Google’s helpful content update

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Google’s aim is to present the up the most accurate (and helpful) search results to their users. This is why they’ve maintained their dominance over other search engines like Bing, Microsoft Edge and Yahoo.

The motivation for the “helpful content update” is that it’s part of their “broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people…”

Content creators and business owner alike would be wise to take note of what this means and how it’s likely going to impact their website’s future Google ranking.

People-first Content

The Helpful Content Update aimed at rewarding websites where a visitors’ search and website browsing experience are satisfying. In other words – they match. What they have searched for and expected to see is actually what’s being delivered via the website they’ve chosen.

On the flip side, content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well in Google’s search results.

To ensure you’re website features content that will rank favorably with these new changes, Google recommends following their long-standing advice and guidelines centered around creating content that’s for people and not written for the sake of ranking well.

People-first content ideally strikes a balance between meeting visitors expectations by serving satisfying (helpful) content, while also sticking to SEO best practices.

Avoid creating content for search engines first

While this update is more about a people-first approach, Google are not advising you completely abandon following SEO best practices including those covered in Google’s own SEO guide.

When applied to people-first content, SEO is extremely helpful, however when a page or blog article is written purely with Google in mind, it compromises the quality of the wording and therefore, the visitors experience.

If you answer Yes to the following questions, you’re website likely needs some help.

  • Is your website’s primary purpose to rank or has it been created for humans i.e. your customers?
  • Does your website leave visitors feeling the need to carry out another search to actually find what they’re looking for?
  • Are you writing to reach a specific word count because you’ve heard that’s what Google wants?
  • Does your website pack in lots of information on lots of different topics/themes just because you feel it’ll attract more traffic?

What’s Next

Rolling out from late August 2022, Google’s Helpful Content update is predicted to take about two weeks. For more details including on the mechanics of how this update works, we suggest reading the Google article “What creators should know about Google’s helpful content update“.

The Bottom Line

The ultimate aim for any good business is to help their customers solve their problems. If your website reflects this, then you’re on the right track.

To ensure it’s not at risk of dropping in rank due to poor quality content, review your website wording. We also suggest speaking with your web designer to arrange any content changes making your website more “people-first” vs “search-engine swayed”.

The more helpful your website is to your existing and prospective customers, the better it will perform… both from Google’s point of view and also in that it’ll inspire more visitors to reach out to you.

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