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What Does Google’s Helpful Content Update Mean for SEO?

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Google, master of the universe, has announced that a new update is in the works that will have an effect on how SEO works.

This is nothing new. The people at Google love refining their algorithm so that their search engine offers the best service possible for its users.

But exactly how will this update (helpfully titled the Helpful Content update) affect your search engine rankings and how our SEO department do their job here at Blaze Media? Here’s all that we know for now.

Changes to on-page SEO

Right now, the only data that we have to go off is what Google has provided us with in its Google Search Central Blog article.

This information includes rewarding sites for creating ‘helpful content’ (duh!) that visitors to their site will be satisfied with. The long story short is that Google is launching an update that will better determine what content is helpful and what content is not.

What type of content does Google define as helpful? Content that is not too long or too short for its subject matter, content that comes from someone with legitimate first-hand experience in what they are saying, and content from sites that follow all of Google’s other instructions are just some examples.

And just as the update is aiming to reward sites that publish genuinely helpful content, the update will also punish sites that are publishing unhelpful content. This includes content that goes against Google’s guidelines, content that is plagiarised, and content that is manufactured to manipulate search engines rather than help the visitors to your site who are reading it.

The long story short is that Google is launching an update that will better determine what content is helpful and what content is not.

Google’s algorithm will automatically scan your content when performing crawls, and if it finds that your content is not up to scratch where value or helpfulness are concerned then you may find that your performance in SERPs (search engine results pages) drops. This will be weighted, with sites that have lots of unhelpful content being punished more than other sites that are largely filled with helpful content.

This is all quite broad information, which is to be expected because Google likes to hold cards quite close to their chest where their algorithm is concerned, and pretty much echoes what Google has said about content in the past.

As time goes on and the update’s consequences become more prevalent, SEOs will be able to run experiments and figure out precisely what has changed and what the implications of the Helpful Content update are.


Why are these changes being made?

The developers at Google want their algorithm to be as scrupulous as possible. They want Google to be able to return accurate, helpful content to users asking questions on their search engine, and to do this they release updates both big and small throughout the year.

If all of the information in the world just came from encyclopaedias, their task would likely be a lot easier! But unfortunately, the world is not full of just encyclopaedias. The world is up for debate, information is subject to dispute, and you should always think twice before believing what you read on the internet (apart from what we write in our blogs obvs).

And there are some SEOs (not us, we hasten to add) and other individuals who upload content with the sole aim of pandering to the Google algorithm so that their content gets favoured, even if it is not helpful – or even truthful.

So, the people at Google have to work really hard to make sure that their algorithm can detect when people are uploading helpful content that will add value to their users. This work will need to be performed in perpetuity, if it wasn’t then webmasters would be able to manipulate Google and increase the traffic to their site despite the content on it not being worthy.


When will the Helpful Content update rollout?

This update is set to begin rolling out the week commencing 22nd August. The process will likely be slow, with more and more search results being updated every month.

Also, it’s important to know that currently this update will only affect English search queries, although there will likely be updates to follow in the future that cover other languages.

Blaze Media SEO in Liverpool

At Blaze, we like to follow the rules!

Other rogue SEOs out there may be shaking in their boots when they read the update notes – but not us!

We make sure to follow Google’s guidelines when creating content for our clients and have seen some excellent results in the past.

To this end, our Liverpool based SEO team will continue to create content that satisfies both your customers and Google, to help you be as successful as possible.

Want to know more? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!

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