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Google Revises its SEO-first Algorithm to Filter out “Bad Quality” Content

SEO-first content is believed to be a sure shot way to gain visibility on a search engine, particularly Google Search. But, will it remain so, as Google announced a new set of updates to improve search experience and bestow more accountability to content publishers. Let’s understand what happened this month at Google Search.

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Search engines are one of the most powerful databases that respond to queries based on keywords and phrases. Google’s search engine is the world’s most trusted and widely used website. Users visited this site for a staggering 89.3 billion times every month, taking a lion’s share of 92% of all global searches in the market. In a bid to keep its content search discovery relevant and accurate to user’s search queries, Google keeps launching new updates based on quality tests, evaluations and AI innovations. Now, the company has decided to focus on user-generated content to help online users with more accurate and reliable information search. The new updates will benefit English users.

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Google announced the launch of “helpful content update” to update Search with fine quality content. This would associate with quality and informative content and not necessarily evaluate content based on its traditional SEO-centric algorithms. Which means content writers and marketers can no longer push SEO-driven content to rank higher on the Search and gain malicious advantage on SERPs. Google thinks it would help filter out poor quality content despite its high SEO scores. The role of product reviews and user-generated content written by experts would gain content marketers better visibility on the SERPs even if it may not have a good SEO score. This is the first time, Google Search blog has acknowledged original reviews and high quality information sharing would help get your products page a higher position in the Search line-up.

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Even when it comes to an SEO-first review, it has to meet certain conditions to make it to the top of Search. For example, a user review has to be unbiased with pros and cons of the product clearly mentioned. Product reviews that are posted with distinguished features, user experience and visual assets like images, videos and audio would win Search rankings based on latest SEO updates from Google.

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Reviewing this announcement, Angus Edwardson, co-founder and technical director, GatherContent by Bynder sat down with us to explain the development. Angus said, “Google’s move to crack down on ‘SEO-first’ content that is designed to perform well in search rankings instead of directly addressing the needs of human readers comes at a time when brands are already struggling to keep up with content demand. This is likely to really complicate the quest to tame the content beast.

Creating the best content experience possible requires a robust strategy, which makes the fact that 46% of respondents (according to Forrester Research) do not have a defined approach to content planning even more alarming. Where should businesses even start? When building out a content strategy, and managing their operations, organizations must make sure that they truly serve the audience to maximize the value of any piece of content – making sure that the content they’re generating is first and foremost “helpful” and offers genuine value. Keeping this on brand, and scalable – will continue to be the requirements we have to balance.”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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