Here's An Idea on How to Handle this Latest Change
Remember the football gag from the Peanuts cartoon? Charlie Brown goes to kick a football and Lucy pulls it out at the last minute, causing him to fall on the ground. There's a number of punchlines, but the bottom line was that he shouldn't have trusted Lucy. SEO is kind of like that. Just when you think you're winning the SEO game, Google changes the algorithm. You're knocked back down in the search rankings, wondering what happened. Recently, Google made an update that changes how some content is viewed in the rankings. Learn more about the latest update to the search engine algorithm that changes the way HowTo content is displayed in search results, to understand why it matters.
Google Updates Rich Results in Search
According to Google, it is “reducing the visibility of FAQ rich results and limiting HowTo rich results to desktop devices.” Google is making this change to provide “a cleaner and more consistent search experience.” This update only impacts Rich Results, which are experiences that go beyond the blue link that Google returns in its search list. It also only impacts mobile search. Users who use a desktop or laptop may see different results in search.
If you've put time into creating FAQs or HowTo content, this may feel like a setback. After all, wasn't the Helpful Content update just a few months ago? Well now, it may be frustrating to think that your meticulously created helpful content written in HowTo format won't show up in search results on mobile devices. Keep in mind that the Google algorithm is updated 500 to 600 times per year by most estimates. Most of the updates don't dramatically impact your content marketing strategy, but it's always good to re-evaluate how you approach content and SEO. How do you deal with Google's perpetual penchant to keep yanking the SEO football out from under you?
Change Your Approach to Content Marketing
Copywriters often forget that content is for the user, not the business. Copywriting, albeit under duress, often focuses on output instead of user experience. Google has always put the user's experience at the forefront of its mission. If your content focuses on what your audience wants or needs, you'll be one step ahead in offering content. Let's look at how that is done.
Structure Content for the Audience
Most blogs are unstructured journals where older content is forgotten, regardless of how well it performs or how much it can help the user. While you don't want to do away with a blog, you should consider how to help the user get the most out of your blog. Instead of relying on users to find the right information, outline or index your blog to direct someone through your content in an organized method. This may be much different from how you provided content when publishing, but it will help a new user get to the most valuable content first.
Organize Content for User Intent
Call them pillar pages or topic guides—give your user a walkthrough guide through your content. This may be much different than your content structure to give users another approach to content. You may have several different ways to organize your blog and content to drive someone's interest. Know your user and what they are looking for to keep your content focused on the audience.
Fill in Content Gaps
As you organize your content to make it more accessible, you should look for gaps in the topics. Check to see what isn't or hasn't been covered by your copywriters? What topics could you explain better or go more in-depth with? Can you update articles with new data or information? Again, you're asking yourself what content does the audience need to fill in their education about your product or service? Keep developing content for your users instead of what you think will sell.
Promote Content that Converts
If you have content on your blog that has done well in the past, use the power of that content again. Remove the dates from the content. Put it into your index and direct users to the content. Post it on social media. Link to it where you can. Don't let your good content waste away in the back pages of your blog. Use this content to direct the user to the “next” piece of content that will continue the journey.
Create Big Content
Use your best content to garner big results. Combine the best of the best blog posts into an email course or eBook. These types of projects can help you see a bigger picture and help you organize content even more efficiently. You can use these bigger items to direct a user through the sales pipeline without screaming "buy me!" Ebooks can be a powerful marketing tool that is a win-win for you because you get the user's contact information while the user gets valuable information about the product and industry. An email course can spread content over a 6- or 8-week period, keeping your product top-of-mind. It's a way to walk your audience through the customer journey to ultimately win the sale.
Search Engine Algorithms Will Change
“Change is the only constant”, could very easily be Google' tagline, right?
And so, Google will keep on updating its algorithm as users change how they search and what they want. Don't be like Charlie Brown who finally got a chance to kick the football without it being yanked away, only to kick Lucy in the hand. Stay focused on your content strategy by creating user-friendly, high-quality, relevant content. Know that you may have to pivot to adapt to the ever-changing algorithm. If keeping up with content organization and creation seems to be a struggle, consider partnering with a content agency that can support your strategy with new and interesting content. MintCopy is here to help.