An important SEO update by Google is sure to shake things up a bit. A recent article by Search Engine Land lays out what you need to know. A summary of the most important points and a link to the full article are below:
- This update is geared toward sites that have gamed the system, creating content that isn’t super helpful but still ranking well because of SEO rather than on the merit of the site’s content.
- Is it a penalty? Their wording is fuzzy but we think this is mostly penalizing AI written content along with hard core SEO hacks.
- It is rewarding what they call “helpful content” or “people-first content.”
- What is people-first content? Here are some ways to explain or questions to ask:
- Would this content still exist if it wasn’t for search engines?
- 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? The search quality evaluator guidelines teach Google’s quality raters that it is important to determine a page’s purpose.
- How do I know if my content is built for search engines first?
- Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
- Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics? This is not good.
- Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
- Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
- Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count?
Conclusion: Monitor SEO closely to see if there are any pages dropping in rankings or traffic. From there, develop a plan to update the page(s).