At the annual Google I/O developer conference, the tech giant announced forthcoming changes to its helpful content system.
This update aims to enhance the search engine’s ability to identify content created from a personal or expert point of view, thus improving the search experience for users.
Enhancing Search Results With Unique Expertise
The helpful content system is a crucial part of Google’s automated ranking systems, designed to ensure that people see original, high-quality content in search results.
It uses a site-wide signal to evaluate content, distinguishing between content that offers a satisfying experience to visitors and content that falls short of users’ expectations.
By doing so, the system encourages the creation of content written by people, for people, rather than content primarily designed to attract clicks.
The upcoming update, as per Google’s announcement, is set to enhance the system’s understanding of content created from a personal or expert point of view.
This implies a more sophisticated ability to evaluate the expertise and authenticity of content, which will allow it to rank more of this useful information on Search.
The announcement from Google states:
“In addition to making it easier to find authentic perspectives, we’re also improving how we rank results in Search overall, with a greater focus on content with unique expertise and experience.
Last year, we launched the helpful content system to show more content made for people, and less content made to attract clicks. In the coming months, we’ll roll out an update to this system that more deeply understands content created from a personal or expert point of view, allowing us to rank more of this useful information on Search.
Helpful information can often live in unexpected or hard-to-find places: a comment in a forum thread, a post on a little-known blog, or an article with unique expertise on a topic.”
Key Takeaways For Content Creators
Updates to Google’s helpful content system updates have significant implications for publishers.
To avoid negative impact, sites are advised to remove unhelpful content and focus on creating helpful, reliable, and people-first content.
Google’s classifier, which identifies unhelpful content, runs continuously, monitoring newly-launched and existing sites.
Over time, as it discerns that unhelpful content hasn’t returned, a previously applied classification may cease to apply.
In practical terms, this means content creators should adhere to several fundamental principles to ensure their content is deemed “helpful” by Google’s system:
- Stick to Your Area of Expertise: Content should be created with the intended audience in mind, focusing on topics within the site’s area of expertise. Content designed to attract search traffic or to capitalize on trending topics outside the site’s niche is less likely to be deemed helpful.
- Demonstrate First-Hand Experience: Your content should demonstrate first-hand expertise and depth of knowledge. Content about products or services should be based on personal experience, and this should be made clear with original photos or insights.
- Focus on One Topic: Websites should have a primary purpose or focus. Trying to cover multiple unrelated topics can confuse visitors and search engines.
- Provide Sufficient Answers: Content should aim to educate or assist the user, addressing their concerns or questions thoroughly. Content that leaves readers feeling like they need to search again for better information is not considered helpful.
- Ensure a Satisfying Reader Experience: Content creators should aim to provide a holistic solution for the reader. Even if the content meets all the above criteria, it may still be deemed unhelpful if it doesn’t offer a satisfying experience.
- Avoid Making Unfactual Claims: Websites should avoid making claims that are not factual, such as suggesting a release date for a product or service when one hasn’t been confirmed.
- Follow Google’s Guidelines: Adherence to Google’s guidelines for core updates and product reviews will also benefit the ranking under the helpful content system.
Google’s forthcoming update to the helpful content system reflects its ongoing commitment to improving the user search experience by prioritizing high-quality, authentic content.
Further details about the update will be provided by the company when it officially rolls out.
Featured image generated by author using Midjourney.