Google has completed its rollout of a helpful content update that could be a game changer for content creators and SEO. This rollout began with the English language but will roll out in time to other languages. This article will explore what Google has said about the update and how as a business you can ensure your content is classed as relevant and helpful. We keep hearing the phrase “helpful content” but what exactly is helpful content and how does Google rank helpful content?
What is helpful content?
The concept of helpful content is not a new one, Google has always emphasised that content should be written for humans not machines, however, the new update looks to ensure that helpful content is prioritised in SERPs.
Google says that the update will “ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results”. Google’s own article claims that there will be more focus on people-first content. This means that content creators should focus on writing content for people rather than SEO or machine algorithms. Additionally, Google would reward websites if a visitor had a positive experience and when content does not meet a visitor’s expectations, then that content will be negatively affected.
How will Google determine helpful content?
Google currently uses many signals when it comes to ranking pages. In this rollout, Google will use signals that can automatically identify content that “seems to have little value, low-added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches”.
So how exactly does Google determine what content is helpful?
- Is the content specific to a human audience? – This is as it says, are you writing for a particular audience?
- Does it display a depth of knowledge and understanding? – This experience could be from actually using a given product or service, or service or being knowledgeable in a given area.
- Is it trustworthy? – Trustworthiness was a buzzword often used in SEO to rank a page, and this update adds to that that the content needs to be trustworthy to the person reading it.
When was the Google ‘helpful content’ algorithm update due?
Google confirmed they started rolling out the helpful content algorithm update on August 25th. It was completed on September 9th 2022.
What can I do to make sure my content is helpful?
Google provided a list of ways in which you can ensure your content is helpful. Here are a few of them:
- Ditch the word count! – Google has stated that they do not have a preferred word count. So, if some of our blogs are excessively wordy to hit that word count, trim them down!
- Answer the question – If you are writing a blog about say helpful content, then you need to make sure that your article covers the topic (and if the title is a question, answer it!)
- Don’t just write about a subject just for the sake of it – If you are writing on a certain topic because it seems everyone else is, then don’t. Write about your expertise and knowledge.
- Write about your speciality – What is your niche? What do you have experience and first-hand knowledge in? For example, as a digital marketing agency, we know loads about different avenues of digital marketing and write on a whole host of topics around that including SEO, PPC, and social media marketing – these are topics we also sell services on.
- Make sure your content is adding value: We can all rehash the same advice over the internet, but content that adds value to the searcher will be favoured.
- Avoid automation – Yes automation is a great time saver in some aspects of our home and working lives, however, Google wants content that is “written by people, for people.”
- Keep on track – Write about topics that are relevant and meaningful to your business.
- Evaluate your existing content – Perform a content evaluation and remove any unhelpful content from your website, or alternatively update the content to ensure it is helpful and valuable.
- Ensure your content is relevant and up to date – Check over your older blogs etc and update any information that may be out of date. For example, you may have written a piece a couple of years ago regarding SEO, however, there have been industry changes and your original piece is now out of date.
We suggest following the guidelines listed above to ensure your website has compelling and people-focused content.
We hope this gives some explanation for the helpful content rollout. If you want to be kept in the loop for digital marketing updates, industry news and best practices, sign up today for our monthly newsletter.