31 January 2023 by Web Bureau
What is the Google Helpful Content update, and has it been rolled out?
Any Google SEO update can significantly improve your organic reach if you follow the rules.
Alternatively, if you’re going against Google’s advice, it could destroy your organic reach.
One of the most keenly debated algorithm changes of 2022 was Google’s Helpful Content update, which was rolled out on 25 August 2022.
The Google Helpful Content update, in Google’s words, is “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
In simpler terms, that means that Google doesn’t want companies to write content that focuses solely on search engine optimisation and trends.
Instead, Google wants companies to focus on what it describes as ‘people-first content’.
With this Google SEO update, the repercussions for companies not adhering to the new updates will directly affect their Search Engine Optimisation.
So, how can you ensure you stay on the right side of the Helpful Content update Google released earlier this year?
How does the Helpful Content work?
How Google’s whole algorithm works is a closely guarded secret.
After all, if they said, “do this to rank top of Google," everyone would be doing it without putting in the effort and creativity.
The Google Helpful Content algorithm update is one of many they describe as ‘signals’ that they consider when ranking web pages.
This update and all the algorithm facets are automated, meaning that since August 2022, Google has been identifying ‘unhelpful content’ of little value.
Any content it identifies that isn’t relevant, low-value or unhelpful is, in Google’s words, “less likely to perform well in Search”.
It’s worth remembering, though, that the quality of your website’s content is one of many ranking factors, including load speed, user experience, authority, backlinks, and many more.
Who does the Helpful Content update affect?
The Google Helpful Content update affects all websites.
Initially, when the update was rolled out in August 2022, it affected mainly English language searches.
However, the Helpful Content update, Google says, will begin impacting all languages, “This update impacts English searches globally, to begin with, and we plan to expand to other languages in the future.”
That means the update essentially has a direct impact – whether negatively or positively – on most websites, assuming you publish content such as blog and news content, tutorials, guides etc.
Remember that when someone searches on Google, they have no interest in your content’s word count, keywords, or headings; they want a query answered satisfactorily.
How to make the Helpful Content update part of your SEO Strategy.
Ensuring your website complies with the Google Helpful Content algorithm update requires a common-sense approach to all content published on your website.
Your content should be specific to your industry, ideally written by a human and not AI, answer questions for users and be original.
That’s because the search giant has, at its core, a mission to provide answers to searcher’s queries.
To achieve that, Google wants all website content to be relevant, accurate, and ultimately, ensuring that it answers a searcher's question.
Google also wants every website to stay on topic; resist the urge to target keywords that aren’t relevant to your niche.
Ultimately, the update is a not-so-subtle encouragement to websites to produce high-quality, niche-relevant content that provides value to searchers and a great user experience.
That is not to say that you shouldn’t SEO-optimise your content; it’s still wise to include keywords (don’t go overboard) and optimised headings, etc.
The take-home message:
Don’t stray off-topic; keep content specific to your niche.
Ensure you have relevant products on category pages.
When someone visits your website, they expect you to know the industry in great depth.
Show off your hard-earned experience with content that will impress, inform and entertain your customers.
Always maintain a focus on one topic. If you’re writing about the best gifts for Mother’s Day, for example, don’t include products for Christmas.
Ultimately, you should keep your content aligned with your core value proposition.
Underpinning absolutely everything, Google is a search engine that answers queries based on what someone has searched for.
As a result, it’s a good idea to put yourself in your customer’s shoes; will your content answer the query they’ve typed into Google?
Like in the offline world, people trust things more when they’re recommended by someone else.
Trust signals can include showing that you take customer privacy seriously by having an SSL certificate or even showcasing customer reviews of your products.
The worst thing (in Google’s eyes!) is when a user clicks on a website and quickly leaves it, which suggests to the search engine that this website didn’t satisfy the user’s expectations.
Therefore, it’s vital that when a user visits your website, they have a good experience and leave your website satisfied.
There’s no need to make wholesale deletions of content.
Instead, you can prune it, removing anything you think is off-topic or unhelpful.
By rolling out the Helpful Content update, Google is putting the onus on website owners to ensure their content is high-quality.
From now on, your content will be judged by its quality, whether it’s written for people or SEO, if it’s relevant and whether it answers a user’s query satisfactorily.
Get a free content consultation today from one of our ecommerce experts by calling 028 9073 1190 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.