Deciphering Google's Helpful Content Update
On August 18, 2022, Google announced a new “helpful content” update to its algorithm. While this update certainly sounds “helpful,” what exactly does it entail? Is your website in danger of getting unlisted as a result of your previous SEO strategies?
Generally speaking, this new algorithm update is an attempt to promote “human-first content” and weed out AI-generated content that seeks to manipulate the system. In addition to the bots which crawl and index the internet, Google utilizes an army of human “quality raters” to supplement their algorithms. These quality raters will judge websites and landing pages based upon search intent to ensure only the most helpful content shows at the top of Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs).
We’ve already seen a few shifts as a result of the new algorithm. Many new sites and reference-style sites have moved down in the rankings. Sites which provide well-written, consumer-oriented content have replaced them.
Given the new algorithm update, how can you take advantage to catapult your website up the search rankings? As in all things in the world of SEO, it depends. Google consistently releases new algorithm updates (they’ve even released one since the “helpful content” update), and there are multiple algorithms they use – such as a local search algorithm and an eCommerce algorithm.
While there’s no definitive one-size-fits-all SEO strategy, we have a few tips to offer.
First, follow Google’s provided guidelines. Google has always published information about what kind of web content you should be using. Scour the rules and ensure your website is compliant.
Second, make sure your content is something you’d want to read. Google is looking for people-first content. Consider the keywords for which you wish to rank and write your web content accordingly. If you wouldn’t want to read the content you publish for your desired keyword, then Google won’t rank it.
Third, ensure your content is comprehensive. While there is no longer a standard word count for which pages rank on the first page of Google, pages with a greater quantity of relevant content will still rank higher. A page with 2,000 words will more adequately provide “helpful content” than a page with 300 words.
Do you need help deciphering your company’s SEO strategy? The SEO strategists and content experts at MHP/Team SI would love to help you. Get in touch with us for a free consultation!