Following Google’s announcement of their helpful content update, many marketers have been left wondering how this update will affect their site rankings, and what they can do to mitigate the effects. Although, there’s not much that can be done aside from unpublishing low-value pages, there are things that can be done going forward to ensure that your content meets, and exceeds, Google’s guidelines.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at people-first content in quite a bit of detail, including:
- What people-first content is
- The importance of writing for humans
- How to create truly useful, high-value, people-based content
Let’s jump right in.
What is search engine-first content?
Search engine-first content is content that is written primarily for search engines. It a nutshell, this form of content places more emphasis on ‘ticking the technical boxes’ of search engines. While there may be merit to this type of content, it does not align with Google’s goal of providing searchers with high-value, relevant content that answers their questions accurately and with depth.
The importance of writing for people
Search is seeing a fundamental shift, and Google’s new helpful content update is a testament to just that.
Content changes our lives – it provides us with tips, answers, education, best practices, how-to’s, reviews, and more across so many verticals of life. Users head to Search to find answers, and if Search is polluted with content that wasn’t written for users, but written for search engines, do you think this will aid in helping people find what they’re looking? Not at all.
If Google’s index is like a massive library, do you think a traditional library has books that made their way there because they were written for the library? No, those books earned their place in the library because they were deemed the most valuable to humans.
Writing for search engines is not a sustainable approach. In essence, it is creating content for the medium and not the end user. As an SEO, your goal is to deliver the answers your audience are looking for in the easiest, most efficient, and satisfying way.
Now that you know the importance of writing for people, let’s take a look at how to create this kind of content.
How to create helpful content for humans
To first step to creating people-first content is to step away from the keyboard and think:
- Who will be searching for this
- How will people be searching for this
- What do they need to know
- What additional questions might they have
- What concerns may they have
- How can I add more value than what they are simply searching for
Once you have a solid grasp on the above, plan how you can structure your content in a way that demonstrates first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge. Your goal is for your users to leave your website feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience and they need not go anywhere else to look for further answers.
Strive to create content that attracts people, whilst avoiding automation to produce content. Don’t summarise what others have to say without adding much value; take what someone else has said and provide unique insights that branch into a whole new realm of answers to questions searchers didn’t even know they had.
At the end of the day, Search is changing faster than we can comprehend. But, if we shift our focus a little more to the receiver and not the medium, we can passively keep up with all the changes of Search and aid in its primary function of providing answers to those who are looking for them.
People-first content involves psychology and empathy to understand what problems people have and how to give them answers in a way that will truly add value to their lives. Tap into your human side (whilst making use of SEO best practices) to create people-first content that makes a difference.