There’s a new Google update that is shaking up the SEO world, and it’s called The Helpful Content Update. The Helpful Content Update was released on 25th August 2022 and was designed to improve the quality of search results by prioritizing content that is deemed helpful by Google. The Helpful Content Update will impact all websites and blogs that are indexed by Google. However, the overall goal of the update is to improve the user experience for searchers who are looking for helpful information. To do this, Google will be focusing on a few main factors when determining which content is most helpful such as ‘how well does the content answer the searcher’s question?’ ‘Is the content easy to understand?’ ‘Is the content up-to-date?’ ‘Does the content provide a good user experience?’

If you’re creating content for your website or blog, it’s important to keep these factors in mind. Google has said that they will be giving preference to content that is deemed “helpful”, so it’s important to make sure your content meets those criteria. So far, The Helpful Content Update has been a success! Users are finding it easier to find quality content, and Google is seeing an overall improvement in the user experience.

What are Google Algorithms?

Google’s algorithms are a complex system used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a query. The search engine uses a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking factors to deliver webpages ranked by relevance on its search engine results pages. In its early years, Google only made a handful of updates to its algorithms. Now, Google makes thousands of changes every year, many of these are so slight that they go completely unnoticed. However, on occasion, the search engine rolls out major algorithmic updates that significantly impact the SERPs.

The Update

This update introduces a new site-wide signal that we consider among many other signals for ranking web pages. The systems automatically identify content that seems to have little value or is not particularly helpful to those doing searches. Content on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere on the web that’s better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.

Sites identified by this update may find the signal applied to them over a period of months. Our classifier for this update runs continuously, allowing it to monitor newly-launched sites and existing ones. As it determines that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long-term, the classification will no longer apply.

This classifier process is entirely automated, using a machine-learning model. It is not a manual action nor a spam action. Instead, it’s just a new signal and one of many signals Google evaluates to rank content.

This means that some people-first content on sites classified as having unhelpful content could still rank well, if there are other signals identifying that people-first content as helpful and relevant to a query. The signal is also weighted; sites with lots of unhelpful content may notice a stronger effect. In any case, for the best success, be sure you’ve removed unhelpful content and also are following all our guidelines.

This update impacts English searches globally to begin with and we plan to expand to other languages in the future. Over the coming months, we will also continue refining how the classifier detects unhelpful content and launch further efforts to better reward people-first content.

What Changed With The Helpful Content Update?

The main goal of The Helpful Content Update was to improve the user experience on Google. In order to do this, Google made a few changes to their algorithms. Firstly, they placed a greater emphasis on content quality. This means that websites with high-quality content are more likely to rank higher in Google’s search results. Google also increased the importance of user engagement. This means that websites that people spend more time on are more likely to rank higher in Google’s search results. As well as this, they reduced the importance of backlinks. Backlinks are still important for SEO, but they’re not as important as they used to be. Finally, they made it easier for users to find quality content by introducing a new site-wide signal. This signal makes it easier for Google to identify unhelpful content and rank it accordingly.

What Does This Mean for Website Owners?

If you’re a website owner, it’s important to stay up-to-date with all the latest Google updates. In order to ensure that your website is compliant with Google’s guidelines, it’s important to check for updates and make changes accordingly regularly. The Helpful Content Update is just one example of an algorithm change that can have a big impact on your website’s ranking. So, what can you do to make sure that your website is prepared for future algorithm updates?

Here are a few things you can do to make sure that your website is prepared for future algorithm updates:

  • Focus on creating high-quality content. This means writing articles that are well-researched and informative.
  • Focus on user engagement. This means making sure that people spend a lot of time on your website.
  • Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. This means ensuring that it can be easily accessed and used on mobile devices.
  • Focus on people-first content. The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well. People-first content creators focus first on creating satisfying content, while also utilizing SEO best practices to bring searchers additional value.
  • Avoid creating content for search engines first. SEO is a helpful activity when it’s applied to people-first content. However, content created primarily for search engine traffic is strongly correlated with content that searchers find unsatisfying.

Are you concerned about how The Helpful Content Update will impact your website or blog?
Contact your local SEO agency today to help you make sure your content is ready for the update and help you create new content that is designed to meet Google’s criteria for helpfulness.


Emma Meech, Digital Marketing Executive