The Google Helpful Content Update, which was first announced in mid-2021 has been finally introduced on the 5th of December and it has caused a huge stir in the SEO community. This update aims to prioritize helpful, relevant, and high-quality content in search results, which means that marketers and businesses need to adapt their SEO strategies to stay competitive. In this article, we’ll discuss what the Google Helpful Content Update is, how it affects SEO, and what you can do to adapt your SEO for this update.
What is the Google Helpful Content Update?
First, let’s talk about what the update is and how it influences the industry as a whole. This update is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to improve the user experience and provide the most helpful and relevant content to searchers. According to Google, the update is designed to “prioritize content that helps people and organizations achieve their goals and improve their lives.”
So, how does this update affect SEO? Essentially, the update rewards websites with high-quality, helpful content by ranking them higher in search results. On the other hand, websites with low-quality, irrelevant content may see their rankings drop. This means that it’s more important than ever to create and publish helpful, relevant content on your website.
What Can You Do to Adapt?
Now that we’ve covered what the update is and how it affects SEO, let’s talk about how you can adapt your SEO for this update. Here are a few tips:
Focus on user intent
When creating content, it’s important to understand the intent behind the search query. Are users looking for information, or are they looking to make a purchase? By understanding user intent, you can create content that meets their needs and is more likely to rank well in search results.
For example, if a user is searching for "how to fix a leaky faucet," they are likely looking for information on how to solve a problem. On the other hand, if a user is searching for "buy kitchen faucet," they are likely looking to make a purchase.
Understanding the intent behind the search query is one of the key things you should focus on as your site will have to adapt to each scenario to fulfill Google's requirements. Try analyzing what intents there are for your specific content and try optimizing your content towards it. If you do this properly, you can create content that addresses the user's needs and is more likely to rank well in search results.
Create high-quality content
Google values high-quality, useful content, so it’s important to put time and effort into creating content that is well-researched, well-written, and informative. This means that you have to spend some time reading up on the topics you want to write about, try finding solutions, and uniquely present them so that your audience has a reason to interact with your content.
Avoid thin or spammy content and focus on providing value to your readers. This means that your content should be well-written, informative, and useful to your target audience. If you just gobble up sentences to fill a quota without actually putting any thought behind it, your audience will notice and it will reflect negatively on your performance.
By creating high-quality content, you can improve the user experience and increase the chances that your content will rank well in search results. If you need inspiration, you can always check out your closest successful competitors and see how they approach their content creation. Try copying the process behind how they get the results and not the results themselves, and always try finding ways to improve upon their work.
Optimize for mobile
With the proliferation of mobile devices, it’s important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Google now uses mobile-first indexing, which means that the mobile version of your website is used to determine your rankings. This is nothing new and most marketers know about this for the past few years.
Make sure your website is responsive and easy to navigate on mobile devices. This means that your website should be easy to read and navigate on a mobile device. It should also load quickly and have a design that is optimized for mobile users.
When designing your page start with the mobile version first and then add features so that it presents well on desktop devices as well. But you should know that statistically speaking, the desktop market is slowly shrinking and the future is almost entirely mobile!
By optimizing for mobile, you can improve the user experience and increase the chances that your website will rank well in search results.
Use header tags and subheadings
Header tags and subheadings help structure your content and make it easier for readers to scan and understand. They also help search engines understand the main points of your content. Use header tags (H1, H2, etc.) to organize your content and include keywords in your subheadings.
You should also utilize proper naming conventions for your classes, divs, and scripts. Avoid using any hidden content to gain more keywords as Google’s crawlers are well-adjusted to filter that out and even penalize you for trying to gain the system.
By using header tags and subheadings, you can make your content easier to read and understand for both users and search engines. This can improve the user experience and increase the chances that your content will rank well in search results.
- Internal and external links are an important part of SEO, and they can help improve the credibility and authority of your website. Internal links are links from one page on your website to another page on your website. They help users navigate your website and can help search engines understand the content and structure of your website.
- External links are links from your website to another website. They can help improve the credibility and authority of your website by showing that your content is being referenced by other reputable sources.
When including internal and external links in your content, it's important to consider the use of follow and nofollow links.
- Follow links are links that pass link equity, or link juice, to the linked website. This can help improve the ranking of the linked website in search results.
- Nofollow links do not pass link equity and are used to tell search engines not to follow the link. Nofollow links are often used for sponsored content or paid links.
In addition to internal and external links, backlinking is another important aspect of SEO.
Backlinking refers to the process of other websites linking back to your website. Backlinks can help improve the credibility and authority of your website and can lead to better search engine rankings. However, it's important to avoid participating in link schemes or buying backlinks. Google frowns upon these practices and can penalize websites that engage in them. Instead, focus on creating high-quality, useful content that naturally attracts backlinks from other reputable websites.
Optimize images and videos
Images and videos can help make your content more engaging, but they also need to be optimized for search engines. Use descriptive, keyword-rich file names for your images and include alt text to describe them. For videos, include a transcript and closed captions to make them more accessible to users.
By optimizing your images and videos, you can make your content more engaging and improve the chances that it will rank well in search results.
Utilize structured data
Structured data is a way to markup your content so that search engines can better understand it. By using structured data, you can help search engines understand the context of your content and improve its visibility in search results. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content.
By using structured data, you can help search engines understand the content of your website and improve its visibility in search results. There are several structured data formats that you can use, including schema.org, JSON-LD, and RDFa. By implementing structured data on your website, you can improve the chances that your content will rank well in search results.
In conclusion, the Google Helpful Content Update emphasizes the importance of creating high-quality, relevant content for your website. By following these tips and focusing on user intent, creating high-quality content, optimizing for mobile, using header tags and subheadings, including internal and external links, optimizing images and videos, and utilizing structured data, you can adapt your SEO for this update and improve the chances that your content will rank well in search results.
It's important to keep in mind that SEO is a constantly evolving field, and it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and updates to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines.
What are you doing to adapt to Google’s Helpful content update? Share your knowledge with us in the comments below!