Last week, Google announced what is called the “helpful content update”, which is “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
What is the helpful content update?
At its core, the new Google helpful content update aims to target sites that post SEO-focused content, which Google presumably deems “unhelpful”, and decrease their visibility and ranking on the search algorithm.
SEO (search engine optimization): the science of catering a website’s content toward search engine algorithms to increase the amount of traffic the site receives
“For example, if you search for information about a new movie, you might have previously seen articles that aggregated reviews from other sites without adding perspectives beyond what’s available elsewhere. This isn’t very helpful if you’re expecting to read something new. With this update, you’ll see more results with unique, authentic information, so you’re more likely to read something you haven’t seen before.”
The update is automatic and is not something you can turn on-and-off manually.
Who will the update effect?
The update “will especially improve results related to online education, as well as arts and entertainment, shopping and tech-related content,” says Google’s Danny Sullivan. It is site wide, meaning that not only will Google’s signal be on the lookout for SEO-focused posts, but entire websites and all of their content as a whole. In turn, removing any unhelpful content on your website can help the rankings of your site’s helpful content.
Initially, only searches in English will be impacted.
Content created by AI will get the brunt of Google’s new signal, as it intends to give more visibility to content “created by people, for people.”
You might be in a pinch if you’ve been posting low-quality, repetitive content purely for the sake of receiving traffic rather than providing netizens with a helpful search result.
When will the update take effect?
The update was announced last week and will begin rolling out for English searches beginning this week.
“Although Google is giving a heads up regarding these algorithm changes, a week isn’t a long time to prepare. However, one could argue that all sites should be written for humans in the first place.”
Why was this update created?
The update aims to increase the rankings of high quality, original content to ensure that the people searching are finding exactly what they’re looking for in just a few clicks. Google has shown interest in similar problems before in the form of previous updates citing similar concerns with the quality of search results, such as the Panda update in 2011.
How can I find out if my content is helpful?
Google shared the following questions creators can ask themselves to find out whether or not their content is taking a “people-first approach.”
“Answering yes to the questions below means you’re probably on the right track with a people-first approach:
- Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
- Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
- Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
- Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?”
More Original Helpful Content.
One And Done – Do They Need More Info
BIG SITES TACKLING ALL TRAFFIC
First Hand Expertise = Review Stuff
SITEWIDE SIGNAL + ON PAGE
More Focus + Better Content = More Money