Updated: Jun 13
As you may know, Google stays on top of technology when it comes to updates. Google’s ultimate goal is always to help search engine users first. Updates and algorithm changes always come when new features and improvements happen on any social platform or search engine, so it’s important you keep up with them.
There is no doubt that Google is the leading search engine with 8.5 billion searches per day. With that many users searching on Google, you need to make sure you’re playing by Google’s rules if you want to rank high. Google is introducing a new helpful content update and it’s rolling out in the next few weeks, so you are going to want to read this!
What is the New Google Helpful Content Update
The new update is primarily focused on people-first content and higher-value content. What that means is that if you are producing content that is specifically aimed to increase ranking on Google search, you may be penalized or "hit." This content is usually referred to as “search-engine first content” and should be avoided in the future.
This update is happening because users are landing on web pages that are ranked high on Google but offer no value. In the past, SEO has always been strategic with keyword factors, alt tags, and links, but it seems like Google wants to focus on rewarding valuable content that actually helps its users.
How to Avoid Getting “Hit” by the New Update
There are a few things you should know before you get hit by the new update. Previously, the Google algorithm used to do a page-by-page analysis, but this new update will include a SITEWIDE scan. While the new helpful content update isn’t directed to any specific niche, Google did mention a few types of content that may be impacted the most, so pay close attention if you fall in these online categories! Some content that could be impacted are:
Online educational materials
Arts and Entertainment
Although there is no perfect solution to this new update yet, Google has created a list of questions to determine if you are building human-first content:
Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they've learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they've had a satisfying experience?
Google acknowledges that SEO is still a helpful activity, but only when applied to human-first content. When creating content try building with human-first content and then applying your SEO tactics. Google’s list of questions to ask yourself to avoid creating search-engine first content is the following:
Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you'd write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
Are you writing to a particular word count because you've heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No, we don't).
Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you'd get search traffic?
Does your content promise to answer a question that actually has no answer, such as suggesting there's a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn't confirmed?
How Will the Update Work and What Happens if You Get Hit
It's extremely important to pay attention to this because according to Google, the result is not good if you get hit. The update will work by using a site-wide signal. Google states,
“Our systems automatically identify content that seems to have little value, low-added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches”.
Basically, not only is it important to move forward with human-first content, but it is also important to REMOVE any search-engine-first content already on your site.
Everyone’s biggest concern is probably “what happens if I get hit”? Well, if your site gets hit by the signal, Google says it may take MONTHS to recover. The new update will run continuously, so it will monitor all existing sites and newly launched sites. This means, your site will be safe again when the unhelpful content has not returned for a long period. Overall, you will have to prove you are generating helpful content which takes a lot of time.
What Do I Do Now?
Your first steps in preparing for this update should be to review your website and remove any unhelpful content. This may be a frustrating task, but you’ll be thankful in the long run. Next, review your content strategy and make sure it aligns with the “human-first” approach. Remember, SEO isn’t just thrown out, BUT search-engine first content should not be your priority right now.
We hope this article helped inform you about what’s going to happen with the new Google update. We realize this can be a lot of information to take in. If you are struggling to try to check your website for valuable content, we can help! Reach out to 30|90 Marketing today to see what we can do for your current website content and also with your future content.