By all accounts, the Google Helpful Content update is intended to reduce the visibility of AI-generated content. In fact, it’s likely that material created for the sole purpose of ranking in the SERPs may soon be history. Google’s message for the years to come is clear: Writing valuable content is more important than ever.
However, although it all sounds great on paper, this Google update also brings uncertainty for marketers and SEOs.
In today’s post, we’ll share what this Google update is all about and how you can adapt to Google’s new guidelines.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
What Is the Helpful Content Google Update About?
The new Helpful Content update specifically targets “content that seems to have little value, low-added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches,” according to Google.
This is not the first Google update focused on content. If we review Google’s algorithm history we will find numerous examples of revised content policies such as Panda and Penguin.
If this evolution proves anything, it’s that Google is determined to improve the content it provides by preventing junk sites from thriving. And this process only seems to be increasingly confirming itself with Google’s new update.
Content written solely to manipulate SERP positioning has become a hot topic in the SEO industry over the past few years. The reason is quite simple: Users were frustrated when they landed on unhelpful but well-ranked pages. Nevertheless, now things have changed.
In other words, this Google update is intended to lower the rankings of unoriginal pieces that merely summarize the ideas of other creators without really providing new value.
Consequently, Google advises you to ask yourself some new questions before producing content. We’ve compiled those questions and added our own spin to it.
Google and us, at SEORadar recommend that you:
- Ask yourself if your intended/existing audience will find your content useful to solve a pain point or achieve a goal.
- Add original value through first-hand experiences and informed opinions.
- Niche-down. Don’t run a generalist website. Concentrate on helping a very specific audience to achieve a very well-defined set of goals.
- Make sure you’re giving your readers the tools they need to move closer to their goal. These tools may be recommended software, templates, or unique actionable tips.
- Offer a pleasant and constructive reading experience.
- Stay up-to-date on Google’s recommendations and best practices.
What’s the Impact of Google’s Update?
You may be wondering how fiercely Google’s update has been penalizing junk sites. Well, changes haven’t been that drastic for most companies.
Many teams use AI to write their content’s first drafts and employ human editors that review and polish them. Basically, they use AI as a foundation for their content but always add a human touch. Luckily, these companies weren’t impacted by this update.
Therefore, it’s fair to say that Google’s best content practices don’t involve giving up AI content altogether, not at all.
The content that has been most affected by the new Google update is:
- Completely AI-generated
- Unoptimized for readability or scannability
Put simply, a piece of content is not “bad” for using an AI tool. The content that Google is punishing simply brings nothing of value to the user.
But, how can you bring your content up to Google’s new standards?
4 Actionable Tips for this New Era of Content Production
To comply with the new Google guidelines, you may want to:
- Niche down and focus on your target audience
- Prioritize your content’s goals instead of its target keywords
- Avoid leaving everything to AI
- Add value that only you can offer
Let’s take a closer look!
Niche Down and Focus on Your Target Audience
Create content that’s specifically designed for your target audience. Narrowing your positioning and creating content that addresses very precise needs can be a little scary. But it’s absolutely worth it.
Some industries are more prone to generic, “catch-all” content than others. For instance, if your company offers a B2B tool for restaurants, your blog may combine kitchen management tips with restaurant recommendations, recipes, and industry-related pop culture commentary.
But only one of those content formats is relevant to your target audience. The rest are just background noise. A content diet that’s far too broad and diverse without adding usefulness, can prevent your ideal customers from sticking around. And it also prevents Google from figuring out who you’re most relevant to.
Prioritize Content Goals over Keywords
Google’s new update should remind us that content quality is crucial to SEO success.
But, how’s content quality defined? The answer would require another entire article. But there’s something we know for sure: Google values content that’s useful and scannable.
So you should avoid the tempting idea of producing a large volume of generic content just to target keywords. Prioritize solving user issues, and use keyword research to understand user needs. If you can give a uniquely valuable answer, you win.
Don’t Leave Everything to AI
The trend toward relying entirely on AI copywriting tools has led to severely deteriorated digital spaces. In fact, both the SERPs and social media have been flooded with derivative information. And Google’s latest update is an attempt to address that issue. If you don’t step up and start offering value, you’ll get swept away.
After studying the issues that AI content generators could cause, the only virtue we identified is that they didn’t produce plagiarized content. But content that passes a plagiarism check isn’t enough to get you to rank.
One thing’s for sure: A website with no innovative content, and without unique style marks, cannot compel users to engage.
Plagiarism prevention alone is not enough, your content has to breathe originality, and it must reflect your expertise.
Add Value Only You Can Produce
Google’s new content update only confirms what we at SEORadar already believed. Your content can only thrive if you:
- Share your own ideas about the future of your field, analyze pertinent news, pose “what if” questions, and write content that addresses search queries uniquely and creatively.
- Take a stand and share your brand values.
- Communicate the expertise you’ve collected over time through first-hand anecdotes.
- Create original research rather than merely reproduce statistics.
Writing unique content isn’t just about avoiding plagiarism. It’s also about offering a new perspective. It may require your brand to take a stand, or it may demand more research. But it’s absolutely worth it.
SEO Isn’t Just About Content
In this post, we discussed Google’s Helpful Content update, its impact on search results, and what you can do to keep up. But there’s more to SEO than meets the eye.
For example, keeping your website’s code clean and accessible to Google bots is just as important as offering great content. However, staying on top of your codebase can be either time-consuming or absolutely impossible. That’s how SEORadar enters the picture.
From a simple “noindex” tag to a missing keyword, we make sure no code changes go unnoticed. SEORadar will monitor your website’s code 24/7 and notify you when it finds any changes that can harm your SERP positioning.It’s time to take control of your technical SEO. Start a free trial or schedule a demo.