fb logo

Web Copy For People, Not Algorithms

Written by Justin Burnett

October 25, 2022

Web designers, content creators and SEO specialists around the world once again have their eye on changes to Google’s search algorithm that could affect your site’s search ranking. The Google Core update for September 2022 is expected to further enhance the effects of their recent “helpful content” guidance. With that in mind, understanding which content Google considers “helpful” is key to preparing for the search engine’s upcoming changes.

Web Copy for People, Not Algorithms

With regards to the heightened focus on helpful or useful website content, Google refers to its guiding principle here as “people-first.” On the practical side, what Google’s people-first emphasis entails is the development of a “classifier” that attaches an “unhelpful” classification to content of low or no value to the people entering a given search inquiry. Obviously, Google is not going to go into too much detail about precisely how this classifier works, but they do specify that it’s a weighted measure. What that means for you is that the more “unhelpful” content your site includes, the more it’s probably going to sink your ranking. That should be a powerful motivator to strengthen the quality of copy on your pages.

The “Helpful” Update and Its Effect

With regards to the heightened focus on helpful or useful website content, Google refers to its guiding principle here as “people-first.” On the practical side, what Google’s people-first emphasis entails is the development of a “classifier” that attaches an “unhelpful” classification to content of low or no value to the people entering a given search inquiry. Obviously, Google is not going to go into too much detail about precisely how this classifier works, but they do specify that it’s a weighted measure. What that means for you is that the more “unhelpful” content your site includes, the more it’s probably going to sink your ranking. That should be a powerful motivator to strengthen the quality of copy on your pages.

How to Make “People-First” Content

You will always benefit from observing the basic principles of search engine optimization, but Google’s update means that creating website copy can’t just start and end with SEO. Google is striving for search results that elevate web pages with content that’s valuable and relevant to real people searching for information while demoting content that appears to be created only to fit a “recipe” that’s attractive to search engines. This may sound a bit vague at first glance, but creating people first content mostly relies on some practical guidelines and a little common sense.

To avoid your page being flagged as unhelpful, start with these tips:

  • Don’t create website content purely for the purpose of search engine performance, with no thought for the people who will actually use the content.
  • Don’t try to write website copy on a topic you know nothing about simply because it’s popular right now.
  • Don’t produce only shallow overviews of other people’s ideas without adding new thoughts of your own.
  • Don’t use a title, description, or headings that over-promise or mislead visitors about the page’s real content.

To successfully create content that is helpful, be mindful of these guidelines:

  • Do visualize the actual human beings that your site can help, inform or entertain; create content with them in mind.
  • Do ask yourself what kinds of information your target audience will be looking for and how you can effectively provide it.
  • Do make sure you have something new and useful to contribute, rather than just re-hashing exactly what someone else has said.
  • Do take an honest look at how much of the content already on your site is of low quality, and replace it with more helpful content.

Producing content that delivers real benefits to your audience is not only more creatively rewarding but also a smarter strategy for maximizing your site’s search rankings. Contact Ziplocal for more help refining and maximizing your SEO strategy and generating website content that benefits your users and your business.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter


You May Also Like…