Google’s helpful content update began on August 25, 2022, and was complete in two weeks. It is an ‘always running’ general site-wide ranking signal that targets low-quality content created specifically for Google rather than human readers. This update is said to have a more significant impact on websites that fall into the categories of e-commerce, arts and entertainment, technology, and online education. With the completion of the update, search results on Google are constantly being improved to serve users’ needs better.
Google provided several suggestions for determining whether or not your content meets the criteria for ‘people-first.’ These tips intend to improve search results with the help of original, user-friendly content created by real people. Read on for details on the update and how to recover in case you’ve been hit
Learn About The Factors That Affect Search Results
To offer relevant results, google first determines the query’s intent. Google creates language models to comprehend how the words the user types in the search box match the most useful content.
Relevance of content – Google’s employed systems evaluate the content to determine whether or not it provides information that may be pertinent to the user’s search.
If keywords feature on a website’s page, headings, or body text, the material may be more relevant. However, Google’s technologies analyze content relevance beyond keywords. Aggregated, anonymized interaction data is used to determine search result relevance.
Content quality – The systems prioritize beneficial content after identifying it. Google searches for signals that indicate expert, authoritative, and trustworthy content.
Web Page usability – Content usability is another factor that is considered. When all other factors are comparable, content that is more accessible to users may perform better.
Context and settings – The user’s location, Search history, and Search settings play an important role in the most relevant results.
How Does Google’s Helpful Content Update Work?
This update introduces a new site-wide signal that google considers among many other signals for ranking web pages. Our systems automatically identify content that seems to have little value, low-added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches.
Any content, not just unhelpful content, on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall, is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere on the web that’s better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.
A natural question some will have is how long will it take for a site to do better if it removes unhelpful content? Sites identified by this update may find the signal applied to them for months. The classifier for this update runs continuously, allowing it to monitor newly-launched sites and existing ones. The classification will no longer apply as it determines that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long term.
This classifier process is entirely automated, using a machine-learning model. It is not a manual action nor a spam action. Instead, it’s just a new signal and one of many signals Google evaluates to rank content.
This means that some people-first content on sites classified as unhelpful content could still rank well if there are other signals that people-first content is helpful and relevant to a query. The signal is also weighted; sites with lots of unhelpful content may notice a stronger effect. In any case, for the best success, be sure you’ve removed unhelpful content and also are following all our guidelines.
To succeed, delete unhelpful content and Google’s guidelines mentioned below.
Stick to Your Expertise
To rank higher in search engines, you might find yourself guilty of publishing articles that aren’t your niche. To ensure that you aren’t falling prey to it again, Google has made it easy for you to reconsider your decision. Ask yourself the following questions when curating content:
- Is the content created primarily to attract users from search engines instead of humans?
- Are you writing to keep up with the trend and you wouldn’t publish this piece otherwise for your audience?
- Did you enter a niche without expertise because you thought you’d get search traffic?
- Creating a wide variety of content in the hopes that some of it will do well in search engines?
Sticking to a niche also includes maintaining a website true to its category, i.e, A website must only publish niche-specific content. If you want to write about different topics, build multiple websites.
Focus on the Reader Experience
Google also recommends asking yourself the following question:
- Do you merely restate others without offering anything new?
- Will someone who reads your content feel they’ve had a fulfilling experience?
The content is not as useful as it could be if an author lacks experience with the subject matter. To avoid creating content for the search engine, refrain from talking about subjects, services, or products you do not have first-hand experience with. However, if you have first-hand experience with the subjects, services, or products you’re writing about, illustrate your point with original photos or observations. Your ultimate goal is to enhance the overall reading experience.
Don’t Leave Your Searchers Wanting More
When creating content for people, address the question or concern that brought them to your site. Else, you’re merely filling the space.
Ensure you’re adding value by evaluating your content based on the following questions;
- Is your content leaving readers with the impression that they need to go back and look for more information from other sources?
- Are you writing to a specific word count because you’ve heard or read that Google prefers a certain word count? (No)
In addition to these recommendations, Google also offers a feedback form to raise their concerns or receive feedback that is specific to your website.
Easier Said Than Done?
It is challenging for many websites. E-commerce sites, for example, typically have massive lists of inventory that are output with automation and are designed to pull data in.
The question is what can be done to meet Google’s guidelines?
To weed out thin or low-quality content that may now drag down the ranking for the entire website, one must adhere to ethical SEO practices, and hire subject matter experts to curate top-quality content. You can use content that serves users, that is helpful, useful, and answers questions, to leverage those other pages on your website that don’t perform as well, and this content can lift the overall perception of low-quality content on the site as a whole.
Prioritize the needs of your visitors over those of search engines like Google. Do not just start deleting everything; instead, look over the collected data to see what can be discarded due to poor quality and what can be enhanced. If the content is outdated or of low quality, it should be removed and a 404 (page not found) error page displayed instead.
If an update from Google seems to hit your site, take it slow and know that you can fix it. Putting the requirements of your customers first is a must. Start sharing your unique perspective with the world and illustrate it well to enhance the overall user experience.