Google recently began rolling out its helpful content update, which rewards people-first content and devalues content written for search engines. Before you write your next webpage or blog, here are some tidbits you need to understand.
What is Google’s Helpful Content Update?
Although we haven’t seen major results yet, as the change is still in its infancy, this is probably one of the updates from Google in 2022 worth noting. The helpful content update aims to get rid of content that’s being written specifically to rank on the search engine if it doesn’t help or inform users in a valuable way. In terms of Google SEO updates, this could be a big deal if you’ve been writing content primarily targeting Google, not your end readers.
Its goal is to eliminate unoriginal and low-quality results from high rankings in search. If the sole purpose of your content before this update was to be Google-able, you might be hit with penalties or reduced rankings.
How the Update Works
Google’s helpful content update is a site-wide initiative intended to ensure sites that offer little to no value to readers aren’t ranked high in the search engine results pages (SERPs). If your content is determined to be unhelpful, it’s less likely to perform well, mainly if there’s any other more valuable content found on the web. The goal is to remove content that speaks to the search engine itself rather than the people using the platform to find valuable information.
This Google content update will be a big deal for companies that have written specifically for rankings rather than using their industry knowledge to provide helpful insights that can assist searchers in improving their lives through tips, services, and products.
What Google Considers As “High-Quality Content”
Google’s helpful content update focuses on user-friendly content. Generally speaking, this is a pretty subjective phrase, but the search engine is looking for information that readers will find helpful, memorable, and shareable. This means you need to speak to your audience, not to Google. Keywords are important, but you can’t overstuff your keywords. They need to be researched and well-thought-out so they can add proper value to the pieces you’re putting out into the world.
Google’s looking for content that offers a positive user experience, meaning you don’t want to stray too far from your main topic because your goal should be to inform visitors of the answers they’re searching for when they use the platform. In other words, stick to your area of expertise, and create content designed for your specific, intended audience. If you publish content outside your niche, you’re talking to Google, not your readers.
Your content should demonstrate that you have firsthand experience, too. If you entered a niche because you thought you’d get traffic, but you have no real-world knowledge, you’re not going to see a ton of progress. Along the same lines, if you’ve chosen to write about something simply because it’s trending and not because it’s something you’d talk about to your audience, Google may see right through you with this new content-first optimization.
What you need to know about Google updates is that they’re intended to make Google’s users happier and give them more value. If the search engine doesn’t deliver this value, searchers will start using a competitor’s search engine, just like consumers will leave your site if you’re not providing what they need.
Tips for Creating User Query Content
While we don’t know a ton about this update quite yet, here are some things you can do to help protect yourself against penalties and problems as far as your rankings go:
1. Focus on people-first content
Don’t combine too many topics into one site. Google’s looking for sites with specific niches that can add value to certain topics. Remember that one site can’t be all things to all people. Pick your topic and build your site around it. In the end, avoid creating content for search engines first.
2. Answer searchers’ questions
Google has indicated that content is helpful when teaching audience members something or assisting them when they want to accomplish a task. When you’re writing for search engines, you can say a lot without ever really saying anything at all. However, when you write for people, your content should answer questions or resolve concerns that led them to you in the first place.
3. Keep the readers’ experiences in mind
You need to make sure your content will leave readers feeling satisfied. The more information you can give them, the better. You don’t want to leave them wanting more. Take, for example, a product review that includes a wall of text but doesn’t include any photos or videos. The text can be helpful, but audiences will likely appreciate a visual demo of what the product does or looks like in real life.
Will Google Punish AI-Written Content
While Google may not be able to identify all AI-written content, it will find most of it. The goal of this update is to reward content written by people, for people, which means AI content can’t relate to humans the way humans can. As such, the search engine will sniff out AI-written pieces and punish the sites that use this technology to create content.
How to Know if You Were Affected by Google’s Helpful Content Update
This is a vital time to keep an eye on your Google Analytics so you can understand how your site’s performing and be aware if you have a site-wide drop in rankings. If this is the case, you might’ve been affected by the helpful content update.
If you notice a drop, you can run a content audit and alter or remove problematic content. Google itself has recommended this as a remedy.
If you’re worried that you might fall prey to this newest Google update, reach out to our content marketing services firm right away. We’re the SEO agency CT businesses and beyond trust to ensure their companies are protected against Google penalties. Touch base with us today to learn how we can help you!