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Google ‘Helpful Content’ Update Announced

Digital Marketing

Mike Uczciwek Campaign Manager, SEO

Google has just announced that they will be rolling out a new update to their search engine this week. The update is called the ‘Helpful Content‘ update and it’s promising to be one of the bigger updates in the last 10 or so years. 

If you remember the Panda update, you remember the havoc it caused on search result pages. This could be on the same scale since Google wants users to find ‘high-quality content’ and that’s what they wanted with the Panda update. 

What that means is – weeding out spammy, thin, AI-generated content that is plaguing Google right now. So you must be asking yourself now – do I have any crappy content? Go through the checklist below and find out.


Should You Be Worrying?

If you answer ‘yes‘ to these, you’re on the right track, and no need to worry:

  • 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 in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

If you answer ‘yes‘ to these, you’re in trouble:

  • 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 trendy 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? (No, we don’t).
  • 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?

If you see a drop in your site’s traffic after this update goes live, don’t panic!
Core updates like this usually take a couple of weeks to roll out and there’s usually a lot of movement that is happening before the dust starts to settle. 

What Can You Do If Your Rankings Drop and Don’t Go Back Up?

Make sure your content is high quality and offers real value to readers. It might be time to prune some of those low/no traffic pages if you get hit by the update. 

Remember, Google is targeting “content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people.” If you are creating quality, researched content about topics you are an expert in, you should be fine.

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