Google Rolls Out: The Helpful Content Update

Sep 20 2022 01:09:17 / By Saiyed Mehdi

From young to elderly, high schools to corporations, everyone has come to rely on search engines to look beyond what they already know. As the web and the information world moves toward an automated reality, search engines have a greater responsibility in organizing and making relevant, value-added information available for users on the internet.  

Latest on the web, search engine Google has taken leaps in recent weeks to establish a code for ethical content marketing. It had been a longstanding concern that many websites were manipulating content to appear on the main search result page. With the technical know-how one could ploy content that tricked the algorithm to make websites appear higher on search results, pushing websites with authentic content to the back and reducing the overall search experience. Google’s Helpful Content Update is in response to such content, advicing creators to work out of a people-first principle rather than be motivated by search engine visibility. With the new update the focus is on quality of content and whether it is helpful for people who are looking to reach a goal or resolve a query. The system has evolved and is a signal for websites to do some clean up and become more credible sources of information for the people. In this article we take a look at the guidelines provided by Google in this new release and how you can create people-first content. 

1.Speak your truth

Google's advice is to speak to the existing audience of your website, and then optimize for SEO to bring in other readers. The people looking for your content will be directed to your site by Google if this golden rule is upheld. 

Users can lose out on the true essence of being connected by the internet when they continuously run into irrelevant information even from sources they rely on. If the new algorithm identifies content that is unrelated to your area, using its site-wide signal, it will classify your website as unhelpful. On the other hand, if the algorithm detects the correlation between your content and its usability for your audience, the site gets rewarded higher up on the search page. It seems the new update wants websites to understand their audience more deeply and respond to their needs instead of trying to attend to the search engine.

2. Focus on your expertise

You don’t have to write for everyone on the internet to make your website purposeful. High-value content comes from anecdotal accounts of a product or service, and Google recommends sharing such “first-hand experiences'' for better rankings. One can support the content with original photos and tags for the search to classify it as useful content. Imagine reading all about a holiday in Venice with stock photos to support the experience? Instead, save the effort for when you have something real to share and save your website from Google’s scrutiny. Summarizing tales from across the web without any value added to it can run the beeper on the search’s site-wide signal and cost your website a good rank. 

3. Multiple websites

It’s perfectly alright to be the jack of all, just don’t be it all in one place. This seems to confuse the search engine trying to rank your page. Instead Google’s suggestion is to keep the website specific to one area and help it drive relevant traffic towards your expertise. You can create different websites if you wish to publish content from different areas and appeal to a different target set of audiences. This will help the search engine do its work better and it will also refine the quality of your site’s experience. The guideline recommends self-reflection about your content; check to see if you are producing volumes of content and stuffing it on one website, hoping that it will perform good on the search page and get some clicks? 

4. Be useful

The new guidelines ask you to answer if someone will learn something from your website, or if they will leave satisfied with the content you have provided. People are looking for meaningful answers on the internet. When writing for the search engine we can often write a lot of fluff without saying anything that the user can benefit from. Running into meaningless content can severely impact the intent of the user and even abort an inquiry. Which is why the search is determined to improve the experience for users by turning up value-added content from websites. Content that provides answers and is supported with real time photos and videos will rate well on the site-wide signal when detecting the worthiness of the site. 

Needless to mention that it is absolutely sin to be answering questions you cannot back up with evidence or be making false claims on Google’s new watch. Readers have an unspoken faith in the written content they consume, and so this new update commands the integrity of the creators when producing information. 

How it works 

The new update is one of many signals that Google uses to classify its content. The process is completely automated and run by machine-learning. It will likely take place over a period of time; the signal will monitor websites, old and new, for the content they publish and classify it as unhelpful. This can be reversed in the long run if a site updates its content according to the guidelines. A site classified as unhelpful can still rank well if some content follows the people-first principle, though it will still be weighed against all the other content on the site. So it’s best to remove content that doesn’t adhere to the guidelines and over time the classification will update itself. Google has announced that this signal will be further refined in the months to come and that they will establish ways to reward people-first content. 

In conclusion

Google’s Helpful Content Update is all about transparency and integrity. The search’s aim is to return answers for users that are meaningful and worthy of the time they spend searching, while not returning content that is written for clickbaits. This update places an obligation on creators to keep people in mind while producing content and not the search engine. It will help to remove low-quality content from a user’s search experience and provide them with more satisfying results. Presently it is applicable to searches done in English across the world and will be implemented in other regions in due time. With this update one thing is clear, the search giant has taken its mission and responsibility seriously by protecting internet users against long, meandering and unhelpful content and giving them the value-based information that they seek.