Google has announced the launch of a new algorithm update, the ‘Helpful Content Update’ this week.
It will be released with a primary objective of boosting content written for people and degrading content written only to keep SEO in check.
They have mentioned it as the next part of a big change they are planning. The product review update was the previous part of the movement. But product review update targeted specific types of pages whereas the Helpful Content Update is sitewide. So, it can affect all the pages of a website.
This update also unleashed a new ranking signal that Google will use to create SERP.
The change is surely sudden, a week ain’t long enough to prepare for the change. But at the same time, all the content was supposed to be written for people in the first place.
So for now, let’s look at all the information we have got.
Google Helpful Content Update
Last week, Google shared the announcement on Twitter:
“Next week, we will launch the “helpful content update” to better ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, rather than content made primarily for search engine traffic.”
The tweet linked to a Google blog article that cleared the other basic things needed to know including how you can continue to thrive (or not get affected) after the update comes out.
How Would The Helpful Content Update Work?
The helpful content update presents a fresh ranking signal that keeps an eye on whether the content on web pages is helpful or not.
The sites that publish a lot of content but with little value, irrelevant content, or content that is unhelpful to searchers will face a negative impact on their performance.
“Any content — not just unhelpful content — on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere from the web that’s better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.”
How Can the Helpful Content Update Impact?
That’s not pretty clear right now as the update hasn’t rolled out completely so the effects are yet to be seen.
But to assume from Google’s previous updates, your Google ranking can face heavy damage if your content doesn’t align with the guidelines. Whereas completely Irrelevant content sites can even face penalties.
Google’s Aim with Helpful Content Update
In Google’s own words, they want webpages to have “More content by people, for people in Search”
Their aim is to diminish sites that offer unhelpful content which is designed to attract clicks and not intended to educate/inform readers. The update will be rolled out for English users globally this week.
The update will offer “Better ranking of original, quality content”
And this increases the value of quality content exponentially.
What To Do If the Update Shots You?
If you get shot by the helpful content update, Google recommends eliminating unhelpful information from your website.
According to Google, sites affected by the upgrade may see long-term consequences. The blog post from Google continues:
“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.”
Extra Notes to Consider
- The update will not have a manual process. A machine-learning model is used to automate the procedure.
- Even on websites filled with loads of unhelpful content, there is a possibility that webpage with people-first content can still rank.
- The result won’t be the same for every site, some will have harder hits than others.
- The update will affect only English searches for now.
The effects most probably would be visible after two weeks of rolling out of the update. The easiest way to counter the update is to focus on creating people-first content rather than focusing too much on SEO writing.
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