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Google’s Changing Helpful Signals

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The recent announcement by Google has caused a number of search specialists to lose their minds. Google announced that their page-level ranking systems are undergoing a major change, one designed to evaluate the helpfulness of sites. Google also reported that they are considering sitewide evaluations of indicators of helpfulness. This is undoubtedly one of the measures that the search engine is undertaking to incorporate the emergence of AI to the masses. 

But what do these changes mean for search rankings? 

According to Google, the update is meant to improve search experiences. It focuses on improving search ranking quality, ensuring that unique and ‘authentic’ content that is relevant to the user’s search query, is ranked. The update is also meant to introduce Google’s new Spam policies to remove obsolete websites that are being used for spam purposes. 

The siteward changes seem to already be in play, with a number of search specialists reporting a significant drop in page ranking. Google is now focusing on ‘holistic’ relevance in terms of search, meaning that the relevance of the search query will now not only be based on a single page of a site, but the relevance of the entire site itself. 

Never has a time come when precision has been more relevant in terms of your digital presence. The update shows the proactive measures that search engines are making to improve search experiences and combat the surge of inauthentic content that dominates the internet today. It is important to understand and communicate your brand effectively to the wider audience, ensuring that content across your communications (social media, websites, etc) in some ways offers helpful information relevant to your market.  

Be precise and intentional about who you are reaching out to. Offer relevant information addressing the pain points or attention of your target audience. This will not only result in improved search engine rankings, but also enable you to cement yourself as a thought leader within your industry. 

It will be back to the drawing board for many search specialists as we await further updates from Google regarding the new and improved helpfulness metrics. However, from the current atmosphere, creating engaging and relevant content is vital to the searcher. Heavily optimised content that is designed for search engines instead of users is not going to help you rank higher – in fact, it will most likely result in your pages ranking lower, as Google is now prioritising user experience on sites too. 

Your content MUST be authentic – don’t be shy to include a bit of personality, even if you’re a ‘corporate professional’. It must appeal to users, provide them with relevant information and display a deep understanding of the subject matter. Be authentically you and don’t forget to put yourself out there as the best there is! Keep a watchful eye on your content. Monitor what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly.