Hey there, have you heard the great news? Google has taken a stand for quality over quantity with its awesome “Helpful Content” update. It’s a game-changer that aims to make your search experience even better. Let’s dig in and find out what it’s all about!
Starting on August 25, 2022, Google began rolling out the Helpful Update, and by September 8, 2022, it was complete. So, what’s this update all about? Well, it’s a fancy-sounding, continuous, and automated ranking signal that separates the good from the bad in the vast realm of online content.
The goal is simple: Google wants to distinguish content that’s genuinely helpful to searchers from content that’s just playing games to rank higher in search results. They want to reward those who provide valuable information and create a satisfying experience for visitors.
Think about it. When you’re searching for ways to fix a broken coffee machine or hunting down the best sci-fi thrillers of the 1980s, you want the real deal. You want accurate content backed by experts or well-researched journalism. None of that gobbledygook stuff that’s just there to stuff keywords and clutter up the internet.
With the Helpful Update, Google aims to crack down on content that tries to cheat the system. It’s a win-win situation where users get the high-quality content they deserve, and creators who put in the effort to provide valuable information get the recognition they deserve.
So, wave goodbye to those soulless, AI-generated articles with a gazillion words and repetitive keyword-stuffed headings. Say hello to helpful, engaging, and informative content that genuinely enriches your search experience.
Now that you know what the Helpful Update is all about, let’s dive deeper into the nitty-gritty.
What Is The Helpful Content Update?
The helpful content updates provide searchers with valuable content by prioritising user-first, high-quality content over low-quality content written only to generate search traffic. This will result in more varied results and reduce the amount of irrelevant content in search results. This update will be a sitewide signal which can impact a website’s SEO rankings.
Here is the helpful content update in a nutshell:
- Official Name: Google Helpful Content Update.
- Launch Date: The action kicked off during the week of August 22.
- Duration of the rollout: The update took about two weeks to reach its full potential.
- Products that have been impacted: For now, just the standard English Google search. Google could include Discovery or other features in the future.
- Penalty: Websites with excessively optimised content will most likely be affected.
- Scope: This update focuses on content quality across a site, not just individual pages.
- Core update: This isn’t a core upgrade. The last core update was the May 20, 22 Core Update.
- Language: English-language content worldwide is affected. In the future, Google could add other languages.
What Should SEF Publishers Expect?
Search Engine First publishers should expect a decrease in rankings, visibility and search engine traffic. Google explains why it punishes these sites:
“This update introduces an additional sitewide signal, which we consider part of our other signals to rank web pages. Our systems automatically detect content that appears low value, low-added value, or otherwise not very helpful for those searching. Searches will not rank well for any content, even if it isn’t unhelpful content. However, the search will still rank sites with high levels of unhelpful material. Unhelpful content can be removed to improve your content’s ranking. The machine-learning model is used to automate the classifier process. This is neither spam nor manual action. It’s a new signal that Google uses to rank content. ”
For experienced SEOs, this should be nothing new. Google has repeatedly told us via Panda and Core Updates that site owners should adopt a people-first strategy for years. So who will this helpful content update affect negatively?
Most likely, these are the publishers that will suffer the consequences:
- Publishers that were able to focus on a wide range of topics (CNET and Forbes)
- Websites that collect and monetise organic traffic but don’t provide any unique value.
- Websites that create content using tools like Jasper and Copymatic.
Google’s most recent update has ended spray-and-pray content’s benefits. However, Google has made a distinction with this update. They expect your content to produce value (E-A-T) for searchers. So they’ll reward those who do and penalise those who don’t.
What is the Impact of the Google Helpful Content Update?
The term helpful content update describes the types of content that will be affected. If the content is valuable, performance should remain stable or increase. In other words, expect a decline in performance if the content is not helpful.
Over-optimised search results have been a hallmark of SEOs for many years. There are thousands of articles that contain keywords and phrases in an attempt to reach over 3 billion users of Google each month. Unfortunately, these search results are designed to please the algorithm, not those who read the words.
Which Categories Will Most Likely Be Affected?
Overly optimised content can lead to homogenous results that repeatedly describe the same thing. These results are more common in specific business types than others. Google stated that the helpful content update would impact these segments more based on its testing:
- Online Educational Materials
- Arts & Entertainment
- Tech-related Content
Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, said on Twitter that “Online Educational Materials” is a term used to describe things that are meant to be taught and not formal courses. So it’s not a particular area. This is just one example of notable improvement. There are many others, and you can benefit from any question.
How Will the Helpful Content Update Affect Your Organisation?
Google’s helpful content updates aim to reward websites that offer useful content written by people. So, for example, if Google finds that searchers are unhappy with the search results quality, then give them what they want.
Write People-First Content
Google also included the Helpful Content Announce insights on what they consider to be the characteristics of helpful content:
- You have an audience already in your target market for your site or business and would be interested in the content if they reached you directly.
- Your content clearly shows first-hand knowledge and depth of understanding. Your site should have a primary goal or focus.
- Users will feel confident that they have learned enough information to be able to assist them in achieving their goals after reading your content.
- Your content leaves users feeling satisfied.
- Your website follows Google’s guidelines for core upgrades and product reviews.
Indicators that You’re Creating Search-First Content
Google also provided insights into what “search-first content” looks like. These statements may describe your SEO strategy and could impact your website’s ability to receive the helpful content update. This boils down to a lot of useless content.
- In the hope that some of your content will be found in search results, you produce a lot of content on various topics.
- Using automation or AI to create content in many spheres.
- Summarising the opinions of others without adding any value.
- Write about things because they are trending rather than because they are important for your audience.
- Your content makes readers feel like they must go back to other sources for better information. Because you have heard or read that Google prefers a specific word count, you write to it. (They don’t, by the way.)
- You decided to go into a niche area of expertise only because you believed you would get search traffic.
- Your content may promise to answer a question, even if there isn’t a confirmed answer.
How to Determine Whether Your Content is Impacted?
Although Google’s above statements regarding quality content may be instructive, they don’t prove anything. However, tracking metrics over time is a great way to see how useful content updates affect your website’s performance.
Google claimed that the content update system for Google is fully automated. It evaluates and scores new pages, assigning scores as appropriate. However, this update may take several months before it is reflected in search results.
The following are the primary metrics that can be used to monitor changes and shifts over time:
- Search Console: Keyword ranking.
- Clicks in the Search Console.
- Search Console – click-through rate.
- Impressions in the Search Console.
- Google Analytics: Organic traffic volume.
- Google Analytics: Landing page traffic volume.
The sitewide helpful content update will provide a comprehensive overview of performance changes. Therefore, it is important to focus on metrics across the entire site. Unfortunately, Google has yet to announce the ability to identify which pages are considered unhelpful. However, it is possible to look at page-level performance to help determine where to start a recovery.
Remember the good old days when searching the web was a breeze? You could just sprinkle a keyword all over your page like confetti, and boom, you’d be sitting pretty at the top of the search results. But guess what? Those days are long gone.
Google has evolved. It has become a master at sniffing out low-quality filler content that’s only there to please search engines. Now, it’s all about content that fulfils a searcher’s needs and scratches that itch they have. The game has changed.
The good news is that search engines like Google are getting smarter. They can now filter out the noise and give us what we really want – content that’s designed for people first, not search engines. It’s like a breath of fresh air in the vast expanse of the internet.
With this update, Google is rewarding websites that provide a delightful experience for visitors. It’s all about meeting their expectations and going above and beyond. Forget about keyword stuffing and gimmicky tactics. It’s time to put people first.
So, let’s embrace the era of the Helpful Content Update. It’s time to bid farewell to those old tricks and focus on creating valuable, engaging, and user-centric content. Trust me, your visitors will thank you, and Google will give you a well-deserved pat on the back. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Let’s make the internet a better place, one helpful piece of content at a time.
If you need help creating content that’s in line with Google’s helpful content update, get in touch with us and we’ll get back to you ASAP to discuss your project.