In September 2023, Google rolled out a significant update to its search algorithm called the "Helpful Content Update." This update is another step in Google's ongoing effort to enhance user experience and deliver more relevant and valuable search results. While Google's algorithm updates are a common occurrence, the Helpful Content Update has important implications for businesses that rely on organic search traffic to drive their online presence.
So, what does the new update mean for businesses? First, let's understand what the update is.
Understanding The Helpful Content Update
The Helpful Content Update is all about refining Google's understanding of what users find valuable and helpful when conducting online searches. It builds on previous updates like BERT and E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) to interpret user intent better and provide more accurate search results.
The Key Features of the Helpful Content Update:
User Intent: Google's algorithm is now better at deciphering the intent behind search queries. This means that businesses must align their content with user intent to ensure it ranks well in search results.
Content Quality: The update places a stronger emphasis on content quality. Google aims to reward high-quality content that provides comprehensive and valuable information. Businesses must invest in creating informative, engaging, and well-researched content.
Contextual Understanding: The algorithm can now understand the context of a webpage within a broader topic. This requires businesses to create content that fits into a larger narrative and demonstrates expertise in their respective fields.
Trustworthiness and Credibility: Google continues to prioritize trust and credibility. Businesses must establish authority in their niche and build trust with their audience through transparent and reliable content.
What The Helpful Content Update Means For Businesses
Content Quality is Non-Negotiable: With the update's focus on content quality, businesses must prioritize creating high-quality content that addresses user queries thoroughly. This means in-depth articles, well-researched reports, and insightful blog posts.
User-Centric Approach: Businesses need to adopt a user-centric approach to content creation. Understand what your target audience is searching for and provide content that genuinely answers their questions and solves their problems.
Expertise Matters: Demonstrating expertise in your field is crucial. This not only helps with search rankings but also builds trust with your audience. Showcase your knowledge through authoritative content and, if possible, by having recognized experts contribute to your website.
Consistency is Key: Consistency in producing helpful content is essential. Regularly update your website with fresh, relevant information to maintain and improve your search rankings.
Optimize for Mobile: As mobile search continues to grow, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Google's algorithms consider mobile-friendliness when ranking websites.
Engagement Metrics: Google increasingly values user engagement metrics like click-through rates, time on page, and bounce rates. Pay attention to these metrics and optimize your content and website design accordingly.
Link Building: High-quality backlinks from reputable sources remain essential for SEO success. Focus on building genuine, authoritative backlinks to your website.
What Should Your Business Do Now?
Let's get down to the brass tax. Your business had better put a renewed emphasis on creating quality content that is aimed at your target markets and contains expertise and credibility. If you do not, your content will more than likely NOT get ranked and will lead to a decrease in your website traffic and, subsequently, a reduction in qualified leads.
Adapting to these changes and aligning your online strategy with Google's evolving algorithms will be crucial to maintaining and improving your online visibility and ultimately driving more organic traffic and business success.
By investing in valuable, helpful content that meets your buyers' persona needs or provides answers to questions your target market has, will ensure that your business's online presence will remain viable so your business can survive online.
Google's September 2023 Helpful Content Update Has Significant Implications For AI-generated content.
Since the implementation of AI-generated content like Chat GPT3, Google first took a more hardline approach to how this type of content would appear in search results. Essentially, indicating AI content would not necessarily get ranked.
However, it seems now, with the new update, Google is placing a stronger emphasis on content quality, context, and user intent. This means AI-generated content must adapt to these evolving standards.
While AI has made strides in generating content, it now faces the challenge of producing material that not only meets the technical criteria but also delivers genuine value to users.
AI-generated content must become more sophisticated in understanding user intent, crafting contextually relevant pieces, and prioritizing quality over quantity.
This means what you tell AI tools to generate for you must be more specific and targeted. The AI algorithms that power content generation tools will need to align with Google's updated criteria to ensure that the content they produce remains relevant and helpful in the eyes of both search engines and users.
In essence, AI-generated content must mimic human expertise and understanding more closely to rank in the new search landscape shaped by the Helpful Content Update.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!