Now the dust has settled on Google's latest update, what do you really need to do with your content to ensure success on the biggest search channel?
Every time there is any Google update or algorithm change there’s a flurry of activity and comments from creators and search engine experts alike. We’ve seen people call it “a revolution”, and others use phrases like “It’s going to shake things up” or even in one case “Thanos Week” (joke makes sense to Marvel fans!).
While we personally enjoy reading all these perspectives, they did make the update feel scary, confusing or unmanageable. It’s hard to know really what the impact is, and what you should do, or not do. A little while after the update and most people we’ve spoken to either nothing or short-term reactive content tweaks that will ultimately have little long-term value.
So, we’re here to demystify what you can actually do, and why it will help.
First things first - there was nothing mean or scary about this update, Thanos reference aside. Google isn’t trying to catch you out. In fact, they’re trying to help ensure your content is as relevant and helpful to your target audience as it can possibly be. And your content will only get traction if it is - so really this is a no-brainer.
Who doesn’t love a spring (or autumn) -clean?
One thing that did worry people was the fact that the update looks at websites not on a ‘page-by-page’ basis but as a whole - unlike previous updates. So, if you have pages that are old, out-of-place or poorly written hidden in the nooks and crannies of your site, it could bring down your site’s ranking as a whole. We do always recommend looking at websites holistically for the best user experience, so this update might give you the nudge needed to make sure you haven’t got some old content pulling you down.
Tech-related content? Or informative/ educational content?... Isn’t that all of us?
Google has also stipulated that the update will most impact the following subjects: Online educational materials, Arts and entertainment, Shopping and Tech-related. While this is pretty vague it could mean this has a noted impact on careers websites which tend to include informative/educational content pages. And most of Tonic’s clients would be considered ‘tech-related’ in some way or another.
The main aim of the update is to encourage more high-quality, people-first content. They offer the following advice: “Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.” This seems to suggest that stock images, old videos or poorly written pages won't cut it anymore.
Your to-do list
Here’s our quick recommendation of what you should do now:
- Audit existing live content - Is there content on your site that’s pulling you down? We use an industry-standard auditing system for identifying out-of-place content. In a nutshell, we ask - is your content ROTten? By that we mean, is it Redundant, Obsolete or Trivial? If so, it needs to be removed or reworked to be appropriate.
- Consider your target audience - Do you know who they are and what they need from your content? If not, you need to begin an insight process to understand your audience(s) better.
- Check your existing content’s suitability for your target audience - When you know your target audience, you can consider if your content meets their needs. It might only need to be reworked slightly to meet their needs or might need to be completely reworked. Or you may have no existing content that is suitable - in which case you’d want to begin a production process.
- Create high-quality content - In order to benefit from Google’s reach, you need to start looking at the quality of your content, and producing original content that adds value and shows who you are in your field.
Good luck! Let us know if you need help!
Need more info?: Curtis has written a detailed report on all the ins and outs of the update.
Or contact Ruth at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you should re-evaluate your content and content strategy in light of the update.