Google Helpful Content Update: Its Impact and Ways to Maximize Your Visibility

Google Helpful Content Update: Its Impact and Ways to Maximize Your Visibility
Ramesh Karki | August 26, 2022
Google Helpful Content Update - Its Impact and Ways to Maximize Your Visibility

Google has always strived to provide the most relevant, valuable, and high-quality content to its users. It is one of the reasons they constantly update their algorithms that determine how listings are ranked on the SERP. Their latest update aims to strengthen further their goal of people finding more high-quality, informational content.

Google recently announced that they are launching the “Helpful Content update”. The update looks to give people more helpful content that is written by people, for people. They want to weed out the unhelpful content that is solely built for search engines. Google’s goal is to help users find what they’re looking for, unhelpful content is just SEO optimized for the purpose of increasing rank and visibility on the SERP. This new update will ensure unoriginal, unhelpful, and uninformative content does not get ranked high on the SERP.

The update is likely to start rolling the week of August 22nd. Google will update the release on its blog.  

The first rollout of the update is only for Google Search and not any other of its platforms. It is currently only for the English language pages (updates for other languages are planned in the future).

Impact of the Helpful Content Update

One of the key aspects of this update is that it is a sitewide update, meaning it doesn’t only affect the SERP feature rankings or your URL rankings, but it affects your whole site. Over the next few weeks, the algorithm will be reviewing all of your pages and determine how much of your content is helpful and how much is unhelpful. Your whole site will be penalized if there is unhelpful content on your website. Google has neither disclosed how bad the penalty will be for having unhelpful content nor have they disclosed what percentage of unhelpful content gets you the penalty.

Google has stated that online educational materials, entertainment, shopping, and tech-related content could be impacted the most. But we will be analyzing the SERP changes for the next few weeks and post our findings in our next article. Some of the changes that we will be closely monitoring on the SERP are:

  • Does this impact the types of SERP features that Google shows (i.e. – more People Also Ask and fewer Top Stories)?
  • Identify the type of content that is moving up the ranks and which ones are moving down.
  • Change in the types of titles we see on the SERP.
  • What components in the SERP are above the fold after the update versus before?
  • The industry or category that we see the most changes in.
  • The biggest winners and losers are based on rank fluctuations in the next few weeks.

We believe that behavioral data will be of the utmost importance to track, monitor, and optimize because the new helpful content update will be taking these metrics (session time, bounce rate, exit %, etc.) into account to determine whether the content is helpful or unhelpful.

What can you do to avoid facing issues?

  • Create content focused for people instead of the search engine

Start with the customer in mind. Put out content that is written for actual people and not explicitly built to align with best practices of SEO. SEO can be used as a critical part of the content creation process in terms of keyword research, topic selection, competitive analysis, etc. This way your content is more focused on the user rather than the search engine.

  • Make sure to address a user’s need with your content

Provide the necessary information on the subject or query that the user is looking for. Make it a point that the reader feels satisfied with the read content without having to further browse into other content.

  • Show your thought leadership

Look to create content in which you are the subject matter expert. One of Google’s criteria is EAT – expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. If you can demonstrate these three things over the course of time, then your content will most likely get ranked well.

  • Avoid zombie pages

Zombie pages are those pages on a website that bring very little or almost no traffic. They are pages that are on the 10th or 20th page of Google that no one ever visits. These sorts of pages need to be updated or optimized as the content within them can have outdated and some may need to be removed and redirected as they no longer bring value.

  • Use Google Analytics Behavior Reports to Optimize your pages

Keep a close eye on your behavior reports to assess the performance of your content and the actions users take on your website. Optimize metrics like pageviews, entrances, average time on page, bounce rate, exit rate, sessions, new users, etc.


Whenever there is an update from Google, the SEO world holds its breath. It can lead to SEO specialists and businesses having to alter their SEO strategy to comply with the updates.

The main objective of Google is to present the user with the most relevant and helpful content so, as long as you are creating high-quality informative content that is for people instead of the search engine, you do not have to fear the latest helpful content update from Google.

We will be bringing you our analysis and insights on the changes we find on the Google SERP within the next couple of weeks. Subscribe to our blog to keep up with the update.

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