Google has confirmed that the helpful content update is now finished rolling out. The update took 15 days to roll out, starting on August 25, 2022 and ending on September 9, 2022. Google has posted it completed today, September 9th.
As a reminder, Google’s helpful content update is a sitewide signal. It targets websites that have a relatively high amount of unsatisfying or unhelpful content, where the content is written for search engines first.
In short, did you write that piece of content to rank on Google or did you write it to help users?
What to do if you are hit. Google has provided a list of questions you can ask yourself about your content. Read through those questions as we posted over here, and in an unbiased manner, ask yourself if your content is in sync with this update.
Note, if you were hit by this update, it can take several months to recover, if you do everything right and make changes to your content over time.
More on the helpful content update. The new helpful content update specifically targets “content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people,” Google said. This update aims at helping searchers find “high-quality content.”
Google wants to reward better and more useful content that was written for humans and to help users.
Content written for the purpose of ranking in search engines, maybe called search engine first content, has been a topic coming up more and more across social media and other areas. In short, searchers are getting frustrated with landing on web pages that do not help them but rank well in search because they were designed to rank well.
This algorithm aims to downgrade those types of websites while promoting more helpful websites, designed for humans, above search engines.
Google said this is an “ongoing effort to reduce low-quality content and make it easier to find content that feels authentic and useful in Search.” This targets content written for search engines over human-first content.
Impact. This update did not feel tremendously widespread but Google did say it was a big update but did not cause a huge shakeup. We did not see widespread volatility until this morning, and it is hard to say if those fluctuations were related to this update or not.
Google discussed the helpful content update just a few days before launching it, which was hardly enough time to address potential sitewide content issues. Overall, SEOs weren’t overly concerned about the helpful content update.
Why we care. If you notice any ranking and visibility changes in Google search over the past two weeks or so, especially if those were big changes, you can likely attribute it to this update. Read Google’s advice, make the necessary changes, and hope for a recovery in the upcoming months.
We hope you all benefited from this update and if not, we hope you recover quickly.
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