Google's Helpful Content Update Puts People First, Not Search
1 min 56 sec read
August 19, 2022Google announced some news that sent a shockwave throughout the SEO community regarding content creation.
Check out their article, "More content by people, for people in Search," to hear it from the horse's mouth. We'll cover the gist of what you need to know.
The update they're launching targets 'unhelpful' websites, content aggregators, and SEO tactics that game its Search algorithms.
So let's start with content aggregators.
Google will penalize those sites that pull reviews from other sources who've done the homework of reviewing products or entertainment-related content (TV shows, movies, etc.).
And the reason is that they're not creating unique content about them. Even websites that regurgitate the same info from other sources but put their own spin on it may get hit with a low-quality content score.
Unhelpful websites, according to Google, are those that may have what you're searching for. Still, the answer is buried beneath paragraphs upon paragraphs.
It's kind of like online recipes telling the author's family story behind grandma's favorite pasta. And you end up scrolling, almost breaking a finger, to get to the dang list of ingredients and steps.
Or a blog ranking for the term "How much would I weigh on Mars," as Danny Sullivan, Google's Public Liason for Search, said, "...contains the answer. But before and after that answer could be paragraphs about the search for extraterrestrial life on Mars, other planets, and general facts about space."
These pages rank high, but it's not helpful. It's made for search engines, not people. Instead, Google will rank more authoritative sites like NASA in that example.
Content written by AI is ok to a certain degree and when done right.
Sullivan said, "Did you use the AI to get search engine traffic, or did you use it to create content that people would have navigated to even if we didn't have search engines?" Sullivan explained that Google could scan content to determine whether it was written with AI using its own AI.
AI written content isn't bad. You just have to make it your own, ensure that it's quality work and is valuable to those reading your stuff.
What's significant about this update is that it could take months to recover if Google believes a website has poor content.
It's not like a page goes from 1 to 10 on Google Search. No, the entire site may get its ranking degraded.
If there's some useful content on your site but a good amount that doesn't cut it, Google can still drop your site's ranking.
Google being Google, didn't disclose the ratio of good to bad content for a site to stay clear of their line of sight. But they said to create articles as if the search engine didn't exist.
We'll see how this update affects sites across the board. We'll keep you posted as the update rolls out over the next two weeks.
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