False information is not something new to the Internet, and we know that it can be extremely harmful on political and social levels.
Last week, Google announced that it will be adding a “highly cited content” notice to deliver results performed on Google Search, focused on highlighting the original, most credible sources and avoiding the lack of context that a story can take as the subject gains wider distribution on the Web.
According to the company, the update aims to help readers find “the most useful or relevant information for a news story”. But how might this update impact businesses, marketers, and SEO experts? Let’s discover in this article.
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The digital world and the (mis)information era
Since the digital transformation, it is possible to see a difference in the way most people search for information, news or some form of learning.
From TV news and newspapers, users began to conduct research on various subjects on the Internet – a place where, in addition to informative articles, it is possible to absorb knowledge through websites, blogs, social networks, podcasts, videos, and countless other content formats.
But despite the vast amount of news and information (which circulates from numerous different sources) being extremely valuable to understand different perspectives and constructive opinions about a fact, it can be challenging to define whether the information is reliable or not – after all, anyone can produce content and publish it online.
This is also due to the fact that specifically when it comes to current news or “hot topics”, we notice a great movement of users and companies reproducing and replicating these subjects – and, not always, with all the necessary information.
This, lately, has brought distrust regarding the reliability of sources, as well as an uncomfortable feeling that we are not receiving knowledge regarding everything that is happening in the world.
But this new “highly cited” feature can be a great asset to help us organize the information on the internet and avoid misinformation.
How does Google’s new update affect your digital strategy?
First of all, it is essential to reflect on the credibility of your company, brand, or business. When I refer to credibility, I want to encourage a thorough analysis of your brand awareness, the way you communicate with your audience, and above all, your authority in your market segment.
But why is this important? Even with a lot of search engine algorithms variables, one thing is certain: your audience contributes to building the credibility of your brand – and, with the new Google Search update, companies, brands, marketers, and SEO specialists have the opportunity to stand out even more in their markets.
That’s because when you deliver more value to your audience, more people will consume and share your content – making your online address a reference for them and, consequently, for search engines.
So, if you already understand and work with a good digital content strategy, don’t forget the importance of building and establishing a good relationship with your users and, thus, establishing your authority on the subject.
And for that, some digital marketing actions cannot be left out! Check it out:
Produce relevant content to your audience
Efficient communication is one of the main pillars that support a digital strategy. Its objective is to transmit information, data, or teaching through a specific channel, keeping your audience informed about specific subjects.
Developing a content strategy will help you build credibility by educating customers, and conveying valuable information to solve questions that users – who may or may not be consumers of your brand – are looking for on the Internet. And that’s where the new Google Search update can help you!
By generating value for users through relevant information, you can build a perception of credibility of your brand in a positive way.
So you are more likely to be considered a reliable source by search engines, and then your content might be eligible to get a “highly cited” label, which is awesome for brand awareness.
Be an authority in your industry
Becoming an authority on a subject is challenging, but it is possible to build a path based on the knowledge of your market and, especially, your consumers. Offer the best experience possible, create improvements based on the opinion of those who are already your customers, and learn how to generate value through your content to attract new ones.
Therefore, it is essential to be present at different stages in the purchase cycle. Understanding the main questions your audience has, and presenting success stories and customer testimonials can have a greater weight in building your authority.
In other words: if your brand or business does not solve the issue that led the user to your website or blog, it is very likely that he will leave the page with little time of permanence, and without taking any action (including citing your content).
Search engines understand this as a negative thing since the traffic directed to your page does not remain there – and on the other hand, it will benefit you if it understands that what you produce is responding to what your audience needs.
Not every “Hot Topic” is worth exploring
This point, in my opinion, is one of the most delicate for this new update. After all, ephemeral viralization and sensationalism in the news seem to me to have motivated this movement on the part of Google – which makes sense, if we are surrounded by countless different sources to talk about the same subject.
So, pay attention to what matters: what your audience wants to know, and how you can contribute to making your content stand out. Adding a critical analysis, an interview with an expert or even an opinion piece can be the key for you not only to stand out, but also not to be harmed by “more of the same” content.
And as such, it is quite likely that not every topic, news, or viral content is good for your online reputation.
A few years ago, marketers realized that mentioning or talking about Trending Topics generated a quick return of traffic and shares, but they weren’t always able to develop the conversion strategy at the same speed – that is, with the new update, it becomes even more important to understand what actually generates value for your audience.
How to optimize your content with the new Google update?
There are several best practices for building an efficient SEO strategy, which can be used even more objectively with the new update. Having a well-structured, quality, and easy-to-read text is the first step! Check out:
Information hierarchy on the page
When a user arrives at your content through an internet search, it is quite possible for them to scan it before reading: dynamically, he wants to be sure that he will have the correct answer there. For a positive user experience, it is essential to structure the page with titles, subtitles, and topics.
In this way, it is possible to separate your content into smaller sections and, consequently, facilitate user access to the information they are looking for. After all, long paragraphs and poorly divided sections encourage the user to leave the page and look for the answer in other sources.
Exchange backlinks with other trusted sources
If we’re talking about trustworthiness and becoming a safe source on the Internet, it’s almost impossible to build that authority alone. After all, if every company or brand specialized in different subjects, we would have a plethora of similar information everywhere – exactly what Google seeks to avoid with this new update.
That’s why a backlink strategy can be a great alternative! They work as a great reference for Google: if a website that already has a good reputation for the search engine forwards links to yours, Google tends to trust your site more.
On the other hand, directing your users to the original source or one that already has an established authority on that subject can also make a good impression on the search engine.
That is, if Google understands that source as something reliable and directs its users to it through the search, it is very likely that the redirect links present in that source are also reliable. Therefore, be sure to indicate reliable sources in your content and find good partners to insert your links.
Enrichment of original content
After a lot of research on forums and groups of other marketers, I arrived at a point that I believe is the biggest differentiator to stand out from the new Google update. Let’s be honest: not always news, viral, or learning content is really of value on the Internet. This is because we find many replicas of an original text or news that has just been published!
But if the subject is the same, what can you do differently? Well, one way out is the enrichment of the original content, adding different information, or even a critical analysis or opinion regarding the main subject.
One of the best ways to develop this is, as I mentioned earlier, through your own audience: how that information affects your user, your market, or even adapting to language that is more specific or familiar to your audience. Research what your audience could gain from that information, and explore it intelligently and strategically – don’t “Ctrl C + Ctrl V” with different words.
Google updates always make companies and marketers reinvent themselves, but it’s also a great opportunity to review how you capture your audience’s impressions and return value to them.
How about putting these tips into practice to see if you can achieve the trust of the most famous search engine in the world?