When you enter a search in Google, your expectations are to quickly find a link that answers the questions you have.
Unfortunately, many websites write content for search engine optimization, not human interaction. This means that it’s likely you’ll click on a link that baits you with false, useless, or minimal information.
Your first click when searching for answers should be your last, and that’s what the latest Google update aims to tackle.
Let’s dig deeper into the Helpful Content Update, what it is, what it penalizes, and how you can prevent your site from tanking when the official update rolls out.
What is the Helpful Content Update?
The Helpful. Content Update is Google’s latest step toward making search a more human experience.
The update rolled out on August 25th, and will continue to roll out in the United States over the next few weeks.
The goal of this latest update is to push out content “made for SEO” and put the spotlight on content that is created for human readers.
SEO-forced content will be downgraded and could lead to substantial problems for a site (which we’ll get into later).
What is Helpful Content?
Helpful content is tailored towards the human audience and not for machines on a search engine.
According to the announcement from Google, it deems content helpful if it meets the following standards:
- Clear demonstration of first-hand experience in your field
- It has a clear purpose and focus (Not just a keyword stuffed piece)
- Your audience could use your content as the end-all source for any question they would have on your subject
- Does not use automation to create content about several different topics in your field
- Flows naturally and doesn’t adhere to a specific word count. Google doesn’t check those anyway!
What Happens if Your Content Doesn’t Meet Google Standards?
Meeting Google standards for ranking is key to your site’s success. However, Google rarely lets us know when rollouts are on their way. Thus, when an update rolls out, it’s always a gamble regarding how it impacts a website.
One of the best things about The Helpful Content Update is that we’ve gotten a heads-up and have time to adjust and respond.
This is important because the Helpful Content Update doesn’t just penalize pages for unhelpful content, it downgrades entire sites.
If your site is impacted by this upgrade, it could take months of recovery and content creation to get yourself back in an authoritative search position.
The scary thing about this update is that it examines your entire site. Therefore, even if you’ve focused on human-centric writing recently but have older, “unhelpful” content from content strategies of the past on your site, you could still find yourself penalized and downgraded.
What Steps Can You Take to Make Sure Your Content is Useful?
So, the consequences of poor quality content are pretty steep. There’s no getting around it. However, the best thing you can do for your site is to start fresh with your content strategy and put the human audience first.
Here are some of the best ways you can comply with the Helpful Content Update.
Optimize and Delete
If you find that your site has been downgraded, see this penalty as an opportunity to take your site’s content and optimize it to perfection.
Go through your content and delete anything that hasn’t been clicked on in years or is work you know isn’t salvageable via optimization. This content only clutters your site and makes it harder for it to climb back to the top.
When it comes to content you can save, review it, find where you can humanize its tone, expand its ideas, and add quality that makes it so readers walk away feeling like they’ve learned something from you.
Research Audience Needs
Prior to writing content, take time to research your audience. You need each piece of content to be useful to your audience. Thus, finding out current concerns, excitement, or pain points about your industry and product can be extremely useful.
Rather than writing a ton of content on different topics and hoping it sticks with your audience, performing some serious audience research can help you find your voice amongst the crowd.
Staying on top of your audience lets you stand out with relevant, helpful content that answers important questions with a purpose.
Find Your Unique Angle
One of the best ways to humanize your content and create it for your audience is to give yourself an edge that proves you are the expert on a given subject.
Personal anecdotes and examples not only prove your experience in your industry but they can also make strides with customers eager to create an emotional connection with a brand.
Bringing your own spin on a topic not only makes it more relatable, but it also adds a breath of fresh air to the conversation.
Trust us when we say that a reader is more likely to stay with a fresh take on a topic than something that’s been rehashed on several other sites before yours.
Go Beyond the Lengthy Summaries
It’s easy to summarize what another writer has created and call it a day. However, with this latest update, if your content doesn’t bring anything unique to the table, it’s not going to be useful.
While you can still summarize the content and be helpful, make sure that you are also focusing on the questions your audience is asking and add these answers to the summarized content.
This practice lets you make your content a one-stop-shop for key topics and ideas in your industry. It also lets you stand out from other similar blogs that only stick to summarizations as their main content.
Bring a Pulse to Your Content
As tempting as it can be to rephrase something using automation, it’s going to bring down your rankings quickly.
Automated content rarely reads with any human emotion and won’t connect with your audience.
Use your breathing content team to its greatest potential. Writing human to human helps personalize content, makes readers comfortable, and eventually leads to conversions and long-term loyalty.
How Can Atlantic Digital Marketing Help?
Atlantic Digital Marketing is an SEO company that is ready to help our clients face the Helpful Content Update head-on.
We understand that creating creative, engaging content can be difficult for a full-time business owner. That’s why we offer content services that can help you produce content that humans and search engines can celebrate.
Our goal has always been to create content that engages audiences and puts them at ease with our industry experience and audience-first approach.
Whether your industry focuses on skincare products or supply chain management, Atlantic Digital Marketing can help you keep your rankings high.
If your site is stricken down by this update, we can also help in that area. We will take the time to review your content portfolio, delete unhelpful content, and add quality to content that has true potential.
Survive This Update and More With Atlantic Digital Marketing
If you’re nervous about the state of your site’s content, you’re not alone. Although the update has yet to completely roll out, there is always the chance your site’s rankings could stumble due to past poor quality content.
Fortunately, the team at Atlantic Digital Marketing is here to help through our content and SEO services. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your free consultation with a member of our team.