On August 18, 2022, Google announced a major update to the Google Search Engine that will favor content that is written for People First. The initial rollout will start to take effect on or about September 8th.
For any business owner focused on SEO for a blog, writing helpful content designed to solve a person’s problem, and this is great news. If a business owner has focused on SEO for a blog designed to keep a search engine happy and game the system you will likely see your website rankings fall. In this episode, I talk about what the update is and how to evaluate your content to decrease the impact on your website’s SEO along with a tool that can help you monitor what’s going on.
Links Mentioned In This Episode
Products We Recommend
Links to Previous Episodes & articles
Episode 22- A Simple Seo Strategy For Your Website
Episode 40 – Tool Evaluation: Rank Math For Easy SEO
Episode 73- SEO For Ecommerce: Google Merchant Center
MMM article: Importance Of Ranking Your Article In A Google Answer Box
Google’s Helpful Content Update
Rank Math Article: Monitoring Google Search Algorithm On Your Website
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Google’s Six Questions for People First Content
- 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 (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?
- 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?
What we discussed:
- Google’s Announcement
- People-First Content explained
- How To Use Rankmath
Google Search Helpful Content Update: Impact Of SEO For A Blog Transcript
*Not ready to give this episode a listen or watch just yet? Below is a rough transcript of today’s episode.*
Yep. I’m doing another episode about search engine optimization. Why? Because Google is throwing down the gauntlet and saying, as of today, we want people first content. And if you don’t have it, your site rankings will fall. So today I’m gonna talk about Google’s helpful content update, what it is and what it means for your business website.
Okay. So before I get started, Go to the show notes for this one folks. I know I say that all the time, but, yeah, there’s a lot in there. as well as the rough transcript. So I’ve got articles, podcast, episodes, links that I’m gonna be mentioning throughout for Google stuff as part of this.
and just as a reminder, we are partners. A lot of different software companies, because we are an active running, working marketing agency. And so when we put product links in our, show notes and products that we talk about it’s because these are the products that we use to help our clients market their business.
so definitely if you’re gonna want to use any of those products, please use our links in the show notes. They help us out. they are what keeps this content, flowing and being free. so let’s talk about the latest Google search announcement. so on August 18th, 2022, Google announced an update called helpful content update.
the full rollout is expected to be done, by September 8th, 2022. Just to give you some timing for when you’re listening to this. So as of this recording, that process has started, but it’s very much in its infancy. So, what is it? the update is a move to helpful content. as Google says, it’s content written for people by people. And they’re going to elevate or rank that type of content higher in search when we are looking for things. And then also simultaneously they’re gonna push down in the rankings content that was really written to get the search engine to push it up.
for different reasons, they weren’t trying to be helpful to people. What they’re doing is throwing a bunch of spammy links in there, or, bad information for whatever reason, right? The article’s just not really meant to be helpful. It’s really meant to sell something that maybe it has nothing to do with, or to get people to click on ads.
So as I record this,We’re just a couple days after that, September 8th, rollout. And so we are still in speculation mode for this meaning we’ve read it. We’ve understood it. articles have been written by subject matter experts in the field. I have my own opinions, so really how it’s gonna impact us.
We don’t know yet. We don’t have any hard data. but. We’re in the industry. we’re expecting certain things. We have speculations. I think by the end of 2022, we’re gonna have a really good idea of what this people first content update means from Google. . So what I personally am expecting to see is that those that have created and are creating helpful content for people will see, no change or even better.
I think we’re gonna see an uptick in impressions and click through rates for that type of content. And then those that are playing the game with the bots, right. That are, trying to manipulate the search engine with their type of content are gonna see, their content rankings go. Or become nothing or even not even get listed at all.
Maybe like they’ll actually get UN indexed, who knows, but that’s where I think we’re going with this. So let’s talk about people first content, right? Because that’s what we want going forward as a business owner. So what is people first contentpeople first content, in my opinion, is, articles written to be helpful.
For people while they’re doing research to solve a problem. And if you’ve listened to any past episodes about strategy, about audience, about content writing, we always wanna be helping our potential customers and our existing customers help solve their problem with your products, your services, and what your business does.
so from a business context perspective, right? You’re writing articles that are gonna get served up, generate awareness for your business, that talk about the problems that your customers have and how your product or service solves them. So let’s put this in the context of an example, and today I’m gonna talk about plumber, right?
plumber has this great, beautiful website has all the right things on it. And in order to. have great search engine optimization to rank well all over the place. They’ve got a blog where they write helpful articles and a type of article could be,talking about building a home and not putting the water pipes on any of the outside walls so that they don’t freeze in the winter and about proper,Pipe placement inside of the walls.
Now, someone who is doing an addition or building a home, or thinking about either of those two things are gonna be doing research, about their plumbing. Maybe their existing home has horrific piping. And so it’s something that is top of mind to them and they wanna figure out what’s the right way that this gets done.
This article’s gonna come up for them. And then, the stat, which has been the stat for years and years now is like something like 90% of the people that read an article that resonates with them that helps them solve their problem. They wanna hire that subject matter expert because it resonates with them.
This person gets me. When I start talking about pipes in the wall, they’re not gonna look at me like I’m. so that’s what people first content is. And then. In the show notes, there is a link to, the Google announcement about this, update to the content. And in that article, in that page, they also have six questions that they want you to ask yourself when you’re creating content.
And so I put those directly in the show notes as well. And I’m gonna talk about them now and go over them and give you some insight into what this means. So question number one is, do you have an existing or intended audience for your. The answer should be yes. Orite a website that you would find the content useful if they came directly to you, meaning if they come to your site, they read your articles, will they find it useful?
That’s what the crux of this is about, is making sure that you’re attracting the right. To your site and as a business owner. Yeah. You really only want people coming to your site that have the intent for your services or products. Anybody else they’re just muddying up the waters for you. Next question.
Does your content clearly demonstrate firsthand expertise and a depth of knowledge? And then they go on to say, for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service or visiting a place and in the case of the business owner, I think what that really means is do you know what you’re doing right?
When you. Service a client. Are you sharing using that expertise, your deep knowledge and for most small business owners? Yes. Most of you start out as technicians, as master technicians, subject matter experts in your field. And then you’re building a business around that expertise. So that one should be like a no brainer for you.
If you had time all day long, you could write a bazillion articles about. What to do what not to do helpful tips, all that good stuff. The next one is, does your site have a primary purpose or focus? in the case of a business, absolutely it is to serve your customer base. It is to generate awareness for your business so that when people need you, they can find you, they can find your telephone number.
They can schedule a time, they can do all those things. That’s what your website is. The next one is after reading your content, will someone leave feeling. they learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal. So this one right here is usually where content falls down. You’re trying to be helpful, and I’ve seen so many articles like this, where they, empathize and they restate the problem and they talk about the problem, but they don’t actually give a solution.
No helpful tips, no action steps. And that’s usually what’s missing. And I think if you, you know, going forward, if you have an article that’s not ranking as well anymore. I think you gotta look and make sure you’ve got something in there that is useful and a good takeaway, which leads to the next question.
Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience? So when you read an article that emphasizes with your problem, but doesn’t give you a solution. That’s very unsatisfying in my opinion, even for me, If I read something like. They know what my problem is, but they didn’t gimme any clue as to what to do that’s unsatisfying, but at least if you have some type of action, step or tip, that’s more satisfying.
if this is not your first podcast with me, you know,at the end of every podcast episode, I share action steps. I want you to do something with this information. I don’t want you to just go. Hmm. That was pretty good. And then go off and eat your sandwich. I want you to be able to take action to use the knowledge you should be doing the same thing with your articles.
and then the last question is really not a question it’s really just a reminder, are you keeping in mind our guide for core updates and product reviews, and they give you the links to those in there. So before we move on, I can hear it the question about giving information, giving tips, giving actions, I hear this all the time. This is my intellectual property. If I give it away, if I give away my secret sauce, they’re gonna go off and do it themselves. Or if they’re a competitor they’re going to, copy me. So let’s talk about. The customer first, there are two groups out there. There are DIYers and there are non DIYers.
The DIYers are looking for information to help them do it themselves. However, if you hold that information back, they’re just gonna go find another source because they are intent on DIY, DIYing this on doing it themselves, doing their own lawn care, doing their own plumbing, putting in their own electrical.
You withholding information is not going to change. but on the other side, those that are non DIYs. you providing that information is not going to push them to become a DIY or they’re not gonna go, oh yeah, that looks good. Let me try it myself. They kind of already have their intent in their head and whether you provide the information or not, isn’t gonna sway them.
What’s great about providing the action step. The helpful information to the non DIY is they’re like, Hmm, that approach makes sense to me. If I were gonna do this myself, I would do it that way. I wanna work with this person because I like their thought process. So what you’re doing is, is you’re sharing your thought process with them to help them choose you as their plumber, as their electrician, as their lawn care person.
Now for competitors, you can. Give them advice and help on how something is done. It is totally different to actually do it. And I think we’ve all experienced it, right? They’re, doing things, implementing things in a certain way, doing them the right way is harder. And we come across all the time where there are people in our field, our competitors, if you will.
That we hear their clients’ horror stories about how they didn’t do it the right way them reading your article will probably not change their mind because my guess is if you are doing things the right way, it is harder to do it that way. It takes more time. It takes more effort, it takes more expertise.
And that is something that has to be built. So don’t worry about intellectual property. Share your knowledge, right? Give that away because it’s gonna come back to you. Threefold, if not five.
So here, at Incaa We’ve been doing content first since the beginning, since we started writing content on behalf of our clients, years and years and years ago, we have always put out educational content that is helpful and useful on behalf of our customers. That’s just the way that we work and we think, so we write that content and then what we do is we layer our SEO expertise on top of it, the little things that as of right now have to be put in place in order for the search in to go, oh yeah, this is a plumbing article about pipes in a wall.
because not just scanning the content, they need other signals. And that’s what we’ll call them is their signals. If you listen to episode 22, that’s where I share with you. that SEO magic of what to do to the article to set it up for success so that when the search engine sees it, they serve it up to the person.
And then the person gets the helpful and useful information. Because if you don’t set it up that way, it could get buried. And then the people don’t get to see it. the other thing, that we suggest to do. And I think this is still gonna be relevant going forward is writing content, so that you win the answer box.
So when you search. Google now takes and pulls snippets of content out and up for you to read ahead of time. And then you can finish reading the full article. This is called the Google answer box. We did a full, article on marketing masterminds about how to set up your content in the beginning so that you can actually win that Google AnswerBox.
it has to be useful and helpful content in order for it to win the answer box. that was like Google signaling, Hey, this is where we’re going with this. So this is important obviously for service based businesses and content, but also for product based businesses, because shopping was called out as one of the categories that will probably get hit the hardest by this update.
So if you have an e-commerce site or any type of a shopping site, you really wanted to, pay attention to this and understand where it’s going. So let’s talk about what can you do now? What can you do today? for a WordPress site, Which is, you know what I talk about all the time, cuz that’s what we use.
I strongly suggest if you don’t already have it, get rank math, right? It is a plugin, a search engine optimization plugin. It is the one that we have standardized on because we think it is the best out there provides the most features. for search engine optimization for your entire site. Go listen to episode 40, where I talk about.
we, really love rank math and our favorite features and all that good stuff. so let’s talk about what to use rank math for right now in this particular instance. rank math has been all over this update, right? they put out a lengthy post about what you should be looking at and monitoring in these next couple of months for your website.
See what this update or how this update will impact you. And so the link to that article is in the show notes, cuz it’s really long. But basically what they’re saying is install rank math. I recommend rank math pro cuz there’s a bunch of,additional features for the paid account, which is not hideously expensive, that are really gonna help.
But they want you to monitor the Google algorithm that is in the, rank math dashboard tool. So they give you all the data that’s there. and then they tell you how to read it. And they also put little indicators on there of when Google has put in updates. So you can see your data. on this graph, which is pretty cool, you know, impressions and clickthroughs and all that good stuff.
And then they have little indicators at the bottom of oh, this update went out. this is when Google was down so that you can see how Google’s, point in time updates and changes affect your site or could affect your site. It’s just data points. Which I think is really cool. So just reviewing that and understanding how that works is a good first step into seeing how, this update’s gonna affect your content.
The other thing that I like to look at is I go directly to the source. the Google search console, the data is more up to date when you’re, closer to today, meaning yesterday’s data is more up to date in the search console than it would be in rank math because data has to be pulled. I think it takes Google a couple days, three, four, maybe a week to really get all that data crunched and put into, the search console, which then that data can get pulled into places like rank math.
Way too heavy on yesterday’s data. If it looks like there was like no search, come back tomorrow. You’ll see all the impressions and click throughs for sure. And it might go up in a few days more. The other thing to use rank math for, And what we’re gonna do across the sites is rank. Math has a grading tool.
If you write an article, you have a page and you’ve done the SEO things. It grades it from zero to a hundred on how well you’re following the current search standards. We don’t have any standards yet for this people first content, but I know that they’re coming. and so you can see that and. if you have content that, isn’t, ranked very well or the grading isn’t really well consider going in reviewing the rank math panel and making changes to improve the grading of your particular, article, which will then improve your overall grade.
That rank math gives you. I think that is a good exercise to. just a word about eCommerce. So if you’re using Shopify rank, mouth is not ingraining with Shopify yet. I’ve got my fingers crossed to help at some point in the future, they will. but the next best thing is that this year 2022 Yoast announced that they are integrating with Shopify.
And I like use before rank math really got its feet under it. We use to standardize on Yoast. and then, in episode 22, I talk about why we like rank math more, Yost is not second fiddle whatsoever. So for my eCommerce folks, I definitely recommend listen to episode 42, where I talk about a simple strategy for SEO for your website.
That does pertain also to eCommerce websites, right? It’s general good search engine practice. And then episode 73, I talk a lot about Google merchant center to help with your SEO. Google has created additional assets like the merchant center, like your Google, my business listing panel to help you, increase search awareness for your products, your services for your site.
so definitely take a listen to those. And if you are using WordPress with WooCommerce to do your eCommerce, yes, you can absolutely use rank math. And then if you get the pro version, they actually have a module inside that helps to optimize, the eCommerce, the WooCommerce piece, as part of rank math, which I think is pretty cool.
Okay. So.Lots of information, lots of links. so let’s talk about your next action steps. Before I get into the nitty gritty, make sure you go and check out the show notes here. there’s all these different links for the Google things I’ve been talking about in there, the articles, the, additional podcast episodes that you can just, you know, get a little more well rounded on this type of a topic.
So as far. What you should do next for your site and your business is that if you’re not writing articles or paying attention to search engine optimization for your site, you really should be. And the good news is now is the time to do it. I think we have a window of opportunity where this, all this scrambling could be going on, where you could come in and you could write articles and you can get into the shop of search very easy because you’re focused on people first content where others are trying to figure out.
To fix what is broken now. So I think you’re gonna be ahead of the game. And the one thing that I love and I’m hoping, and my fingers are crossed and my toes are crossed for is that, back links have become less and less relevant over time, and I’m hoping they become even more or less relevant here, just because the fact of trying to get back links is such a pain they had such a high weight, in the past on your relevancy in search where what I’m hoping is is with people first content, it’s gonna really be about the content and not about who’s linking back to you as some type of a signal. . So if you have been writing content, if you have been trying to do search engine optimization for your site.
Yay. I’m so glad. go back and start reviewing your content. Start with your most relevant content. First that can be found inside of rank math. They’ll tell you like your high achieving content, or you can go to the Google search console and do it based off of impressions clicks what’s ranking. Well, look at.
Well ranking articles first, right? Because you’re doing something right there and you wanna keep doing things right there, then evaluate it, evaluate it against the, Google six questions, really five, And adjust and modify as needed. And then also take a look at rank math and see how it’s graded.
Make sure you’re, you’ve got H one tags make sure that you’ve got a good keyword phrase in there. that you’ve got pictures that have meta tags. So listen to episode 22, I talk about all that stuff of, what you need to do.
And so some in the industry based off of a quote that Google put in this update article is to remove unhelpful content. I’m gonna kind of hedge and wait and see how that’s gonna work for people. I know people are gonna do it as a test, and they’re gonna write articles and tell us about how that’s working for them.
But I don’t recommend as business owners, you should remove any content yet. If your content. if the ranking falls, if you’ve got a low ranking, grade by rank math, then edit and update the article, make it more useful. Maybe you just talk about the problem and then your solution is call me, maybe add some tips, maybe add a table of contents, try to optimize it for people. First search first, use those six questions before you delete it. and then get it rein. just as another side, is that with rank math pro there are buttons in there where you can actually have it, pushed directly to the console to be indexed immediately, which I think is great.
So you can have it, searched, indexed, instantly, which will probably happen within 24 hours. So you don’t have to wait for the engine to pick. so that whole, remove, delete content. Please take it with a grain of salt, as a business owner and just wait and see what happens. Try to improve and better your content first.
So here are my final thoughts for you on this subject. I’m really excited about this change. Like I said, we’ve always written highly educational, useful people, first content. And so I can’t wait to see what all of my client sites, what my site, what with my content are gonna do in the next three to six months.
Because of this, I have a feeling it’s gonna go up. We’re gonna get rewarded for doing the right thing the whole time. if you wanna start writing articles or maybe you can’t write as often consider hiring someone to do it for you agency, like mine. Or, find a good search engine optimization writer that is passionate about people.
First content. That’s the key, right? Not about, making the bots happy cuz they’re in a learning curve deficit right now. They’re sitting at the bottom of that curve going, oh, I’ve gotta create content for people. They’ve gotta figure that out. Find someone who doesn’t have to figure that out that has already figured it out.
so that you can get contact written by a human, not by a bot to help your search engine optimization of your website. Investing in these articles is probably one of the best things you can do from marketing perspective, because when it’s done, right, it’s gonna be worth it’s weight in SEO gold. Here at Inma.
We love to give back to the business community. We are passionate about it. if you go to our website, inma.com. I K yma.com. You can schedule a 45 minute consultation for me, no charge. And we can talk about whatever you want. We can talk about your website. Email marketing. We can talk about search. the Google answer box.
I love having these conversations. Just click on a schedule, a consultation button in the upper right hand corner, pick your date and time. And we are on the calendar. We also have a contact form on the site. If you’ve got a question, if you’ve got a suggestion for a show, I love getting those, you know, put it in there.
All the emails come directly to me. We also share a lot of content on our,blog, marketing masterminds. We do articles. We do videos, really helpful stuff. Product reviews, how to use certain products. So we’ll do things like, here’s how you use rank math for this. And here’s how you set up this for that.
so after you listen to an episode, definitely go over to marketing masterminds and see if we’ve got a, Video or an article, but I’ll usually put it in the show notes. so hopefully you found today’s information helpful and useful for your business. If you did, please share it, pass it along. We, as a small business community grow and thrive and we help and support each other.
And so I appreciate every share every mention, from everybody out there. So thank you so much and I hope you have an amazing.