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Navigating Google's Latest Search Update: A Guide to Creating High-Quality, Helpful Content

Navigating Google's Latest Search Update: A Guide to Creating High-Quality, Helpful Content

In an ongoing effort to refine the user experience, Google has announced a significant update to its search algorithm, aimed at prioritizing more valuable content while reducing the prevalence of results engineered primarily for search engine rankings. This change underscores Google's long-standing philosophy: design content that serves the user, not the algorithm. 

“We expect that the combination of this update and our previous efforts will collectively reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%,” Tucker wrote.

Helpful Content and EEAT

Helpful content is identified as content that is unique and not curated from other sources while also providing value to the user and solving for the users intent. The content should be demonstrate clear expertise, experience, authoritativeness and be considered trustworthy, EEAT.  

To align with Google's latest guidelines, it's crucial to ensure your content embodies EEAT—Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Here’s how:

  • Expertise: Demonstrate your knowledge by including detailed explanations and technical insights into your topics. Cite your qualifications or professional background relevant to the content.
  • Experience: Share personal anecdotes or case studies that showcase your practical engagement with the topics discussed.
  • Authoritativeness: Support your claims with data and citations from reputable sources. Adding quotes from recognized experts can also boost your content’s credibility.
  • Trustworthiness: Ensure your site has an accessible privacy policy, clear contact information, and user-friendly navigation to help users feel secure.

Implementing these elements makes your content more valuable to your readers and more likely to be favored by Google's updated algorithms.

What is at risk of impacting my site?

  1. AI Generated content that is used directly instead of as an assistant to write helpful content to the user. This is considered scaled and unhelpful content.
  2. Low quality backlinks to your content using recycled domains. This is considered site reputation abuse and expired domain abuse.
  3. Third party affiliate content that is not relevant to your user and the website’s primary purpose. 

How do I make my content helpful?

Write for the user not the search engine. 

Content should be written clearly, at the correct reading level for your target audience (usually about 10th grade) and be written with the intent of being helpful, not just for keywords. AI is an incredible resource and is meant to be an assistant, not to replace the author. AI is not the expert in the topic, you are. What you may  not be is a writer, so use ai as the writing assistant to the expert in the topic. 

Write what your users are looking for.

Cover topics and sub topics that interest your target audience. All titles and technical SEO need to match the content within or it will be seen as spam. If you are a property management company and your target audience is the individual owner/investor or landlord the all content should align with that audience intent. 

Set yourself up as the expert.

Write about your experience with the topic, add specific scenarios and when applicable, case studies. Include quotes and testimonials to add to the validity of your arguments. As a property manager you sometimes feel like you have "seen it all", so tell the user about it. There is no replacement for real world and real life expertise.

Content formats and depth matter.

Provide other content formats for the user. Provide video, podcast, reviews, images, etc. Depth and length of the content will add to the relevance of the topic and your expertise in it. Every blog post should at a minimum have a relevant related image, for user experience if nothing else. The blogs that do better with search will also have Q&A, testimonials, VIDEO and other content types to help to "prove their point." AI generated video counts! We are starting to see more and more use of this as a tool to provide more value to the user without having to invest in video equipment or "get on camera." 

Depth of the content will depend on what is needed to clearly explain the topic or solve the need of the user. Having a wide variety of content depths also helps to show the search engines that this is not just a bunch of 500 word ai generated keyword spammed posts, but content specifically generated to discuss the topic at the appropriate length.

What are the ramifications of spam or ai content?

Google states:

“We believe these updates will reduce the amount of low-quality content in Search and send more traffic to helpful and high-quality sites. Based on our evaluations, we expect that the combination of this update and our previous efforts will collectively reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%.”

Google is completely deindexing websites, as in removing them completely from search. Any websites seen to be violating google’s guidelines for helpful content and employing questionable SEO tactics are being penalized or removed completely from search.

When is this happening and how long does it take?

As the internet continues to grow, large update roll-outs like this are taking longer and longer. The new algorithm rolled out at the beginning of March and the reindex of all websites has begun. Unfortunately we will not see the full results of this roll-out for weeks to come. Its safe to anticipate at least 2 months for a core algorithm update to roll out fully.

How do I know if I have been impacted by this:

Every website should have tools in place to monitor for traffic and ranking changes. Google provides both Search Console where you can monitor impressions and clicks, and Google Analytics where you can monitor overall traffic. Look for any fluctuations around March 5th, 2024 but remember that the full roll out will take at least 2 months. Fluctuations in your stats is normal but sustained drop of at least 15% is not.

What do I do if I was impacted?

This is going to depend on the severity of the impact. 

  • Run a site content audit.
  • Address any ai generated content. 
  • Run a backlink audit.

Don’t know how to do these things? Hire an SEO agency that specializes in your specific industry. There is no replacement for your SEOs understanding your business, clients and needs.

How do we adapt to the new algorithm going forward?

Longer more in depth content will be key. All content needs to have multiple content formats, quotations, expert opinion and real world experience added to it. It might be time to merge shorter, thinner blogs to longer content (don’t forget those url redirects). Add video, internal links, external links and in general make sure the content is helpful to the user and their intent.

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