Create content for people, optimize for bots

By Ilana Davis

Those who were negatively impacted by Google's Helpful Content updates either used AI or a programmatic SEO approach to create content. Programmatic SEO is a method to create content at scale for the purpose of ranking higher in search results.

To the dismay of Google, this may have worked. Google wants to show pages that directly answer people's questions. Sometimes they get it wrong and the search results don't always reflect their intentions.

That's why they continue to optimize their algorithm. Though Google does larger updates every few months, their algorithm is actually updated dozens of times in any given week. We just don't hear about those minor updates.

Despite what many think, Google isn't changing the rules or moving the goalpost. They are doubling down on what they've been saying for years.

Content created primarily for the purpose of ranking is against Google's guidelines. Focus on creating people first content.

X post from Google @searchliaison: As said before when asked about AI, content created primarily for search engine rankings, however it is done, is against our guidance. If content is helpful & created for people first, that's not an issue.

Many SEO apps create AI-generated content. Depending on how you use that AI content, you too could be negatively impacted by Google's updates.

SEO morphed into this frustrating game of how to beat Google's algorithm. But SEO shouldn't be about bots. It should be about creating great content for people. You then fine-tune the content as you learn what people are looking for.

That's why they call it search engine optimization.

You create content for people looking for answers. Then optimize what you already have to perform even better.

Optimizing may mean re-writing or updating the content. A store may use terms like "GWP" in their content because it's a quick shorthand. A customer may not know what that means. So you re-write it to be "gift with purchase".

Optimizing may also mean ensuring Google's bots have what they need. Sure there are meta titles and alt text but remember about structured data, used by Google to better understand the page.

JSON-LD for SEO takes the content that you've created, optimizes it by adding the structured data Google needs, and adds that to the HTML.

Your customers see the great content you've created that is relevant to their needs. Google sees the optimized HTML, making it easier for them to understand the content and award search enhancements. People searching for answers find your page. Yay!

When we all have the same goal, to answer questions for people, by people, we all win.


Get more organic search traffic from Google without having to fight for better rankings by utilizing search enhancements called Rich Results.

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