Google’s most recent helpful content upgrade prioritises websites that produce information for search engines.
Google is about to implement a change to its search ranking algorithm that could end up being one of the biggest updates in over ten years.
The helpful content update, a new and significant modification to Google’s search algorithm, is ready to go live.
The upgrade for helpful content will target websites with a disproportionately large volume of unsatisfactory or unhelpful information that was written for search engines rather than people.
According to Google, this modification, which will shortly begin rolling out, will significantly affect the search results.
What is the helpful content update from Google?
With its latest helpful content upgrade, Google aims to target “material that seems to have been written purely for search engine rankings rather than to aid or inform people.”
According to Google, the goal of this algorithm modification is to make it easier for users to access “high-quality content.” Google wants to promote and reward better content that is more beneficial to users and written with human beings in mind.
The term “search engine-first content” or “SEO content,” which refers to information created with the intention of ranking well in search engines, has been used frequently recently and is a hot topic on social media.
In other words, searchers are dissatisfied when they arrive at unhelpful websites that do well in search because those websites were built to perform well.
With its new algorithm, Google hopes to elevate human-designed websites above search engines while degrading those types of websites.
It is part of Google’s “ongoing effort to minimise low-quality content and make it simpler to access stuff that feels real and useful in search,” the search engine company stated.
When will the helpful content update from Google roll out?
Next week, the update will begin to be distributed. The full rollout of the helpful content upgrade might take up to two weeks, according to Google.
Here on Search Engine Land, we will publish a new story as soon as it starts rolling out and when it is finished. When it debuts and when the rollout is complete, Google will also make an announcement on its updates website.
What kinds of content will be affected by the helpful content update?
Google stated that the following content kinds may be most affected, even if these algorithms do not particularly target any particular niche:
- online learning resources
- entertainment and the arts.
This is due to the fact that information in such areas has historically been written with search engines in mind more so than with humans.
According to Google’s analysis, those regions may be more affected than other regions by this Google helpful content upgrade.
I requested an example search from Google where the beneficial content update would be noticeable. As per what Google informed me:
“If you’ve ever searched the web for information about a new movie, you may have come across pieces that just compiled reviews from several websites without adding any original viewpoints. If you were hoping to read something fresh, this wasn’t much assistance. You’ll now see more results with distinctive information, increasing the likelihood that you’ll read something new.
On Twitter, Danny Sullivan, Google’s search liaison, was questioned regarding the definition of “online education” in Google’s search algorithm. Response from Sullivan
“Generally tutorial, things meant to teach something, not really formal courses. But again, it’s not focused on any particular area. That’s just one example where we see notable improvement but there are others and any query about any thing might benefit.”
Tweet by Danny Sullivan
A site-wide algorithm updates helpful content.
This new upgrade to the useful information on the site will be implemented across the board, unlike many Google algorithms that are applied page-by-page.
That implies your entire site will be affected if Google judges that it is creating a disproportionately high volume of unhelpful content that is primarily written for search engine ranking.
This will have an effect on the entire website, not just certain pages or sections of it.
Google won’t specify exactly what proportion of your site’s pages must be useful compared to unhelpful in order to activate this classifier, but they did state that it is sitewide and will have an influence on the entire site, even if you have many helpful pages.
Once more, if you have useful pages but a sizable portion of your information is useless, this upgrade will affect all of your content, even the beneficial areas of your website.
Removing useless content, according to Google, “may enhance the ranks of your other content.”
Google’s tips on how to create content with people in mind
In order to create material that is rewarded by the helpful content update, Google has supplied a list of questions you may ask yourself about your content, similar to prior updates like the Panda update, core updates, and product reviews update.
Google posed the following queries about creating content with people in mind:
- Do you have a target market for your company or website that would be interested in the material if they visited you directly?
- Does your writing blatantly show first-hand experience and depth of understanding (for instance, experience gained from actually using a product or service or going somewhere)?
- Do you have a main goal or emphasis for your website?
- Will a reader believe they have learnt enough about a subject after reading your content to aid in achieving their goal?
- Will someone who reads your content come away from it feeling satisfied?
- Are you following our recommendations for both core updates and product reviews?
Google also outlined these guidelines for avoiding content that is optimised for search engines first:
- Is the information primarily intended for search engine users as opposed to being created with humans in mind?
- Are you creating a tonne of content on various subjects in the hopes that some of it may do well in search engine results?
- Do you use a lot of automation to create content across a variety of topics?
- Are you primarily summarising other people’s arguments without really adding anything?
- Are you blogging about topics merely because they appear to be trendy rather than because you would otherwise write about them for your current audience?
- Do readers who read your content feel like they need to recheck their sources for more accurate information?
- Because you’ve heard or read that Google has a desired word count, are you writing to a specific word count? (We don’t, no.)
- Did you choose to write on a specialised subject for which you had no true knowledge primarily in the hope of attracting search traffic?
- Does your content claim to provide an answer to a query that is truly unanswered, e.g., by implying a release date for a good, movie, or TV show when none has been officially announced?
Recovery could take months.
According to Google, this algorithm will operate automatically. The classifiers or scores will constantly be updated.
However, it may take several months for a site to recover if it is negatively affected by this helpful content update.
It takes time for a website to establish itself as no longer publishing content just for the purpose of ranking in search engines, or having content that is search engine first.
Therefore, it appears that sites will have to go through some sort of waiting period, perhaps a validation period, to prove to Google’s algorithms that the site is first offering beneficial material to humans.
Although Google continuously changes the classifier scores on your site during this automated validation period, making a modification today is unlikely to have an immediate impact on Google’s results, according to Sullivan of Search Engine Land.
Apparently, Google says:
“The signal may be applied to the sites specified by this update over several months. Our classifier for this update runs continually, enabling it to keep track of both recently released and active sites. The classification will no longer be applicable as it has been determined that the unhelpful content has not returned over time.
Google use machine learning to detect irrelevant information.
A new machine learning technique that Google is using to assess and recognise problematic content.
Between the automated machine learning advancements and Google engineers continuously fine-tuning and enhancing the overall algorithms, the algorithms should get stronger over time.
According to Google, the helpful content update considers a number of signals related to the page and the site when determining a page’s ranking.
As you may expect, Google did not provide us with any details regarding the precise signals that are utilised.
Validated quality raters
According to Google, the search engine verified these new results with its quality raters and received confirmation that adopting this approach raises the calibre of Google’s search results. The majority, if not all, of the changes Google makes to search are implemented in this way.
Again, quality raters do not directly affect rankings; rather, they assist Google’s search developers in determining if the algorithms are raising the standard of all searches.
The initial rollout of this upgrade will only affect English-language searches worldwide.
Google intends to eventually add more languages.
Search-only at the moment
Google informed us that at this time, this upgrade solely affects Google search. Google, though, might consider adding more goods in the upcoming months (like Google Discover).
Will the upgrade to the helpful content be as important as Panda?
The Google Panda update of February 2012 permanently altered how SEOs advised you to generate content going forward, according to numerous SEOs who lived through it. Panda is still in use today because it is now a part of the core update.
This upgrade resembles the last Panda update quite a bit.
Like with Panda, I predict that SEOs will reflect on Google’s helpful content update and claim that it led to a significant change in SEO content strategy. Time will tell, and over the next weeks, we’ll be able to gauge how significant of an update this is.
Why do we care
SEOs will probably look back on Google’s helpful content update as a key upgrade that sparked a shift in the guidance they give clients when creating content.
The extent to which this upgrade may affect Google’s search results, your site, or the sites of your clients cannot yet be determined.
Watch your analytics when the upgrade is implemented and, if required, rethink your content strategy in light of the suggestions Google has made above.
We’ll keep you updated on all the most recent happenings related to the helpful content upgrade.