Google’s ‘useful content’ update should help niche websites – Domain Name Wire

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An update to Google’s search results should help sites that really know their stuff and write for a specific audience.

Next week, Google is releasing what it calls a “useful content” update. It seeks to reward good content at the expense of that written for search engines.

I’ve generally found little change after Google rolls out updates, but I’m interested to see how that goes.

According to Google, here are a few things that might help your site after this rollout:

  • Do you have an existing or anticipated audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if it came directly to you?
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and in-depth knowledge (e.g. expertise that comes from actually using a product or service, or visiting a location)?
  • Does your site have a goal or a primary objective?
  • After reading your content, will someone walk away feeling like they learned enough about a topic to help them achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave with the impression of having had a satisfying experience?

When I think of sites like Domain Name Wire, I think they tick all the boxes. Compare that to some of the examples Google gives for first search engine content:

  • Do you produce a lot of content on different topics in hopes that some of them might perform well in search results?
  • Do you mostly summarize what others have to say without adding much value?
  • Do you write about things just because they seem trendy and not because you would write otherwise for your current audience?
  • Did you decide to enter a niche area with no real expertise, but mainly because you thought you were getting search traffic?
  • Does your content make readers feel like they need to search again for better information from other sources?

Google knows when people hit the back button after a search, and it knows when people search for the same topic again. These are signals that people are not getting the answer they want after clicking on a result.

So I think domain name blogs, for example, should benefit from this change.

At the fringe, the update might be more about penalizing sites that trick you into mistakenly clicking. For example, here is another negative example:

  • Does your content promise to answer a question that doesn’t have an answer, like suggesting there’s a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when it’s unconfirmed?

This example is something I’ve personally dealt with and it’s very frustrating. A page’s title seems to suggest that it will tell you when the next season of your favorite show is coming out, but after reading several hundred words, you discover the answer is unknown.

Google says that sites that contain large amounts of useless content will even have their useful content rank lower if there are other sites that address the topic.

This will be an interesting update to watch.

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