Figuring out the best way to make your content reach the audience you want can be difficult; in this article, we will discuss the shifts in Google’s ranking system regarding written content. Whether you’re writing articles, blogs, product descriptions, or even ads, the landscape of SEO authoritativeness, trustworthiness, and expertise is ever-changing.
One facet of this evolution that has recently changed is the emphasis on original and creative content. While the days of quality back-linking are not behind us, they have stepped out of the spotlight to make room for high-quality, creative content. Let’s get into what that means and how to make your content shine during this evolution of SEO content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) writing is creating content that increases the visibility of a product or webpage by being relevant, easily accessible, and presenting authoritative information. As a page has more authority, expertise, and trustworthiness, it ranks higher on search engines and increases traffic. Rather than focusing on the content itself, it focuses on readability, crawlability, and ranking; it is content written for search engine algorithms rather than the reader.
SEO writing was (and still is) incredibly important to have your articles reach your audience. Back-linking, having authoritative sites link to your page; page optimization, on-site SEO optimization that increases relevant traffic; and domain authority, the relevance of a site, are all aspects that are integral to having your SEO content writing rank well.
Rather than focusing on ranking high on Google’s algorithm, creative content focuses on originality, innovative features, and adding value to information already available on the web. When writing traditional SEO content, the formulas used by successfully ranked pages are studied and recreated.
Creative content writing doesn’t follow the strongest current as closely as traditional SEO will but rather takes measures to create new and exciting ways to access original information. Though the goal of creative writing for marketing purposes is still to be distributed to the intended audience, the focus is on humanistic appeal rather than appealing to search engines.
Humans like quality content; we want valid answers, entertaining communication, and relatability. Creative content writing for SEO and marketing purposes may be more important now than ever with recent updates to search engines.
When learning how to write content, many people stress the importance of SEO. Is it important? Absolutely! Ranking high on search engines is great for boosting visibility, driving traffic to your site, and hopefully converting viewers.
With that being said, SEO has been focused on appealing to algorithms so much that many writers have figured out how to play the system. This may involve covering topics that may not pertain to their expertise or brand, having misleading title tags, or keyword bombing in hopes something will stick. The changes in SEO from technical, search-engine focused to people-first content means these workarounds won’t be effective anymore.
While some of the tools used in traditional SEO and writing are still important and contribute to how you rank, focusing on creative content means providing useful information about the topic you are covering. Research keywords, keep backlinking in mind, and optimize your page as best as possible, but don’t forget to focus your ideation and strategy on writing helpful content that may be more imaginative, free-flowing, and personable.
In August, Google released a statement discussing the shift from content written for search engines to content written for the reader. The “helpful content update” will scan websites for content that doesn’t add any value to the user’s search and rank it accordingly. Content that is considered “unhelpful” would be:
A very important thing to note about Google’s update is that your content will not be heavily affected if you use the SEO best practices outlined in Google’s SEO Guide; your sites should only be majorly affected if you’ve tried to game the system using SEO tactics in conjunction with subpar, algorithm-focused content. If you have worked to produce high-quality content, then the necessary shift in your content strategy isn’t a matter of stopping SEO but rather adding more creative and human-focused content. Below are some of the guidelines recommended by Google for creating quality content that will not be negatively impacted by the new helpful content update.
When strategizing for future content, it is crucial to keep in mind t how your content would look if search engines didn’t exist. We recommend focusing on quality content creation first, and then optimizing it. If your content doesn’t add value to a topic unless it’s being run through a search engine, then the odds are your content will not rank well.
Saying “write content that is human-focused” can be easier said than done, especially if the “search-engine first” mentality has been drilled into your mind.
Creative content doesn’t only mean exciting words that will engage readers, but it also includes making your content visually appealing. By optimizing your page for things like videos, animations, and graphics, you can engage with your audience on a higher level and even increase conversions.
Let’s dive into what creative content might look like during the ideation and creation process….
• Write content that will leave your reader satisfied. If your title tag promises information, deliver it without trying to fill the page with extra content or other keywords.
• Re-examine the target audience for your site, but also for the content you’re writing. Using demographics and psychographics help make your content relatable and appealing to readers.
• Human-first written content also emphasizes the trustworthiness and expertise of the information presented. Making sure readers understand that you are presenting information that is reliable will increase the chances they will respond well to it.
• Don’t create content that reuses keywords or keyword variations from former content. Always make sure your content is adding value to the topic, even compared to previously published content.
• Supplement your writing with creative and engaging images, videos, and graphics. Not only will this captivate your audience, but your page might show up when someone uses Google Lens on their mobile device to search for something.
• Make your content visually appealing across different devices. If your site isn’t mobile optimized or your design isn’t responsive, this may be a good time to make those additions.
• Alter previous content you’ve published to be focused on the reader. Sites with a ton of “unhelpful content” will impact the ranking of a new page, even if the new page has been written following the new Google update.
The last point can be nerve-wracking; all of the content of your site will impact the ranking of newer content, even if it was published before the update was released. This is because the helpful content update will be applied to the entire site, not just specific pages.
But don’t fret, below we’ve included helpful tips for adjusting and editing previous content to help your site rank higher with Google’s new SEO update.
Altering previously created content may be a huge undertaking but necessary to meet Google’s new SEO update. As this update will be assessing a site’s helpfulness, it is vital to create content that is geared toward your audience. The changes you make to previously uploaded content may be slow to affect your site’s ranking, as Google has a validation period to ensure that sites are consistent with the type of content they upload.
Unfortunately, since the update has already rolled out, improvements from updating old content can take months. Nonetheless, putting the work in now will benefit your business in the long run. Though it may take a while to see the effects, here are a few best practices when updating old content:
• Delete content that is search engine-first. If you find content that is clearly geared towards search engines and getting ranked rather than the quality, removing it will be best for your site.
• Edit content from search engine-first to people-first content. If you have articles or blogs that are geared toward search engines but have quality nuggets of information that are beneficial to readers, trim them down to focus on the latter.
• Address word count vs. word quality. If the content you’ve published has a higher word count than may be necessary, trim the excess words that don’t add value to the piece.
• Keep an eye out for content that is out of your area of expertise. The new Google update will notice if the keywords you’ve targeted don’t align with the rest of your site, which will decrease the expertise.
While this update may seem like a lot to take in and counters a lot of what we were taught to believe, these changes can be incredibly beneficial in the long run. Though one of the goals of SEO is to rank well, you also want your content to entice and engage users. This update aims to ensure users get the most reliable and relevant content they can, and good traditional SEO is still incredibly important. Just remember that sacrificing quality content for traditional SEO to rank better is an idea of the past.
Though the update has already rolled out and began crawling sites with these new standards, correcting content and restrategizing now will benefit your business in the coming months.