Understanding Google’s Helpful Content Update: How to create People-First Content

4 mins read -
September 1, 2022

In August 2022 Google announced that they were rolling out a very important update to their algorithm. Google is always find new and exciting ways to improve, putting their users first as a priority. This one update is of particular importance for their users. Google has developed a specific process by which it gives precedence to content that is useful, helpful, and person-first. This alongside SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) best practices ensures a high performing website.


What does this mean for content creators?  

Thankfully, Google does let us know when they are planning on an update that would affect SEO efforts, and therefore our content team. The update published on Google Search Central outlines what to expect in vague and legally correct terminology and we are left to wonder how this will affect keyword research and copywriting.

In this sense we are lucky to have a team that understands how technical Google can be and with the help of industry knowledge we can often predict what is going to happen. Since Google updates its algorithm more than the general public changes its underwear, we look forward to what we think will be a fantastic update.

Content creators will have to work harder, we already do this, to create content where you understand the business and create content that appeals to an audience. This means no more AI copywriting, and more human copywriting.

How do you write people focused content? 

Google has always preached that they prefer content that is created and written for an actual person to read, and not solely for the search engine results. Therefore, for years our content creators have balanced the delicate spider web of keyword research for Search Engine Optimisation with carefully created content that a real person will read.

When you take into consideration that Google’s new update would prefer content that is added to a website that truly answers questions, think Featured Snippets, then you’ll understand what type of content to write.

When you add content to your website consider the following:

  • Is your content attracting real humans or is it primarily for search engines?
  • What topics are you covering on your website? Is the goal of your content to cover several topics in the hopes of gaining traffic from several different search terms?
  • Are you automating your content creation?
  • Does your content promise to answer a question that actually doesn’t have a real answer?
  • Does the content answer a question completely? Or is the reader left searching for the answer elsewhere?
  • Are you mainly summarising other people’s content without actually adding your own value?
  • Do you write because things are tending or are you focusing on what your audience actually wants to hear about?

In summary, following Google’s SEO guidelines, please the person viewing the content first, and Google at the same time. Nope, not complicated at all thanks.

What is ‘Helpful Content’?

Google has decided to be somewhat vague, but who truly can explain what is ‘helpful’ content when talking about the entire internet at a time. What could be helpful for the motor industry, might not be for a recipe blogger.

Google mentioned helpful content to be satisfying to readers. That means, does a reader gain helpful information from your content or are they left searching for another website with more information?

The content that Google does not want is content that is repetitive, sends the reader to another page for an answer, or worse leaves the reader without an answer at all. Essentially, users use Google to answer questions. ‘Just Google it’ is the answer to any question posed out loud and the team does not know the answer to.


How to optimise and prioritise people-first content?Creating people first SEO content

When thinking about adding any piece of content to your website consider first your SEO goals and intended results. Add this alongside your people-first content. To achieve real results in an SEO focused campaign using human orientated content follow the steps our content specialist follows:

  1. Business research: Understand your business, the ins and outs of your goals, key services and products on offer, and pay special attention to whether your audience is another business or are you direct-to-consumer?
  2. Competitor research: What are your competitors doing? How are they competing against everyone else in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) positions? How many keywords are your competitors ranking for and can you compete in the same space?
  3. Keyword research: This is where a skilled content creator will sift through thousands of keywords that are relevant to your industry and pick out all the ones that would be pertinent to your customer (the end reader).
  4. Titles and articles: A good blog title will capture the attention of potential readers. Once they have entered the website ensure the entirety of your content answers the search terms you are trying to rank for. Do not write content that only mentions the keywords of your research but does not actually add any of the real value the human is searching for.
  5. Visuals: Add visuals that humans and therefore search engines consider easier to read and enjoy. The real reason for a website is for the reader, which is essentially Google’s customer and actually yours too.
  6. Content optimisation: Regularly assess both your top-performing pages and low-performing pages on your website for content that is truly useful for the reader. If you have any pages that are not useful in answering Google’s user’s searches, add content and essential keywords that transform the existing content. Or create entirely new content if required, as after all, it may be easier to start afresh than try and change the trajectory that an existing page may be on.

When content is created by humans for humans using Google’s SEO best practices, that is when content performs to the best of its ability. Answering the questions that user’s pose is the priority, while keeping up with adding helpful, valuable content for readers.

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