Updated: Nov 27
People First Content and Search Engine First Content [SEO]:
To truly stand out in a crowded online landscape and attract a loyal audience, it's essential to create people-first content [for SEO benefits] that connects with readers on a deeper level.
By putting the needs and interests of your target audience first, you can improve your search engine rankings while also building a strong relationship with your readers.
In this blog post, you will explore the importance of people-first content for SEO and how it differs from search engine-first content, as well as what you should do next to benefit from SEO outcomes.
People First Content:
People first content is about your visitor's interests and concerns, and 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) rather than addressing the search intent person’s requirements, 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.
Google Search Central launched in August 2022 what was known as a “helpful content update” which was 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 it:
“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:
Following the introduction of several updates by Google in December 2022 and in August, September, October, and November 2023, the standards for quality content creation and ranking have become more stringent.
In conclusion, from the above context and developments, the focus is already more on the people-first content approach than the 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 a result, removing unhelpful content from your website or blog may help your ranking get better 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.
Here's related information that you may also find helpful – Why do Search Engines need to Adjust their Algorithms Frequently?
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