Google announced rolling out its Helpful Content Update in its official blog post. The update started rolling out on Aug 25, 2022, and will take 2 weeks to roll out fully. This update is part of a broader effort by Google to ensure that users see the best content possible in search results.
With this update, Google attempts to demote low-value content from search results. And the update is expected to be as big as Panda, which targeted low-quality content, and Penguin, which targeted webspam.
Google’s Official Announcement
On Aug 18, Google announced this new update and what to expect out of it.
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. Learn more & advice creators should consider: https://t.co/fgf2TPNIqD pic.twitter.com/xOuX2iVk2d
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) August 18, 2022
On Aug 25, the Google Search Ranking Updates page was modified to inform the rollout of this update. The Helpful Content Update will take two weeks for Google to fully roll out.
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) August 25, 2022
This update introduces a site-wide ranking signal which will be a part of many other signals Google considers for ranking pages in search results. Google’s AI system will continuously evaluate and identify pages that are not helpful and offers little value to the searchers.
This classifier works continuously, and unlike broad core updates and product review updates, this classifier does not require a periodic refresh. So if your site is affected by this update, it will take months for the demoting ranking signal to be reduced or lifted.
Does It Affect All Sites?
The update is said to affect sites that Google largely perceives as having low-quality or thin content. This generally happens when a site is created for the sole purpose of getting traffic from Google without providing any real value to users. If your site has a lot of low-quality or thin content, it’s likely that you’ll be affected by this update.
Not all sites will be affected, though. If you have a site with high-quality, informative content, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, better off, you could see a traffic boost from this update. Either way, it’s important to keep an eye on this update and see how it affects your website.
What Is People-First Content?
People-first content refers to articles that are put together primarily for searchers rather than for search engines. This means creating content that is original and helpful while also utilizing SEO best practices to ensure that your content is easily found by searchers.
Google’s guidelines go over creating people-first content to stay unaffected by this update. Creating people-first content can be a challenge, but it’s worth it if you want to see success with this update.
What Should I Do If My Traffic Decreases?
If you see a decrease in traffic after an algorithm update, it’s important to take a step back and assess your content. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help determine if your content is still relevant and engaging for your audience.
- Is the content still relevant to my audience’s needs?
- Has the content been updated to reflect any changes in my industry or niche?
- Is the tone and style of the content still appropriate for my audience?
- Is the content engaging and easy to read, or is it dry and difficult to get through?
If you can answer YES to all of these questions, then your content is likely still on track. However, if you’re unsure about any of them, it might be time to make some changes.
Updating your content regularly is an important part of maintaining a successful blog or website. By keeping your content fresh, you can ensure that it will continue to be relevant and engaging for your audience.
If you see a decrease in traffic after an algorithm update, don’t panic. Instead, take a look at your content and see if there are any areas that could be improved. Rank Math’s dedicated Analytics module can help you identify pages that are demoted with this ranking signal, and our Content AI can provide smart suggestions on what searchers are looking for with your targeted keyword.
Note: The Helpful Content update finished rolling out on Sep 9, 2022.