By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Oct 28, 2022
Every marketing agency wants a client’s website pages right at the top of the first page of Google search results. You want your client’s customers to find them. You want to drive traffic to their site. Unfortunately, many businesses are doing everything wrong to try to get there. Writing for Google in 2022 required a lot more than it did years ago.
A big reason that many businesses are missing the SEO boat with their content is they have not kept up with the times. Time was that if you paid attention to keyword density and included the occasional good backlink, you were good to go. This is because that although Google’s goal has always wanted to deliver quality search engine results, their technology didn’t used to be nearly as sophisticated as it is today. Technology has to start somewhere, and a lot of junk was pushed to the top of Google search in the beginning. Ranked search results may have had relevant keywords, but did not always include valuable information.
The problem was that in the beginning, Google recognized words but wasn’t that good at context or recognizing normal human speech patterns. Some marketers took advantage of this by deploying content that paid attention to keywords in acceptable density but didn’t have much value to real human beings trying to find information.
But Google search has evolved, and it is constantly evolving.
Now, Google makes thousands of tweaks and changes to its algorithm every year. It is determined to reward content that is written for human beings rather than search engines. Google wants their users to get valuable information when they search.
Every year, Google announces major updates to its algorithm. Some are specific and some are “core updates” that make significant and sweeping changes across its algorithm.
Here are the major updates to date for 2022:
· October 2022 Spam Update, Oct. 19
· September 2022 Product Reviews Update, Sept. 20
· September 2022 Core Update, Sept. 12
· Helpful Content Update, August 25
· July 2022 Product Reviews Update, July 27
· May 2022 Core Update, May 25
· March 2022 Product Reviews Update, March 23
· Page Experience Update for Desktop, Feb. 22
If only it were that simple.
Google is notorious for not telling us exactly what they are changing in their algorithm. If you have ever noticed a sudden dive – or a sudden increase – in your search rankings, it’s likely that a Google algorithm update was the cause. Sometimes it takes a lot of analysis and detective work to figure out why a page suddenly shoots up in Google rankings or it loses ranking right after an update.
So where to begin writing for Google in 2022? Well, one thing Google is clear about is that we should be writing for human beings rather than search engines. If Google detects you are writing for search engine ranking without delivering value to the humans performing the searches, Google will penalize you.
Even though Google may not tell us all the nuts and bolts of their ranking measurements, they have been very upfront and vocal about their intent to deliver valuable information that people want and need. Google says, “We know people don’t find content helpful if it seems like it was designed to attract clicks rather than inform readers.”
Have you ever landed on a website that you have expected to answer a lot of your questions, but upon reading it found it to be uninformative or even incomprehensible? The problem is that in a misguided effort to attract clicks, the writer wrote what they thought the search engine wanted rather than what would help the human reader.
But Google doesn’t leave us completely on our own. For example, Google gave us some extremely helpful direction for writing for Google in 2022 when it released its Google Helpful Content Update at the end of August.
Of course, this is not the only update aimed at improving the value of search results. Google says it is part of a “broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
When it released its Helpful Content Update, Google suggested some questions that writers should ask themselves.
If you can answer “Yes” to the following questions, you are on the right track in writing for Google in 2022.
When Google says to write for people not search engines, it is not telling you to throw SEO best practices out the window. You absolutely want to practice good SEO, but apply it to content written for your actual audience. If you are writing primarily for search engines over people, your audience is not going to have a satisfying experience.
In this section, you will want to be able to answer “No” the some or most of the following questions posed by Google. If you are answering “Yes” to a lot of them, it’s time to reevaluate.
In addition to the resources already linked in this article, here are more resources from Google to help you write content that both gives your audience helpful information and helps you rank in Google search results:
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