Google is rolling out a new algorithm update next week, designed to devalue content written specifically for search engine rankings.
Called the ‘helpful content’ update, its aim is to ensure users receive a satisfying experience when searching and better connect people to helpful information.
The golden rule of SEO – write for the person first, Google second – isn’t always followed, so Google is taking steps to ensure content written by people, for people is more highly valued.
Google ‘Helpful Content’ Update
Yesterday, Google published the following announcement on Twitter:
“Next week, we will launch the “helpful content update” to better ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, rather than content made primarily for search engine traffic.”
The update is Google’s latest initiative in combatting unhelpful, dissatisfying content written by AI. Previous updates such as EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and ‘Your Money Your Life’ (YMYL) were all about valuing content written by experts that demonstrated authority, expertise and trust.
This goes hand in hand with next week’s update where people-first content is rewarded.
How The Google Helpful Content Update Works
Beginning next week, Google’s helpful content algorithm update will begin rolling out and their systems will automatically identify low-value or unhelpful content.
With the systems running continuously, it may result in sites being penalised for many months at a time until the algorithm has determined the unhelpful content has not returned.
Unlike earlier updates, this one applies across entire websites as opposed to targeting specific pages or types of content.
This means a piece of content deemed helpful still has the potential to rank well, even if it’s found on a site of predominately unhelpful content.
It’s anticipated this update will particularly affect websites in the education, entertainment, shopping and tech industries, and will only affect English websites, to begin with.
Remove Unhelpful Content To Avoid Being Penalised
It’s important to begin revaluating the content on your site, and perhaps begin the process of removing certain types of content such as:
- Unoriginal content that doesn’t offer any value
- Content that has been written using excessive automation (AI)
- Spammy content written specifically for SEO instead of humans
- Unclear or unhelpful information that doesn’t answer a user’s query
- Incorrect content written simply for rankings, rather than to expertly inform
According to Google, once your website has been affected by the helpful content update, you may find your rankings affected for a number of months.
This is because the update is automated, and therefore it won’t be corrected (even if you remove your unhelpful content) until the algorithm has determined the bad content hasn’t returned.
Stay tuned for more Google algorithm updates as they become available, and if you’re concerned about your business’s rankings get in touch with us. As an SEO agency, we help businesses improve their search engine rankings through Google best practice white-hat on-site, off-site, and technical SEO. Our SEO copywriters write your website’s content to help inform Google, and the world, about what you do while solidifying your brand’s voice and recognition.