For years Google has been combating spammy search results, mainly created in the early 2000s by unethical SEO practices. Starting out with the Panda update in 2011, which was designed to reduce rankings for low quality sites that were specifically created for SEO and weren’t necessarily useful. The primary function of the Helpful Content update is to tackle content that seems to have been solely created for search engines. If your content is solely produced to perform well in Google, you might be hit by this update.
In the following paragraphs I’ll explore the details of the update.
What is the helpful content update?
The Helpful content update has been released by Google to ensure your content is:
- Original and of high quality
- Written for people, by people
- Genuinely helpful
When will Google’s helpful content update be rolled out?
The update started to be rolled out on the 25th of August 2022 and will take approximately two weeks to be completed.
Which search results will the helpful content update affect?
So far it’s been stated that the Google update will only have an impact on Google Search. At this stage it won’t roll out across Google Discover or other Google surfaces. Barry Schwartz states that it might be implemented across Google Discover in the future.
What areas of my site will the algorithm impact?
The helpful content update is a sitewide algorithm and will impact the whole site, which means your site could only be affected by it, if you show a large amount of non-user friendly content.
Is the helpful content update a core update?
Albeit this update could have major repercussions for some sites, Google does not view it as a core update.
Which languages will be affected by the update?
Google is going to roll out this update to English-language content in the first instance. We should however expect this to hit foreign languages globally in due course.
Could my site receive a penalty?
Google will certainly de-prioritise content, which it does not deem to be useful to the reader and if it affects your site, you will notice a drop in rankings and therefore a decrease in traffic numbers to your site. We assume that if you are hit by the update, it could potentially take months to recover from it as Google will continuously update the way it will score your site’s content.
How can I avoid being hit by this update?
If you’re relying on AI to create your content that’s solely for search engine purposes it’s probably time to rethink your content strategy. Review your overall content plan and reconsider which topics you want to focus on and whether they really fulfil their purpose.
Not quite sure what to make of the Google Helpful Content update? Why not get in touch with our team and we can work together on your content strategy!