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Google to promote sites with human-centred content

Arthur Lescarret
Arthur Lescarret
SEO Director
4 min read
24 October 2022

With the rollout of Google’s new helpful content update, many are asking themselves what it is, what it means for their businesses, and how great an effect it will have. The update, which was released in August 2022, was expected to have major ramifications however, while the purpose of the update is clear, the impact is still uncertain.

Google’s Helpful Content Update

Where quantity and quality used to be even parameters for Google to decide how to rank pages, recent industry changes, such as the rise of TikTok, have affected users’ behaviour and thus require content of better quality. With more people on TikTok absorbing content that is easy to digest, Google is faced with greater competition to prioritise content that is made for humans – and thus introduced the helpful content update.

This new search algorithm update is intended to target websites that have a high amount of unsatisfying or unhelpful content. The main purpose arose from searchers becoming frustrated when landing on websites that are highly ranked but are unhelpful, due to the fact that the content has been designed purely for SEO. The new algorithm will instead promote content that is of higher quality, feels more authentic, and is relevant for users. 

While the new update does not invalidate the importance of SEO, it aims to downgrade websites that place a greater focus on SEO, and instead promote websites that are designed for humans, rather than for search engines. Google’s helpful content update pushes businesses to move away from robotic, AI-created content, and to reconsider what is currently on their web pages. Moreover, this update, unlike others, affects entire websites as opposed to individual pages, meaning that the recovery time could be quite significant.

What does it mean for your business?

The new update is first being rolled out in the English markets, and upon launching was predicted to take a couple of weeks. It still remains to be seen how powerful this ranking signal is, and only a small percentage of SEOs are currently experiencing any ranking changes due to the update. However, Google’s ultimate goal is to maintain a competitive position for its search engine and to prevent users from moving over to high-content platforms like TikTok.

The impact on businesses will likely be significant, but we do not know how long it will take to be fully implemented. Google probably opted for a slow rollout to give people time to update their content, especially given the difficulty of bouncing back if hit by the algorithm.

Ultimately, the new update indicates a key focus point for Google, and whether your site is going to be impacted today or in the near future, cleaning up content to focus on user behaviour is definitely recommended.

What to do now?

Adapting your content,where necessary, should follow a people-first approach in a way that does not invalidate SEO best practices. Companies should ensure content is helpful, user-friendly and authentic (see Google’s guidelines for creators). Essentially, you should evaluate your website content to determine where it needs to be reworked. Ask yourself: does something need to be removed? Does something need rewriting? If you have a plethora of content, what should be prioritised?

The transition to people-first content

The update to Google’s ranking algorithm should by no means cause panic, but it is important to bear in mind the impacts on your site, along with user behaviour. You can still have content of length, but ensure that the most important and relevant highlights are stated first, and that the balance between human-focused content and SEO best practices is upheld. 

Want to know more? For guidance and advice on how best to optimise SEO and content on your website, reach out to us at DEPT®.

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SEO Director

Arthur Lescarret