It is here, just as announced by Google last week. On 25th August 2022, Google confirmed in a very low-key manner on its Search Central Blog that the much awaited Helpful Content Update is now rolling out and will take up to two weeks to complete. To refresh your memory, this is a site-wide algorithm update targeting English language websites, rewarding people-first content and devaluing unhelpful content primarily written for search engine traffic. “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.” states Google. Further adding that it is a broader effort on their part to ensure people see more original, helpful, and satisfying content written by people, for people, in search results. Going forward, let’s go through 5 must-dos and a few things you should keep in mind.
Helpful Content Update and Creating People-first Content: 3 Things for Creating People-first Content
Going by the questions Google asked us to ask ourselves while creating content has a lot to do with where we go from here. These questions pertain to focusing on people-first content and avoiding creating content for search engines first. You can check them out on their blog here. Based on the advice shared by Google, we are listing down 3 things to remember while dealing with helpful content update and creating people-first content.
Focus on creating people-first content by clearly demonstrating first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge in what you are writing. If you have no hands-on experience in using a product or service and you find yourself writing about it, the content wouldn’t be as helpful or impactful than if written by someone who has used it. This also means sticking to your niche and not straying too far from the main topic and creating content on unrelated or distant-cousins topics. You need to create a positive user experience whereby people who visit your website are satisfied with what’s on offer: high-value content with sufficient answers to their queries.
Avoid creating content for search engines first. You are venturing down the wrong path if you are creating content around a lot of different topics in hope that some of it might perform well in search results, as clearly stated by Google. You content needs to be created for people first, search engines will follow. This also means that you don’t need to write about it simply because it is trending, or taking something somebody else has written without adding any real value to it. Last but not the least, writing for word count or extensive automation to create content on many topics is a strict no-no.
It could take months for you to recover if hit by Helpful Content Update. As stated by Google, “Sites identified by this update may find the signal applied to them over a period of months. Our classifier for this update runs continuously, allowing it to monitor newly-launched sites and existing ones. As it determines that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long-term, the classification will no longer apply.” In other words, you need to prove to Google for a dedicated but undefined period of time that you are not creating content for the sole purpose of search engine traffic.
While it is best to wait for the update to finish rolling out, it has all the makings of something that will change the course of SEO from here on. In the meanwhile, you can help yourself by removing some content you know for sure to be unhelpful. It is your website; you know the work you put in it. If you happen to notice any big changes in terms of rankings or traffic, you can very well attribute it to this update. Any drastic corrective measures you can keep for after the update ends.