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The Google search algorithm refers to the internal process that Google uses in order to rank content. However, every year or so, Google throws a few updates to its algorithm.
And whilst the secret surrounding how Google’s algorithms actually work is as closely guarded as the recipe for the magic elixir Coca Cola, at Targeted SEO we will share what we believe are some of the key ingredients you need for getting your website to the top of search engines.
There are many ways you can optimise your website for Google, but you should start by producing quality copy. You can optimise your website content through research and conducting audits to keep your content fresh and evergreen and use SEO best practices to meet user expectations which perform well in search.
It can take anywhere from up to two weeks to a month for a Google content update to be complete, rattling a few SEO’s around the world in the process. But what does this update truly mean and how do you go about cracking the secret code before Google rolls out its next major update?
What is the aim of Google’s helpful content update?
This update arguably will motivate copy writers and SEO’s to produce content worthy of being read -and not just for the sake of having a new blog article published every week.
There is a line drawn between quality content and the quantity of content produced. Like in this blog article, I hope to demonstrate first hand expertise by guiding you through a content strategy – albeit briefly.
Focus on people-first content
The helpful content update aims to reward content that is created primarily to match search intent, with the search results. It should be original, yet helpful information, that has been created by real people in order for people to get the real answers they are looking for! Make sense?!
If you see an influx in your site URL impressions from either your existing or intended audience, then it is probably because Google has recognised that your content is helpful.
Having a machine learning model, means systems automatically identify content that produce new site wide signals that can help content rank better. Impressions offer the site visibility, thus your organic search engine traffic should grow.
This is not always the case however, and there are often other factors to consider such as meta titles and meta descriptions, or you may even need to add a call to action.
Helpful content vs unhelpful content – what does it look like?
Have you ever entered a website and clicked straight back to the search engine results pages? Same here. This is because the content you’re looking for is not always as helpful as you need it to be.
Helpful content should be written to appease those in dire need of an answer to a burning question. For example – “How does SEO work?“, “What is the difference between a partnership and a limited company?“, “What tax changes are happening from the mini budget?“.
There are billions of questions asked everyday and every question needs an answer.
Below we give our thoughts on how to create content that is helpful and what is classed as unhelpful content.
- Correct HTML markup
- Chronological or systematic content that is easy to follow for a seamless customer experience
- Metadata appealing with calls to action whilst appropriate to the target audience
- Content written to the preferred word count
- Content that doesn’t answer the search query
- Incorrect HTML markup
- Spammy looking web pages
- Too many keywords that are shoehorned in
- Copy that doesn’t read well – sometimes copy can be produced with extensive automation that simply does not make sense
- Writing too much to fulfil a particular word count
5 Tips to write helpful content
At Targeted SEO we are lucky to have a team of SEO experts and master wordsmiths, who really know their stuff! Together we’ve shared our top 5 tips so you can make sure you’re on the right track with your own content strategy.
1) Research the topic
You’ve got to start somewhere, and that means getting to grips with what is trending and what is happening in your industry. In order to be an authority within your sectors you need to be in the know. For example are there any new laws or legislations or are there any new products that might need explaining or reviewing?
You can use Google Trends to find the breakout topics, alongside the latest news and facts to research what is ‘hot’. You want to be the one providing the answers to all those burning questions which are being asked on search engines.
However, we do also need to remember that it is not all about trends. In your niche you will have a plethora of questions and queries which are constantly being asked from your client base. It is always worth keeping a bank of these to refer back to if you want to write content matching your target audiences needs.
2) Perspective is key
Get to know what it is your target audience are searching for. Are they asking questions? If so, what types of questions are they asking about your topic?
To form content from a people-first perspective means you’ve got to give the people the answer to what they are looking for. Problem solving with your expertise and in your specialised niche, should be no problem at all.
If you want to put your customer friendly content to the test, then why not send your copy to a fellow work colleague or someone who hasn’t a clue about your industry. If they struggle to understand or interpret what it is you’re writing about, then, you’ve probably missed a trick.
3) Use Google Search console
Google Search Console is one of Google’s finest tools, an SEO’s right hand man if you like.
You can export data from Google Search Console (GSC) to find out which of your pages are being pushed by Google into the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) via impressions. From this you can analyse the click-through rate these produce.
If it is fairly low you may want to re-evaluate the content of these pages, if they have value and have metadata in place. We always recommend revisiting your existing content, after all, having content that doesn’t bear fruit adds little value to your site.
4) Have a defined keyword strategy
After you have done all of your research, it is time to utilise the optimum keywords to help your content rank against the top sites displayed in the search traffic results.
Please remember to make sure that each sentence flows in a natural and relevant manner. The copy you produce should contain the right amount of SEO, without the need for keyword stuffing. Every heading does not need 5 keywords. Having 3-4 keywords patterned throughout your content will bear enough weight.
I hold my hand up as I am guilty of a couple spelling errors here and there. Mistakes are made and can be overlooked, but just to make sure your content isn’t littered with errors, why not stick it through a spell checker or use Grammarly.
For more information on how to produce click worthy copy, read our blog on why content is king.
We’ve noticed from keyword analysis that sites identified with low quality content have seen a decline in traffic.
From an SEO Consultant like myself with first hand expertise in blog writing, I can assure you that writing helpful content is one of the best SEO strategies and skills there is to have. So let’s make a content promise…to write like you’ve never before.
Found this article helpful? Check out our previous article all about doing your own SEO.