It’s not gone unnoticed that the quality of results you get from a Google search has significantly declined in recent years. It has especially not been missed by Google themselves, particularly since other platforms have such extensive search features – for example, users have been turning to Facebook for event information, or YouTube and TikTok for how to and advice videos. This has prompted their recent core update, which aims to reduce ‘unhelpful’ content by 40%, and is likely only the first of many updates along this same path. 

The Search Engine Journal had a really helpful description of this update that you can find here

What is “unhelpful” content?

Google characterises this unhelpful content as spammy, unoriginal and low quality. Whilst this kind of content has always been present, there has definitely been a significant rise due to the recent accessibility to AI – so creating posts, articles and web pages with little effort has become significantly easier. This may be information that has been grabbed from multiple websites and lumped poorly into a new one, or a keyword filled article that doesn’t have much value. 

What does the Improved Quality Ranking mean?

Elizabeth Tucker, the Director of Product for Search at Google, explains, “We’re making algorithmic enhancements to our core ranking systems to ensure we surface the most helpful information on the web and reduce unoriginal content in search results”.

The new ranking systems will be looking at whether your webpage – 

  • Has original content
  • Is high quality, with good formatting and readability
  • Is accessible to all users
  • Has a good user experience
  • Is it created for people, or just to appeal to search engines?

In simple terms, if a web page is click bait, has no original content and isn’t user friendly, then that page will be penalised on the results page.

E - E - A - T
Expertise, Experience, Authority and Trustworthiness

Rewarding High Quality Content

E – Expertise
E – Experience
A – Authoritativeness
T – Trustworthiness

These are actually excellent aims to keep in mind for all of your digital content. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms all look for these qualities in posts, but so do your audience. If you want greater engagement or to grow your audience, this is the magic formula. And by creating quality content, your readers are not just going to engage the first time they see your posts, they’ll keep coming back! 

The timeline, and what you need to do!   

Websites have a two month window to comply with these new policies, so it’s a great time to audit your web pages and SEO practices. If you are not sure how to audit your webpage, we discuss it here

However, here are some things that we definitely recommend – 

Ensure that the alt text on images is filled out appropriately. This is an accessibility feature for users who use screen readers or are sight impaired. 

Only use relevant keywords. If your web page is about pet care, then having spam keywords for ‘Nike Air Jordans’ will only get your page classified as low quality. 

Question whether your post is actually for your readers, or just to appeal to a search engine. 

Don’t copy large portions of text from other web pages. Quotes are fine, and linking back to that page is also a good practice, but try to keep your content as original as possible. 

Keep your page up to date. Refreshing knowledge based blog posts and articles not only gives you more content, it prevents your website from seeming low quality and unhelpful. 

Proofread and edit before posting! Make sure that your content is as well written as possible before hitting post. 

Double check that you are using all the best SEO practices!

What’s next?

These changes are just the start. Google has pledged it’s ongoing commitment to improving their search results, so keep checking back to see what future updates are taking place.