Have you heard about Google’s latest algorithm update, the “helpful content update”?
Now, before you panic, hear me out. As creative entrepreneurs, we are constantly having to adapt to various social media algorithm changes, and I know this never-ending requirement to pivot can be exhausting.
However, as someone who has worked with SEO in one capacity or another since 2012, I can attest that while Google makes algorithm updates regularly, Google only makes updates to better serve its users, meaning Google doesn’t make updates “just because” like many other platforms seemingly do. Google’s goal is simply to help its users find the information they’re looking for as quickly and accurately as possible.
As a result, every Google algorithm update is only going to help your business if you’re serving your prospective customers well by creating helpful content.
I’m actually very excited about Google’s helpful content update, and in this episode, we are breaking down what Google’s helpful content update is, what it means for creative entrepreneurs, and how you can ensure you’re creating high-quality content that both serves your audience well and complies with the helpful content update.
What is Google’s helpful content update?
First, what is Google’s “helpful content update”? According to Google, the helpful content update is “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
In other words, Google doesn’t have a new goal. This update simply means that Google has become both smarter and more particular about what content it will rank well in order to better serve its users. And, because Google knows its users value “people-first” content, which is content that “satisfies” users and “meets their expectations,” Google’s latest algorithm is more capable of understanding what content is about and what content is and isn’t helpful or relevant. This increased understanding will allow Google to more appropriately rank the content that is helpful well on SERPs (search engine results pages).
How does Google’s helpful content update affect creative entrepreneurs & small business owners?
This update might sound intimidating, but when you think about your own search habits, I can almost promise that you’ll see this update as good news as both a Google user and as a creative entrepreneur.
For example, have you ever Googled the air date for the next season of your favorite show? Just the other day, I wanted to know when the next season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will be released, so I Googled it and was quickly frustrated.
While article after article was called something like “Mrs. Maisel Season 5 Release Date,” not a single article I clicked on (probably the top three search results) answered the question. The articles confirmed filming for season five has begun, gave cast summaries for the new season, and gave recaps of the last, but none of the articles gave more than a speculated season—as in time of year—for the next season to launch.
While I understand that the media simply doesn’t know when the next season will debut, as a Google user, I was frustrated, because article titles were written with SEO—not people—in mind and gave the false impression that they would answer my question. Basically, the writers of these articles knew Maisel fans would want this information, so they used applicable keywords, but they didn’t answer the question at hand.
This unhelpful, misleading content is exactly the kind of content that Google is trying to weed out.
As a result, this update is bad news for industries—such as the entertainment industry—that often publish unhelpful content. However, this update is great news for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs who are already or are willing to start creating content (such as blog posts) that is helpful and actually answers their audience’s questions.
Essentially, for creative entrepreneurs, the Google helpful content update simply means it’s important to create helpful, high-quality content so both the content you create and your website as a whole—which includes information about your products, services, etc.—can easily be found by potential customers via Google.
What kind of content can creative entrepreneurs create to comply with Google’s helpful content update?
As a creative entrepreneur, there’s all kinds of content you can create, including reels, stories, and so much more. However, when it comes to SEO and the helpful content update, Google is specifically referring to the content that lives on your website. And, for most creative entrepreneurs, blogging is the simplest way to create website-specific content. (You could also create videos, infographics, or a myriad of other kinds of media that can live on your website, but that’s a conversation for another day.)
As a result, as you assess your current or plan for your future blogging strategy, Google wants to encourage you to ask yourself the following questions:
- “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?”
- “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?”
- “Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?”
While I do think referring to these questions as you create new content can be helpful, in case this puts you at ease, to comply with the helpful content update, all you need to do is create content that is helpful to your ideal clients and satisfies their needs as they are conducting Google searches relevant to your content AND optimize this content for search engines based on SEO best practices, which is something we’ve discussed in countless episodes of Priority Pursuit.
Not sure how to optimize blog posts for SEO? Tune into ” Episode 068:How to Optimize Blog Posts for SEO to Improve Reach”!
If you do these two things, Google will handle the rest, and your website, content, products, and services will likely be found by those looking for exactly what you have to offer.
Google’s helpful content update is a GOOD thing for creative entrepreneurs.
Long story short, Google’s helpful content update isn’t bad for creative entrepreneurs or small businesses. In fact, if you’re already or you’re willing to start creating high-quality blog posts, the helpful content update can do big things for your business.
So, don’t panic and simply continue (or start) serving your audience with great content!
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
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