The Helpful Content update means that Google will now prioritize websites that provide helpful information on their topics, rather than just content for the sake of it. It was launched in September 2022 for English-language sites and is expected in the near future for sites in other languages.
What’s the Difference Between ‘Quality Content’ And ‘Helpful Content’?
Google has always looked for quality content. They’ve now refined that and are rewarding pages that have helpful content too. This means your website should help people solve their problems, not just provide information.
According to Google, they’re looking for content that is:
“Written by people, for people.”
This means content that will:
- Help your existing or intended audience
- Demonstrate expertise and depth of knowledge
- Leave someone feeling they’ve learned sufficient knowledge to achieve their goal
- Be satisfying to read
- Not be written primarily for search engines (written without expecting anyone to actually read it).
What Does It Mean For Your SEO?
Google has rolled out a new algorithm designed to reward websites that provide helpful and relevant content. This update is intended to promote sites that offer information that users want, rather than simply those that are easy to find.
Since the algorithm update, the following content is less likely to rank well:
- Content written with excessive automation ranks well on many topics.
- Content that’s not relevant to your target audience.
- The content was written for SEO leaving readers wondering what its purpose of it is.
- Headlines using clickbait to imply an article will answer a question but actually doesn’t
Note, the above type of content won’t be penalized or disappear from the rankings, it is simply less likely to rank well.
It also means that you should prioritize content that is written by experienced copywriters who understand your industry. Indigoextra is one such company – an international SEO company with experienced copywriters in most ethical industries.
It’s possible that the Helpful Content update will place less importance on the Click Through Rate or volume of text on the site and more importance on the time visitors spend on a page, however, it’s also aimed as a deterrent to sites that answer a simple question with a long, complex answer, forcing visitors to remain an excessively long time on a page. A common example of these pages shows recipes that start with a long-winded story of the recipe handed down from mother to daughter through the generations, then finish with the recipe itself in a few lines.
If you’re struggling to rank high for a particular keyword, then look at the top-ranking results for it. If they’re mostly blogs and you’re trying to rank a product page, then consider writing a useful blog post on the topic instead.
Does This Impact Link Building?
Guest posts are already a mainstream of most link-building campaigns and this algorithm update reinforces their importance. It means the same for your backlinks as it does for your on-page SEO – write helpful information with sufficient insight that the reader will benefit from reading it.
How Does This Tie In With Other Google Updates?
This is part of Google’s ongoing goal to improve the overall quality of content that ranks high. Google Panda, launched in 2011 was a major update promoting relevant, quality on-page content. It was rapidly followed by Google Penguin in 2012, which heavily penalized sites with a spammy backlink profiles.
Google RankBrain was introduced in 2015. RankBrain uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help determine which results are most relevant for users searching on Google by analyzing hundreds of signals per query. To do this, it searches not only for keywords but also for context clues via what we call latent semantic analysis (LSA). This process means that RankBrain considers more than just keywords on your page; it looks for other contextual clues such as semantically related words, images, and videos.
Why Does Google Keep Updating Their Algorithms?
The purpose of these updates is to improve the user experience. They want users to be able to find the most relevant and useful content as quickly as possible, which means that they need to make sure that the best quality sites are ranked higher.
What Else Can I Do To Improve My SEO?
- Focus on quality, not quantity.
- Write for your audience.
- Use a variety of content formats that are engaging and help people find what they’re looking for—don’t just repeat the same thing in different ways. Use product pages for products and blog pages to answer in-depth questions.
- Use your voice—write with personality if you can! This will help users identify with you and trust what you’re saying is true. It’s also good to provide some personal insight into yourself or your company—it makes users feel like they know more about who you are as an organization than just what’s written on paper/in code/etc. It humanizes things that are important because humans relate better when they know something about someone else (i.e., their story).
- While their new algorithm doesn’t specifically focus on content length, you can also use long-form content to rank well in search results. If you do, ensure all the content is relevant and helpful. Don’t add waffles just to reach a specific word count.
- Include a clear call to action (CTA) at the end of each page so that users know what you want them to do next. This could be an email signup form, a link to another page on your website, or something else entirely.
The design and topic of your website can make all the difference when it comes to ranking high in search engines like Google. If you have an original design that stands apart from other websites on the topic, this will help with SEO as well. For example: if I were trying to rank for “international marketing agency” and had no idea what makes my company special compared with others out there who offer similar services – but then one day I thought “One of our unique selling points is our talented copywriters” – then I would try creating more articles like this one until it felt right for me personally.
At the end of the day, content is still king. If you’re going to be successful in search engine optimization, you need to create high-quality and informative content that answers questions and solves problems for users. The Helpful Content update is no different. It will reward websites that create useful information for their readers, so make sure your website focuses on helping people, as well as selling products and services.
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