Google’s Helpful Content Update: Cheat-sheet To Save Your Website

Are you aware that Google dominates the search engine market with a 92% market share? The company keeps rolling out new updates and algorithms to boost the relevance of search results and improve user experience. The latest update from them is – the Helpful Content Update. 

On Aug 18, 2022, Google released an official statement saying that the company is about to launch a search engine ranking update to show more original and helpful content written by humans, for humans, in Google search results. 

However, Google’s Helpful Content Update 2023 is rolling out now (in September) and is expected to be completed in two weeks. It has some modifications over the previous update. We’ll be discussing every aspect of it.

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What is Google’s Helpful Content Update?

According to Google, people-first content that offers a satisfying experience to users will rank well, and the content that fails to do so will move out of search results. 

When searchers type a query on any search engine, they have a set agenda. They are not bothered about your on-page SEO or word count. They are looking for an answer and expect you to give it to them via your content. 

So what does this helpful content update expect from you? Here’s the deal: always produce content that is helpful to your visitors and solves their queries. In addition, don’t write content only to rank well in search results. 

How Does This Helpful Content Algorithm Work?

The update began to roll out on August 25, 2022 and will take about two weeks to roll out fully. It is a fully-automated process built into machine learning algorithms. 

Any content on a website with a large volume of unhelpful content will not rank well in search results if there is a better alternative in search results. Therefore, you should get rid of non-useful content to better the rankings of other content on your site.

However, the helpful content update will be one of the many signals Google will use to rank content in search results. This means that helpful content on your website (marked for having unhelpful content) may still rank well if other ranking signals find it relevant to a query. 

You might wonder how long it will take to recover lost traffic if your site is impacted by this helpful content algorithm. Here’s the truth bomb: months! Seems crazy, right? 

But, we have good news! Once Google notices that the unhelpful content has not been returned for a long time, it may start showing your useful content for relevant search queries.

In any scenario, sites with lots of unhelpful content will be deeply affected. Our golden tip: get rid of unhelpful content as early as possible. 

What’s New In Google’s Helpful Content Update?

Is it okay to generate content via AI? Google thinks so.

Google has updated their Helpful Content System documentation in September 2023 to add guidance in three areas:

  • Loosening the guidance on machine-generated content: Google has previously discouraged using machine-generated content, but they are now loosening it. However, they still recommend that machine-generated content be high quality and informative. This could mean that you can generate content through AI but it should be helpful and leave satisfying experience to the people.
  • Hosting third-party content on subdomains (or on the main domain): Google says that if you host third-party content on your website, make sure that it is relevant to your main site and that you are actively involved in managing it. Otherwise, you may want to block it from being indexed by Google.
  • Offering additional guidance on what to do if your site loses traffic from a Helpful Content update: If your site loses traffic from a Helpful Content update, Google recommends that you review your content and ensure that it is helpful and informative to users. You may also want to read Google’s guidance on creating helpful content.

What is Google’s E-E-A-T Metric?

Google’s ranking systems use a variety of factors to prioritize high-quality content, including E-E-A-T, which stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Trust is the most important factor, and the others contribute to it.

Google gives more weight to content with strong E-E-A-T for topics that could significantly impact people’s health, financial stability, safety, or the welfare of society. So, what you need to do?

Now, you can improve their chances of ranking well by creating content that is trustworthy, well-researched, and relevant to their audience.

Will You Be Affected by This Update?

Google says that following people’s first approach doesn’t mean that you invalidate using top SEO strategies. Focus on human-first content and simultaneously utilize the best SEO strategies to offer additional value to searchers. 

Let’s take a look at some factors that increase your chances of getting affected by this helpful content update. You will have to reevaluate your content strategy if:

  • The content is written to attract people from search engines and is not made for humans.
  • You are creating a lot of content on numerous topics with the hope that some of them may rank well in Google search results. 
  • You make use of extensive automation to produce content on various topics.
  • You are summarising what others have written and adding no additional value from your end.
  • You are only writing about trending topics to generate quick traffic.
  • Users don’t get answers to their questions from your content; even if they do, it’s not enough to satisfy them.
  • You are targeting a certain word count only because you have read/heard somewhere that Google prefers it and not because your content demands it. 
  • You are writing about a topic only because you feel it will bring you search traffic and have no real expertise in it. 

How to Align Your Content Strategy With This Update? 

Aman writing on paper- helpful content update

The best way to avoid this helpful content algorithm is to create people-first content. Focus on Google’s long-established advice and guidelines to produce quality content for people and not search engines. 

Let’s dive in to learn seven things that will save you from the negative impact of Google’s latest update.

Demonstrate Your First-hand Experience  

Ensure that your content shows your expertise in the topic and you have tried or tested the tool or product/service you have written about. Use original pictures or insights to make content more useful to your target reader. 

Many writers produce content for search engines where they write about products or services that they have never tested or tried. This type of content consists of affiliate links that help authors earn commissions. 

Usually, these authors have no prior experience with the topic they are writing about. This results in half-baked content that isn’t helpful to readers. 

Positive Reader Experience is the Key

Four people looking at the laptop

Your content should offer a satisfying experience to users. Google wants you to focus on users’ overall experience and create content on similar lines.

For example, let’s say you are writing a review of the latest iPhone on the market. Visitors will appreciate a well-written, detailed content piece that discusses all specifications, pros, and cons. 

However, if you haven’t included high-quality photos and videos, the user experience will remain incomplete. Center your content around the needs and wants of searchers. 

Stick to the Area of Your Expertise

You are on the right track if your intended or existing audience finds your website’s content useful if they directly come to you. Let’s assume you have a home decor DIY website and find an opportunity to capitalize on a keyword based on an interior designing course.

While the content may be useful, your existing audience who comes to your website to learn home decor DIY may not find it useful. 

Use One Main Topic for Each Website

Your website should have a primary focus or purpose. You cannot help all sections of readers in one place. If you combine multiple topics into one website, it will be confusing for both search engines as well as visitors. 

Focus on one subject area for each website. If you want to write about different topics, create a different website for each topic. Google says that if you produce lots of content on various topics only to gain rank in search results, you are up for a big disappointment. 

Try to Answer All Questions of Searchers

Here’s the deal: Your readers should get all the answers to their questions in one place without needing to visit other websites on search results. Remember, your end goal is to leave your readers satisfied. 

Try to create content that teaches something valuable to readers and helps them achieve the desired goal. Articles written only for search engines involve a lot of writing with no real value or purpose. Stay away from fluff content. 

Avoid Answering a Question With No Confirmed Answer

Never promise to answer a question that has no answer. For example, the release date of a movie, TV show, or new product is not yet confirmed. Do not make false claims. 

If you are writing about a topic with rumors and no facts, make it clear to your readers. The idea is to establish and maintain trust with your website visitors. 

Follow Google’s Guidance for Product Reviews and Core Updates

This advice means that Google’s guidance for core updates and product reviews applies to the helpful content update. If you are already following these guidelines, chances are that you are already in the good books of Google. 

Google’s Helpful Content Update – Final Thoughts

Google has only recently added this algorithm update, and Content creators and SEOs are still measuring its impact on their website rankings. We suggest you wait till the helpful content update is complete to assess its impact on your website. 

The bottom line is: try to meet your target audience where they are on their journey, and offer as much real value as possible by creating helpful content. 

Do you require high-quality content creators for your website? Contact Trectoid today, and our experts will deliver people-first content for your website or blog. 

Did we miss anything? Did you try these tips? Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

Helpful Content Update Questions – FAQs

Why did Google roll out the helpful content update?

The search engine giant has been getting negative feedback on social media, the internet, and via feedback links in Google searches. Searchers feel that a few pages on SERP do not answer their queries but still rank on top of search engine results.

This is because content creators optimize them for search engines, not users. This update is Google’s answer to improving quality issues and offering valuable and relevant content to searchers. 

What is the impact of this update across Google searches?

Google has not released any percentage of queries or searches that will be impacted, but it did say that the update will be meaningful. It also said that the impact will be more for entertainment, online education material, shopping, and tech-based content. 

Will the update impact only Google searches?

Yes, the update currently impacts Google search, Google Discover and other Google surfaces . However, the new update will also have an impact in upcoming months.

What should website owners do to prepare in the meantime?

Webmasters should remove any unhelpful content.

Is there a way to give feedback related to this update to Google?

If you are a content creator and have any feedback related to the helpful content update, you can comment on Google’s update feedback thread. 

Moreover, if you want to submit feedback related to this update’s impact on your website, you can use Google’s feedback form. While Google will not use your submission to take direct action, your feedback will help them improve the quality of search results for users. 

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Vipin Gaur
Vipin Gaur

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