On August 18th, 2022, Google announced their Helpful Content Update on the Search Central Blog. This will be rolling out over the next two weeks. The update seeks to reward pages with original insights, and content written by humans for humans, not for search engines. The update seems to target these types of content for demotion via machine learning: content produced via AI for search engines, Sites that cover a wide variety of content, sites trying to chase trending topics without a history of subject matter expertise, misleading content offering release dates that are unconfirmed, content produced without firsthand knowledge. My interpretation of this is they are targeting affiliate blogs that produce content without using the products, AI and GPT-3 generated content that uses keywords but doesn’t help users, and sites that sell links or allow article submissions without editorial guidance. This update will be applied via machine learning, these are not manual penalties or demotions. Many people are producing content as fast as they can without regard for quality because they heard this is good for SEO. Sites are looking to acquire links without regard to quality, so they buy links on article farms. People hear that longer articles rank better, so they create long articles without thinking about what will give their readers answers quickly. All these are quality issues created by people trying to take shortcuts to SEO.
One big insight with this update is much of it seems to rely on user signals. Google mentioned that if users feel the need to go search for better information after visiting your page (aka pogo sticking), that can mean low-quality content. This probably means Google has a reliable method for measuring user satisfaction.
The message is clear. Sites must focus on content quality over mass produced quantity. That high-quality content is meant to earn backlinks, and buying backlinks is still being cracked down on. Google squashed PBNs over the last eight years, demoting article farm links seems to be another goal. Measuring the satisfaction of real users is a worthy goal, and hopefully this continues to improve search results. Remember, there are no shortcuts to long-lasting SEO.
Original announcement: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2022/08/helpful-content-update
Our article: https://www.lockedownseo.com/helpful-content-update/
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