Welcome to yet another #JustInOnGoogleUpdate blog. This blog series helps marketers stay updated with the latest updates from Google and protects their website rankings.
Google rolled out another helpful content update on December 5th, the effect of which is now visible on many websites. This update comes as a follow-up to the August Helpful Content Update.
What is Google's December helpful content update?
Google put out the December 2022 Helpful Content Global Update to improve the quality of search results in all languages. Earlier, the update was only targeted only at the English language. With the current update, the rules for helpful content are now applicable to all languages, both local and international.
Since this update is global, it is expected to take at least two weeks to fully show its effect on the SERPs. The update improves Google's search algorithm classifiers and makes it easier to find black-hat SEO content online.
The update is in line with what Google has told webmasters for a long time: "Make content for the user." The December rollout will fish out low-value, less informative content and remove it from the SERPs.
Google is notoriously vague when it comes to explaining the details of algorithmic changes. This update to the Helpful Content System could either add new signals or change the ones already present.
What is "helpful content," according to Google?
According to Google, “helpful content” is content written with the user in mind. Helpful content should be value-adding, people-first, and reliable.
Many SEO experts make the mistake of making search-engine algorithm-focused content that doesn't offer much or any value to searchers. It, in turn, decreases the quality of search results and makes people spend more time finding the right source of information.
To deal with this, Google made a machine learning algorithm that considers the visitor's experience and creates a site-wide signal (classifier) that helps Google's ranking systems find unhelpful content on a website.
Why do we care, and why should you?
The helpful content system affects the entire website, not just the pages with low-quality content. So, even if you have good content in other places on your website, the bad content will lower your site’s ranking.
What should you do about the helpful content update?
If you have unhelpful content published just for the search engines, you must remove it from your website.
If you are not sure about the quality of your content, here are a few questions you can ask yourself or your content team to get a better understanding:
- Does the content include new insights from original research, reporting, or analysis?
- Does the content give a detailed understanding of the subject at hand?
- Do you find any analysis or information that goes beyond the surface level?
- Does the content avoid copying or rewriting what's already out there, or does it add something new and valuable?
- Is there an informative summary of the material provided?
- Does the page's heading or title avoid exaggeration or shock value?
- Is this the kind of site you'd save for later, email to a friend, or otherwise highly recommend?
- Could you picture this information being featured in or referred to in a book, magazine, or encyclopedia?
- Does the information on this page make a big difference when compared to other similar results?
Google supports searches in over 100 languages across the world. If your website has content in a regional language, now is a good time to look at how good it is and make changes if needed.
On the other hand, if you are sure that your content follows the helpful content guidelines, there is nothing to worry about. You may experience a SERP decline in the next few days, but do not worry; the drop is just temporary. Your website will start getting regular traffic once the update is finished rolling out.
In any case, we will keep you updated if there are any major tell-tale signs of a website being affected by the helpful content system.
If you want to learn more about how to ensure your website content is helpful, refer to our blog on What’s the new Google core update and how to plan SEO going forward?
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