While writing good quality, helpful content should be the aim of every content creator and website owner out there, it’s become even more important since Google’s latest update in late August 2022.
The Google Helpful Content Update is all about providing internet users with the most helpful and relevant content possible. This means that, as a website owner or content creator, you need to write content that is not only informative and well-written but also helpful and relevant to your target audience.
According to Google, “the helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.”
How Does Google’s Helpful Content Update Work?
Google’s machine learning is used to categorize material as helpful or not. It’s not done by humans (not a manual process), and it isn’t a spam action. Websites that are found to have a lot of useless content will perform less well in search result pages than they used to, assuming there is better, more useful, original content available elsewhere.
Bear in mind that the Helpful Content signal is one of many ranking signals Google employs when deciding which search results to display. It’s certainly not the only factor – plenty of other aspects, such as website performance, Core Web Vitals, and relevancy, among others, still hold weight.
Still, the Helpful Content signal plays a crucial role. Basically, websites that hold a lot of unhelpful content will likely experience a significant drop in traffic than those that keep theirs at a minimum. Site owners who wish to succeed need to delete or rewrite their unhelpful content, as well as create new high-quality content that’s of actual use to their readers.
Fortunately, we have a few tips for you on how to do just that.
Know Your Target Audience
One of the most important aspects of creating helpful content is understanding who your target audience is. What are their needs? What problems do they need solving? What kind of information are they looking for?
If you don’t take the time to answer these questions, you’ll have a hard time writing good content that’s truly helpful. Your material will either be too broad and unspecific or too niche and fail to address the needs of a wider audience.
To get to know your target audience, you can use tools like Google Analytics and social media analytics to learn more about them. You can also create buyer personas, which are fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
Write People-First Content
Once you know who your target audience is, it’s time to start writing good content that’s focused on them. This means putting people before search engines and write for actual human beings, not just for the purpose of ranking higher in SERPs.
Your content should be original, engaging, and informative. It should offer value and be relevant to your target audience. Most importantly, it should be written in a clear and concise manner so that everyone can understand it, regardless of their level of expertise.
SEO Should Only Be Used To Enhance Your Content
It’s no secret that search engine optimization (SEO) is important if you want your website to rank high in search engine results pages. However, this doesn’t mean that you should stuff your articles full of keywords and write solely for the purpose of ranking higher.
If you do that, not only will your content be difficult to read and understand, but you’ll also be at risk of getting penalized by Google. The best way to use SEO is to enhance your original content and make it more visible to your target audience.
This means using relevant keywords throughout your article, including them in the title, in the meta description, as well as in the body of the text. However, don’t overdo it – a couple of strategically placed keywords are all you need.
Focus On Thought Leadership
One of the best ways to write helpful content is to focus on thought leadership. This means creating material that’s based on your own insights, observations, and expertise.
When you write thought-leadership content, you position yourself as an authority in your industry. This makes your content more trustworthy and credible, and helps you attract more leads and customers.
To write thought-leadership content, start by identifying the problems that your target audience is facing. Then, offer them original solutions based on your own observations and experiences. Remember to back up your claims with data and real-life examples so that your readers can see that you know what you’re talking about.
Content Clusters To The Rescue
Another great way to write helpful content is to use a content cluster. This is a group of articles that are all based on the same topic and keywords.
Content clusters help you cover all the different aspects of a certain topic and offer your readers a comprehensive guide on that subject. Not only does this make your content more helpful but it also signals to search engines that your website is an authority on that particular topic.
To create an effective content cluster, start by doing keyword research and identifying the different variations of the same keyword. Then, write an article for each keyword and link them all together so that your readers can easily move from one article to another.
Remain Consistent With Your Website’s Niche
One of the most common mistakes that website owners make is writing about topics that are completely unrelated to their niche.
For example, if you have a website about pet care, writing an article about the latest celebrity gossip would be off-topic and wouldn’t do anything to help your website rank higher in SERPs.
Not only is it important to write helpful content but you also need to make sure that it’s relevant to your website’s niche. This way, you’ll be able to attract the right kind of visitors and improve your chances of ranking high on search engine results pages.
Answer All Of Your Readers’ Questions
A great way to write helpful content is to answer all of your readers’ questions. This means that you need to think about the different things that your target audience might want to know and then write articles that provide them with the answers.
To do this, you can start by doing a bit of research on forums, social media, and other websites where your target audience hangs out. See what kinds of questions they’re asking and then write articles that provide them with the answers.
You can also use tools like Google’s People Also Ask feature and Answer The Public to find out what kind of questions people are asking about your niche. Quora is another useful tool to find questions that people are asking in your industry. Once you know what kind of questions people are asking, writing helpful content should be a breeze.
Be Definitive In Your Answers
When you’re writing helpful content, it’s important to be definitive in your answers. This means that you need to provide your readers with clear and concise information so that they can easily understand what you’re trying to say.
To do this, make sure to do your research and back up your claims with data and real-life examples. This way, your readers will know that you know what you’re talking about and they’ll be more likely to trust your advice.
Don’t Neglect The Reader’s Experience
If you want your content to be truly helpful, you need to pay attention to the reader’s experience. This means making sure that your articles are easy to read and understand.
To do this, you need to write in a clear and concise manner. Use short sentences and simple words so that your readers can easily understand what you’re trying to say.
You should also pay attention to the overall structure of your articles. Breaking your content up into short paragraphs makes it easier to read and helps to keep your reader’s attention focused on what you’re saying.
It’s also a good idea to use images, videos, and other forms of visual content to break up your text and make your articles more visually appealing. This will make your content more enjoyable to read and will help you keep your reader’s attention focused on what you’re saying.
How Helpful Content Doesn’t Look Like?
There are also several things that you should stay away from if you want your content to be truly helpful. Some examples of what not to do include:
- Writing content for the sole purpose of ranking high in SERPs.
- Covering many different and unrelated topics, hoping that some may rank high.
- Summarizing or rewriting existing content without providing any additional value.
- Writing only surface-level information with no real value to the reader.
- Creating content without actually having any real experience or knowledge on the topic.
- Answering a question that doesn’t have a definite answer yet, like an unannounced product release date.
- Writing content based solely on a fixed word count, links, or keywords.
Google’s Helpful Content Update is sure to change the landscape of SEO and content marketing. So, if you want your web content to be truly helpful, make sure to keep these tips in mind.
Do your research, focus on providing value, pay attention to the reader’s experience, and make sure to avoid the things that will make your content less helpful.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a thought leader in your industry. Google will reward you for it by ranking your content higher on its search pages while penalizing those who try to cut corners and write content solely for the purpose of ranking high.