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Start Writing People-First Content

With the helpful content system, people-first content matters more than ever. But exactly what is people-first content? Learn more about it below and how to integrate it into your content process.

Mar 8, 2024

6 m read

Google shares valuable resources about its algorithms that help marketers understand how to rank at the top of its search engine results pages (SERPs). Over the years, too much focus on writing to rank created a digital wasteland of repetitive, surface-level content.

We’ve all seen it before — SEO content that is clearly SEO content. From keyword stuffing to AI-generated fluff to one-size-fits-all takes, the internet is full of regurgitated content.

Google’s helpful content system set out to change the search landscape by emphasizing people-first content — and the implications have been felt by sites across the web. Now with the March core update, Google has rolled the helpful content system into the core algorithm making people-first content even more critical.

In this article, I’ll explain what people-first content is and why it matters. Then, I’ll teach you how to establish writing processes that provide more value for readers to help you rank in the SERPs, reach higher-quality leads, and build a strong connection with your audience.

What Is People-First Content?

People-first content is content created primarily with the target audience in mind. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be SEO content, though. 

Google’s helpful content system highlights first-hand insights and in-depth resources for solving audience problems as ways to put “people-first” in your online content. Google says its helpful content system rewards “original, helpful content created for people.”

The helpful content update aims to elevate content that:

  • Aligns with audience wants and needs.
  • Focuses on helpfulness and adding value.
  • Offers a satisfying reading experience. 

Placing audience needs above everything else — a critical component of a well-designed marketing strategy — is now rightfully reflected in Google ranking best practices with this update. However, optimization is still recommended to help your valuable content reach your target audience. 

People-First vs. Search Engine-First Content

People-first content focuses on providing practical, in-depth content from first-hand experience, while search engine-first content aims to game the algorithm to rank. 

Search engine-first content is created specifically to gain website visits from search engines. It often summarizes what’s already published without new insights or additional value.

Search engine-first content isn’t typically based on subject matter expertise, so it can’t go deep enough to address real user problems. If the SERPs contain only rehashes of the same surface-level content, readers leave without the answers they need.

Google’s helpful content update provides guided questions to help you determine if your content places humans first. 

To check that your content serves your audience, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would my audience find this content helpful?
  • Is my team equipped with first-hand expertise and capable of demonstrating in-depth knowledge on this topic?
  • Does the content align with our primary purpose or focus?
  • Does the content go deep enough to help my audience reach a goal?
  • Does it offer a satisfying experience for readers?
  • Can I offer any unique insights to my readers?

Creating content that doesn’t align with your audience’s needs (like covering trending topics when your audience doesn’t care about those topics) won’t rank well. Your content also won’t rank if you use excessive automation to mass-produce content on many different topics.

Content that offers new, first-hand insights will prevail. 

Why Writing People-First Content Is Critical

Writing people-first content isn’t just good for readers; it’s good for business.

Expertly crafted, human-centric content helps your company: 

  • Build authority. Expert content positions you as a credible resource and builds trust with your audience.
  • Offer more value. When your content addresses audience pain points, interests, and needs, it naturally provides more value for your readers.
  • Foster better relationships and customer loyalty. When you’re a trusted source of high-quality information, readers will return for more content and share it with others.
  • Provide a better customer experience. Offering in-depth information that answers all reader questions in one place supports a better user experience.
  • Attract better leads. When your content focuses on real audience needs, it helps you draw in the highest-quality leads.
  • Sell more. Once you build trust that you can do what you say and prove it through high-quality content, it’s easier to sell to your leads.
  • Top the competition. Investing in people-first content makes your company stand out from competitors who are stuck creating surface-level or AI mass-generated content.

Now that you know why it’s important, let’s discuss how to craft people-first content.

How To Write People-First Content

Putting your readers first by honing in on their needs and solving their problems with your expert insights is the best way to rise to the top of SERPs in 2024.

Here’s how to do it.

Concentrate on E-E-A-T

Google now prioritizes content written by writers with the highest level of knowledge. Google’s E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) guidelines offer insights into how Google makes those determinations. 

Let’s break E-E-A-T down even further:

  • Experience: Google prioritizes first-hand and personal accounts.
  • Expertise: Google looks for content produced by a subject matter expert that offers higher levels of expertise than other available content. The content’s topic should also align with the website’s high level of knowledge in that specific area. 
  • Authoritativeness: Authoritative sites are go-to sources of information and provide a measure of reputation in your industry.
  • Trustworthiness: Legitimacy, accuracy, and transparency all contribute toward the trustworthiness of your content, along with site security and relative expertise on the topic.  

To write for E-E-A-T, focus on creating content backed by first-hand, personal experience either written by a subject matter expert (SME) or supported by SME insights. You should clearly display an author with authority in your space. 

Demonstrate your expertise on the topic by going in-depth to include everything your reader needs to know to accomplish their goal within the article.

Ensure you support claims with expert consensus. Include statistics, quantifiable claims, and industry-specific benchmarks with links to and citations for current, high-authority content. 

The expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of the sites you link to will also impact Google’s perception of your E-E-A-T. 

Hone in on Your Audience

Deeply understanding your audience and their concerns should serve as a guidepost for everything you create. 

Start by answering these questions to support your content strategy:

  • Who is my audience?
  • Why would they care about this topic in particular?
  • How will this content help them learn, reach their goals, or solve their problems?

When you understand your audience, their problems, and what they care about, it’s easier to share deeper insights and relevant examples that will help them.

Solve Your Readers’ Problems

To help your audience solve their problems, you first need to know which problems they need help solving. The questions they ask often provide strong clues. 

Start by talking to your customers through a survey or consult with the teams who work with them directly, like customer support or sales. Online communities, like Quora and Reddit, can give additional clues.

When crafting content to address those problems, focus on explaining processes relevant to your product or service and with which you have firsthand experience. 

Explain what actionable steps you took to solve a similar problem or report on another company’s strategy for solving that problem. 

Create a Standout User Experience

A strong user experience keeps readers on your page longer and makes them want to explore your site further.

Follow these tips to build a strong user experience within your content.

  • Lead with immediate value. Readers need to know what value they’ll gain from spending their time reading your content — they shouldn’t need to dig to figure it out. Structure your content so the most important information is provided first, with supporting details following.
  • Use relevant examples. Include actionable insights and examples your audience can relate to.
  • Focus on accessibility. Easy-to-read sentences and high-contrast fonts ensure every reader can learn from and apply your content.
  • Show your personality. Readers want to see your brand’s personality; it makes you more relatable and fosters a deeper relationship with the reader.
  • Don’t forget about page speed. Responsive web pages that load quickly are essential to creating a good user experience.

Content that leads with value and is easy to access will have readers coming back for more.

How To Balance People-First Content With SEO

The heart of SEO has always been to provide the best answers for search user queries, and many standard SEO principles still apply. 

You can provide an outstanding reader experience while optimizing for SEO by following these tips.

  • Find keyword themes. Rather than focusing on a single primary keyword, focus on keyword themes to help you naturally integrate synonyms and semantically related terms. Many SEO content tools can help you uncover keywords and themes.
  • Integrate keywords across headings. Use keywords in your headings to clarify what your message is about for both readers and search engine crawlers.
  • Write simply and concisely. Showing your subject matter expertise doesn’t mean filling your content with industry jargon. Yes, your audience is smart, but their time is even more valuable. Writing simply helps readers quickly understand your message without doing further research. Simple and concise language helps readers and search engines understand your message quickly and shows respect for your reader’s time.

For more insights on how to build human-first SEO blogs, check out our content brief and blog post templates.

Get Help Writing Powerful, People-First Content

At Victorious, our SEO approach was people-first from the start.

If you’re looking to build helpful, reader-first content for your website, our team of experts is here to help you build a strong content strategy.Our SEO content writing services support powerful, human-centric content that ranks higher in the SERPs. Our SEO-infused content drives high-quality traffic to your website, where readers get their questions answered and seek your solutions. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.

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