Google’s New “Helpful Content” Update: What does it mean for content?

Google has just announced a new update will be rolled out very soon and it’s going to change the world of content. This update will favour content that is written for people rather than for search engines. You may think this has always been the case, with Google penalising black hat SEO techniques, so how is this update different?

What is in Google’s Helpful Content Update?

Here’s a quote directly from Google:

“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.”

The Helpful Content Update contains a new site-wide signal which identifies content that is deemed as having little value, or of low value to searches. Therefore, any content on your website that has lots of “unhelpful content” will not do very well in Search because Google will consider more helpful sources better to display in their results.

Google starts rolling out the update this week and will probably take a couple of weeks to be fully complete. You can keep track of the progress on their updates page.

This new process is also fully automated, using machine-learning, so it’s yet another factor in Google’s mysterious algorithm that we have to navigate through.

What does this mean for website content?

Google has recommended that you “remove unhelpful content” from your website. But what does this exactly mean?

Our advice would be that you should do an audit of your website content and think: “Is my content directed at humans, or am I trying to attract search engines to boost my SEO?”

Here are some questions you can ask yourself. If you answer yes to any of these questions, then it may be sensible to redo some of that content:

  • Have you produced lots of content specifically with the goal of ranking in search engines?
  • Are you using AI tools to produce content?
  • Are you summarising trending topics without adding any extra value?
  • Would your readers come to your site and still feel they need to continue searching after reading your content?
  • Have you created any clickbait titles that tempted the reader to click into your content and then you didn’t answer their question?

How can I write good content to rank well after Google’s new Helpful Content Update?

Google’s advice has always remained the same – write for people not for search engines. They’ve also produced guidelines for webmasters and how to approach things from a technical perspective too.

The narrative has always been the same – think about your reader and write what they want to hear. Don’t lie to them, don’t try to manipulate them, don’t play tricks to try and rank better – just write good quality content.

That’s it.

Avoid AI copy software!!! The likes of Copy AI and Jasper have been talked about a lot in the world of content marketing and many companies have been loving that they can have AI write them a blog post in seconds. It’s very cool, don’t get me wrong, but the content that it spews out isn’t great quality.

Think about it too… if everyone in your niche puts the same trending topics into these bits of software, won’t all your competitors end up with the same blog? That can’t be good for anyone! Even though the AI in Copy AI and Jasper do write in a more friendly and “human” way than we’ve seen in other similar copywriting AI tools, the content isn’t good quality and it certainly doesn’t answer readers’ questions.

If you’re worried because you’re not a great writer, then don’t worry, as not every reader will be one either. Use tools like Grammarly, which can help you check your grammar and write better. At the end of the day, if it answers the searcher’s question, it’s probably a good article!