Understanding the Google “Helpful Content Update”
GOOD TO KNOW IN SEO
On August 19th Google announced a new big search ranking algorithm update named the “Helpful Content Update” (yes, Google named it that) and on the 25th they officially started rolling it out. A big algorithm update like this will likely take 2 weeks to fully roll out. Their goal is to remove content from the search results that was written for the purpose of ranking in search engines but that does not actually help or inform people. The update will “help make sure that unoriginal, low-quality content doesn’t rank highly in Search,” Google added. Um, shouldn’t they have already been focused on ranking helpful, useful and authentic content?
Luckily, we already understand the value in creating content for humans, not engines, and therefore our strategies and websites will likely not be impacted. Also, a lot of people are calling this a core update, it is not. It is an update to a previous core algorithm update, Google Panda, according to Barry Schwartz of SEO Roundtable.
If you are hit, you will need to look at your content and address any outdated, duplicate, spammy or otherwise low quality content. Which, ahem, you should be doing anyways!
Developing a Ranking Content Strategy
So, what defines quality content anyways? Seems easy enough to understand, right? Quality is unique, helpful, maybe even notable? But, what you see when you currently Google most broad topics is a smattering of the same media companies, am I right? It’s as though Google decided that it was fine for the companies with the most money to invest into content development to win every time, despite the fact that most of the articles are written by marketers and are literally just regurgitated versions of the other top ranking articles on the subject.
If this “Helpful Content Update” intends to address that, I am here for it. Yes, we write articles for our clients. However, we work hard to aim for a unique point of view, offer something new to the web and not just rehash information you can find on Wikipedia. However, it can be hard to come up with fresh ideas and still keep up with the volume Google requires to become and remain a ranking authority site.
That said, there are some cool things you can do to stand out.
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Show personality
- Provide a unique point of view
- Subject matter expert reviews
- Quotes from relevant authority experts
- Marked up, structured data
- Custom photos, graphics and video
- Original research and data
- Thoughtful analysis
- Case studies
- Real-world stories or examples
- Relevant product suggestions
- Provide a challenge or action item
- Include a thought provoking question to ponder
- Offer a deal or freebie
- Create an audio version
Look, no one (including now too Google, apparently) cares if you’re an expert at creating another version of what already exists on the internet.
What web users demand is interesting and helpful content from brands they trust. It is not enough to “be good” you have to offer something totally unique, AND, look cool while doing it.
How Eminent SEO Helps the Helpers
Most of our clients are in the service space in some way. We feel privileged to help behavioral health experts, doctors, therapists, lawyers, consultants and other experts share their work online. This algorithm update offers an exciting opportunity to focus on YOUR unique perspective. It’s time to not only highlight your expertise in your industry, but share your personal point of view – the heart of who you are and what your brand stands for.
The team over here at Eminent SEO can work with you to transform your unique thoughts and educational content into the format that is right for your audience… and Google too, of course.
FROM OUR BLOG
Want to take a deeper dive and improve your website content and rankings? Check out:
I started doing SEO back in 2005 when people were still trying to figure out how to define what search engine optimization means. Of course, most people today still don’t really understand the Google algorithm.
People don’t like being advertised to, and most can sniff out a promotional article from infinite (cyber) miles away. How is it possible, then, to write a blog post or article that ranks well, but does not come off as salesy?
No one ever says, “I wish my website would run slower and register lower in search engine rankings.” If you aren’t keeping up with the latest trends and changes in search engine optimization, those negative outcomes will follow.
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