On Thursday, August 18th, Google announced they would launch a minor update to its search algorithm. Known as the “Helpful Content Update,” the purpose of this update was to adjust the search algorithm to ensure that websites producing original and helpful content (hence the name) are being properly rewarded in SERPs.
The update is not expected to have as significant an impact as other core updates, as Google has stated it is only adding a single, site-wide signal that the search algorithm will use to help rank websites.
Remember, there are hundreds of SEO signals Google uses to organize and rank websites. Hence, an additional signal is not likely to change things too much except for those who have previously engaged in black-hat tactics like using AI to generate content or plagiarising others’ hard work.
How to Optimize Your Content for The New Update
The Helpful Content Update launched on August 25th, and like most core updates, it will take a few weeks to roll out completely. So keep an eye on Google Analytics and Search Console for any sudden changes in traffic or search visibility.
If you notice you’re being significantly penalized by Google, read through the content on the affected pages. You will first want to look for keyword stuffing, spelling mistakes, poor grammar and punctuation.
Ask yourself: “Does my content sound like it was written by some who is not fluent in English (or the main language of your target audience)? Does it accurately describe the product or service being offered?”
Once you have covered the basics, consider the purpose of your page and what keywords it targets, as well as who is likely to be searching for the keyword.
You want to ensure your text, headings and FAQs (if you have any) are helping answer questions someone searching for your target keyword might need answering.
A good way to achieve this is by making your content very specific and detailed.
That doesn’t necessarily mean long, as you want to keep your content easy to read and understand. But you want to cover your bases and ensure that whatever product or service you offer is fully fleshed out so a visitor knows exactly what you can do for them.
Adding FAQs to your content is a great way to do this. There are many things someone may want to ask that cannot neatly fit in a service offering or product description. That is where FAQs come in handy; they can provide highly specific and useful information that helps users make decisions.
The Benefit of Helpful Content
By providing more useful information for visitors, you increase the chances they will take a valuable action, whether filling out a form, buying a product, contacting the brand or any other action that benefits the organization.
While thinking about all of these factors to consider, you can’t forget about page experience. Google created Core Web Vitals, so website owners and webmasters can accurately monitor and optimize their website’s performance.
Providing a good experience when someone visits your website is vital to delivering useful and helpful information to users. After all, you may have the best content in your industry, but if your website takes forever to load, not many users will want to stick around for very long.
Part of being a helpful resource online is ensuring that your information can be easily discovered by those looking for it.
Like all of Google’s Core Updates, only time will tell exactly what kind of impact the Helpful Content Update will have.
While content marketers will likely not see dramatic changes to their rankings, this new update will likely help Google’s algorithm refine how it discovers and promotes content on the SERP.
Ultimately, the way to optimize content for the new update remains the same as it was before.
Black hat tactics such as spam, keyword stuffing and a heavy reliance on AI should be avoided at all costs. Along with adhering to the best practices for SEO, ensuring your content is helpful, informative and accessible is still the best way to increase your Google ranking.
We may think of SEO as trying to get our content noticed and promoted by Google, but if your blogs aren’t being read and enjoyed by human beings, you’ve got a problem.
With this new content update, that’s a problem Google is even more likely to notice.
“Write for people, not search engines” is a common mantra of SEO professionals who know the value of good content.
Going forward, this will prove even more useful advice for companies, brands and marketers trying to move up on the Google SERP. This latest update sends a fairly clear message to all: Google is looking for and rewarding helpful content.
Have questions or concerns about the latest Google update? Get in touch with a TechWyse expert today to learn more about the best practices for ranking high on Google, and all things SEO and marketing.