Google has started to roll out an update to its helpful content system this week. Starting on December 5th, the update is expected to take a couple of weeks to finish.
What Is The Helpful Content Update?
The helpful content update was first rolled out in August earlier this year. Some website owners saw changes when the update rolled out, but others didn’t notice much difference – as is the case with most Google algorithm updates.
But what is the helpful content update and why did there appear to be a big buzz about it?
Simply put, the helpful content update will over time, change quite a lot, particularly for content creators as the update is designed to weed out ‘unhelpful’ content and reward genuine, good-quality content.
In theory, this will reward marketers and business owners that publish valuable content, and punish those that don’t by making it much more difficult for their websites to rank organically if the content is poor.
In a nutshell, create great content and your potential customers will be able to find you a lot easier on Google’s search engine result pages.
Over the years, ‘content marketing is king’ has become a slogan for many, and indeed, as a content marketing agency, we know content is one of the most effective ways to get your website in front of potential customers.
But as more people have caught on to content marketing, the internet has become saturated with low-value content that was designed with no other purpose in mind, than to try and make a website rank. It is this poor content the update seeks to weed out and potentially, penalise.
What Does Google Think Is Helpful Content?
Google hasn’t said precisely what they think qualifies as helpful content and it would be impossible to do so, as what is helpful is subjective to both searchers and businesses.
In short, your content should match up with what people are searching for. So, in response to a question a person may ask on Google, you are fighting to have the most informative, helpful answer amongst your competitors.
All we know is that content needs to be high quality, so this means well written, provides a clear picture of what you are talking about and doesn’t seek to mislead or confuse. If you are creating a piece of content, you need to appear as the most authoritative voice on that matter, covering everything a customer may want to know.
TLDR: make sure your content is always genuine.
What’s Happened This Week?
Whilst Google rolled out the helpful content update in August, it wasn’t the full update. With such large updates, Google is perhaps a little cautious as some websites can see enormous drops in visibility and rankings. Previous updates have put people out of business.
Rolling an update out gradually will give website owners a chance to adapt and learn. Still, the helpful content update could still give many people headaches in the weeks to come. Hopefully, you aren’t one of them!
So what can you do to help avoid any potential punishments? The answer is simple…if you aren’t creating good quality content, stop, think and improve.
That may be too little too late for websites that are littered with what is now seen as unhelpful content but don’t be tempted to do a dirty delete either. If you know your web copy, blog posts or anything else you put out online is low value, now would be the ideal time to put a plan of attack together for revisiting the content and improving it.
If high-value, quality content is something you are struggling with, contact us to see how we can help.