What is Google Helpful Content? 5 Tips for Success

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On August 18, 2022 Google rolled out an algorithm update called Google Helpful Content updates. This update will devalue content written for search engines. This update will start rolling out around the end of August 2022. And it targets content that is not useful to humans or not created by humans.

Unlike other updates that target specific types of pages, this update targets the entire site. That means it can potentially affect all existing pages. That of course means including your site. This update also introduces a new ranking factor that Google will use to rank web pages.

Broadly speaking, Google helpful content will have a negative impact on websites that have lots of content/pages but don't have high value for humans. In another sense, content that does not provide satisfaction or comfort to the user will get a bad ranking on search engines.

Conversely, if your content has a high value so that it provides insight for the user, Google will not hesitate to increase its ranking. To anticipate this update, the Search Engine Journal explains that Google recommends removing useless content from your website.

1. Included In Google Core Update

What is Google Helpful Content? 5 Tips for Success

This update can be classified as a Google Core Update, because it meets all the Google Core Update criteria, namely:

  1. Significant And Vast. According to Google's information conveyed in the release, the update times will affect the entire site.
  2. announced. This update has been officially announced on the Google blog as well as in an article on Google Search Central.
  3. Named. It's Google's habit to give each core update a name. This update is named “Google Helpful Content”.

2. Google Helpful Content Update Purpose

Google explains that this update is being released to address content that appears to be created solely to rank well in search engines, and not to help or inform users.

These ranking updates will help ensure that unoriginal, low-quality content doesn't rank high on Search. In addition, Google said that in the tests they did, it was found that the effect of this update would improve results related to the fields of education, arts, entertainment, shopping and technology.

3. What is Useless Content?

Google says that content that isn't useful is content designed more for search engines than for users. Below is a list of criteria that Google lists as things we should evaluate.

  1. Is your content created solely to get traffic from search engines, not to benefit users?
  2. Are you producing a lot of content on different topics in the hope that some of it might perform well in search results?
  3. Do you use extensive automation to generate content on multiple topics?
  4. Are you just summarizing from various sources without adding value?
  5. Do you write about things just because they're trending?
  6. Does your content make readers feel the need to search further for better information from other sources?
  7. Do you write with a certain number of words due to SEO factors (eg 1000 words)?
  8. Are you writing about a few topics just for the sake of traffic with no real investment capital?
  9. Does your content promise to provide an answer where there isn't one, such as a release date for a product, film, or TV show when it hasn't been confirmed?

The more you answer "yes", it means you have to be more aware of Google's updates this time.

4. What Is Useful Content According To Google?

Helpful content is content created with people in mind, not search engines. Here are some criteria according to Google.

Here's what Google says:

  1. Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find content useful if they came directly to you?
  2. Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and depth of knowledge (e.g., expertise that comes from using a product or service, or visiting a place)?
  3. Does your site have a main purpose or focus?
  4. After reading your content, would someone feel like they have learned enough about a topic to help them achieve their goals?
  5. Would someone reading your content feel like they had a fulfilling experience?
  6. Did you remember our guides for core updates and for product reviews?

5. How to Recover From a Google Helpful Content Update

It will likely be a few months before we start seeing sites recover from this update. As mentioned above, if a signal is applied to your site, it will stay there for several months. As we help sites try and recover from this update, this is what we'll likely focus on.

  1. Identify which content was created primarily to try and rank and come up with a strategy not to index, remove or upvote this content.
  2. Ensure that hands-on expertise on your topic is demonstrated on your website, and find ways to get others in your industry to recognize you as having expertise and knowledge of your topic.
  3. Fixed content and improved EAT based on questions Google said to ask in their blog post about what site owners should know about core updates, their guide to writing product reviews, and also their guide to affiliate content. These may include:
    • better to show first-hand skills
    • do more to be recognized as an expert by others (i.e. good content marketing and PR)
    • finding ways to make content as valuable as possible for searchers
    • focuses on understanding what searchers want to do and finding and delivering content that meets those needs
  4. Clarify what the purpose or focus of each page is (and ensure that this focus is first and foremost meant to help people.)
  5. Compare what type of content Google ranks against competitors for inspiration.

We'll adapt our suggestions as we learn more about what types of sites are affected and learn about recovery cases as they arise. I expect it will take drastic changes for the majority of negatively affected sites to recover. In some cases, rating restoration may not be possible.

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