Read our blog to discover more on an important update to the Google ranking algorithm which was rolled out 25/08/2022 and is expected to complete two weeks from that date.
Table of contents
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Google Helpful Content feedback form
First of all, Google has provided a helpful content feedback form where you can submit your details to them on a website you feel was hit by the helpful content update, and shouldn’t have been.
If you feel that your site was affected by Google’s recent helpful content update, and you feel that it shouldn’t have been affected, use this form to send us feedback. While Google does not use these submissions to take direct action, these reports will help us improve the quality of the search results for everyone.
I know a lot of people might want direct intervention in that scenario, but it is really helpful especially if something does go wrong with this update that Google did not plan for, that they see some info coming in. Having said that, I’m 100% sure people will let them know pretty quickly on Twitter too if websites are being unfairly penalized!
What do we know about the Helpful Content update? (29/08/22)
- We know the date it was rolled out and how long it will take to complete.
- It is a site-wide signal towards ranking well/poorly.
- It is an algorithm update that is ‘always running’.
- It targets poor quality content specifically created for Google over human readers.
- It will have a larger effect on websites in the categories of online education, arts and entertainment, shopping and tech.
What we think about the Helpful Content update.
It certainly looks as though this update is targeting AI generated content to me. On the Google blog article re. this update, Danny Goodwin titles it ‘More content by people, for people in Search’. That is to say, if for example, an AI based search result algorithm is scraping the internet to find good results for peoples searches, and it is scraping AI mass generated content specifically created to satisfy the search AI algorithm well, this can be a threat to Googles business model. Why? Because Google has found that certain results are giving unsatisfactory results for peoples queries. Once people become dissatisfied with Googles search results, they move elsewhere.
Even Google with all of the resources at its disposal has to provide a certain level of quality in its product, and in this case, its quality product is content and it has determined, its quality product is content written by humans for humans.
People have been inserting ‘Reddit’ into Google queries
This was noticed by the SEO community, and yes we had a little giggle at it. But sit with this for a while, Google results have become poor. So poor, that people can’t find information they trust, rather than removing the number of paid ad spots in search results, Google has targeted the quality of organic results.
Why would I put reddit into my Google query? Because I don’t trust Google search results, but I do trust Reddit search results. Why do I trust Reddit over Google? Because Reddit content is created by real humans. Now, in many cases, anonymous Reddit humans, something Google really does not like as it builds up a picture of each author of an article around the internet, and this they really have to do, so what they need is that real authors, real publishers produce authentic content.
Do you trust your content writer? AI or human?
When businesses hire an SEO company or freelancer, they will likely have content contributed to their website that has been written externally. Do you trust your SEO? Does your SEO use AI to generate content in a poor quality way? Does your SEO come to you for content ideas to come internally from your company and known customer pain points? Does your SEO mention ethical SEO techniques and do they come with references from websites they have worked on over a long period of time?
Before this update and after this update, it is incredibly important to hire ethical SEOs. Time has run out for black-hat SEO techniques.
Is this as easy as providing helpful content?
For many websites it’s not easy. Some websites are specifically built to pull data in, for example e-commerce websites with huge lists of inventory that is output in an automated way. So what can we do to counteract perhaps thin or low quality content that might now pull down ranking even more dramatically for the entire website.
The answer? Hire an SEO. Hire an ethical SEO.
As you can see, it’s not just us saying that SEO is about creating a great user experience for web visitors outside of search engines at all, but now the biggest search engine in the world is saying it.
Content that serves users, that is helpful, useful, answers questions, can be used to leverage those other pages on your website that don’t perform as well, and this content can lift the overall site-wide perception of low quality content.
Please don’t start deleting all your content, you need to look at the data first to cull poor quality content because there’s always a chance that content can be updated instead of deleted. And the flip-side of that is also, don’t be afraid to delete content either, let it go to a 404, or page not found, if it is not suitable for updating and was poor quality providing nothing of use to web visitors at all.
Just take it easy, take your time, and remember any hit a certain Google update might do to your website, everything is fixable over time. Put front and centre of your efforts, user first. When faced with a decision between what’s best for search engines vs whats best for human web visitors, put web visitors first. And share your unique knowledge, expertise and wisdom with the world regardless of Google at all.
If your visitors would find it useful, it should be on your website.