Google is favoring content “by people, for people” over content written with search engines in mind in a new and extensive search algorithm update. The changes are responsive to user frustration when clicking on links that rank well in search but lead to content designed to rank well in search rather than be helpful or informative.
We know people don’t find content helpful if it seems like it was designed to attract clicks rather than inform readers. So starting next week for English users globally, we’re rolling out a series of improvements to Search to make it easier for people to find helpful content made by, and for, people.Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Search, Google
Roll-out and impact. The changes are expected to roll out over the next two weeks. The timeline will be posted here. Subject areas that have traditionally attracted a high proportion of search engine-first content are likely to feel the most impact. These may include arts and entertainment, for example, where links lead to aggregated content from third-party sources (such as film reviews) rather than original content.
It’s important to note that the impact will be sitewide. In other words, if the algorithm determines that the site offers a high proportion of unhelpful content, all content on the site will be impacted.
Why we care. Content marketers especially should reflect on what these changes mean for their content strategy. Brands want to see high search rankings for their content for purposes — obviously — of brand awareness, product discovery and customer acquisition. But those aims can no longer be pursued at the expense of providing rich, informative and original content.
This is a lesson many brands were learning anyway. Today’s customer doesn’t want to be sold to. He or she wants to be helped — with a decision, with a pain point, with an educational journey. The difference going forward is that Google looks set to make helpful content all but mandatory.
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