Digging Deep into Google’s Latest Search Updates – Growth Rocket

Before August ended, Google announced two new algorithm updates that would help users find helpful content made by and for people. These updates focused on helpful content and product reviews.

Currently, SEO experts haven’t reported any significant changes caused by Google’s new search updates. But you may be wondering how these updates will affect rankings and what you should do to deliver helpful content. 

Let’s dig deeper into the search giant’s latest algorithm updates and how you can improve your site rankings once they’re completely rolled out.

What We Know About the Helpful Content Update

The helpful content update was the first change Google announced on its blog. It affects search engine-first content and rewards websites with valuable, people-first content.

Specifically, Google’s content update will:

  • Ensure that unoriginal, low-quality content doesn’t place high on search rankings
  • Improve results for content under the following niches:
    • Online Education
    • Arts and Entertainment
    • Shopping
    • Technology

Google released this algorithm update last August 25, 2022, several days after its announcement. The company expects a complete rollout within two weeks, just like previous Google search engine updates.

Crucial Steps You Should Take

As always, Google provides web admins and SEO specialists with helpful advice and guidelines for its new content update. The company also clarifies that creators should produce compelling content while adding value with SEO best practices. Simply put–always create content for the people.

But how can you ensure you’re delivering people-first content? Here are some vital steps to take to tackle Google’s content update.

Know Whether You’re Creating People-First Content

Google offered the following questions to help you assess whether you’re taking a people-first approach to content.

Do you have a target audience that would find your content useful if they went to you?
Does your content showcase your expertise on a particular topic or subject? (For example, this expertise may come from personally visiting a place or testing a product or service, among other things)
Does your website have a primary purpose or focus? (Your site should meet a specific goal–whether it’s to inform, entertain, sell, or another purpose.)
Will your content help users achieve their goals?
Does your content satisfy your audience?
Are you creating content with Google’s guidelines in mind?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, you may do well as the helpful content update takes effect.

Check if Your Content Only Focuses on Search Engines

Google also provided creators with questions about search engine-first content. These questions help you see whether you’re producing content solely for search engines.

Is your content made to attract people through search engines rather than for humans?
Are you creating content only in the hopes that it ranks high in search results?
Are you creating content with extensive automated tools? (We’ll touch on content and automation later on)
Do you summarize others’ points or ideas without adding much value?
Are you focusing on trending topics instead of more relevant subjects?
Does your content make your audience seek more comprehensive information from other sources?
Are you writing content to meet a specific word count that Google supposedly prefers?
Are you covering niche topics outside of your expertise just to drive more search traffic?
Does your content suggest answers to questions that don’t have any answers? (For example, promising information on the release date of a movie when one isn’t even confirmed)

A Note on Content & Automation

Google mentioned automation in its questions about search engine-first content. But how is that connected to creating content?

You may have noticed that AI (artificial intelligence) writing tools have popped up everywhere on the Internet. (You can find them on Google, of course.) They create content on demand—from blog posts and emails to product descriptions and social media captions.

Furthermore, AI writing tools are constantly improving their capabilities, giving them an advantage over human writers. These tools can:

  • Optimize your content with keywords
  • Write copy that meets brand guidelines or needs
  • Create content immediately to help you save time

But unlike real writers, AI writing software targets a broader audience and lacks creativity. It also depends too much on algorithms. Hence, having people write your content is the best way to produce helpful content. Human writers know how to convey a message that audiences will respond to, plus they’ll personalize different content.

How the Helpful Content Update Will Work

As this new Google update rolls out, it’ll introduce a new site-wide ranking signal, one of many factors that the search powerhouse considers when ranking search results. This signal helps Google’s systems identify irrelevant or unhelpful content.

If the update affects your website’s performance, Google recommends removing insignificant content. But do remember that the signal may be applied to your site for several months. Google’s classifier continuously checks whether websites are delivering helpful content. 

So, if your site meets that requirement in the long term, it will no longer fall under the classification. Ultimately, it’s best to identify potential issues and resolve them to improve your rankings.

The Product Review Update at a Glance

Besides its helpful content update, Google is rolling out another product review update. Though it released its first product review update last July 27, 2022, it has since announced an additional one.

Google’s product review update prioritizes high-quality product reviews. As such, content below that standard will get lower rankings. But what makes the newest update different from the previous one?

Are These New Google Updates Connected?

Search Engine Journal reports that Google will launch its newest product review update after it finishes rolling out the helpful content update. Considering how close these releases are, both updates may be connected.

Moreover, these algorithm updates identify similar qualities in a piece of content. Google shared that it released product review updates last year that prioritized helpful, in-depth reviews based on first-hand experience. This development could also suggest a link between this new update and the helpful content update.

Resolve User Pain Points with Helpful, People-First Content

Google’s new algorithm updates encourage creators to craft content for people. But it doesn’t mean that SEO is out of the picture. 

The search giant recommends creating content with people and SEO best practices in mind, which can be crucial to better rankings. Ultimately, your content should help your audience solve their problems and add significant value.

If you need help improving your search performance, reach out to the Growth Rocket team today or visit our blog for more actionable tips and insights.

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