August 18, 2022

Google’s Helpful Content Update: What You Need to Know

This update was released on August 25, 2022, and was completed as of September 9, 2022.

It’s no secret that Google is always looking for better ways to connect people with the information they want most. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than navigating to a page or website hoping to find something particular, only to be met with disappointment, especially if the page you find feels like it was more focused on baiting clicks rather than providing valuable information.

To that end, Google has launched thousands of updates to Search and performed hundreds of thousands of quality tests, gathering as much feedback from their users as possible. As the culmination of their efforts, Google is set to launch its “Helpful Content Update” next week.

What is Google’s “Helpful Content Update”?

As the newest in a long line of user-friendly updates, this “Helpful Content Update” is designed to “ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, rather than for search engines.” The company states that it should especially improve results related to online education, offering added improvements to results related to arts and entertainment, shopping, or technology-related content.

This means if you were to search for information about a new television, washing machine, or even the latest blockbuster movie, there’s a good chance you would have seen content that pulled reviews from several different places without bringing anything new to the table. This is because content written in these areas has typically been written for search engines rather than people, and it’s not the most helpful content when you’re looking for a fresh take. Thanks to this latest update, you should start seeing results that are much more unique and authentic,

What’s New with Google’s “Helpful Content Update”?

While many of Google’s updates tend to be applied on a page-by-page basis, this newest update will be applied site-wide. This means that if Google decides that your website is producing a high amount of unhelpful content written primarily to rank well in search, there’s a high chance your entire site will be impacted. Likewise, Google states that this update will first be rolled out in English globally, over a two-week period, with other languages expected to follow suit in the future.

What is Google’s Advice Regarding this Update?

With this latest update being a broader effort to connect people with content written for them rather than for search engines, Google’s advice to content creators is the following:

Craft People-first Content

Since Google’s update aims to reward content that offers a better user experience, this means that content that doesn’t meet their expectations won’t rank as well. Thus, content creators are urged to remember Google’s long-standing advice and guidelines for how to effectively craft people-first content. This means utilizing SEO best practices to add additional value to your content, with a focus on searcher intent. More specifically, it means asking the following questions:

  • Does your business have an existing target audience that would find the content useful if they came directly to your site?
  • Does your content establish your business as an industry expert or thought leader?
  • Does your website have a primary purpose or focus?
  • After reading your content, will someone feel they’ve gained sufficient knowledge to accomplish their goal(s)?
  • Does your content provide a positive user experience?
  • Does your content keep Google’s guidance for core updates and product reviews in mind?

Avoid Crafting Content Solely for Search Engines

SEO is incredibly powerful when applied to people-first content. That being said, content created solely for search engines tends to leave users/searchers feeling dissatisfied. It’s imperative that you avoid taking a search engine-first approach to your content. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, it’s time to start reevaluating how you’re creating content across your website:

  • Is your content primarily aimed at attracting clicks from search engines rather than being written for people?
  • Are you pumping out lots of content on different topics in the hopes that a few might perform better in search results?
  • Are you using automation to speed up the content creation process?
  • Are you writing about topics purely because they’re trending and not because your target audience might find them helpful?
  • Are you regurgitating or summarizing what others have to say on certain topics without adding any additional value of your own?

More content evaluation questions can be found here.

Check back here for more information on Google’s “Helpful Content Update” when it releases next week.

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