evaluating your own content against these questions can help you gauge if the content you’re making is helpful and reliable. Beyond asking yourself these questions, consider having others you trust but who are unaffiliated with your site provide an honest assessment.
Also consider an audit of the drops you may have experienced. What pages were most impacted and for what types of searches? Look closely at these to understand how they’re assessed against some of the questions outlined here.
Content and quality questions
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources, and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the main heading or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the main heading or page title avoid exaggerating or being shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
- If someone researched the site producing the content, would they come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
- Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
- Does the content have any easily-verified factual errors?
Presentation and production questions
- Does the content have any spelling or stylistic issues?
- Is the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
Focus on people-first content
People-first content means content that’s created primarily for people, and not to manipulate search engine rankings. How can you evaluate if you’re creating people-first content? Answering yes to the questions below means you’re probably on the right track with a people-first approach:
- Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
- Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
- Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
Avoid creating search engine-first content
We recommend that you focus on creating people-first content to be successful with Google Search, rather than search engine-first content made primarily to gain search engine rankings. Answering yes to some or all of the questions below is a warning sign that you should reevaluate how you’re creating content:
- Is the content primarily made to attract visits from search engines?
- Are you producing lots of content on many different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
- Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
- Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
- Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you’d write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
- Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
- Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No, we don’t).
- Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?
- Does your content promise to answer a question that actually has no answer, such as suggesting there’s a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn’t confirmed?
How Does This Affect My Business?
Now more than ever, Google is pushing for businesses, brands, and individual creators to dig deep to create new, inspiring, and unique content that reaches audiences across the board. Sharing helpful information from other creators is still welcome, however, when writing your own content you will want to speak directly to your audience. Take what you learned about stuffing your content with SEO-rich keywords and throw it out. The quality of your content should be focused on spreading information and connecting directly with your audience.
At Houston Small Business Marketing we work with business owners to stay on top of all the latest trends and changes. When the algorithm adjusts, we adjust with it to keep our clients on the cutting edge of what is happening now. Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn more about how we can help your business stand apart from your competitors.