Google’s ‘Helpful Content Update’ has officially gone live as of August 25th, 2022, promising to bring substantial change to the way that search engine optimization behaves and is factored into search results.
However, with only 20% of users reporting noticeable changes following the implementation of this update, Google developers have come forward to say that the Helpful Content Update was merely a kickoff for a series of SEO improvements on the backend, and that more updates are expected to follow as new data comes in.
What is In This Update?
This update introduces a new engine-wide signal that Google considers among many others for ranking web pages. Google explains that its systems automatically identify content that seems to have little value, useless fluff, or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those performing searches. More specifically: their goal is that content made to tick off boxes for a search engine are more readily flagged as unhelpful, and that the algorithm seeks to prioritize content that is made for humans to read.
It further explains that 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 is more relevant when searched for. Following the logic of this reasoning, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of other, more helpful content.
This is in part a response to the out-of-control market of AI content writers and article generators, whose work has overrun virtually every corner of the Internet. 360 Marketing remains competitive in a market overrun with what are essentially bots, keeping in line with Google’s policies on helpful, relevant, and non-exploitative content generation. What serves to be a penalty for people abusing Search will be a massive and successful boon for 360 Marketing and other agencies with a legitimate human workforce.
What This Algorithm Update Will Impact
The update impacts English searches globally to start, and Google plans to expand to other languages in the future. Over the coming months, they will also continue refining how the classifier detects unhelpful content and launch further efforts to better reward people-first content.
Being as this update is not a core update, Google wants creators to follow the guidelines that they have laid out, as more significant changes will take effect once the update is fully deployed into the Google ranking ecosystem.
Thankfully, Google provided clearer and more specific guidelines to follow that will help you better score within their algorithms when utilizing SEO techniques:
– Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
– Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
– Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
– Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
– Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you’d write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
– Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
– Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No, we don’t).
– Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?
– Does your content promise to answer a question that actually has no answer, such as suggesting there’s a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn’t confirmed?