What Creators Should Know About Google Helpful Content update


Google Helpful Content: Google Search is continually working to better connect people to helpful information. To this end, we’re launching what we’re calling the “helpful content update” that’s part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results. Below is more about the update and things creators should consider.

Focus On People-First Content

The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience. While content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.

How Can You Ensure Your Creating Google Helpful Content?

How can you ensure you’re creating content that will be successful with our new update? We follow our long-standing advice and guidelines to create content for people, not search engines. People-first content creators focus on creating satisfying content while utilizing SEO best practices to bring searchers additional value. Answering is “yes” to the questions below means you’re probably on the right track with a people-first approach:

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the valuable content if it came directly to you?
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise 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 our guidance for core updates and product reviews in mind?

Avoid creating content for search engines first.

Our advice about having a people-first approach does not invalidate following SEO best practices, such as those covered in Google’s own SEO guide. SEO is a helpful activity when it’s applied to people-first content. However, content created primarily for search engine traffic strongly correlates with content searchers find unsatisfying.

How do you avoid taking a Search engine-first approach? Answering yes to some or all of the questions is a warning sign that you should reevaluate how you’re creating content across your site:

  • 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 create content on many issues?
  • Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
  • Are you writing about things simply because they seem to trend 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 real expertise, but 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?

How the update works about Google Helpful Content?

The update will start rolling out the following week. We will post on our Google ranking updates page when it begins and is fully rolled out, which could take up to two weeks. This update introduces a new site-wide signal that we consider, among many other calls 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 with relatively high amounts of 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.

If removes unhelpful content? 

A natural question some will have is how long will it take for a site to do better if it removes unhelpful content? Areas identified by this update may find the signal applied to them over months. Our classifier for this update runs continuously, allowing it to monitor newly-launched and existing sites. The classification will no longer apply as it determines that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long term.

Is the Process Automated?

This classifier process is entirely automated, using a machine-learning model. It is not a manual action or 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 movement is also weighted; sites with lots of unhelpful content may notice a more potent effect. In any case, for the best success, be sure you’ve removed unhelpful content.

This update impacts English searches globally, to begin with, and we plan to expand to other languages in the future. Over the coming months, we will continue refining how the classifier detects unhelpful content and launch further efforts to reward people-first content better.

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