Helpful stuff

‍Use These Checklists to Navigate Google's Helpful Content Update and Improve Your SEO Game‍

November 26, 2022

Google Helpful Content Update

We've summarised the latest Google 'Helpful Content' update and are sharing a few useful checklists to ace your SEO game

Google has launched more than 5,150 updates in 2021 alone. Those are a lot of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) updates to keep track of. Google’s SEO updates are tweaks or structural changes designed to improve the quality and relevance of search results. 

Regardless of whether the tune-ups are big or small, each one is created for a better user experience, so that people can find relevant and high-quality information when they need it. That being said, let’s understand the latest update.

Good content is just one ranking factor for SEO, but it’s an important one. [Image source

What's the Helpful Content Update About?

“This ranking update will help make sure that unoriginal, low-quality content doesn’t rank highly in Search, and our testing has found it will especially improve results related to online education, as well as arts and entertainment, shopping, and tech-related content”

- From Google’s blog post

The idea behind this update is to promote people-friendly content rather than search-engine-friendly content. That is why posts that are original, comprehensive, and accessible will rank better for audiences. Ultimately, visitors need to have a satisfying experience without being clickbaited. User experience is at the forefront of the update, and here are some of the changes that were rolled out.

When Did the Update Rollout And What Were the Specific Changes?

The update began on 25th August 2022 and took 15 days to complete, ending on 9th September 2022. Here are the specifics:

  1. A new site-wide signal to rank web pages by identifying content that has low value or is unhelpful.
  2. The signal is weighted, meaning sites with lots of unhelpful content will be affected more and might experience a drop in ranking.
  3. The helpful content update is an entirely automated process.
  4. The update is currently focused on English content. They plan to expand to other languages shortly.
  5. The guidelines evaluate page quality based on the EAT acronym which is explained below.

EAT refers to:

  • Expertise of the creator.
  • Authoritativeness of the creator, content, and website.
  • Trustworthiness of the creator, content, and website.

Here is an example of a video created by Amrit Vatsa from CoreVoice about IIT Madras. The video followed EAT principles since Amrit is an alumnus of IIT and provided factual and easily verifiable information and data.

Since EAT focuses on creators and content, here are some of the types of sites and content creators who might be impacted most by Google’s update.

Which Creators Does The Content Update Impact Most?

Let’s get this straight: Google’s algorithm does not target a specific niche. But, certain creators might experience the effect more in niches such as education, entertainment, art, shopping, or tech. This might be because in general, content written for such sites has been search-engine-focused rather than tailored for readers. Here are some steps to create more useful content.

How Can You Make More Helpful Content?

User Experience is Key

Google wants to reduce how much automated or AI-generated posts show up on the results page. The ultimate goal is for readers and customers to have a fulfilling experience on your site. Here is a checklist you can follow to create the best user experience. Ask yourself these questions for each article:

  1. The purpose of my article is clear.
  2. The content contains first-hand information or experience.
  3. The piece has in-depth information.
  4. My existing audience will find the content useful.
  5. New audience will find the article useful.
  6. Readers will get sufficient knowledge without having to check other websites.
  7. Readers will feel satisfied at the end of the article.

Don't Just Create for Search Engines

SEO and keywords are important but they work best when used in people-first content. If you are worried about your website attracting more bots than people, use this checklist while designing your content strategy:

  1. I create content that adds value without being generic.
  2. My content meets the needs of my audience. 
  3. I do not blindly chase trends or churn out generic content.

Avoid a Content Dump

Content creators want to scale content quickly and increase their indexable assets. This creates more opportunities for organic traffic and ultimately conversions. Rather than creating many topics with low value, you need to create valuable content. See how many of these statements apply to your content strategy (yes, another checklist):

  1. I publish content that provides original and factual information on different topics.
  2. My website has insightful analysis and interesting interpretations that go above and beyond generic information.
  3. My articles provide comprehensive descriptions of different subjects.
  4. The content on my website follows strict quality guidelines - and is quality checked for the same.
  5. No one will call my website content as mass-produced.

Clickbait Will Lead To Click-off

Clickbait content might draw in a lot of traffic to websites but it ultimately leads to users feeling unsatisfied and seeking information elsewhere. This are a few points to help you gauge if your content is meeting Google’s latest update standards:

  1. Ensure that the heading or title of pages are descriptive and are useful summaries of the content.
  2. Write the heading or title of pages such that they are not misleading or an exaggeration in any way.
  3. Edit and proof-read such that there are no easily-verifiable errors, misspellings, or (partially/completely) false information.

Get To Know Your Audience

Google wants site owners to understand their audience and create content that has depth, meaning, and purpose. That’s why there needs to be a shift from rank-focused to person-focused content. Many companies and creators find it tough to understand their audience and by extension they are not creating coherent content.

When you are creating new content for your site, this is a checklist for your article:

  1. My article provides substantial value when compared to other SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page) results.
  2. People will want to share or bookmark my article.
  3. The post provide information that is trustworthy or factual.
  4. The article has a strong audience fit - it is what my audience wants to read.

At CoreVoice, we look at content the same way and strongly believe in the power of storytelling when it comes to branding, marketing, or growth strategies. Here’s a bit about us.

What Do We Do at CoreVoice and Who Are We?

This is CoreVoice. [Source: @amritvatsa on Twitter]

CoreVoice is a marketing and brand strategy consultancy for tech startups. We have our own content studio. We strategise, and execute - read more about our services.

We offer a variety of services - org alignment, brand strategy, brand identity, web design, digital marketing, content marketing - to clients such as IIT Madras, Chargebee, Setu, Avaana, B2Brain, and more.

CoreVoice is founded and led by Amrit and Amrut - read more about the team.

Now that you understand a bit more about Google’s helpful content update, start creating content that matters. Don’t know where to begin? Get in touch with us.