For modern businesses, staying on top of the latest developments with Google has become vital to bringing in new customers. The search engine giant continues to look for ways to improve end-users’ experiences, including incorporating improved technology and apps.
We have been tracking a few key changes that have sparked conversation recently that we wanted to draw your attention to. Let’s explore what these changes entail and what they mean for businesses in your sector.
Google’s recent search updates
There have been two key areas where Google’s algorithm capabilities have shown marked changes. This is what you need to know.
The importance of helpful content
Google has been working on a “helpful content” update that focuses on the quality of the content on websites. Some businesses have become particularly adept at creating content that ranks well on search engines but provides little value for site visitors. Google wants to reduce the prominence of this type of content to focus on material that offers more value for customers.
The search engine has expanded this update to include all languages and countries, meaning you want to pay attention to this development regardless of location.
With this algorithm adjustment, Google has incorporated additional signals to identify content written for humans rather than search engines. Note that this update does not target a page or two within your site. Instead, it looks at the whole site. The search engine wants to see sites that offer unique content, including personal insight into the issue or topic discussed. It does not want to see content that simply regurgitates what other websites say.
To help site owners evaluate whether or not they have created content correctly for their site, Google has provided a list of questions you can ask yourself about your content and your site as a whole.
Google’s questions for evaluating whether or not you have written people-first content:
- 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?
They also published suggested questions for determining whether you have created search engine-first content:
- 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?
The emerging importance of Google Lens multisearch
Google Lens and its multisearch capabilities have also generated more conversation recently. We wanted to touch on what these capabilities mean and how they can impact your efforts to build your digital presence.
The search engine leader continues to look for ways to improve the capabilities of Google Lens for multisearch. This app allows users to search by image for a variety of different situations. For example, you might use Google Lens to:
- Take a picture and learn more about a plant you see
- Use a photo to learn more about a tourist destination
- Explore potential restaurants, such as their hours, and even learn about recommended meal options based on popular options from their menu.
- Find products you want by taking a picture of the item.
Users can also narrow down their searches by adding details to modify them. For example, they might take a picture of a dress they want and then add that they want to find it in yellow.
Preparing your content to excel
As these new capabilities on Google continue to make splashes, you want to carefully consider how you might optimize your content to maximize your online presence. As users turn to these capabilities, you want your business to appear prominently in the relevant searches. Let’s break down some of these recommendations by industry.
Hotel and hospitality
In the hospitality and tourism industry, you rely heavily on images. People coming to your website want to know more about visiting your area. For example, if you run a hotel, you want to attract users who seek accommodations in your area. You might also cater to people interested in exploring your locale. You use pictures to show tourists all they can see and do around you and communicate the convenience of using your hotel as a base when exploring. If you run a hotel that focuses more on creating a relaxing or spa-type atmosphere, you use images to help transport people to your location and get them to envision a stay there.
As you build your collection of original pictures, ensure each is correctly optimized so that Google can clearly understand what your image reflects. Use your available tools for labeling the picture, including alt text and schema, to ensure the search engine understands the value of your images and when customers will find them useful. Pair the photos with relevant content so that users can further explore your site and learn about what you offer if they land on your picture when doing searches.
Similarly, if you run a restaurant or offer something with hours and costs– such as guided tours– use markups to provide clear, detailed information to Google. Keep your information updated on Google My Business as well. If people use Google Lens to learn the hours and availability of your business, you want that information available.
As you build your website, you also want to focus on providing people with helpful content designed for your target audience and not the search engines. Understanding that Google wants to crack down on content targeted towards search engines, analyze your content to find any material that does not fit well with user inquiries. You might consider helpful content such as:
- Information about navigating and visiting your area
- Profiles on guests who appreciated your services
- Profiles on employees, chefs, and others who create fantastic experiences for guests
For retailers, image searches through Google Lens can play an important role in bringing people to the business website. Providing various images of your products can make it easier for Google to match them with the items people want to find in their image searches. Ensuring the items have all appropriate labels, including information on colors, sizes, and other variations that people might specify with their search, can help prepare your images for a Lens search.
You also want to make sure Google recognizes your product images as products. You can facilitate this by adding your products with a Google Merchant account. You should also mark them up with Schema to note them as products and fill in details about what you offer.
Couple the high-quality images on your site with interesting information for people shopping for products in your industry. You might offer information about how to use your products, information about product development, or background information on your designers. Raising the quality of your site in the face of the helpful content update will also help your images.
Banks, mortgage lenders, and health clinics
Google has always paid particularly close attention to the quality of ‘your money, your life’ content on the web, meaning that any articles published by those in the financial and health sectors must adhere to the highest quality standards.
To create this level of helpful content, pay close attention to how you communicate your website’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Posting the credentials of your content developers, drawing upon expert insight from qualified professionals– instead of just what is available elsewhere online, and building a trustworthy brand through reviews and demonstrating expertise will help your business rank well.
Although images don’t play as much of a role in this industry, you can make sure that any relevant searches about your business receive the optimization they deserve. For example, ensure your business information in Google My Business is accurate. Google uses this to find relevant information about your hours, products, services, and reviews, which can then be delivered to customers using Google Lens.
Building your digital presence
Google continues to look for ways to simplify the user experience on the search engine, meaning site owners need to have the same priorities. With the improved multisearch function with Google Lens, verifying that your images present all the information they can while building site content that abides by ‘helpful content’ best practices can help cement a robust online presence.
Contact our Milestone team if you are ready to take your business website to the next level. Our site developers and creative specialists can help you build a digital experience that tells your business story while creating an outstanding customer experience. Learn more today.
Get in touch with us at [email protected]. You can also reach us at 408-200-2211.
How to help my pictures appear in Google Lens searches?
You need to show the search engine your picture’s relevance to have it appear in Google Lens searches. We recommend the following:
- Use schema markup so that Google can tell exactly what your picture shows. For example, mark it up as a product if it is an item in your retail store.
- Ensure your information is updated on your Google My Business page and Merchant Center. Google Lens searches can help people access information about store hours, menu items, or product information and draws from these sources.
- Take high-quality images.
- Label the images with as much information as possible, such as colors and product descriptions in the alt text.
Google Lens searches allow people to snap pictures with the app and then use the image to run searches for similar products, information about a plant, details about a landmark, and other helpful information. They can also refine their searches by adding in colors they want to see or information they want to know. The more information you can store in your image and your site about the relevance of your image to these searches, the easier it will be for you to appear in these searches.
How to prepare my content for the helpful content update?
The helpful content update targets content not written for users but directly for search engines. Google wants to improve the quality of content they provide to users and thus downgrade content that simply regurgitates what is found elsewhere on the web. To prepare for this update and make sure your content does not take a hit, follow these steps.
- Review your content for originality. Speak with relevant experts in your organization to see how you can add unique insight into the content.
- Review your content calendar and the topics you have selected. Align your topics towards user interest, and do not try to hit every slightly relevant subject for ranking purposes.
- Evaluate your site for E.A.T. Verify that you publicize the authors’ credentials on your content.
- Define the areas you want to cover on your site so you can zero in on your focus areas and use that to guide your content creation.
- Write content that leaves users feeling satisfied and not as though they have to keep searching to find the final answers to their questions.