What Does Google’s Latest Update Mean For Marketers?

Google Search is constantly evolving to connect people to relevant information. As part of its efforts to ensure searchers see more useful results, the search engine announced the incorporation of its ‘helpful content update’ in 2022 – prioritising people-first content that’s satisfying for users to read.

Fast-forward to 2024, and Google released another update aiming to tone down AI-generated content and other, low-quality and unoriginal content in search results by 40%. Google said this update has refined how it understands which webpages are “unhelpful, have a poor user experience, or feel like they were created for search engines instead of people.”

But what exactly does this mean? Let’s take a look at what marketers must now consider when writing content.

Avoid taking a search engine-first approach

For your content to be successful on Google, you need to follow its advice and guidelines to write for people – not search engines. This involves creating content that’s helpful and relevant to a query, while also following SEO best practices. In other words, if your content isn’t made for people, it may not rank well! 

To guarantee that you’re ticking all the boxes, Google recommends answering the following six questions:

1. 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?

Our advice: Once you’ve discovered your niche, stick to it! It can be tempting to create content for the sake of jumping on the latest trend, but if it isn’t related to your brand, your existing audience won’t find it helpful.

2. 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)? 

Our advice: If you’re looking to outsource your content writing, hire a copywriter with experience in your sector. Otherwise, your content may be deemed unhelpful – and might not get seen by your target audience.

3. Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?

Our advice: It’s essential to have a niche, and your site should be built around this. You wouldn’t want to hear about recruitment in an NFT blog, so don’t waste your time writing content for people who aren’t going to read it!

4. After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?

Our advice: Creating content for people means helping them answer a specific question, so make sure it’s informative and enables your audience to resolve a pain point. If it doesn’t, they’ll look elsewhere to find an answer.

5. Will someone that’s reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?

Our advice: Go the extra mile for your audience. Are you writing a how-to guide or product description? Add in photos, videos, and anything else that will boost the user experience and leave viewers feeling satisfied.

6. Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and product reviews?

Our advice: Stay on top of the latest core and product review updates from Google. These are released regularly and are designed to improve search results. Keeping up with information like this will give you an edge over your competitors.

Is your content written for people?

The 2024 update is a more “complex update than our usual core updates”, according to Chris Nelson from the Search Quality team at Google – with Google having made “changes to multiple core systems”.

These various updates are set to cause “more fluctuations in rankings than with a regular core update, as different systems get fully updated and reinforce each other”, Chris added. As such, you need to create content based on the above guidance to ensure your rankings don’t drop.

That’s where we can help.

Our copywriters produce people-first content to increase (and maintain) your web traffic and search ranking. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you get seen.

Words by Sophie

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