Google's Content Update

Google’s Helpful Content Update: Everything You Need To Know

The latest Google SEO news has set a few tongues wagging. As a nod to its ever-vigilant, ever-improving stance, the new helpful content update has set out to make the search for relevant content online a quick, straightforward and efficient experience. 

There is nothing more frustrating than going online to obtain some information and being lured in by the appearance of straightforward facts, only to realize a few minutes after clicking on the website and scrolling through irrelevant information, that you have, in fact, just wasted those few minutes of your life barking up the wrong tree. You have to then go back and start over and hope you’re now in the right place and you can actually find what you were looking for. Chances are, you’re not.

People have had enough of this and Google certainly wasn’t going to stand back and watch its users become increasingly frustrated with its services. Hence the tech giant’s newly launched “helpful content update” promises a new era in search productivity/efficiency.  

The main goal here is to bring people closer to the information they’re looking for. Google is there to get you the content you need and fast. This means that whatever doesn’t meet these needs will no longer perform as well based on Google’s new search algorithms.

What Is The Helpful Content Update?

In their own words, it’s about content that’s written by people for people. 

It’s the information you were looking for. It’s the advice you need. It’s the tried and tested solution. It’s the honest review stemming from direct experience. It’s the filter of a real person.

Google encourages content creators to gear their information toward real people, rather than search engines. They want people to use that genuine, helpful mindset and pass on their relevant knowledge to someone who really needs it. What’s now heavily frowned upon is putting out content that they know would tick the search engines’ right boxes and bring in traffic without providing value. 

How Is This Going To Change Things?

The biggest difference will be in the actual information you get when you search for something online. The crucial change is the way websites perform in the search results pages based on the kind of content they put out. 

This will drive a substantial change in how content is created, thus ensuring that your experience as a user will be fast, efficient and satisfying. 

Content creators are urged to take a more mindful approach to visitors’ needs and expectations and gear their information towards just that. 

Through its new helpful content update Google sends a clear message: “take it or leave it”.  They are taking matters into their own hands. Content creators can tag along under the new guidelines or be left behind.

When Does The Helpful Content Update Come Into Effect?

The “helpful content update” was launched on August 25th, 2022, and these updates usually take about two weeks to roll out. Details of the rollout can be found on Google’s ranking updates page

Who Will Be Affected By The Helpful Content Update?

1. English searches

The initial rollout will only target searches in English worldwide. Other languages are expected to be incorporated into the helpful content update in the future.

2. Little value/unhelpful content

The helpful content update aims to optimize search engine ranking. Content that is deemed redundant, of low-added value or simply not very helpful will be identified and the site will simply not perform as well in the search results. 

The concept here is that there is plenty more content on the web that could fit the “helpful” criteria and the “non-helpful” kind is just in the way

Google’s mission is to clear that pathway between people and the information they’re after and offer its users a truly satisfying experience. 

3. Site-wide

The helpful content update is based on a site-wide algorithm to identify unhelpful content and rank web pages accordingly, which means the whole site is impacted in case unhelpful content is signaled on one of its individual pages. Removing or modifying that low-value content can improve the ranking of the entire site.

However, it is important to mention that the full impact of the helpful content update classifier on how well the site fares in the search results is variable. It depends on how much unhelpful content is identified on it compared to the helpful type. 

This means some sites that do contain unhelpful content might still rank well, based on the ratio of helpful/unhelpful information that they provide. Still, that quality content that they offer is no guarantee the site won’t be affected by the helpful content update as a whole.

4. Type of content

Although the helpful content update spans all existing and future websites, regardless of the type of content they put out. The company did warn that the strongest impact will likely be felt in these areas:

  • Online educational materials. 
  • Arts and entertainment. 
  • Shopping. 
  • Tech-related content. 

This is not due to a particular focus on these areas, but rather to this type of content being more susceptible to clickbait practices or not living up to the visitor’s expectations.

How Does The Helpful Content Update Work?

The helpful content update introduces a new Google search algorithm that picks up on low-value content and moves it out of the way so the more helpful information is brought to light

This is done entirely as an automated process using a machine learning model. It uses a signaling system in order to optimize search engine ranking. The process is continuous, so once signaled, the site does have the chance to redeem itself by removing/modifying the unhelpful content

However, the signal applied to it should be expected to stay in place over the course of several months, a time frame necessary for the classifier to determine that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long term. 

What Should Content Creators Do?

The latest Google SEO news comes as a breath of fresh air for internet users, but what does it mean for content creators?

In its efforts to prioritize quality content and improve user experience, Google has compiled a set of guidelines for content creators to adhere to moving forward.  The list comprises two sets of questions and is viewed as a reference point to help clarify the company’s understanding of what classifies as helpful content.

Feel free to go through it, but we have outlined the key suggestions below.

The primary focus is on creating content for people first, not for search engines.

  • Have an existing or intended audience in mind when creating content. Make sure you provide value to them first and foremost. If they have a specific question in mind, answer it. If they want to learn something quickly, have an easy-to-follow tutorial prominently displayed. Bring the most important information forward. 
  • Demonstrate your depth of knowledge and expertise through your content. Actually use the products/services you are reviewing so you can give a genuine appraisal. Lean on personal experience and bring your own contribution to the content, making it unique to your own voice and attitude. 
  • Have a primary focus or topic in mind. It can be broad, but it should be easily recognizable. Google loves boxes and if it can fit your site neatly into one it will have a much easier time showcasing your content. This also stops people from making low-effort content in a million niches just because they are popular that week. If you are in tech, don’t put out content about fly fishing because you saw in Google Trends that it was popular. 
  • Always leave people with a sense of satisfaction. Yes, informing is the primary objective of a lot of content, but do not forget about the entertainment factor. Your content should be enjoyable and leave a positive impression on readers. 
  • Make sure you comply with Google’s existing guidelines for core updates and product reviews.
  • Don’t chase the algorithm. Make content that people will find valuable, put in the appropriate keywords, index it properly and you will have healthy traffic. People might think that they cracked the code regarding the algorithm, but all anyone can do is guess. Don’t get too hung up on specific word counts, number of links/images etc. Put quality at the forefront and as they say “build it and they will come”.  With some marketing flair, of course, but the core is high-quality content.
  • Don’t use automation to pump out mindless, forgettable content. Always look for the personal touch you can bring. 
  • Don’t simply summarize what other people have already said. Look for what new information or perspective you can bring to the table. 
  • Aim to be the one-stop your readers make to get a particular piece of information. 
  • Don’t make false promises. Don’t write a headline telling people they can find out the release date for a product, movie or TV show when there isn’t any official announcement. 

Google is always looking for ways to reach out with a helping hand to content creators. They offer a great range of SEO tools that you can leverage to live up to the guidelines outlined above. 

The Main Takeaways

Ultimately, it all boils down to offering people the satisfying experience of finding what they were looking for in a fast and reliable manner. It’s as if they were to pick up the phone and call someone they expect to have the answer to their question and that person gives them just that: answers the question straight to the point, based on their expertise, not pretending to know something they don’t and not wasting anyone’s time by simply repeating the same things everyone else has to say on the subject. 

By doing so consistently, they become credible and trustworthy. Their answers meet the needs and expectations of the searcher. They only talk about what they know well and they talk to the right audience. They don’t go around talking about things they don’t really know much about just because they’re trendy topics and are likely to impress people and attract a larger audience. They value quality over quantity. 

This is what Google is asking of content creators and this is exactly what the helpful content update is all about: bringing the quality information forward

After The Helpful Content Update, Are SEO Practices A Thing Of The Past?

The short answer is no. Having a people-first approach to creating content does not automatically cast aside the SEO practices that have been extensively used until the rollout of the helpful content update. The two are not mutually exclusive and Google still offers its own SEO guide of best SEO practices right alongside its set of guidelines and advice for creating quality content with real people in mind. 

However, the company emphasizes the fact that the focus needs to be on applying the SEO techniques from a people-first perspective, rather than a search engine-first one. Content creators are free to continue using these methods to add value to their content and bring it closer to the searchers who really need it, whilst continuously making the visitors’ satisfaction a priority. 

Google’s helpful content update has certainly triggered a wave of reactions in the online community. Whether it is excitement or worry, one thing is for sure: it will not go unnoticed and it is the way to move forward. To many, it is a critical step akin to the 2011 Panda update, all the way to the fundamental shift it is expected to cause not only in the way content is prioritized in search engine rankings, but also in the way content is created in the first place, as well as in SEO strategies globally.

Google’s ultimate goal to bring people the authentic, useful and reliable information they need and make the online search a truly efficient and satisfying experience was the catalyst of this much-awaited helpful content update and it looks like it will waste no time in delivering those results. 

If you want a helping hand in navigating this new Google search update, don’t hesitate to contact us right here. We will use our extensive knowledge in marketing technology to build an actionable plan through which your company can scale successfully! 

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Vlad P. Marketing Specialist at Profitable Media, LLC

Vlad Popirda

MARKETING SPECIALIST

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With a Bachelor’s in Marketing and a Master’s in Advertising, his life’s work is to leave this world better than he found it, and he aims to achieve that by putting his talents in the service of the right people and helping businesses make a difference in the world.

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Alisa is the glue that brings all the parts of our operation together. The one always keeping an eye on the bigger picture. The person that makes sure that it all works smoothly and on schedule, giving everything an artistic spin and flourish with her keen eye for design.

With her background in sales, customer service and art, it’s no wonder her strength is in communicating with people, be they our customers or us, her team.

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When she’s not tuned in to her work, you’ll find Alisa taking ordinary things and making them beautiful. In her artistic endeavors she explores many different mediums of expression, like painting, ceramics, dance, and cooking. Among these, her dancing stands out, as she is part of a salsa dance performance team, doing gigs both locally and nationally.

Her dream is to travel and explore different cultures, which she is always doing from home by cooking and trying out various cuisines from around the world.
Short Excerpt:
Alisa is the one that makes things work smoothly and on schedule, giving everything she does an artistic spin and flourish with her keen eye for design.

With her background in sales, customer service and art, it’s no wonder her strength is in communicating with people, be they our customers or us, her team.

Zach Warshawsky Chief Operations Officer at Profitable Media, LLC

Zach Warshawsky

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Zach manages the operational side of our business and coordinates all the work done by our team. He designs technical architecture and always keeps an eye towards the future, making sure his solutions are scalable. He applies his skills in all sorts of fields, such as Project and Team Management, Sales Funnels, Web Technology, Split Testing, Automation and CRM.

If there’s one trait he shares with Henry, it’s passionate problem-solving. Although he has been working for over 25 years in Sales, Marketing, Management, Team Building and Customer Service, perhaps his relevant business credentials start even earlier. At 15, he started a business selling and installing car stereo systems before he even had a driver’s license. Armed with a reseller’s permit and a passion for business, he started down the path of entrepreneurship and hasn’t looked back since.

With four amazing children and a wonderful wife in his life, his goal is set: provide the best possible life for them that he can. To that end, he works hard on helping clients scale their businesses through the use of cutting edge digital marketing tools.

His weapon of choice on this quest is not a coincidence, for his knowledge of technology is certainly top-notch. This can sometimes be a blessing and a curse however, when the Apple Genius Bar can’t solve a friend’s problem, it’s Zach’s phone that gets lit up.

To unwind, he spends time with his children, goes on weekly dates with his wife and is passionate about crafting culinary art… he unwinds and loves creating amazing home-cooked meals for his friends and family!

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He’s a born problem-solver, breaking any seemingly impossible task into achievable actionable items.  He has successfully helped dozens of businesses expand to the 7-8 figure level, by designing and implementing extensible, supportive and responsive infrastructure that his clients could then leverage to their fullest advantage. 

At work, he loves helping our customers make their dreams a reality, taking businesses to the next step of success, guiding them all the while. Outside of work, he enjoys a good meal with friends and a nice Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. He also likes travelling with his family and exploring different cultures and finding out more about our world. Having dreamt of becoming a soccer player when he grew up, he has since traded that sport for another, namely golf, which he partakes in whenever he gets the chance.

Little known fact, he won the Atomic Spicy Food Competition when most of the people quit after just a couple of bites. Scientists have yet to come up with an explanation.