Google announces an update to the search ranking algorithm, which may be one of the most significate updates in the last ten years.
On August 18 2022, Google announced the launch of an up-and-coming update known as the “helpful content update” as part of their broader effort to ensure web users see more original and helpful content written by people for people in the SERPs.
What is the “Helpful” Content Update
In short, the helpful content update is being rolled out to better reward and rank content where web users feel they have had a positive experience. In contrast, content that doesn’t meet these criteria will be penalised – lose rankings and generally not perform as well.
This new site-wide update/signal is fully automated using a machine-learning model and is now one of the many signals that Google will use to evaluate and rank content. This means that some people-first content on sites classified as having unhelpful content could still rank well.
Focus on people-first content
What is unhelpful content?
Unhelpful or bad content can be summed up as content which is:
- Duplicated or Unoriginal
- Keyword stuffed
- Poor/awkward call to actions
- Not solving a problem or question
- Overly promotional
- Fools the experts
- It doesn’t provide credibility
- Lacks purpose
Do you feel your content is bad? If so, reach out to one of our content specialists. Simply email us at email@example.com
What sectors or industries are most at risk
Just like any other Google update, these algorithms do not target specific niches however Google has said that the following type of content may be impacted the most:
- Online education/tutorial material
- Arts and Entertainment
What does this mean for my content strategy?
This update could flip current strategies on their head.
This signal is sitewide and not page by page – which presents complications. This means your whole site could be impacted rather than one page/URL.
Any content not just unhelpful on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is better content elsewhere on the web to serve.
How can we ensure our content will be successful?
- Remove any unhelpful content – not just unhelpful pages/URLs
- Create content for people
- Don’t use automation to create content on many topics
- Create original content that adds value
- Don’t create content due to “trends.”
- Answer your user’s questions – don’t leave them with more questions or unanswered questions.
- Don’t write for a particular word count – Google DOES NOT have a preferred word count – longer articles will appear to rank better as they usually provide in-depth answers.
- Don’t create bait-click content or content with empty promises.
The above scenarios can occur when you focus on creating content for Search Engines and not your users to “improve” site traffic.
To make sure you are on the right track, can you answer yes to all of these questions?
- Do your current, or intended audience find your content useful if they came directly to you?
- Does your content demonstrate first-hand experiences and showcase a depth of knowledge?
- Does your site serve a purpose?
- Does your content help your audience achieve their goal?
- Do your users have a positive experience when reading your content?
- Are you following Google’s guidance for core updates and for product reviews?
If you answered yes to all the above, great! Once the update has been rolled out, monitor the impact on your current content.
If you are unsure or answered no to some of these, please contact our specialist team for advice and guidance.
When is the update being rolled out
Google has specified that the update will be rolled out next week; here at Infinity Nation, our SEO team will monitor Google’s ranking updates page to note precisely when it beings and when it has been fully rolled out – these types of updates usually take around two weeks.
The update will be rolled out for English-language searches first, followed by other languages in the future.
Why this matters
Overall, this update presents itself as a significant update which we as an industry will reflect on as the driver of change to the type of advice and guidance we give our clients when building content.
Just as we saw with the Core Web Vitals update a few years ago, it is too soon to tell what the impact of this update may look like on search results, our site, our clients or your sites.
As the update is being rolled out, we will monitor all outlets, and analytics and, where necessary, adjust and re-evaluate our content strategies to ensure success.
If you would like to talk to one of our specialists, please reach out; we are here to answer any of your questions.