SEO Article Writing: What’s Changing?
SEO article writing is an art form. As search engines get smarter, smart search engine optimization becomes more crucial to your writing success.
Now, once again, Google’s algorithm is changing. In its Helpful Content Update, Google announced that it will focus more heavily on user experience as a ranking factor. This means that content won't be judged primarily by elements like meta data, keyword density and inbound links. Ranking will now be based, at least in part, on the helpfulness of the content and the related expertise of the publishing website. It’s a people-first approach.
What does this update mean to your SEO article writing? In what ways does it affect you? And what can you do about it? Here’s what we know so far.
SEO Writing Until Now
If you’ve been paying attention, you know there’s a lot of bad content out there. Many content creators focus only on achieving search engine rankings while failing to answer the questions their readers are asking. Articles contain old, outdated sources, linking to other articles that also contain bad sources. It’s like going down a rabbit hole, and the situation has gotten significantly worse with the advent of IA-based content creation tools.
Unfortunately, niche businesses that really have expertise are often ranking behind big companies for key search terms. When you type in a specialized search query, the results include a bunch of big companies that don’t have expertise in the niche area.
Why is this happening? Because some companies have more time and resources to pour into the process of ranking. Unfortunately, many companies publish poor quality content generated by AI-based writing tools or article spinning practices. They are simply regurgitating others’ content without providing current information and a meaningful user experience.
SEO and Google's Helpful Content Update
Google, as a search engine, strives to connect people with the most relevant and helpful information, while SEO’s algorithm is meant to rank the top content that relates to people’s search intent.
In 2011, Google released the Panda update to counteract the effects of black-hat SEO strategies by lowering the ranking for pages with scant or subpar content. In recent years, Google has integrated Semantic SEO to further hone its results. Yet, despite these changes, many websites have learned to deliver all the desired SEO signals, even when their content makes no sense to people. This new update is intended to identify those who are creating content for the sole purpose of achieving search engine rankings.
This announcement is fantastic news for all of us who have already been focused on quality content creation!
With this update, Google will favor content that facilitates a satisfying user experience. It will also be checking to see that the published content matches the intent and expertise of the website where it resides. Google’s recent guide mentions the following elements of a “people first” approach …
- The website will have an audience that aligns with the purpose of the content
- The website will have expertise and depth of knowledge in the topics published
- Content will provide readers with a satisfying experience – thoroughly answering frequent questions
- Topics will clearly relate to the purpose of the website and the needs of its visitors
How to Prepare Your Site for the Helpful Content Update Rollout
Google rarely provides complete details regarding the inner workings of its rollouts. The new update is likewise no exception. That said, here are some tips that should help prepare your site:
Update Old Content.
The update affects all the content on your website, including old articles that haven't been touched in years. So, if you want to stay ahead of the curve and avoid any negative consequences from this update, you should update and repurpose old content to meet the guideline. How can you do this?
Look at your old content and think about what kind of new information you can add to it that will make it more exciting and relevant. You might be able to update the facts, share new research, or add commentary to the piece.
For example, if you have an article about cyber insurance you might want to update it with information about current market conditions. You can also repurpose the article by improving links and keywords, making it more user-centric, or adding expert reviews and opinions. Also, take another look at its SEO value. Don’t ignore tried and proven SEO best practices.
Audit All Articles for Helpfulness.
Useless content is the bane of search engine optimization. It doesn't matter how much time and money you spend getting your website to rank; if your content isn't helpful, people won't want to read it.
The best way to avoid this is by staying on top of what users want. Keep track of common questions and queries that are being asked on social media and forums, and make sure you're answering them in a way that drives traffic back to your website.
It's also important not to focus on quantity—ensure every piece of content has an answer or solution that helps users achieve their goals or solve their problems.
Add User-Friendly Features to Your Content.
The user experience (UX) is one of the most crucial factors for Google, and it deserves some extra attention. Your content should provide a good user experience. This means your article should be easy to read and navigate—you should use subheadings and bullet points to break up long sections of text and ensure the length of your paragraphs won't scare off any readers. Also, be sure that your content is optimized for mobile users, with tags and alt text.
Optimize in English.
English searches are still a big part of what makes up your search traffic. It might not seem like it, but most people use Google to conduct English searches. That's because most people speak English as their primary language. If you're looking to improve your content for English-speaking users, then make sure you have a solid grasp of the language—especially when it comes to spelling and grammar usage.
Align Your Intent.
Make sure your website has a clearly stated purpose, an obvious audience and demonstrated expertise in a certain area.
Bottom Line: People Matter Most
Google’s Helpful Content Update represents a significant shift in what will be needed for successful SEO article writing.
The bottom line? People are most important. Google wants to reward content that is created by expert people with the purpose of educating other people.
If you want to stay on Google's good side, publish high-quality, well-researched articles that will genuinely educate your readers and keep them coming back for more.
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