Google’s Helpful Content Update changed the landscape for SEO professionals and enthusiasts with one of the most significant updates to the algorithm we’ve seen in years. Google announced it’s rolling out the Helpful Content Update in an official blog post on the 18th of August 2022, as part of a broader effort to ensure users see the best possible content in search results.
The Official Announcement
Google Search Central tweeted the announcement on August 18th, 2022.
The update introduced a new site-wide ranking signal that will be a part of other signals Google factors in for ranking pages in search results. Google’s all knowing AI system continuously evaluates and identifies pages that don’t add value to the searchers. While this changes the landscape for the most efficient SEO strategies, for the most part, this update actually works in favour of many small businesses.
Google Search Update Timeline (Sept 2022 – March 2023)
What Sites Have Been Affected?
The update is known to have its biggest impact on websites that are perceived as having low quality content that lacks real life substance. Anyone who’s managed SEO would know the pains of trying to gain traction against companies with large budgets, often running into position wars for pages that seemingly have almost next to no relevance to the product or service you are trying to promote. Paid backlink engines, authority boosting in-links from reputable domains, not to mention super robotic keyword placement that melt the reader’s brain. How long would Google allow this to be the key to what users find when searching for a product? Why, hello there, ‘People First Content’.
People First Content
Google refers people first content to blogs & articles that are built primarily for searchers, rather than search engines. This has the most significant impact on people using the ‘Spam keyword loaded articles’ approach to pumping traffic. So how do we take advantage of these changes? Great question, friend. The answer is actually quite simple: keep creating original, relevant to the top, and most importantly helpful content that adds value to the user’s visit.
Google outlines the particulars in it’s ‘More content by people, for people in Search‘ article that helps you to stay unaffected by the update. It’s more an overview than a guide, but it’s very clear in intent.