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‘People-First' Content Sounds Straightforward Enough, But What Does It Really Mean?

Photo by Kenny Eliason

For many years’ businesses have been crafting their content for the purpose of pleasing the fickle search engine Gods like Google and Bing and as such, the level of quality has left much to be desired. Would-be marketers picked up bad habits like keyword stuffing and many embraced the ‘quantity of quality’ ethos which has rendered the internet littered with mountains of useless waffle.

Fortunately, Google released an algorithm update back in August 2022, named “the helpful content update”. In so many words they said: “If you want to rank well, you’re going to need to start creating some pretty darn awesome content!”

But, what does ‘people-first’ content really mean?

Read on and let’s find out…

What does ‘people-first’ content actually mean?

‘People-first’ content, as the name suggests, is all about crafting content for your audience first – with SEO as an afterthought.

For too long have Google’s users been searching various keywords in Google only to find the quality of the content presented to them leaving them somewhat unsatisfied and in need of refining their search for more suitable results. As such, Google vowed to better reward content that satisfied their users’ needs – both with the quality of the information provided and the overall on-site experience.

Here’s what content that isn’t ‘people-first’ looks like:

  • Content that was written specifically for the purpose of increasing rankings.
  • Producing lots of content on a multitude of subjects in the hopes that something sticks.
  • Using excessive automation to produce lots of content as quickly as possible (we’re looking at you AI!!)
  • Content that more or less regurgitates what others have already written without adding fresh value.
  • Writing about topics only because they are trending.
  • Try to squeeze in a certain amount of keywords and hit a word count, rather than say what needs to be said in as little or as much as is necessary.
  • “Niching down” for traffic as opposed to having genuine expertise.
  • Using click-bate titles with misleading or unsatisfying content.

Simply put, Google’s algorithm update is designed to pick up on the patterns mentioned above. If your content doesn’t really seem to add much value at all and is clearly being created and shared en-mass purely for the sake of boosting your own rankings in a Google SERP, then your performance will suffer for it.

However, if you go above and beyond to understand your audience, research what they are most interested in reading about, and creating high-value content that genuinely improves their lives, you’ll have far better results.

Google will reward your efforts

The great thing about the ‘people-first’ algorithm update is that it allows you to practise selfish-altruism. You see, by writing for your audience first and going above and beyond to deliver the quality Google is looking for, you will invariably be rewarded for it anyway.

Thus, writing for people first is technically writing for SEO first as well.

Conclusion: demonstrate your authority and give away your secrets

For a long time, marketers and business owners alike have been told that they must keep their industry-secrets from their audience for fear of giving them too much power. This is no longer the case.

Let’s take an agency that specialises in SEO in Sydney as an example; the very best experts will happily share all of their SEO secrets and digital marketing methods with their audience. This is because they understand that giving away the proverbial ‘keys to the castle’ doesn’t result in losing clients – not the valuable ones anyway. Not today.

Instead, it demonstrates how authoritative you are, how capable you are, and indeed just how much work is actually involved in achieving the results you consistently deliver for your clients.

Yes, there are a few cheap prospects who will try to save their money and do it all by themselves based on the information you provide, however, once they realise how much more there is to it than simply knowing ‘how to’, they’ll invariably come crawling back!

So, put the people first, create awesome content that teaches them everything they need to know about online marketing, and then when it comes to putting it into practice, there’s a good chance that they will remember you as the go-to expert who provides superior value time and again.

This content is a joint venture between our publication and our partner. We do not endorse any product or service in the article.