Updated: Dec 9, 2022
People First Content and Search Engine First Content [SEO]:
People First Content:
People first content is about your visitor's interests and concerns that you can write in such a way that it can be of use to them rather than for search engines.
Focuses on addressing the requirements, issues, or concerns related to the search intent person (organic traffic visitor).
Minimizes further search activities.
Increases reputation and trust in the eyes of visitors or viewers.
Encourages repeat visits by visitors (by organic search) for more similar content in the future.
Increasing traffic, leads, and sales for the business.
Search Engine First Content:
In search engine first content, the content is written or crafted with the goal of satisfying search engine requirements to make it appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) than addressing the search intent person’s requirements or concerns or basically not meeting the search intent motive.
If needs, requirements, or search intent person's concerns are not appropriately addressed in the content viewed or read, the likelihood of more searches across search engines increases.
Both the people-first content approach and the search engine-first content approach have been the subject of concern and debates amongst a number of SEOs, marketers, and content writers in the past.
On the other end, to better connect users to useful information, Google Search is always improving.
To this end, Google Search Central is planning to launch what is known as a “helpful content update” that is a part of a larger initiative to make sure, users see more unique content that is valuable and authored by people, for people, in search results.
Here is an extract from the said document that content creators should consider thereafter of this planned update launch:
“Focus on people-first content
The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they've had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn't meet a visitor's expectations won't perform as well.
How can you ensure you're creating content that will be successful with our new update? By following our long-standing advice and guidelines to create content for people, not for search engines. People-first content creators focus first on creating satisfying content, while also utilizing SEO best practices to bring searchers additional value. Answering yes to the questions below means you're probably on the right track with a people-first approach:
Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they've learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they've had a satisfying experience?
Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?”
Search Engines first content:
“Avoid creating content for search engines first
Our advice about having a people-first approach does not invalidate following SEO best practices, such as those covered in Google's own SEO guide. SEO is a helpful activity when it's applied to people-first content. However, content created primarily for search engine traffic is strongly correlated with content that searchers find unsatisfying.
How do you avoid taking a search engine-first approach? Answering yes to some or all of the questions is a warning sign that you should reevaluate how you're creating content across your site:
Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you'd write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
Are you writing to a particular word count because you've heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No, we don't).
Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you'd get search traffic?
Does your content promise to answer a question that actually has no answer, such as suggesting there's a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn't confirmed?”
Google Helpful Content Update [New December 2022 Update]:
A new Helpful Content Update from Google, with an official release date of 06-12-2022, has been made available:
Released the December 2022 helpful content update, which improves our classifier and works across content globally in all languages. The rollout may take up to two weeks to complete.
From the above context and developments in progress, the focus is more likely on people's first content approach than search engine content first approach.
Additionally, if a website has a lot of unhelpful content, it is less likely to perform well in Search as per new Google's update objective. As a result, removing unhelpful content from your website or blog may help your ranking in the coming days.
Also, to have a progressive roadmap for content generation, it is still necessary to monitor the impact of such updates on the websites and act accordingly, considering other core SEO attributes.
If interested, you may also access more insights, perceptions, opinions from several experts about Google Helpful Content Update here.
Here's related information that you may find helpful - 29 Key Findings Data from the State of Link Building 2022 Report that might help to strengthen your SEO skills and marketing decisions.
P.S: Visit Digital Marketing Forum that answers [most un-answered] questions.
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