Google’s Helpful Content Updates are designed to improve search results and the user experience. The goal of this update was to penalize websites for “unhelpful content”. Sites with manipulative SEO tactics or pure SEO content that offer no added value to searchers lose places in the ranking or do not rank at all. Content that is written for people is rewarded while content that is written only for ranking in search engines e.g. with keyword clusters is penalized. Also Google sets a clear sign against content that has been written by AIs. In the center of this update are the concepts “helpful content” and “unhelpful content”. Unhelpful content is downgraded – and the ranking implications of this downgrade apply not just to individual pages, but to the entire site. Google advises to remove unhelpful content in any case, otherwise the rankings of pages with helpful content may also suffer from this negative signal. For website operators it is now important to understand the keyword intention and not simply to process as many keywords as possible in an article. Furthermore, E-A-T should be considered. Articles that require in-depth knowledge such as science, technology or medicine should also only be written by people who also have expertise. As already mentioned above, machine-written content should be avoided. Quality always comes before quantity.
Unhelpful content can be measured by different points. It is written only for search engines, summarizes the content of other pages or other information. In an article as many topics as possible are mentioned to rank for more search terms. Questions implied in the search term are not answered. Authors lack the expertise to write the article.
According to Google, all industries are affected by the update. However, it turns out that especially these industries are affected:
- Online education,
- Arts and Entertainment
Online education includes tutorial and instructional pages not anchored and formal educational institutions such as schools or universities.