Google is the number one search engine because users trust it to return relevant, constructive results. Companies and websites that find themselves at the top of applicable search results lists are rewarded with more visits, more clicks, and more sales.
This is where SEO has traditionally come in. Websites have been trying to manipulate the algorithm that determines these search results since we learned about the algorithm in the first place. Initially, this led to articles crammed with keywords, hoping they’d act like internet lighthouses, bringing in visitors.
Google has continually updated their algorithm for search results, sending SEO experts scrambling to stay ahead of the curve. Recently, Google has tried to reward useful content over robotic keywords simply peppered throughout headlines and paragraphs. This effort has just taken another huge step forward with Google’s new Helpful Content update.
We’ll dig into the specifics of this new update so you know exactly what to expect and how you can make it work for you.
What is Google’s Helpful Content Update?
As we said above, the purpose of this new update is for Google to get better at returning articles, videos, and other content that is actually beneficial to users. Content that it deems to have been written for search engines will be downgraded.
As stated by Google themselves:
“Google Search is always working to better connect people to helpful information. To this end, we’re launching what we’re calling the “helpful content update” that’s part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
The rollout of the Helpful Content update is set to begin the week of August 22nd, 2022 and could take up to two weeks to fully implement.
Users have become frustrated with articles that are obviously written with the sole purpose of ranking high in search results. These articles don’t offer value to readers or visitors, only serving to frustrate them as they continue to look for answers to their questions. This new update looks to correct that, which means many websites will see some drastic changes to their search rankings.
How Does the Helpful Content Update Impact Search Results?
Google’s system will automatically begin scanning websites, webpages, blogs, e-commerce listings, and more. They’ll be looking for content that is unhelpful to the user. Anything that doesn’t offer value will be negatively impacted, reflected by a much lower positioning in search engine results.
“Any content — not just unhelpful content — on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere from the web that’s better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content,” said Google.
Websites that have well-researched, informative articles that offer immediate value to users will be rewarded.
If you’ve spent a lot of time writing with SEO practices in mind, it’s well worth the effort to update your content. This classifier will run continuously. New websites will be assessed, as will existing websites. It might take a little time to regain your positive standing in search results, but it can be done by replacing unhelpful content geared toward the old algorithm with new, quality information.
How Can You Use the Helpful Content Update To Drive Traffic to Your Website?
In short: Write better content. That might sound reductive, but it’s the most straightforward way you can raise your search result rankings. Offer content that will satisfy users–the days of writing to please a computer are long gone.
Google provided some questions you can ask yourself to determine if the Helpful Content update will reward your website. Every time you answer “yes” is another step toward advantageous search result rankings.
- 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?
This new update will greatly improve the experience of every Google user. And if you want to be there for the ride, you need to be sure your content provides value. Audit your existing content and update or delete anything that doesn’t clearly and sufficiently answer the question it is supposed to answer. Contact us to discover how we can help you with your Helpful Content.