Google Begs SEOs To Stop Showing Google Things; Show Visitors Things Instead

Mar 25, 2024 - 7:51 am 16 by

Google Robot Begging

Google's Search Liaison responded to a series of posts on Twitter, leading him to beg SEOs to stop trying to "show Google" things, explaining that the process of doing things to your site to rank better in Google is the opposite of the advice Google is giving. Instead, show things to your users/visitors that those people will like.

The whole series of posts and responses are kind of sad. I mean, Google has been saying this for a while, build what your users want and not build stuff that you think Google wants. That is what these helpful content updates/core updates are about - it looks for things SEOs do to try to rank better, without regard to users.

For example, an SEO shows some data how affiliate sites were hit hard with the core update so far, but e-commerce sites are doing okay. So as a joke, why not put an "add to cart" button on your affiliate site to trick Google. Danny Sullivan from Google responded on X saying, "I wouldn't recommend people start adding carts because it "shows Google" any more than I would recommend anyone do anything they think "shows Google" something."

He later begged, saying, "I'm begging. Please, I'm begging you or anyone to stop focusing on specific content things. It's not whether a TOC or saying someone is an "expert" is somehow a specific signal. It's that these things might indicate a pattern of doing too much "show Google" things that's taking away of just being a good site for people -- which is what Google wants to reward"

Danny Sullivan went on to say, "You want to do things that make sense for your visitors, because what "shows Google" you have a great site is to be ... a great site for your visitors not to add things you assume are just for Google." "Doing things you think are just for Google is falling behind what our ranking systems are trying to reward rather than being in front of them," he added.

Then he goes on to list out some SEOs do because they think that is what Google wants you to do. He writes; "Stop trying to "show Google" things. I have been through so many sites at this point (and I appreciate the feedback), and the patterns are often like this:"

  • Something saying an "expert" reviewed the content because someone mistakenly believes that ranks them better
  • Weird table-of-content things shoved at the top because who knows, along the way, somehow that became a thing I'm guessing people assume ranks you better
  • The page has been updated within a few days, or even is fresh on the exact day, even though the content isn't particularly needing anything fresh and probably someone did some really light rewrite and fresh date because they think that "shows Google" you have fresh content and will rank better.
  • The page end with a series of "hey, here are some frequently asked questions" because someone used a tool or other method to just add things they think people search for specifically because they heard if you add a bunch of popular searches to the page, that ranks you better not because anyone coming to your page wants that
  • I can barely read through the main content of pages because I keep getting interrupted by things shoved in the middle of it. Which isn't so much a "show Google" think as much as it is just an unsatisfying experience

So why do these strategies or "things" for Google seem to work? Danny wrote, "You will find pages that are still ranking, both from big sites and small sites, that do these things. Because our ranking systems aren't perfect, and after this current update, we'll continue to keep working at it."

Sullivan then shared a draft version of a new help document he wants to add to the Google Search documentation, it reads:

The most important key to success with Google Search is to have content that’s meant to please people, rather than to be whatever you might have heard that 'Google wants.' For example, people sometimes write content longer than is helpful to their readers because they’ve heard somewhere that 'Google wants' long content.

What Google wants is content that people will like, content that your own readers and visitors find helpful and satisfying. This is the foundation of your potential success with Google. Any question you have about making content for Google will come back to this principle. 'Is this content that my visitors would find satisfying?' If the answer is yes, then do that, because that’s what Google wants.

He ends that post saying again, "But please. If you want to succeed, stop doing a lot of the things you've heard second, third, whatever that are supposed to "show Google" something and show your visitors a great, satisfying experience. That's how you show Google's ranking systems that you should do well."

Here is that post, click through to read the full thing:

As you can imagine, more came out on this:

So what do the people here do? They remove TOCs:


And here are more related posts:

John Mueller of Google chimed in to some comments on LinkedIn saying:

My snarky take: if you're *only* improving your site for SEO purposes, you're doing it wrong.

So if a page says "reviewed by an expert" you're going to trust it more? People can put anything into HTML.

I'll end it there - but as you can imagine - there is more...

Forum discussion at X.


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