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Best practices for content optimisation

At a time when user experience is in the spotlight of search engine optimisation, and search engines’ algorithms and systems are AI-powered, SEO content optimisation practices should be focused on really understanding what users need and providing quality and valuable information that will allow them to fulfil their search goals.

Over the past few years, Google has been working on improving its search algorithm and ranking systems with the goal to fight spam and improve the search results. Even though recently there were certain concerns with the quality of the search results (mainly AI Overviews), Google still does its job well and is still the most-used search engine in the world. It will certainly keep improving its search quality and fight spam to maintain this position.

So, how can you ensure that your content is high quality according to Google’s guidelines? Are there any tools you can use in order to do so? How can you really understand users and offer the most suitable content for their needs?

In this blog post, I will briefly walk you through some of the most important concepts Google has introduced to improve the quality of the search results and how you can incorporate them when creating content. However, if you want to read more and expand your knowledge, you can find a much more in-depth analysis in my latest guide about on-page optimisation. 😊

Helpful content systems and people-first content

In 2022, Google launched “helpful content systems” as part of its core algorithm with the main goal of better surfacing helpful content in the search results.

Google’s ranking systems use many different factors to identify and rank quality content, based on what seems to be the most helpful for the user. It is important to put an emphasis on two words here: quality and helpful.

  • Helpful content is reliable information that is primarily created to benefit people, not to gain search engine rankings.
  • Quality content is accurate, reliable and relevant for the target audience.

To help webmasters create helpful and quality content, Google provided a list of questions that can be used to assess the content quality, as well as whether the content is helpful and created for people. Webmasters should especially use these if their website is hit by a core update, because this could mean their content is not in line with the best practices and Google’s quality guidelines. You can find these questions on Google Search Central and they are also listed in my guide.

One piece of advice I particularly like when it comes to content helpfulness and quality is to ask people around you what they think of your website and content. The best feedback is feedback from real users!


Google created the E-E-A-T framework (expertise, experience, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) as a set of criteria that helps it ensure the quality of content on the web. The framework is used by human quality raters, who, following the guidelines, assess the quality of pages in Google’s search results and decide which content is the most helpful for users.

Although not a direct ranking factor, E-E-A-T criteria is a signal and content with good E-E-A-T is given more weight in the search results. By establishing E-E-A-T, Google made sure that there is a set of guidelines that can be used by the quality raters when assessing the search results, because, as it states: “Search results should provide authoritative and trustworthy information, not lead people astray with misleading content.”

Raters determine the page quality score by looking at the main content (MC) quality, reviewing the information available about the website and the creator, and researching the online reputation of the website and content creator.

To help webmasters understand the framework and what kind of content Google is looking to surface in the search results, it created Search Quality Raters Guidelines. Search Quality Raters Guidelines offer information about what is considered to be a low-quality page, based on the assessment of different page elements and sections. You can refer to these guidelines when writing your content, and along with the “helpful content” questionnaire, you can make sure you are providing quality and useful information to the user.

I go into more detail on how to put this into practice in my guide, but to start with, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Ask yourself, what is the purpose and the goal of the page you are creating?
  • Explore the top-performing results in the SERP for your search query. How do they approach the topic? What can you do better?

These will help you identify the user’s search goal and intent and how you can make sure your content is focused on providing what users need, which is a good base for quality and helpful content creation.


Google uses entities as the base of its natural language processing models, which enable the search engine to understand language more like humans, by recognising the context and relationships between different concepts.

Through entities, Google is able to categorise information on the internet, understand the topic and context of a webpage, and determine if the content is relevant to the user performing the search.

In my guide, I provide examples and explain what an entity is and what a keyword is, as well as explaining the main difference between these two concepts. Entities are a very powerful tool when it comes to content optimisation, and therefore it is very important to understand this concept and how to use it.

All the above-mentioned concepts (helpful content, E-E-A-T, search intent and entities) have a great impact on the search results, and thus, on content optimisation. For this reason, it is very important that you are familiar with and understand how they work and affect the search.

How to optimise your content step-by-step

In my guide, you will learn how to incorporate the most important concepts and systems that define Google’s rankings into your content strategy. Here is a quick summary of what you will learn about the basic steps to follow when it comes to content optimisation:

  1. Understand context and user intent: Learn which elements you should look at to identify the search context and the user intent behind a query.
  2. Create and optimise your content structure: How can you identify entities related to your topic? Are there any elements in the SERP that will help you define your content structure, and how can you use them to do so? Learn how to create detailed guidelines for your copywriters to create the content, bearing the SEO aspects in mind.
  3. Write a page title and meta description: Learn about the best practices when it comes to your page titles and meta descriptions. What should you have in mind when creating these?
  4. Use heading tags: Why are heading tags so important? How can you use heading tags in your content in the best way?
  5. Optimise your internal links: Why are internal links so important? Learn how to help search engines understand your content better and help users navigate your website more efficiently through the proper use of internal links.
  6. Consider including images and videos: Use different formats on your pages for a better user experience, but also to increase the chance of being displayed in different SERP elements, such as image or video carousels.
  7. Use structured data: Learn how to use structured data to help search engines better understand your content and main structured data types.

Want to learn more?

I hope this blog post has been a useful introduction to the topic of on-page SEO, and in particular content optimisation. For more in-depth information and advice, read my full-length guide here! From reading this guide, you will learn about:

  • helpful content systems and people-first content
  • the E-E-A-T framework for high-quality content
  • the importance of understanding search intent and user needs
  • how to harness the power of entities
  • how to optimise your content step-by-step
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Sanja Markovic

Senior SEO Specialist & Assistant Manager at Webcertain
Sanja is a Senior SEO Specialist & Assistant Manager at Webcertain and has worked in SEO since 2015. She conducts SEO audits and creates SEO strategies, always having in mind the most innovative and most effective solutions. She is passionate about creating content strategies and new methodologies for content optimisation. Sanja speaks Serbian, English and Spanish, and is familiar with the basics of Chinese. Originally from Serbia, Sanja now lives in Spain.

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