Big news in the world of SEO. Google has released a new site-wide ranking signal that rewards sites that publish good content and penalizes those that don’t.
According Google Search Powerhouse Blog, the update — appropriately called the “useful content” update — begins this week; however, full deployment can take up to two weeks.
Google has laid down the ground rules, stating that content should take a “people-centric” approach to achieve or maintain favorable search rankings. On the other hand, content created to compel search engines can take a hit. In short, Google will distinguish between content created to rank and content created to help users.
If you engage in any of the following types of research content gathering, it’s time to shift gears after haste:
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- Rely on AI content generation tools to “automatically” create content;
- Aggregate information from other sites without creating anything original;
- Diving into topics without authority, therefore encouraging users to keep looking for answers elsewhere;
- Create content based on trends rather than specialist knowledge; and
- Focus on word count rather than quality.
Keep an eye on your ranking over the next two weeks to assess if you’ve been hit. If your rankings dip, weed out old and unnecessary content (or better yet, beat Google and start your spring cleaning now). Use your analytics as a guide. If you have pages that aren’t getting any traffic or people are landing on those pages and leaving them quickly, update them or abandon them.
Any content you publish now should appeal to people by providing reasoning, answers, expertise, and data points that answer their queries.