Google’s Helpful Content Update: Content For People Not SEO


Google’s recent change to its search ranking algorithm may prove be one of the most significant changes in over a decade.

Google keeps things fresh with new updates regularly. These updates provide companies like ours with indexing status, search queries, crawl errors, and optimizing visibility updates to help us improve the websites and SEO Strategies for our clients.

Most of the time these updates are followed and used by webmasters and SEO experts, but these updates are no secret. Anyone can have access and keep updated.

You can see these updates yourself and keep track of what is going on by visiting the Google Search Central Blog. Their blog provides updates monthly and has an archive that goes back to 2005.

Most times we just follow these updates and actively apply the new knowledge to how we create websites and improve the SEO of our clients.

Google’s helpful content update

However, the most recent update August 18th, 2022, “What creators should know about Google’s helpful content update“, is an update that we know could serve our clients in better understanding their website and SEO.

Over the last years, Google has changed the algorithm and code updates to reflect content that is quality and content-rich. Rich content is content that has value and provides quality to your users.

In the past, sites that had a ton of content and a lot of pages ranked well, but now, people have poorly used this by creating tons of pages with little to no value and sometimes even regurgitating duplicate content. Google caught on and changed the landscape.


Use E.A.T to up your game

Many updates ago, the E.A.T formula was brought back in full swing and is through to be one of the most important ranking factors of a good website.

Google’s E-A-T acronym means they favor content that has expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

Google wants to ensure that it returns accurate, truthful, helpful information to those using its search engine. Anyone can create a website and publish whatever they want on it, which means a lot of people say they are experts and are not.

For example, you don’t have to be a doctor to start a site with medical information and can out out false and inaccurate content. Google aims to ensure that the sites they rank the highest are sites that are filled as much trustworthy information possible. Google does not only take into consideration the individual creator of website’s page content, but the content itself and the website as a whole entity.

For example, Google would favor a thorough medical article written by an experienced and licensed doctor at the Cleveland Clinic over a random blog post by someone posting medical information that is just opinion and not fact or science based.

This newest update in August takes this a step further and hits home the importance of helpful quality content that is written for people not for SEO.

Quality vs technical value content

In this update, it looks like Google is moving to award those with a more human approach.

if a company is writing content and just ticking off all the boxes to make sure it is SEO rich but not taking into consideration the user experience – they will be left behind in this update.

According to Google:

“Google Search is always working to better connect people to helpful information. To this end, we’re launching what we’re calling the “helpful content update” that’s part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”

Currently, these changes are only effecting English sites, but will move into other languages over time.

How does this update affect my website?

Just like every other update, your website and ranking are always affected. The algorithm changes and updates never stop.

To know how your site will be affected, consider the type of content that you have on your site. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Does your site have quality content?
  • Do all the pages on your website have an important reason to be there?
  • Do you have any duplicate content?
  • Are you posting blogs or content just to get your site ranking?
  • What value are you providing visitors?
  • Are you following E.A.T?

There are also some more in-depth questions on the “What creators should know about Google’s helpful content update” latest update page.

Google will use machine learning

Google also announced that it will be using machine learning which is a new signal they will use when crawling pages to evaluating helpful content. They make it clear that it is not a manual action nor a spam action.

Google also states:

“This means that some people-first content on sites classified as having unhelpful content could still rank well, if there are other signals identifying that people-first content as helpful and relevant to a query. The signal is also weighted; sites with lots of unhelpful content may notice a stronger effect. In any case, for the best success, be sure you’ve removed unhelpful content and also are following all our guidelines.”

My website does not follow these guidelines. What can I do to recover and improve my ranking?

If you answered “no to any of the questions we posed above or the ones presented on the Google Search Central Blog, then it is time to fix them asap.

Understand that fixing them today or even this week will not reflect right away. When Google crawls and indexes sites, it can take quite some time to start ranking again if you had been penalized or lost because you were not following the guidelines.

Just know it takes time, does the good work, and be patient. It will all come back around. Also, keep up with those updates, and learn what is important to create quality content that ranks not only locally but even nationally.

Who can help me with these changes?

These changes will greatly effect the SEO landscape, ranking and how SEO strategies are done in the future for the long haul.

Google did say it could take a website months to recover if the website is not doing the right things, so it’s best to get started now.

Also, if it feels too overwhelming, you can always hire an SEO expert. Make sure if you do that they are true professionals. We are Certified SEMRush’s Agency Partner and off SEO Services, but you can also find other companies that do great work in your area on SEMRush’s Agency Partner list.

SEO partners can be local, regional, and even national. SEO can be found online easily – so the pond is just a lot bigger for who could help you navigate these Google changes.

If you still have questions, you can reach out to us or Google has offered to answer questions on their Twitter and Search Central Forums.

SEO is hard and google’s updates are hard to keep up with, but you got this

Keeping up with Google, your website and SEO can seem like a never-ending task and if you can’t afford help, it can be very frustrating and feel like you will never gain any visibility.

You might wonder, what you can do when you are limited and you might not even know where to start. This might all seem over your head and too much to deal with to “Keep Up With The Jones'”.

You might even feel like giving up. Chasing all algorithms such as Google or even Facebook and Instagram can feel overwhelming.

We get it, but don’t despair.

Just start with little things

There are little things that even you can do right now to improve your website SEO. Read out blog 5 Tips To Improve Your SEO Right Now  to get started on some actionable items.

Stick with it, in the end, it will all work out.

We will continue to report on all the latest developments that we feel are the most important to our clients, colleagues, partners and customers.