- 14 September 2022
We have all, in the past, complained about the sites ranking high on Google SERP containing “unhelpful content”. Google has decided to target such sites now.
With its new Google helpful content update algorithm, Google aims to diminish the “Search Engine First” content and promote helpful and useful content in its searches.
As a result of the SEOs betting big on content quantity over helpfulness, a lot of low-quality publications have been generated. Duplicated content and non-relevant content will now be struck through.
Google’s argument behind this seems to be that such search-engine targeted content is not helping people.
While SEO-targeted content may boast of having all the possible keywords and modifiers that will help it rank, it misses the usability or helpfulness factor. Google seems to be prioritizing two things.
The quality of the content and the quality of the experience that the end user gets. The new algorithm targets low-quality content which is aimed at search engines rather than people.
In other words, this algorithm necessitates the people-first approach to content rather than the search engine-first one. Now, content marketers need to pay more heed to the helpfulness aspect rather than feeding the content that search engines like.
The update, as Google puts it, is aimed at targeting low-quality sites which are constructed to purely game the algorithm.
To put it in other words, if you are creating shallow content that is based completely on keyword matching in order to rank better in search results, then your SERP rankings might suffer.
Google, with this new movement, wants to ensure that the methods that help you target search engines need to be less blindly trusted.
If your marketing team can map out ways that help you map out how Google searches and other engines work, you might want to question that strategy rather than just accepting it without a rhyme or reason.
This would take knowledge and hands-on experience to determine which elements should fit in your content strategy and which should not.
This applies to various aspects such as technical SEO, topical content modeling, interlinking, aiming for search-engine friendly results, and much more.
What is Helpful Content?
After Google rolled out its latest algorithm update, people have now started questioning what qualifies as helpful content. To make things clear, helpful content is the one that helps and informs its readers.
The unhelpful content would be one that would target search engines rather than informing or helping people.
Google is enforcing its requirement to separate valuable, original information from irrelevant content.
The official Google announcement aids in helping us understand this new algorithm. It advises you to evaluate whether your method of content development is sound.
It offers a list of inquiries. If you can "yes" to any or all of the following inquiries, you should think about changing your content marketing strategy and approach to content creation.
What Counts as Beneficial Content can be Determined by Asking the following Questions:
- Is the content designed more for search engine traffic than it is for human consumption?
- Do you create a lot of content on a variety of subjects in the hopes that some of it would do well in search results?
- Do you use a lot of automation to create content across a variety of topics?
- Do you largely restate what others have said without really adding much to the conversation?
- Do you write about topics merely because they appear to be trendy and not because you want to write them for value addition to people?
- Does your writing make readers feel like they need to conduct additional research to find more accurate information from other sources?
- Are you writing for Google’s desired word count because you feel that is what gives you ranking?
- Did you choose to write on a particular niche subject without having any real knowledge, but primarily because you anticipated it would attract search traffic?
- Does your content supply false information, as in claiming to provide a response to a question relating to a product, movie, or TV show release when its release date has not been established?
Your website may be in danger of a site-wide decrease if you receive a lot of "yes" responses. Your truthful responses to the preceding inquiries are intended to obviate any ambiguities.
Your content pieces can be as beneficial to your audience as possible by being aware of what Google is looking for.
Putting people first is the first step toward creating better content. The duties of structuring and producing your content to rank better come in second.
In order to combat misinformation and low-quality content, Google claims in its Quality Raters Guide, it is imperative that users understand this. It searches for E-A-T elements.
Pay Attention to How Useful your Content is to your Audience.
Understand the elements that affect how you write for both readers and search engines.
Your readers could be perplexed by the industry lingo you always return to using. When information is made tangible in a presentation that audiences can quickly consume, content gain occurs.
This means that your writers will have to deal with ambiguous content. Simple wording can benefit both you and your audience when your content development is organized to correspond with your business goals.
Understanding their requirements for mobile content consumption shows that you are people-centric.
Google's Helpful Content Update: Content Writing Strategy
There is a lot of buzz surrounding Google's new Helpful Content Update.
It appears that many or most websites will be adversely impacted by this. Content that is created mainly for search engines will be detected and degraded.
Content that is produced for any reason other than providing genuine value may be downgraded. Google is sick of reading tons of articles that seem to be written just for higher ranks or are too promotional.
This system is better able to detect self-promotional intent. This dramatic new content filtering change is being made in order to prioritize user-focused content above search engine-focused content.
Workings of Google’s useful content algorithm
The Helpful Content Update (HCU) is a ranking indication for the Google algorithm. It establishes how closely a specific website page adheres to Google's fundamental search principles.
It aims to accomplish things like offering thorough explanations and attributions of sources, as well as a unique research for the material. Google wants to assist users in discovering "high-quality" material.
More particular, it aims to screen out any content that prioritises high search engine rankings over assisting people with useful information.
All of this is a part of a bigger initiative to prioritise material that puts people first and adds value and balance to search results.
In order to further assist customers in making educated judgments, Google even introduced a suggestion earlier in the year to include both pros and drawbacks of product or service descriptions.
It symbolizes the changing goal of not just offering pertinent content but also content that helps manage expectations.
Put People First in your Decisions
Google's algorithms can now determine a piece of content's intent and how closely it links to a query.
In other words, search results can be created using algorithms that take into account the user's path. People now conduct the same searches on Amazon as they do on Google.
Just like they would do on their smartphone, they ask Alexa for a nearby service. The purpose of this beneficial content upgrade is to properly reward content that puts the needs of the user first.
The "people-first" philosophy puts the end-user first by addressing all of their unique touch points. A normal SEO marketing approach now includes content, and Google Analytics and Google Search Console are both displaying these concerns.
People use Google for a number of purposes, and they also depend on it to deliver reliable, true information.
Google understands the possibility of errors and is there to provide answers. The costs that poor material generates are far too great for the potential harm that misinformation might cause to society as a whole.
Creating Useful Content
How do you make sure you're producing material for this new version that will be successful? Google offered a set of guidelines to assist content producers in better aligning their work with user expectations.
They also gave a list of inquiries that you should make. You're on the correct track if you can say yes to the following questions:
- Would the content be valuable to you if it were sent directly to your business or website's targeted or existing audience?
- Does your writing evince a clear breadth of knowledge and first-hand experience?
- Does your website have a main goal or focus?
- Will someone who reads your content feel they have learned enough about a subject to assist them to reach their goal?
- Will someone who reads your content come away from it feeling satisfied?
- Are you adhering to our recommendations for fundamental updates and product evaluations?
In the end, content producers must ensure that their work not only adds value but also deals with issues related to their areas of expertise.
This New Update is a Site-wide Algorithm
Unlike a lot of other Google algorithm updates that are applied on a page-to-page basis, this new helpful content update will be site-wide, meaning this particular update will be applied on the entire site.
This means that if Google has identified your site as the one creating copious amounts of unhelpful content, then it would affect your whole site and not just the page.
This would mean that not only the individual pages or sections of your site would be targeted but rather the whole website.
Google has not mentioned exactly how many pages of your site need to be helpful but they did say that it is site-wide and that it will affect the whole of the website, no matter how many pages of the website turn out to be helpful.
Again, if you have helpful pages but a good amount of content on your site is unhelpful, then even your helpful content or sections of the site that contain helpful content will be hit.
Google has mentioned in its update that removing unhelpful content could better the rankings of your other content.
If your content is unhelpful, it could take you months to recover
Google has indicated that the algorithm will run automatically. However, the updation of scores and classifiers will continue.
But it also warned that if a site is targeted by this new helpful content update, then it could take the site several months to recover from this update. A site would need to prove itself.
By this we mean that the site would have to, over time, publish helpful content. It would have to show that it is not publishing content with the sole purpose of ranking well in search engines rather it is practicing a content-first strategy.
And this would take time. To us, it seems that there would be some sort of waiting or validation period.
Sites would have to go through this validation period to prove to Google’s algorithms that the site is indeed producing helpful content which is helpful for humans and that it is not targeting search engines to rank better.
The validation period would be automated and while Google constantly updates the scores for classifiers on your site, making a change today would not be reflected in Google’s rankings for the coming several months.
In this blog, we have provided the essence of Google’s new helpful content algorithm update. We have supplied information on what it means for you and how it is going to affect the businesses and the end users.
The onslaught of this new update will transform the way content is done. We think, now is the time when you might want to repurpose your content strategy. You should make sure that your upcoming strategies should meet this new criterion.
We, at Unibiztec, understand what it takes to take your website to the top of the SERP. We think Google’s focus on value content addition is a step in the right direction.
Should you need any help with your website or want to know what the right content and SEO strategies should be put in place to benefit you, reach out to us for a free digital consultation.