Putting Helpful Content First: Could Google’s Latest Update Effect Your Site’s SEO?

Sep 14, 2022 | Content, Marketing, SEO

Have you heard about Google’s helpful content algorithm update?

Google completed the roll out of its latest core algorithm update in September 2022, and it is already making waves across the marketing world.

The September update confirmed what many marketers have long suspected, that quality over quantity is usually the best solution. The ‘helpful content update’ means that Google will now be more likely to rank content that provides value to the visitor and is not just content for the sake of content.


The key takeaways from Google’s helpful content update

The key takeaway is focus your content creation on helpful, unique information. Don’t focus on length, as quality over quantity will get you better outcomes. Consider overall reader experience, and become an expert in your niche.


Why are we seeing this update now?

This shift in mentality from search engine and keyword optimised assembly-line content to ‘home grown’ relevant, useful, and helpful content is reflected in all areas of the internet. The soaring popularity of TikTok and BeReal emphasis user’s growing demand for face-to-face, personable, and authentic voices that contrast the perfectly polished influencer era of the 2010s.


What should I be doing differently?

Luckily for people-first content creators (like us!), your techniques and methods will not need to be adjusted too much. If you’re already making satisfying, helpful content in your niche then you are already on the right track. Google’s latest update advises to avoid creating content with search engines in mind, and instead focus on what your audience wants to consume.

This doesn’t mean that SEO is dead or irrelevant, but the days of unnecessary SEO stuffing and keyword cramming are most definitely behind us.


Will Google’s latest update effect my site’s ranking?

If you stay up to date with the latest guidance and use good SEO practices across the board, you shouldn’t necessarily see any changes to your site’s overall ranking. In fact, if you are producing relevant, unique, and helpful content on a regular basis you may even see your SEO improve. As with everything Google, they have not provided an exact break down of what ‘helpful content’ consists of, but luckily you can view some key indicators of what they consider ‘people first content’ on Google Search Central.

Here are some tips we have put together on how you can create content with this latest update in mind!


1. Google uses multiple signals to rank content

When creating content for your audience and for the Google gods, consider the many signal types that Google will use to judge your content, not just the ‘helpful content signal’. Make sure to stay up to date with all of Google’s core updates, as well as key advice for product review pages.


2. Stick to one topic and don’t follow trends

Avoid producing irrelevant content on trending topics for the sake of virality. If an accountancy firm suddenly started posting content about DIY make-up hacks an audience would notice it was out of place. Google will now correlate this with unsatisfying and unhelpful content which could cause a site to perform badly in Search Results. It is now more important than ever to understand your audience and stick to content that they will find useful.


3. It’s not the content length it’s what you do with it

Historically, longer pillar content has been the go-to for content marketers to allow for search-focused optimisation. In recent years Google’s ‘featured snippets’ results have had significant developments making it easier than ever for visitors to get accurate, concise answers to search queries. This is representative of the trend towards ‘substantial, complete or comprehensive’ content that provides a specific answer with a primary focus. Naturally this doesn’t mean you have to write an essay every time you respond to a niche search term. Answer using your expertise and leave your site visitor feeling like they have learned enough to achieve their search goal.


4. Consider the overall reader experience

Images, photos, videos, and infographics can elevate your content to beat out a competitor in the search results. A quick, visual answer to a search query is a great way to leave your audience feeling satisfied with their answer without reading through paragraphs of information. Don’t leave them looking for more; if a visual response is contextually relevant (for example, a product demonstration or a first-hand review) then use all the creative tools at your disposal. In addition, make sure to structure your content in a readable way using appropriate headers, font sizes, and text colour.


5. Some questions don’t have an answer

Avoid making promises you can’t keep. Flashy, click-bait headings that offer unbelievable results or provide answers to unanswerable questions may be penalised by this latest Google update. For example, don’t suggest the release date for a movie that hasn’t been confirmed, or the price of a product that hasn’t been made yet! Stick to your area of expertise and share what you know.

Our final thoughts on helpful content

Google’s ‘helpful content’ update reflects a world moving away from content for the sake of content and towards content that provides real value to the visitor. Standard SEO techniques are still an essential tool for any marketer, if they are applied as part of a people-first approach.

Will you be changing how you approach your content marketing after this latest update? If you’re looking for more advice and guidance Example Marketing & Web Design work with businesses across Norfolk and the UK to deliver SEO and content marketing that works.


Contact us to see how we can work with your brand to construct a tailored marketing strategy and grow your business!

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