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Google's Helpful Content Update is Now Live Globally

Big news from Google this week: their Helpful Content Update was rolled out globally on December 5th. Originally pushed back in August, the intent of this update is to reward content created to "help or inform people" over content created solely with SEO in mind. Now that the update's roll out has officially begun, we wanted to highlight a few potential implications for your SEO...

Unexpected Search Ranking Fluctuation

Algorithm updates like this can take a couple of weeks to fully roll out, but sites may experience ranking fluctuation until it's complete. It might be a good idea to examine some target keywords in the coming weeks/months to see if your site pages have been affected by the update. 

Difficulty Recovering Lost SEO Rankings

Websites hit by this update are going to have a hard time recovering as they will need to re-tailor impacted content to be more valuable to users, not just for SEO-purposes. Google recommends focusing on people-first content, which they define as content which "aims to better reward content where visitors feel they've had a satisfying experience." Conversely, content that doesn't meet a visitor's expectations won't rank as well. 

It's important to note that this people-first approach does not invalidate following existing SEO best practices, such as the ones covered in Google's own SEO guide. However, it is a good time to examine your content strategies and make sure you're in line with the updates. This means asking some of the following questions...

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for the content you're creating?
  • Does the content demonstrate first-hand expertise coming from a place of having actually used a product or service?
  • Will someone leave feeling they've learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal after reading your content?
  • Will readers leave feeling like they've had a satisfying experience?

It's a lot to think about and it might be helpful to review this Google blog to learn more about what to do (and what not to do) when writing content and planning SEO marketing strategies. The blog also takes a deeper dive into how the update works to identify content with little value to no value.

Preparing For Ongoing Updates

One thing is for sure, Google is constantly working to improve their algorithm to make it less cluttered and more seamless for users. They will continue to make more algorithm changes related to content, further stressing the importance of quality content that answers questions and provides real value to searchers.

If you're looking for thought partnership on how to optimize your content for Google's ever-evolving algorithm, contact Marcel Digital! Our SEO experts know the ins and outs of Google's SEO best practices and can also help your organization implement them as part of a larger strategy.  

  • SEO

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About the author

Joe Stoffel

Joe knows what it takes to drive SEO results. He is an experienced SEO specialist who currently leads the SEO department and strategy at Marcel Digital.