How to Survive the Helpful Content Update by Google

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Think of SEO as a librarian and the internet its library, and your website, a book. When someone comes in searching for a particular topic or question, they expect to receive content related to what they are looking for. SEO finds “books” with contents related to the topic, or can answer the person’s inquiries. Thus, in order to improve a person’s experience, Google has introduced the Helpful Content Update.


A new site-wide signal that can affect your web page ranking, Google identifies content that has more value and is more helpful for users in response to their search queries. Google wants to see more content that is written with a people-first approach, rather than a search engine-first approach. Basically, Google wants to see more content written by people for people.


This new update will affect whole websites, meaning your web ranking can be significantly affected if the algorithm perceives your content to be too generic or transposed from another source.

Scary, we know! However, the update provides site owners and content creators a chance to take their time to improve their content and adhere to the “Helpful Content” standards. This could include removing content not directly related to your target audience, rewriting blog posts, and writing fresh content.


Google has made it easier to follow a people-first approach to your content. If you answer yes, to all of these questions from Google’s Search Central Blog, then you are on the right track!
  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?


SEO is still just as important after this update. SEO is a practice best used when applied to people-first content according to Google. However, creating content with primarily the search engine traffic in mind is what users find unsatisfying and will negatively affect your site. But don’t worry! Google has also provided a set of questions to help you reevaluate your content creation. Saying yes to some of all of the following puts your content at a disadvantage.
  • Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
  • Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
  • Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
  • Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
  • Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you’d write about them otherwise for your existing audience?Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
  • Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No, we don’t).
  • Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?
  • Does your content promise to answer a question that actually has no answer, such as suggesting there’s a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn’t confirmed?


Google has always encouraged the creation of quality content and aimed to provide users with a flawless search experience. With the new Helpful Content Update, they provide creators with an opportunity to review their website and content, setting them up for success in the process. This update forces brands and digital marketers alike to focus on producing high-quality original content made for the consumer. More content made by people for people. That’s what it’s all about. That’s how you can survive Google’s Helpful Content Update

Scott is a business owner and entrepreneur very familiar with the daily grind of running a business. He founded Digital Clicks Marketing 11 years ago to ease the marketing burden for businesses without internal resources or in-house expertise. He makes sure businesses and brands deploy the right digital marketing strategies and tactics to help them excel online.

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