How to Manage the Impact of Google’s Helpful Update
Google changes its algorithms all the time. Every time it does so, SEO professionals end up angry and frustrated because some of these changes have a massive impact on SEO and the work they have been doing for months and even years. The Google Helpful Update is no different. It has had a massive impact on even the largest websites, leading to a drop in the number of ranking keywords and traffic. So, what is this update, and how do you protect yourself from its impact?
Understanding Google’s Helpful Update
Google has always said that it aims to ensure that all search results shown to users are useful, relevant, and created by humans for humans. Their helpful content update is meant to help with exactly this. All pages and websites shown on search engine results pages should follow sound SEO principles and use relevant keywords, but they should also provide content that is helpful to people and helpful depending on their search queries.
Managing the Impact of This Update
If you have a lot of content on your website, it is likely that you have not updated some of it for some time. This means Google sees some of it as stale. Suddenly, a massive amount of content that was previously helpful to visitors at the time it was written and last updated becomes a liability for your website instead of an asset.
There are a few ways to deal with this. The most obvious one is to go back and refresh this old content. For teams not able to do this, it would be helpful to redirect those pages to ones with recent information and block the older pages from being indexed. This will ensure that Google only surfaces these newer pages, thus minimizing the impact these pages have on your website.
Write for an Intended Audience
Every website owner or marketer should understand who their audience is before they start writing. This is the only way to ensure the content you add to your website is relevant to your target audience. Google says that it is now looking beyond the keywords used on a page to gauge its relevance to a user who enters a query. Let’s say you own a pet website with a page about cats. Google will look beyond your keyword and how many times it is used and instead assess whether the page offers relevant information beyond the mention of the word “cat”.
Ensure Your Website Has a Purpose or Primary Objective
Writing and linking to other content containing your keyword and related to the linking page is another signal of relevancy. This is why your website should have a purpose or primary objective. Once you have identified the primary objective and the audience you are writing for, it becomes much easier to create helpful content for users who find you through search.
Ultimately, Google’s Helpful Content Update is a good thing for users, but it might cause headaches for marketers and website owners. However, keeping Google’s guidelines in mind when creating content will help you avoid numerous pitfalls.