Google’s Content Update was released on 25th August 2022. This content algorithm update has been designed to favour people-first content over SEO-first content.

Written content on the internet is being produced predominantly for the purposes of search engines rather than the reader. Google have said that their “Helpful Content Update” has been released to “ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results”.

It makes sense, but what exactly is people-first content, how is Google going to be able to tell the difference, and how can you ensure you’re writing people-first content?

What is People-first Content?

People-first content refers to writing content with the prime target audience of people, readers and visitors rather than search engines. This audience is at the core of your content, connecting with people through your writing and meeting their specific needs and requirements.

Instead of creating content specifically to increase rankings for specific keywords, Google wants to see valuable content created. This will increase trust and credibility amongst your audience as well as search engines.

According to Google, their aim is to “better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well”. How will Google be able to differentiate between these different types of content though?

How is Google Going to Be Able to Tell the Difference?

As mentioned in one of our previous articles, people have been using artificial intelligence to generate content for their websites. This has been described as “spam” from Google’s John Mueller which supports this new Helpful Content Update.

Google may not be able to differentiate between AI-generated and human-generated content. However, it can identify content which has “little value, low added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches.”

The level of quality is a huge tell-tale sign of whether it’s humans writing for humans.

How to Create People-first Content?

It is possible to write people-first content that is optimised for the keywords and phrases you want to rank for. To start with, your content strategy should answer: what kind of content is your audience looking for? How are you going to connect with them? How are you going to make it stand out from the rest?

Keeping the audience at the forefront is vital; make sure you write content that is engaging as well as relevant. You can do this whilst optimising your content for relevant keywords and phrases too – But how?

Focus on Your Expertise & Experience

You want to become a trusted resource for both your audience and Google. What better way to do that than to write about something you know, something you’re passionate about and something you have experience in. Stick to your area of expertise in order to attract the likeminded readers you want to connect with. Enhance this by including first-hand experience with the topic.

Answer Visitors’ Frequently Asked Questions

Visitors will be looking for experts to answer their questions. When they come across your article or page when searching a question, does your content answer this?

Always have their questions in mind so you can teach them and provide valuable information to them. Avoid questions with no answers or make it clear you aren’t 100% sure otherwise Google will flag this as spam.

Remember the Overall Reader Experience

The main aim for people-first content is creating a positive and valuable reader experience. Write with the reader in mind, engage them, connect with them and guide them to what they are looking for. You might be able to answer their questions using your expertise, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you will provide a satisfying experience. Focus on the reader as you’re writing and you will achieve this.

Benefits of People-first Content

By creating people-first content, not only will you be complying with Google’s Content Update, but you’ll see these benefits too:

  • Build trust and credibility with your audience: humanising your content will make your brand more relatable and trustworthy
  • Create stronger relationships and loyalty with your audience: by connecting with your audience through your content, customers will continue doing business with you for longer
  • Stand out from the competition: amplify your own voice above your competition by creating content that is completely unique
  • Build your brand: following on from the point above, you are able to strengthen your brand and build awareness by using your own voice throughout your content
  • Increase in conversions and leads: writing with your audience and their goal in mind, you have a higher chance of achieving a conversion

Now this update has been released, Google will continue to refine the process of automatically identifying search engine-first content and rewarding people-first content. In the meantime, it may be a good idea to review your current content and remove or edit any you feel goes against the people-first update.

“The Helpful Content Update could be a big shift for SEO! Like with any algorithm update, it’s important to take stock of the content you’ve got on your site, and ensure that your focus pages are providing as much value to your reader as possible, regardless of page type. My tip would be to start by choosing a few pages on your site, decide the goal (or intent) of that page, and analyse whether there is anything more your content can do to bring users closer to that goal.”

Max Ward, Campaign Director

Definitely take this opportunity to add new, people-first content to your site too as this could immediately improve your ranking and how it’s viewed by Google. If you would like some help or support, get in touch with us today. Give us a call on 01473 934050 or send an email to [email protected].