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Google’s Recent Algorithm Update: Why Should You Care?

Dylan Welsh

Before we lose you at the mention of ‘algorithms’, we promise you’ll want to at least be aware of this if you run a website and want it to appear prominently. To explain the jargon, by ‘algorithm’, we basically just mean the deciding factors that Google uses to store and then present your website’s content when each of the 8.5 billion searches are made every day. The latest Google update in March has tanked a lot of websites that they’ve deemed to host primarily AI and spam-like content. Instead, websites with truly helpful and engaging content, that provide value to users, are being rewarded with top rankings.

What Makes Content Helpful?
Whenever you’re writing content for your site, always have the concept of ‘Information Gain’ driving what you type i.e. why should Google prioritise and showcase your content over others? What additional value are you providing compared to what’s already out there in its index? This approach, where you include fresh and interesting facts/perspectives/tips, will help towards setting yourself apart from competing sites.

This connects directly to how you portray your E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) within your content – another key focus of the recent update. If you legitimately have all of these E-E-A-T qualities within your specialist field, you should naturally have something interesting to say about your niche. Your unique and personal experience-led perspective therefore fulfils the whole ‘Information Gain’ thing.

Where To Find Inspiration
To make content helpful, always start with the user and put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, what specific keywords are they actually searching for? How are they phrasing their search term? What’s the intent behind their search? Use tools like ‘AnswerThePublic.com’, ‘Keywordtool.io’, and look at what questions appear in the ‘People Also Asked’ section of the Google results page for a search related to your services. These keywords should inspire what you write about and should feature in your meta titles and descriptions and on-page headings.

Avoiding Exclusively AI-Generated Text
With a new AI tool popping up seemingly every day, it can be tempting to utilise AI to generate endless pages of content. However, it should be used with caution. In this most recent Google update, any website that contains AI generated content that is poorly structured and lacking in any value to users, faces the consequence of being deindexed or, at the least, relegated to a lower position. Google is now even more capable of detecting AI content, and is cracking down on spammy, low effort AI text, encouraging content creators to aim for higher quality content.

Linked directly to the notion of ‘Information Gain’, AI content often appears very similar and repetitive, which is antithetical to the aim of crafting unique and valuable insights. So, by all means use ‘ChatGPT’ for inspiration and a quick first draft, but this should only form the barebones of an article that you then personalise in your brand-voice. Before posting, use a checking tool like ‘undetectable.ai’. If they detect AI content, Google most likely will as well.

Keep It Short & Sweet
Gone are the days of simply writing loads and crossing your fingers that your competitor might have a shallower amount of text, and therefore you’d have an edge on quantity. Instead, less is more. Your content should be straight to the point and concise without the fluff and filler. The more helpful and well-structured, the better.

The last thing you want is a user not finishing reading your content or, if they have, are left feeling a bit underwhelmed and have to go elsewhere to actually answer their query. Try and aim to have your content in the realm of 500 words or so – plenty of space to get a point across in a meaningful way, hopefully extending their stay on your website.

Intuitive Internal Linking
Speaking of retaining users on your site for longer, internal linking is a must. This will help reduce the bounce rate of users jumping ship straight away. Internal linking involves adding a link to a piece of anchor text within the content, directing the reader to a different landing page within your website; specifically one that is related to the topic you’re discussing. Avoid stuffing your content full of these, though, and make it intentional and natural looking, leading to relevant pages that provide greater context on the issue.

Be Well-Sourced & Fact-Checked
Additionally, it’s also a good signal to readers if you link to any trustworthy external sites that have informed what you’re writing. Including sources is especially important for any statistics, data, or studies you talk about. If this was a webpage, for example, not a physical magazine, we would have been linking to all the external tools we’ve mentioned throughout.

So, on that note, we hope you now feel a bit more clued up on what Google’s overarching mindset is for judging your content in 2024 and beyond.