Google’s Helpful Content Update & Best Practices


As Google promised, the helpful content algorithm update is now rolling out. This update rewards content that is written for people first and de-emphasizes content that is written primarily for search engines.

To determine if your content qualifies as people-first, Google suggests considering the following factors:

Does your content answer questions that people are actually asking?

Is your content easy to understand and digest?

Is your content helpful and informative, without being overly promotional?

In addition to these factors, I would also suggest considering the following:

Is your content truly original? In an age of information overload, people are looking for unique perspectives and insights. If your content is regurgitating the same old information, it’s likely to be devalued by this update.

Is your content timely and relevant? People are always looking for the latest information on hot topics. If your content is outdated or irrelevant, it’s not going to be very helpful.

Is your content share-worthy? People are more likely to share helpful content that appeals to their emotions or provides them with valuable insights. If your content is dry and boring, it’s unlikely to get much traction.

Keep these factors in mind as you create new content, and you should see a positive impact on your search rankings.

Seven Things Must Know in Creating People-First Content


1. Make Sure Your Content Is Easy to Read and Understand
Use clear and concise language, short sentences, and simple words. Avoid jargon, technical terms, and acronyms where possible.

2. Write for Your Audience, Not Just for Search Engines
Your content should be designed first and foremost with your audience in mind. It should be interesting, informative, and useful. Only then should you worry about optimizing it for search engines.

3. Use Headings and Formatting to Structure Your Content
This makes it easier for both users and search engines to digest your content. Breaking up your text with headlines, bullet points, and images can also help keep people engaged.

4. Target One Keyword or Phrase per Page
Trying to stuff too many keywords onto a single page will not only turn off users, but it will also get you penalized by Google. Instead, focus on creating quality content around a single keyword or phrase.

5. Don’t Forget About Mobile
With more and more people using smartphones and tablets to access the internet, it’s important to make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. This means using a responsive design and ensuring that your content loads quickly on smaller screens.

6. Optimize Your Images
Make sure to include descriptive alt text with all of your images. This helps search engines understand what your images are about, and it can also help visually impaired users understand your visual content.

7. Use External Sources to Improve Your Credibility
Linking to reputable sources can help improve the quality of your content and make it more trustworthy in the eyes of both users and search engines. Just be sure to use relevant and high-quality sources.

By following these seven tips, you can create content that’s both people-friendly and search engine-friendly. Just remember to always put your audience first and foremost, and the rest will fall into place.

Avoid Creating Content for Search Engines First


When creating content, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. Creating content primarily for search engine traffic is often less effective than creating content with your audience first in mind. This is because searchers often find content that is created solely for the purpose of SEO to be unsatisfying. However, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore SEO altogether. Applying SEO best practices to people-first content can help you reach a larger audience and improve your website’s visibility. Keep in mind that your ultimate goal should be to create content that is both interesting and useful to your target audience.

Do you start with keyword research before creating any content?

Do you target a specific keyword or phrase for each piece of content you create?

Do you optimize your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers for each piece of content?

Do you make sure that your content is the right length and format for the search engines?

Do you ensure that your images are properly tagged and optimized?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re likely taking a search engine-first approach to content creation. This means that you’re focused on optimizing your content for search engines rather than creating valuable, informative, and engaging content for your audience. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting your content to be found by search engines, you shouldn’t let this be your only focus. After all, if your content isn’t valuable or interesting, then why would anyone want to read it? Instead, take a human-first approach to content creation. This means creating content that is first and foremost for your audience. It should be informative, engaging, and relevant to their needs and interests. Only after you’ve created great content for your audience should you then focus on optimizing it for the search engines. By taking this approach, you’ll be able to create content that appeals to both your readers and the search engines. So, start by thinking about what your audience wants and needs to know. Then, create great content that meets those needs. Once you’ve done that, you can then focus on optimizing your content for the search engines.

The takeaway here is that you should never sacrifice creating great content for your audience in favor of optimization for search engines. Instead, take a human-first approach to content creation, and then optimize your content afterward. This way, you’ll be able to create content that appeals to both your readers and the search engines.

To learn more about creating successful content read our 9 steps to creating a successful content marketing strategy.

How the Update Works


The update rolled out last August 25 until September 15, 2022. This update introduces a new site-wide signal that we consider among many other signals for ranking web pages.

If you’re concerned that your site may have a lot of unhelpful content, there are a few things you can do to improve the situation. First, take a look at your site’s overall content. Is most of it high-quality and informative? If so, then a few pieces of unhelpful content probably won’t hurt your site’s performance too much. However, if your site is filled with mostly unhelpful content, then it’s likely that your site will suffer in Search.

If your site has been identified by this update, it may take some time for the signal to be applied. Our classifier for this update runs continuously, allowing it to monitor newly-launched sites and existing ones. As it determines that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long term, the classification will no longer apply. In the meantime, we suggest focusing on creating helpful, informative content that is relevant to your users.

Learn how our SEO agency can help you create helpful content that follows Google’s guidelines. Our team of SEO experts will work with you to create a customized SEO strategy that scales your digital reach.

About the Author:

Deedra Hughes

Experienced President with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Skilled in Digital Strategy, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Integrated Marketing, Advertising, and Pay Per Click (PPC). Strong business development professional with a Bachelor’s Degree focused in Communications from Ohio University.

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