In it's latest series of updates Google seem to have gone back to it's, and the early webs roots.
The most recent changes are suggesting that we now go back to a focus on a "people first" content mindset.
According to Google, this is to "better ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, rather than content made primarily for search engine traffic."
This might possibly be one of their biggest updates in a while.
I have written on this subject several times over the last few years my main argument being that whilst 'search' is great this implies that you have to know what your searching for in the first place.
Whereas 'content discovery' opens up a whole different world of shared interest.
How do you avoid taking a search engine-first approach?
Answering yes to some or all of the questions is a warning sign that you should reevaluate how you're creating content across your site:
- Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
- Are you producing lots of content on 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?
So, yet again the gods at Google are now asking that for your website to remain relevant and visible then all those SEO blogs and onsite SEO optimised narratives need a full root and branch review.
We recently saw some great innovation for real consumer socially savvy focused content from ASDA as highlighted here by social sentiment and measurement company 'Maybe Tech'.
Asda have tapped into people's interest in life hacks and created content relevant to their audience and their products. You can do this too. Invite customers to share their own hacks for reducing food waste, saving money or replicating their favourite takeaway meals at home. It's bound to inspire discussion. Give it a bash!
With social media dominating and stimulating conversations it seems that all that corporate stuff that no one other than you read and was written for you by the SEO agency should at last start to force you to write stuff for real people.
Maybe, just maybe, this is the time to cease procrastinating and really take a strategic look at the art of employee engagement and upskilling the entire business to create and share relatable socially minded people focused content?
Any content — not just unhelpful content — on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere from the web that's better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.