Google has unveiled a brand-new significant modification to its search ranking algorithm: the “helpful content update.” The update aims to remove articles that have been published solely to boost their search engine rankings but do not educate or assist readers. This upgrade, according to Google, will “address content that seems to have been generated mainly for ranking well in search engines.”
In our perspective, this upgrade will alter how SEOs approach content tactics moving ahead, much like Panda in 2011 and Penguin in 2012 – concerning content and link strategies.
What types of content will be affected by the helpful content update?
Google said that the following content types might be most affected, even if these algorithms do not mainly target any particular niche:
- Online learning materials.
- Ecommerce shopping.
- Entertainment and the art industry.
Historically, content in those areas has been written more for search engines than humans. These areas are more likely to be affected by Google’s helpful content updates than others industries.
Updates to Google’s helpful content are part of the sitewide algorithm
The new helpful content update will be applied across the entire site, unlike many Google algorithms. Your entire website will be affected if Google determines that you produce too much unhelpful content primarily designed to rank in search engine results.
Ensure your content is centered on people and not the Bots
The helpful content upgrade intends to reward content more favorably where users believe they have had a pleasant experience. In contrast, content that falls short of a user’s expectations will not do as well.
How can you be confident that the material you produce will be effective with our recent update? It’s simple. You are generating visitor-focused content and applying SEO best practices and Quality guidelines to provide visitors with more information.
If you answered yes to the following questions, you’re probably on the right track:
- Is there an existing or intended audience for your business or site who would find the content helpful?
- Are you demonstrating first-hand experience and a depth of knowledge in your content (e.g., expertise from actually using a product or service)?
- After reading your content, will someone feel they’ve learned enough about a topic to help them achieve their goals?
- Are your readers going to feel satisfied after reading your content?
- Do you keep the Google guidance for core updates and product reviews in mind?
How to steer clear of the pitfalls
How can you steer clear of putting search engines first? If you answered “yes” to any of the following questions, you should rethink how you produce content for your website:
- Do you write content primarily to attract search engine users, or do you write content for people?
- Is your content production automated to cover a wide range of topics?
- Is your content leaving readers feeling like they’ll have to search again for better information?
- Are you writing about trends simply because they seem popular rather than because they would interest your existing audience?
- Do you produce lots of content on different topics in the hope that some of it might show up in search engines?
- Do you write to a specific word count because you’ve heard or read that Google prefers it?
- Do you primarily summarize what others have to say without adding much value?
- Does your content suggest a release date for a product or service when none has been formally announced? Does it intend to address a question that is still unanswered?
- Have you entered any niche topic area without real expertise, but mainly to get traffic from search engines?
Keep an eye on your analytics as the update rolls out and, if necessary, reevaluate your content strategy.
We will keep you updated on all the latest developments related to the helpful content updates.