What to Know About the Google Helpful Content Update & Why It’s Important to Get Online Content Right

google helpful content update

As a search engine, Google is obviously search-focused but, to hear Google tell it, they’re equally (if not more so) user-oriented. Again and again, Google recommends “user-first” content online. The recent (August 2022) Google helpful content update carries a familiar tune. What does this mean? We’re here to help spill the beans!

The August 2022 Google Helpful Content Update

The Google helpful content update expands on Google’s ongoing efforts to prioritize original, helpful content written by people, for people in SERPs (search engine results pages). 

In a nutshell, the update aims to reward content (and content creators) that meets users’ expectations and offers them a satisfying experience. For years, Google has harped on creating content for people, not search engines. However, even Google admits the need to continue following SEO best practices even when emphasizing people in your content.

So what is a content creator to do? Thankfully, Google has offered some insight. 

Google’s people-first approach emphasizes online content that:

  • Represents what first-hand advice would look like
  • Recognized expertise
  • A primary purpose or focus 
  • Provides a satisfying experience or answers a question related to a topic
  • Helps users achieve their desired end goal by visiting
  • Keeps track of Google core updates and product review recommendations

Another thing to keep in mind in regards to all of this is focusing less on search engines when writing content online. Google has determined that content written primarily for search engines is strongly correlated as being unhelpful or even irritating to users. 

Google advises to take a hard look at online content to ensure that it caters to people, rather than search engines. Some things to consider include writing for other people (by people, not through automation), narrowing your content’s focus, making original content, writing for your audience, being a one-stop information source for your topic, and avoiding clickbait topics for clicks’ sake. 

For content creators, Google insists on creating valuable content that pertains to your niche/business/industry. For SEOs in particular, Google recommends focusing less on things like word count (Google isn’t your high school English teacher) and gaining search traffic for its own sake. It’s better to introduce original or relevant content that your audience (people) will find interesting and help them achieve their desired intent.

When Will the Update Be Live?

Well, it kind of already is (or is in the rollout stages). Google released news of the update on Thurs., August 18 with rollouts beginning the week after (August 22, 2022). According to Google, they estimate the initial rollout will be complete within two weeks of launch.

The update will feature an all-new, site-wide signal for ranking. This new update will be one among many that Google will use. With it and other signals, Google will be tracking sites for unhelpful content, and classify them accordingly using an automated, machine-learning classifier process. The classifier will be weighted, which means sites loaded with unhelpful content will have a harder time ranking in Search. Per Google, the update will affect English sites (worldwide) first, with other languages forthcoming. 

What this means for SEO is that content is continually important—and continually important to get right. You don’t want to be dinged in Search because of lackluster or unhelpful content across your site. Want a free website audit? We’d be happy to help! Contact Uptick Marketing for help with your SEO, the content on your site, and more!

About Lance

For nearly a decade, Lance has worked with Uptick in search engine optimization in some capacity, initially building our SEO department from the ground up. His expertise in the world of optimization makes him the ideal person to keep Uptick on the cutting edge of the ever-evolving SEO sphere. A graduate of Samford University, Lance is a member of Samford University’s Entrepreneurship, Management, and Marketing Advisory Board, creating the university’s first digital marketing course. He has spoken at the Birmingham chapter of the American Marketing Association, co-hosted ‘Grow With Google’ small business events, and presented to the Birmingham and Huntsville chapters of the Public Relations Council of Alabama. Currently, he spearheads Uptick’s SEO sales, business development, and overall strategies.

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