August 22 2022


Google’s Helpful Content Update Rolls Out

A big announcement by Google was recently announced: the “Helpful Content Update” will begin rolling out this week and is expected to take about two weeks to complete. The purpose of this update is to identify and downgrade content/websites that are deemed “unhelpful” to the user and are written purely for SEO purposes while promoting more “helpful” and “authentic” websites across the search landscape. 

What is Helpful Content?  

Google states that helpful content is content that is “focused on people-first content.” Per the update, content creators should be able to definitively answer “yes” to the following questions.

  • 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?
  • Are you keeping in mind [Google’s] guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

At TopSpot, we ensure the original content we create for our Clients is in line with their goals. This means we don’t create content just to rank but to ensure a relevant and smooth user experience for their potential customers.

What is Considered Unhelpful Content?  

Unhelpful content is defined as “search engine-first” or “SEO first” content, aka content that is written for the sole purpose of ranking in search engines. Google provided the questions below as a warning sign to reevaluate your content creation process if you answer “yes” to some or all of the questions. TopSpot’s response is included.

  • 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 to be 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?
  • 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?

TopSpot’s B-SMART Method® is centered on driving relevant traffic to our Client’s site that will ultimately generate relevant leads. We have never created content based solely for the purposes of SEO, to reach an assumed word count, and we never use content automation. We know the best user experience is one that satisfies the user’s questions so our content is designed for the human user not for the search engine.

What Else Do We Know About the Upcoming Update? 

This is a sitewide algorithm update, meaning that it will not impact only certain pages or sections of your website if you have content deemed to be unhelpful. Google will be determining an undisclosed percentage as it relates to the “helpful” versus “unhelpful” content on a website. Depending on the threshold, if your site is considered to have too much “unhelpful” content, your site as a whole will be impacted by this update.  

Who is Expected to be Impacted by this Update? 

They are expecting the types of content below to be impacted the most due to the large volume that currently exists:

  • Online educational materials 
  • Arts/Entertainment 
  • Shopping 
  • Tech-related 

NOTE: This is not exclusively limited to the types above. All industries and content types are subject to this update.  

What Does This Mean for Me? 

Since this update proves that our approach to content is what Google is looking for, we are not anticipating large downward trends in most Client rankings. If you haven’t updated your content in a while, this would be the time to get with your Team to discuss doing so.

Have questions for your Team? Let us know!

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