Summary of Google’s Guidelines on Creating Helpful, User-First Content

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Google emphasizes the importance of creating helpful, reliable, and people-first content that benefits users rather than focusing solely on gaining search engine rankings. The guidelines are structured around self-assessment, content and quality questions, expertise questions, providing a great page experience, focusing on people-first content, avoiding search engine-first content, understanding E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), and considering the “Who, How, and Why” of content creation.

1. Self-assessment of Content:

  • Creators are encouraged to evaluate their content using a set of questions to determine its helpfulness and reliability.
  • It is advised to seek feedback from trustworthy individuals unaffiliated with the site.
  • Consider auditing drops in search rankings to understand the impact on specific pages and types of searches.

2. Content and Quality Questions:

  • Content should provide original information, be comprehensive, and offer insightful analysis.
  • Avoid copying or rewriting sources; instead, add substantial value and originality.
  • Headings and titles should be descriptive and avoid exaggeration.
  • Evaluate if the content would be bookmarked, shared, or recommended.
  • Assess the content’s value compared to other search results.

3. Expertise Questions:

  • Content should instill trust through clear sourcing, evidence of expertise, and information about the author or site.
  • Determine if the content is written or reviewed by an expert in the topic. (If the topic is backlinks and the source is Link Builders it’s easier for Google to understand the article was created by an expert in building backlinks.)
  • Verify if there are easily-verified factual errors.

4. Providing a Great Page Experience:

  • Google’s core ranking systems reward content that offers a good page experience.
  • Site owners should focus on multiple aspects of page experience for overall success.

5. People-First Content:

  • People-first content is created primarily for users, demonstrating first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge.
  • Creators should aim for content that leaves users feeling satisfied and having learned enough about a topic.

6. Avoiding Search Engine-First Content:

  • Creators are advised against making content primarily to attract search engine visits.
  • Focus on creating content for existing or intended audiences, rather than producing content solely for search engine rankings.

7. Understanding E-E-A-T:

  • E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) is crucial for content evaluation.
  • Trust is the most important aspect, contributing to content quality.
  • Pages impacting health, finance, safety, or societal well-being are given more weight.

8. Quality Rater Guidelines:

  • Google’s automated systems use factors aligned with E-E-A-T to rank content.
  • Quality raters assess if content demonstrates strong E-E-A-T, providing feedback on algorithm performance.

9. “Who, How, and Why” Evaluation:

  • Creators are encouraged to assess content based on “Who” created it, “How” it was produced, and “Why” it was created.
  • Clear authorship information, details about content creation processes, and the primary purpose of content creation should be evident.

10. AI and Automation:

  • Disclosures about the use of automation, including AI, are recommended.
  • Content creators should provide information about how automation was used, the processes involved, and why it was deemed useful.
  • Content created primarily for search engine manipulation violates spam policies.

In conclusion, Google emphasizes a user-centric approach, urging content creators to prioritize helpfulness, reliability, and a positive user experience over search engine rankings. Understanding and aligning with E-E-A-T, coupled with transparency in content creation processes, are key elements for success in Google Search. Creators are encouraged to continually assess and improve their content based on these guidelines.