Google’s “Helpful Content Update” Algorithm Puts YOU First

On August 18th, Google announced it will roll out its “Helpful Content Update,” the latest algorithm update that aims to put people first. Content focused on helping people will boost rankings, while the update aims to scuff out poor-quality SEO content solely written for search engines.

Google is also introducing a new ranking signal focusing on rewarding high-quality content written by people for people.

Google’s News Release on the “Helpful Content Update”

Navigate this Update

When will Google’s newest algorithm rollout?

Google will announce on their Google Ranking Updates Page when the algorithm update is officially in effect. They said it will begin next week, or the week of August 21, 2022.

Bookmark Google’s tab so you can stay up to date! RiZen Metrics will also update this article as new information arises, so you can stay in the now.

How to avoid a drop in rankings with Google’s “Helpful Content Update.”

  1. If you have an existing audience of users that visit your site and find your content helpful.

  2. You are an expert in your field or have first-hand expertise on the subject matter.

  3. You have a niche site focusing on helpful content for a specific topic.

  4. When someone reads your content, they say, “I just learned something new.”

  5. Your site is mindful of core updates and follows Google’s webmaster guidelines.

What does the “Helpful Content Update” mean for SEO?

Google specifically noted that

“Our advice about having a people-first approach does not invalidate following SEO best practices, such as those covered in Google’s own SEO guide. 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,”

but then provided a list of ways to incorporate white-hat SEO into your website practices to continue appeasing search engines while putting users first.

  • Content for PEOPLE, not SEARCH ENGINES

  • Avoid introducing topics just to boost rankings.

  • Avoid using artificial intelligence (AI) written content

  • Add VALUE, don’t just summarize

  • Don’t just write about a topic because it’s trending

    • Think, would you write about it otherwise?

  • Make your content a one-stop-shop

    • Don’t let readers feel like they must continue searching to find the information they need.

  • Don’t write at a specific word count (i.e., 1,200+ words) just because you heard “Google has a word count limit for ranking.”

  • Only write if you have the expertise or appropriate knowledge on the topic.

  • Avoid clickbaity titles

How will Google’s “Helpful Content Update” Work?

Google will begin its update with site-wide algorithmic changes. This means that your entire site will be affected, not just your rankings/individual pages. Their system will “flag” content that isn’t considered helpful to users on the particular topic, is ai-generated, or is written only for search engines.

Humans will not have any effect on rankings. This update is algorithmic only. It is entirely automated and is not considered a manual penalty.

Google’s Suggestion: Remove unhelpful website content before the update rolls out 

Sites affected by this update will continue to notice changes in rankings over a period of months, meaning that this update is extremely extensive and will not happen overnight. Google says if you do remove unhelpful content, it can still take months to regain traffic.

For right now, this update only affects ENGLISH websites. 

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