An update to Google’s search results should help sites that truly know their topics and write for a specific audience.
Next week, Google is releasing what it calls a “helpful content” update. It seeks to reward good content at the expense of that written for search engines.
I’ve generally found little change after Google rolls out updates, but I’m interested to see how this plays out.
According to Google, here are some things that could help your site after this rollout:
- Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
- Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
- Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
When I think of sites like Domain Name Wire, I think these check all of the boxes. Compare this to some of the examples Google gives for search-engine first content:
- Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
- Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
- Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you’d write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
- Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?
- Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
Google knows when people click the back button after a search and it knows when people search for the same topic again. These are signals that people aren’t getting the answer they want after clicking on a result.
So I think domain name blogs, for example, should benefit from this change.
At the margins, the update might be more about penalizing sites that mislead you into clicking. For example, here’s another negative example:
- Does your content promise to answer a question that actually has no answer, such as suggesting there’s a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn’t confirmed?
This example is something I’ve personally dealt with and it’s very frustrating. A page’s headline seems to suggest it will tell you when the next season of your favorite show comes out, but after you read several hundred words you find out the answer is unknown.
Google says that sites that have high amounts of unhelpful content will have even their helpful content rank lower if there are other sites that cover the topic.
This will be an interesting update to watch.