Google recently deployed an update of its helpful content system. Helpful content is informative, valuable, and user-centric digital material that addresses specific needs, questions, or problems of the target audience.
The Helpful Content Update, like many Google algorithm updates, aims to improve the quality of search results. Specifically, it focuses on rewarding websites that provide genuinely helpful and informative content to users. While the update's core goal is beneficial, it can have a significant negative impact on your website's rankings if not addressed properly.
Best Practices to Avoid Ranking Disruption
High-Quality Content is Key
The foundational principle of the Helpful Content Update is the importance of high-quality content. To ensure your website remains unaffected, focus on creating content that genuinely helps your audience. This includes addressing their questions, solving their problems, and delivering valuable insights. High-quality content not only enhances your SEO but also builds trust with your audience.
Conduct Content Audits
Perform regular content audits to identify low-quality or outdated content on your website. Remove, update, or improve these pieces to maintain the overall quality of your website. Auditing helps you ensure that every piece of content contributes positively to your site's user experience.
Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) are crucial factors in Google's evaluation of content. Establish yourself or your brand as an authority in your niche by showcasing credentials, certifications, and expertise. Encourage customer reviews and testimonials to build trust. Additionally, cite reliable sources and provide accurate information to enhance your content's credibility.
Avoid Clickbait and Low-Quality Engagement Bait
The Helpful Content Update seeks to penalize websites that use clickbait or engagement bait to drive traffic. Avoid sensational headlines that don't deliver on the promised content. Instead, craft clear and honest headlines that accurately represent your content.
Optimize User Experience
User experience (UX) plays a vital role in SEO. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate. Implement structured data to enhance the appearance of your content in search results, making it more appealing to users. Avoid displaying ads that can disrupt your visitors user experience (ex – whole-screen popups that are difficult to close) or can cause confusion (ex – poorly-labeled buttons that imply one action but perform another).
Diversify your content with multimedia elements like images, videos, infographics, and interactive features. Engaging content formats not only enhance the user experience but also encourage longer time spent on your pages, signaling their value to search engines.
Focus on User Intent
Understand user intent and align your content with it. Conduct keyword research to discover the queries users are searching for and create content that directly addresses their needs. This ensures that your content remains relevant and helpful to your target audience.
Monitor and Adapt
Stay informed about algorithm updates and monitor your website's performance regularly. Tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics can provide valuable insights into your site's traffic, rankings, and user behavior. If you notice ranking fluctuations, be prepared to adapt your content and strategies accordingly.
Google's Helpful Content Update emphasizes the importance of providing valuable, user-centric content, presented in a user-friendly manner. By following these best practices, you can navigate this algorithm change successfully and avoid ranking disruption.