Jenni Livesley, a director of Context, breaks down the latest Google Helpful Content update and offers advice on how to critically assess your copy
Google recently overhauled its search parameters to prioritise helpful content above all else. This has got marketers asking the question: what does this mean for us?
Google has always favoured authoritative and informative content. The latest change takes this one step further in a bid to stop misinformation reaching page one by penalising sensationalist headlines that add nothing to the topic.
How do they do this? The method of assessing your website (Google crawlers) remains the same, but the good and bad indicators have been refined. It does this by scoring content based on whether it adequately satisfies the following questions:
- Does the author have enough knowledge or industry credibility on the subject matter?
- Are you writing about things because they’re trending rather than for your audience?
- Does the content fit in with the wider scope of the website on which it has been published?
- Are you adding value to the conversation or simply summarising what others have said?
- Is the sentiment of the content designed to educate the audience or evoke fear?
- Would someone reading your content feel like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
Generally speaking, websites are built in a vacuum. They are a snapshot of what is considered “good SEO practice” at the time of development; think external links and keyword stuffing. However, as Google tweaks the way in which it assesses and ranks content, your site may become outdated and therefore appear lower in search if you don’t carry out checks and rewrites on a semi-regular basis.
What is the solution? Here are some tips to help you critically assess your content to ensure it meets Google’s E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) criteria.
Choose your experts carefully
When you are producing content, you need to consider who the author is and the audience they are engaging with. Should your HR manager be talking about sales? Can your sales manager really advise on marketing best practice? Make sure you choose the right by-lined author for your blogs or articles with the most credibility.
Avoid the hype and write what you know
It’s easy to get caught up in topics that don’t relate to your business. While it is okay to have a position on trending themes, make sure the angle is still appropriate for your area of expertise. For example, if you are in commercial real estate and want to discuss the energy crisis, offer your views on the impact for landlords or construction companies rather than personal users.
Add original thought to the conversation
Very few ideas are truly original so it’s easy to fall into the trap of summarising someone else’s points. If your content covers a well-versed subject, reframe how you are presenting it to your audience. Can you add original data on the topic? Could you go against the status quo and discuss an opposing or unpopular opinion? The way you frame your content could help it stand out from the rest.
Think about the whole experience
We have focused heavily on the words so far, but we also need to pay attention to the visuals. If you were selling a new phone, an article on the best features won’t give the reader the experience they deserve. Think about adding pictures and videos but only if they offer something relevant to the topic.
How we can help
Navigating the new Google update requires a detailed level of research and execution. We can:
- Audit your website to determine its effectiveness in line with the new update
- Make recommendations based on the human-first approach to content creation
- Amend content to make it more helpful for your audience and ensure a good search ranking
To find out more about this service, get in touch with our team here or use the pop-up provided below ↓
About the Author
Jenni has more than 11 years’ experience in Technology PR after joining Context in 2010. She has expertise in the healthcare IT, telecoms, and consumer technology sectors while also working with clients in diverse fields such as event management and recruitment.