Why First-Hand Content Should Be on Your Radar (And Your Website)

Google wants to serve high-quality, trustworthy content to its users, and it’s doubling down on this effort with its recent announcement: prioritizing firsthand knowledge in organic search results.

In fact, first-hand, top-quality content is the subject of industry experts’ guidance as we head into the new year. The impact of it is already being felt across search, according to Search Engine Journal’s Matt Southern.

But what exactly is first-hand content, and why should you care?

What is First-Hand Content?

First-hand content is content that is built around personal experiences and individual perspectives. It offers in-depth knowledge from those familiar with the topic, including the original author and verified contributors, to provide authentic, trustworthy knowledge.

Google gave us a clue in late 2022 that it was shifting more focus on this aspect with the introduction of E-E-A-T to its quality guidelines. In this iteration, we learned that experience would be a key factor in how the search engine evaluated website content, and that sites should begin prioritizing “genuine content that reflected real-world familiarity and personalized encounters.”

Why Should You Care about Sharing Firsthand Knowledge?

For one, content that includes personal experiences can be perceived as more legitimate than generic material. It can also be more helpful for readers, whether it helps them make decisions or influences their behaviors. Google knows this, and that’s why it now elevates this type of content in organic search—also another reason why it matters for your SEO performance.

If you need to reach your audience in organic search, in the prime moments when they are looking for information you have experience with, then first-hand content is the way to do it.

How to Show Firsthand Knowledge in Your Content

The good news is there are several ways you can communicate your experience within your content, including:

  • Display Author Information – If you have a blog on your website, be sure that author information is prominently displayed on every piece of content you publish. That means including the author’s image, credentials, links to a bio and social profiles, and follower counts. The closer to the top of the blog, the better.

  • Source Citations – If you reference facts, data, or events in your website content, be sure to cite your sources throughout to lend another layer of credibility.

  • Emphasize Hands-On Expertise – Case studies, white papers, briefs, and reports all go a long way to supporting your first-hand experience and legitimizing your business.

  • Use Reviews and Testimonials – User reviews and customer testimonials can be used on your website to communicate trust, especially for ecommerce businesses.

  • Demonstrate Knowledge – Don’t just tell someone you know something; show them, too, with high-quality photos and instructional videos on the topic.

  • Show Contact Information – Make sure website visitors can easily contact you with readily available information, including emails, phone numbers, and social media where people can reach out in the way that works best for them.

Help Your Audience through Firsthand Knowledge

No matter which industry you work in, or what types of customers you serve, you have some level of experience with the things that matter to your audience. Use those experiences and knowledge to create personalized content where you can and ask others to support this messaging with helpful reviews, testimonials, photos, and videos.

For more help with organic search performance, see if Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services are right for you.

Reach out with any questions you might have regarding how RSO can help you with your digital marketing.

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