Google To Update SEO Algorithm With Helpful Content Launch
Updated on: 26 August 2022
Google will be launching a helpful content update, a sitewide SEO algorithm update that targets people-centric content and boosts them while devaluing content that was written solely for SEO purposes.
This update, which will be launched this week, will impact how web content is valued across Google Search. As Google Search is constantly improving itself to connect users to helpful content better, the content update is a sure way to ensure that beneficial information reaches the right users. The helpful content update will be fully rolled out at the end of two weeks.
What is the helpful content update all about?
Google’s upcoming SEO algorithm update will specifically target page content that is curated for the sole purpose of ranking well in search results and therefore is deemed unhelpful and uninformative. The intention behind the helpful content update is to connect users to content that is not only of high-quality but also informative and helpful to what they are searching for. In other words, this update is Google’s way of rewarding quality and useful content.
Also, unlike the recent validate fix feature update that Google launched, the helpful content update is sitewide, meaning that it affects every page on the website rather than a single targeted page.
Content that is written for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) purposes are what most would know as SEO content. While SEO content and Google Search rankings go hand in hand, the content’s quality, value, and relevance is just as key. It can be frustrating when a user that was searching for a solution lands on a well-ranked webpage that does not offer helpful content. The helpful content update targets those websites and downgrades them while promoting helpful pages that provide relatable content and solutions.
Google stated that this update is part of their ongoing effort to reduce poor-quality content and make it straightforward for users to access content that is useful and authentic in search results.
What type of content will this update affect?
While the SEO algorithm update will not target any specific content style, Google has stated that some of the content styles, such as tech-related, shopping, arts and entertainment, and online educational materials, may be affected the most by the helpful content update. This is because most content written for these areas is generally written to boost SEO results rather than for users.
While not necessarily a guaranteed impact, Google’s analysis shows that these areas might be more affected than other areas.
What does this mean for creators?
This means that creators should start creating content for the people and not just for SEO purposes.
Create user-centric content: The helpful content update rewards satisfying and helpful content. In order to ensure that your content will be successful with the update is to create user-centric content while utilising good SEO practices to bring additional value. Some questions that you can ask yourself to assess if your content is user-centric:
- Does your business site have intended or existing users that would find your content useful should they be directed to your page?
- Does your content demonstrate deep knowledge and expertise in the topic that users are searching for?
- Does your website have a specific focus or purpose?
- After going through your website, will users feel like they have learned sufficiently to answer their prior question?
- Does your content provide a satisfying experience?
Avoid creating content primarily for search engines: The user-centric approach does not mean not following healthy SEO practices. SEO is essential for lead generation, and it also applies to user-centric content. However, most content generated primarily for the boosting of search engine traffic is generally correlated with unsatisfying content. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to assess if your content is search engine-centric:
- Are you generating lots of content just to boost your search results?
- Do you summarise other content without adding any value to it?
- Are you generating content that is in trend and not because it will be beneficial for your users?
- Does your content leave users feeling a lack of information and thus have to search somewhere else for better solutions?
- Are you using automation just to generate several different content topics?
If your answer to these questions is yes, it is a warning sign to re-evaluate your content creation approach.
As the helpful content update rolls over the next two weeks, it is highly advisable to start crawling through your webpage and removing unhelpful content. As the update will run continuously, enabling Google to monitor both existing and newly-launched webpages, affected sites will find that their low ranking will last a couple of months, or at least until Google determines that the unhelpful content is no longer at play for a decent period.
Our final takeaway here is: Quality content is here to stay. Any digital marketing agency or business may be aware of how SEO-optimised content is key, but Google is looking for more than just that in the future. So, always stay on your toes and watch out for relevant and useful content for users – remember, both users and Google love a good read!