Google’s Helpful Content Update: A Recap for Content Creators

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Google is continually refreshing how their algorithm crawls and ranks websites. This is done to ensure users are served the best possible experience. Every few months, Google tweaks their existing offering to heighten user experience and improve their algorithm.

Google’s most recent update, dubbed the Helpful Content Update, significantly impacts search engine results and how marketers approach website content. 

This update, which officially rolled out mid-September, aligns with Google’s pursuit to help “people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.” In short, they are seeking to reduce or fix content that seems to be unsatisfying or unhelpful. Google is clearly deprioritizing content that it is written for search engines first and not to serve the end user. 

Five Tips To Ensure You’re Creating People-First Content

1. The Author Should Have First-Hand Expertise And In-Depth Knowledge. 

Google doesn’t want you to create content on something that authority to talk about. The author should strive to contribute something authentic and valuable, rather than purely summarizing what others have already discussed.

2. Ensure Your Site Is Focused. 

You don’t want to confuse users (and, by extension, search engines) by writing on every topic to reach as many people as possible. Don’t write about trending topics only to get visibility; consider how each trend fits with your specific brand values, products, and voice. 

3. Visitors Should Learn Something.

Are you writing to a particular word count because you heard that Google has a particular word count preference? (No, it doesn’t.) Your content should instead resolve questions that brought the user to your site or help your visitor accomplish a task. Ask yourself why your user landed on your website in the first place. Sharing helpful content (and strategically plugging products or services where relevant) will help users decide if they want to engage with your brand, purchase products and more.

4. Make Sure To Follow Google’s Guidelines For Major Updates. 

If you are already following Google’s advice for core updates and product review pages, then chances are that you already benefit from the helpful content update! Staying up-to-date with Google’s updates will ensure you are already following best practices to help your website rank well.

5. Don’t Use AI Auto-Generated Content.

Auto-generated content created using AI content creation tools is unhelpful because most of the content is rephrased versions of text that are already present on the web. Plus, it can often read like a robot wrote it. Users connect better with content that is authentic, transparent, leverages the author’s own style, and reflects the brand voice.

How Long Does It Take A Site To Recover?

If the algorithm update hit your site, it may take some time to earn back the trust of Google. The best way to reclaim your ranking is to stay committed to creating content for people first, rather than search engines.

This algorithm update specifically aims to target pages that adds very little value or is helpful to the user at all. This update should create a better experience for people on the web, as well as content creators. Google’s results will reward high-quality content that was written by humans with a motive to solve a problem or help people. 

Key Takeaways:

When implementing a content or SEO strategy for your website, remember to:

  • Write content for people, not search engines
  • Deliver satisfying experiences
  • Remove unhelpful content
  • Focus on your audience
  • Answer your users’ questions

If you have been following the best practices when it comes to writing people-first content, then keep up the great work! 

If you need help rethinking your content strategy, NetElixir’s award-winning content department uses empathy, technology, and a little magic to help brands connect with both new audiences and loyal shoppers. 

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