So Google’s helpful content update roll-out is towards the end of its completion.
It’s been a couple of weeks now but so far, it doesn’t seem to have had a high impact, across the industry.
If you’re not familiar with this algorithm update, it’s a new signal from Google, which aims to better connect people with helpful information.
Here’s what Google has said about this update:
“We’re launching what we’re calling the “helpful content update” that’s part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
I think this is fantastic!
We’re at a point now, where SEO continues to grow and more and more people become aware of it – at the very least, they become aware of it.
Now, most people, I reckon, are going to wield SEO with the respect the channel deserves. I think the majority of people will respect this channel.
However, as the discipline grows, you gotta realise that there’ll be a noticeable amount of people who regard SEO as a channel that ‘games’ search engines in order to attain more traffic to one’s website.
This is the reality of the channel. There are people in the industry who think SEO is a game of manipulation.
The more this regard of SEO grows, the more search engines, namely Google, will have to take action to combat search engine manipulation.
And I’m all for it.
SEO is for users, not search engines.
We optimise websites for users, or potential users. We acquire these users via search engines but that doesn’t mean we’re optimising for search engines. It’s all about the user.
This helpful content update further reinstates this way of regarding SEO.
In their post about this update, Google have even said so themselves.
“Focus on people-first content.”
“Avoid creating content for search engines first.”
This is officially a part of their guidelines. And they’re guidelines you need to follow. Why?
Because they ensure you continue to attain traffic from search.
Google’s guidelines are not laws. They’re simply guidelines.
Google doesn’t have the legal rights to force you not to manipulate their algorithms.
What they do have is a strong influence over the traffic you receive from search.
If you look at your analytics, you’ll see that search is consistently the top 3 traffic driving channels.
Should you want to maintain this, continue to receive traffic from this source, grow the traffic from search, you need to follow their guidelines.
And their guidelines are pretty much centred on deterring you from manipulating their algorithms.
Why do they want to prevent you from doing this?
Because of their users.
Their mission is focused on users, those you wish to acquire, by the way.
Google seeks to organise the world’s information, making it universally accessible and useful.
For them to succeed at this mission, they need to ensure their search results have the utmost integrity.
This means you, the website owner, needs to have a high standard for the content you create for your targeted audience.
Now, is it fair that you maintain a high standard and someone else, who doesn’t, is ranked in a higher position to you?
No. Of course not.
This is why Google is rolling out this algorithm update.
It’s not an attack on your business. I’m aware that algorithm updates may be interpreted as an attack on one’s business, because of how detrimental an algo update can be to the website’s income but this isn’t the intent.
Google’s intent, in my opinion, is to influence you to keep users at the centre of your content creation so that they can maintain the integrity of their search results for the users that you, ultimately, want to acquire from there.
In this day and age, everyone is a content creator.
One who does so for a website will attain traffic via search.
A common approach to growing one’s traffic via search is to seek to manipulate the search engine so more traffic can be acquired.
Well, I’ve been an SEO for over a decade. I’m telling you this is a terrible approach.
This is why I advocate to keep your SEO centered on users, and not search engines.
The content you create for your site should be structured into pages.
Your pages are assets, assets you’ll want to nurture and build.
When you treat your pages as assets, the focal point of your optimisation, you can have all marketing channels aligned to taking care of these assets. All marketing channels, not just SEO.
You’ll want to do this for your users.
With SEO, the value of your pages is far more important than the keywords you’re ranking for.
Remember, Google doesn’t rank keywords. They rank pages.
You’ll want to give your users a great experience when they consume your content. With websites, this translates you giving your users a great page experience.
Page experience, when it comes to a website, is experience of your content.
As more and more people create content, there is a need for Google to ensure they influence creators to have quality in mind.
They’re doing their part. They’re fully rolling out this helpful content update.
Your part, as a content creator, for your website, is to ensure you create for users, and not search engines.
Those who still want to play the game of manipulation will eventually see that it’s not the approach to use for their SEO.
Focusing on gaming the search engines, and ignoring users will see your visibility drop. Whether steadily or sharply, it will drop.
In my opinion, this is for a better web experience.
Why should one have someone’s attention when one isn’t creating for them? One isn’t deserving of someone’s attention if they seek it by optimising for search engines, first.
In an age where attention is the new currency, one won’t be very successful with mediocre content.