At the annual Google I/O developer conference, the tech giant announced upcoming changes to its useful content platform.
This update aims to enhance the search engine’s ability to identify content generated from a personal or expert viewpoint, thereby improving the search experience for users.
Enhancing search results with unique experiences
The useful content system is an important part of Google’s automated ranking systems and is designed to ensure that people see high-quality, original content in search results.
Uses site-wide signaling to rate content, distinguishing between content that provides a satisfactory experience for visitors and content that falls short of users’ expectations.
By doing this, the system encourages the creation of content written by people, for people, rather than content designed primarily to drive clicks.
The upcoming update, according to Google’s announcement, is set to enhance the system’s understanding of generated content from a personal or expert viewpoint.
This means a more sophisticated ability to assess expertise and the credibility of content, which will allow it to rank more of this useful information on search.
The Google ad states:
“In addition to making it easier to find authentic perspectives, we are also improving how we rank results in search overall, with a greater focus on expert content and unique experience.
Last year, we launched our Helpful Content platform to show more content tailored to people, and less content to drive clicks. In the coming months, we’ll roll out an update to this system that more deeply understands content created from a personal or expert viewpoint, allowing us to rank more of this useful information on search.
Useful information often lives in unexpected or hard-to-find places: a comment in a forum thread, a little-known blog post, or an article with unique expertise on a topic.”
The main takeaway for content creators
Updates to Google’s useful content platform have major implications for publishers.
To avoid negative impact, sites are advised to remove unhelpful content and focus on creating useful, reliable, and people-first content.
Google Classifier, which identifies useless content, works continuously, monitoring newly launched and existing sites.
Over time, as it becomes apparent that the unhelpful content has not been returned, the previously applied label may cease to apply.
In practice, this means that content creators must adhere to several basic principles to ensure that their content is deemed “useful” by the Google system:
- Stick to your area of expertiseContent: Content should be created with the target audience in mind, focusing on topics within the site’s area of expertise. Content designed to drive search traffic or to capitalize on trending topics outside of the site’s niche is unlikely to be considered useful.
- Show direct experienceYour content should show direct experience and depth of knowledge. Content related to products or services should be based on personal experience, and this should be illustrated with original images or ideas.
- Focus on one topicWebsites must have a primary purpose or focus. Trying to cover several unrelated topics can confuse your visitors and search engines.
- Provide adequate answers: Content should aim to educate or assist the user, and accurately address their concerns or questions. Content that leaves readers feeling the need to search again for better information is not helpful.
- Ensure a satisfactory reader experienceContent creators should aim to provide a one-stop solution for the reader. Even if the content meets all of the above criteria, it may still be useless if it does not provide a satisfactory experience.
- Avoid making unrealistic claimsWebsites should avoid making unrealistic claims, such as suggesting a release date for a product or service when one has not been confirmed.
- Follow Google’s instructions: Adhering to Google’s guidelines for essential updates and product reviews will also benefit ranking within the useful content system.
Google’s upcoming update to the Useful Content platform reflects its ongoing commitment to improving the user’s search experience by prioritizing high-quality, original content.
The company will provide more details about the update when it is officially released.
Featured image created by the author using Midjourney.