New Google Algorithm change – September

Google Helpful Content Update

Google’s update prioritises and promotes websites that produce helpful content for search engines and users.

Google is about to implement a massive change to its search ranking algorithm that could end up being one of its biggest updates in over ten years.

Named the “helpful content” update, this is a new and significant modification to Google’s search algorithm and is about to be rolled out by September.

The upgrade for helpful content will target websites with unsatisfactory or unhelpful information written for search engines rather than people.

According to Google, this modification will shortly begin rolling out. It may significantly affect the search results and SEO Rankings of websites. How will your keywords and website fair – read on.

What is the “helpful content” update from Google?

The “helpful content” update from Google aims to target “material that seems to have been written purely for search engine rankings rather than to aid or inform people.”  This will also affect websites with low or no content.

According to Google, the goal of this algorithm update 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 to rank well in search engines, has been used frequently recently and is a prevalent issue on social media.

In other words, users are dissatisfied when they arrive at unhelpful websites that rank highly on search engines because their content is keyword stuffed but does not contain the users’ search intent.

With its new algorithm, Google hopes to elevate the rank of human designed websites and content while degrading the websites whose content provides the least value.

Google describes it as an “ongoing effort to minimise low-quality content and make it simpler to access content that feels real and useful in search.”

When will the helpful content update from Google roll out?

Next week, the update will begin to roll out. According to Google, the full rollout of the helpful content upgrade might take up to two weeks (estimated to be completed by the end of September latest).

When it launches and the rollout is complete, Google will also announce this on their website and social media.

What types of content will be affected by the helpful content update?

Google stated that the following content types might be most affected, even if these algorithms do not particularly target any special niche:

  • Online learning resources
  • Entertainment and arts
  • Shopping
  • Tech-related
  • Low or no content websites

This is because the information in such areas has historically been written with search engines in mind more so than humans.

According to Google’s analysis, those areas may be more affected than other areas by this Google helpful content upgrade.

It’s a sitewide algorithm update.

Unlike many past Google algorithm changes affecting individual pages, this new algorithm update will be implemented across the entire website.

Google won’t specify exactly what proportion of your site’s pages must be useful compared to unhelpful to activate this classifier. So if you have useful pages but a sizable portion of your information is useless, this upgrade will affect 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 creating useful content

To create material rewarded by the helpful content update, Google has supplied a list of questions you should ask yourself about your content.

  • 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 clearly 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 primary goal or focus for your website?
  • Will a reader feel they have learned 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 instead of being created with humans in mind?
  • Are you creating tons 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 various topics?
  • Are you primarily summarising other people’s arguments without really adding anything?
  • Are you blogging about topics merely because they appear 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?
  • Did you write on a specialised subject for which you had no true knowledge, primarily hoping to attract search traffic?
  • Does your content claim to provide an answer to a query that is truly unanswered, for example, by implying a release date for a good movie or TV show when none has been officially announced?

The recovery process can take months.

According to Google, this algorithm will operate automatically. The classifiers or SEO scores and rankings will constantly be updated.

The kicker here is that if your site is deemed ‘unhelpful’, it may take several months to recover as it will need to ‘prove’ to google over time that the website is publishing longer to rank in search engines or have content that is search engine first. Therefore it appears that sites will have to go through some 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 goal posts on its algorithm, modifying today is unlikely to impact Google’s results immediately.

Google states: “Sites designated by this update may experience the signal over many 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.

Machine Learning.

Google uses a new machine learning technique to assess and recognise potentially inappropriate or unhelpful content. Between the automated machine learning advancements and Google engineers continuously fine-tuning and enhancing the overall algorithms, the end goal is algorithms should get stronger over time (although it’s pretty volatile if you are in Digital Marketing)!

According to Google, the helpful content update considers several signals related to the page and the site when determining a page’s ranking. As you may expect, Google did not provide details regarding the exact signals.

Search only at the moment

Google informed us that, at this time, this upgrade solely affects Google search. Although Google may consider adding more goods (e.g. Google My Business) in the upcoming months.

Bottom Line

SEOs will probably look back on Google’s helpful content update (like other previous algorithm updates) as a key one that sparked a shift in the guidance Digital Marketers give clients when creating content.

The extent to which this upgrade may affect Google’s search results on your site 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.

If in doubt, give Dezign Digital a call, as there is no doubt we will have some major winners and some websites dropping rank significantly. Remember, these days; content is king. Your strategy needs to be doing better than your competitors.