With Google’s ‘Helpful content update’ dropping on Monday, we’ve been told it’s designed to let people see more original, helpful content that’s been written with people in mind; with content written purely for SEO dropping in the SERPs.
So, what does that mean? Google’s published an overview of the update here, where you can read more about it, but essentially, people-first content means:
- Content that is genuinely useful to the person who’s reading it, and that’s relevant to your brand
- The content demonstrates that the person writing it has the depth of knowledge and expertise to write about it
- The person reading the content will walk away feeling they’ve learnt what it was they wanted to find out
So, what kind of content will be penalised?
- Content that’s been written primarily for search engines
- Lots of different articles that target a wide variety of topics, written with the aim of trying to rank for literally anything, as opposed to creating content that relates to your brand
- Content that leaves readers feeling they need to search again to get the answer they’re looking for
- Content that promises to answer a question, but doesn’t
Of course, all content is written with SEO in mind to some degree, as it’s those high-ranking positions that are going to ultimately drive organic traffic and conversions on-site.
However, given everything Google’s shared so far about the update, it’s more a case of ensuring that your content is relevant, you have the expertise, and you’re actually being helpful to the user – which is something any good content team should be doing anyway.
The other thing that’s worth mentioning about this update is that it’s sitewide, which means that if Google sees a couple of pieces of content that have been clearly written for SEO, it can affect the rankings across your whole site.
This means that if you have clients that haven’t implemented redirects you’ve asked for previously, that could have a negative impact across their whole site.
Google has been really helpful in sharing information on this update, but ultimately, none of us really know how it’s going to pan out. The next couple of weeks are going to be very busy for content and SEO teams across all agencies, as we look to see if and how clients are impacted, as well as potential auditing and removing any legacy content that hasn’t been written with readers in mind.