As the name suggests, Google’s Helpful Content Update 2022 aims to ensure that the information users access through search results is providing value to the target market. Google has emphasized the importance of putting the user first since the beginning. Like every previous Google update, this is a continuation of that mission.
Read on to find out how Content Google Update affects you and how you can modify your SEO strategy.
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What Is the “Helpful Content Update”?
Since the Panda update in 2011, Google’s Helpful Content update has undoubtedly made the most algorithmic changes, and it targets the same problem – black hat SEO. SEO black hat refers to the use of dishonest methods to increase a website’s exposure or ranking on Google. For instance, the Panda update targets people who have bought a lot of low-quality spam links. In this case, Google is targeting bad content, especially content that doesn’t help users find the data they need.
Google Helpful Content Update Quick Facts
The key details that we know so far are listed here in a short form:
- Name: Google update with useful content
- Launch date: August 25 began the rollout.
- Deployment: Full rollout will take approximately two weeks.
- Currently, this only affects Google Search and does not affect Google Discover or any other Google surfaces. However, over time, Google may add Discover and other services to this future.
- Completed: On September 9, 2022, or 15 days after the rollout began, the update was completed.
- Goals: It prioritizes content created to serve people over content designed to rank high in search.
- Penalty: Google didn’t mention a penalty, but the update does look like a penalty for affected sites.
- Sitewide: This update will affect the entire site because this is a sitewide algorithm.
- Not a core update: While many people claim this is a kernel update, it is not.
- Using English, but will expand: Currently, only English language content is being considered globally; it is likely to include content in other languages soon.
- Impact: Google declined to disclose the percentage of searches or queries affected by this modification, though it said it would be “significant”. In addition, Google said that this would impact more online entertainment, retail, and tech content.
- Recovery: Whether or not you’ve been affected, you should review your content to see if the Google suggestions listed below will help improve your experience.
- Refreshes: Google updates these values all the time, but there is a waiting period and a review period, and it can take many months for the figures to stabilize after an update.
How Helpful Content Update Works
The algorithmic ranking indicator is called Helpful Content Update (HCU). It evaluates how well a web page matches Google’s core search criteria, including detailed descriptions, transparent source citations, and innovative research and content analysis. It aims to minimize information that has been over-optimized to impact search engines.
At first, this signal doesn’t seem particularly new. The Search Rules were first made public in 2019, and many of the HCU tips echo ideas that SEO and marketing professionals have long advocated for avoiding black hat SEO practices. SEO black hat techniques involve over-optimizing page components to affect search engine query results.
But well-intentioned content advice to prevent fraudulent tactics has jumped the shark as content creators from different walks of life use search engine optimization techniques that come close to black hat SEO tactics. They create searchable content, but much of the content doesn’t have a Wikipedia-style neutral tone. This type of content hints at an answer that may not be a great answer for the reader, even if the keywords appear in metadata and H1 tags without content.
Moreover, some publishers have become too obsessed with algorithmic changes, even though the announced change would have been one of the hundreds of algorithmic improvements. Panda, for example, was just one of about 500 search improvements, according to Google.
Who does the Helpful Content Update affect?
This update will affect everyone! Each website’s content will count as this is a sitewide update. This means that even if the information on your main website is highly relevant and valuable. However, if your website’s news area has a lot of irrelevant click-only information, your website can still suffer. This also applies to user-generated content, so if your website contains a significant amount of user-generated content, you may need to exercise more restraint when moderating and editing.
How to Safeguard Your Website from the Impact of Helpful Content Update?
A useful content update will no doubt be a sitewide update, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be worse than getting a manual action. The rating downgrade can be reversed if you follow a set of instructions. In case you run into a useful content update, below is a checklist to help you.
Don’t Use AI Auto-Generated Content
Various websites use AI-based content generation systems that automatically generate content. This content is not only useless; it has no added value and is mostly just paraphrased versions of text that is already on the internet.
Check if any posted content generated by AI tools makes sense. Also, don’t forget to edit your work properly.
The chance of duplicate content is generally very high for AI-generated content on very general topics because identical text can be displayed to anyone else.
Awesome Web Designs advises you to erase AI content and replace it with something new that readers will understand and add value to that user.
Write for a Focus Audience
Your website cannot be a jack of all trades, and Google is trying to clarify this point with useful content updates further.
The website, which publishes articles on technology, health, CBD, finance, and other topics, aims to increase the number of visitors. If not, these websites seek to monetize by posting guest content, which Google strongly disapproves of.
When you write for people, you are addressing readers’ anxieties, insecurities, and fears, and by the time they leave the website, they are happy they chose your result.
Unique Ideas Outclass Word Count
The idea that Google prefers long content is a widespread one. Google considers information and value, not word count. Naturally, there may be some high-ranking websites with a lot of words, but in most cases, these websites offer a lot of content and are easy to navigate. To reach a word count of 1000 or 2000, some websites bypass the main topic and include general information. However, few of these sites receive unfair ranking boosts. But these sites can expect to see their rankings drop as a result of updating helpful content. To gain a ranking edge, e-commerce companies are increasingly adding generic content to their product and category pages.
Google to Shun Speculative Content
After the Helpful Content Google Update, websites with a lot of speculative content may experience a drop in traffic and rankings.
How to make the Useful Content Update part of your SEO strategy
Ideally, your SEO goals have ALREADY included creating high-quality and relevant content! However, it’s more important now than ever, thanks to this latest update. When writing material, we adhere to four basic principles, which we call the Ruru Technique.
Ruru can be described as:
- Real: You should only use real writers to write for real people.
- Unique: Original content, not collected from fragments of other publications.
- Relevant: Relevant content focuses on important topics for your target audience.
- Useful: Useful material offers a fresh perspective, answers a question, or expands on a topic.
Using the Ruru method, you can ensure that every piece of content on your website, from articles to product pages, gets ranked and ranked by Google.
Need some help with the Helpful Content Update?
If your website has been affected by the latest update and you need help figuring out what’s wrong or what steps to take, Awesome Web Designs is here to help. Our SEO experts can help you understand the latest developments and plan your future digital marketing initiatives. So contact us right now!