Google has recently started to roll out a new helpful content algorithm update. Google is rolling out this content update in an effort to help users see more original and helpful content that is written by people, for people, in search results. 

The update started on August 25th, 2022 and is expected to take two weeks to fully rollout. To check the progress of the update, you can visit Google’s Search ranking updates. In this article, we will go over what creators and site owners should know and expect from this new update. Let’s get started for guidance for core updates!

What is Google’s Helpful Content Update?

Google’s new helpful content update specifically targets “content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people.” Its focus is to help users find quality and more useful content by individuals who write quality content. Rather than content written for the purpose of ranking for certain keywords. While it is still important to rank for keywords for successful SEO, this update is more of an effort to showcase authentic, high-quality content.

Helpful Content Update is a Sitewide Algorithm

For the most part, Google algorithms tend to be applied more on a page-by-page basis rather than the entire website. With the Helpful Content Update, this will be a sitewide algorithm that will be affecting all of your website and its content. If Google determines your site has a lot of helpful and high-quality content, then this update will benefit not only a few pages, but the site as a whole. 

With this in mind, it is important for you to go through your website to get rid of unnecessary or unhelpful content. Google said “removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.” Doing this can further help your website potentially rank higher in search results.

What Types of Content Will the Helpful Content Update Impact?

Focus on People-First Content

Focusing on this new perspective hopes to help answer, resolve, and create better user experience for individuals by giving them the type of content they’re looking for by individuals who worked hard on writing it. By creating people-first content, you’re helping satisfy individuals needs while utilizing the best SEO practices. 

To help create more people-first content, Google offers these questions that can help clarify what direction you should take in having and creating a people-first approach:

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping Google’s guidance in mind for core updates and for product reviews?

Avoid Creating Content for Search Engines First

When creating new content, try pivoting your focus by not creating content for search engines first. Like we mentioned in the section above, focus on having more of a people-first perspective when writing content. While it’s important to keep SEO practices still at the forefront of your mind, having authentic and relevant content is what’s becoming more beneficial for this new update.

Google lists some questions here to help you avoid taking a search engine-first approach. If you answer yes to any of these questions, then it might be worth going back through some of your content and repurpose and update it to give it more of a people-focused approach:

  • Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
  • Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
  • Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
  • Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
  • Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you’d write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
  • Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
  • Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count?
  • Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?
  • Does your content promise to answer a question that actually has no answer, such as suggesting there’s a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn’t confirmed?

Ansley is the former Content Marketing Manager at Boostability. Since graduating from Utah State University with two degrees in Communication Studies and Journalism: Public Relations, Ansley specializes in creating engaging and informative SEO content for readers, customers, and partners through different marketing channels. Along with creating new content, Ansley works to keep content organized and creates and executes new content strategies. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, visit National Parks, and loves all things Disney.