Google shares thoughts on Helpful Content’s gradual buildup
Google recently started rolling out the Helpful Content update. It was expected to make a big splash, but so far, the rollout has not led to big changes in search rankings.
There is now a growing consensus that the Helpful Content update may not be as big of a deal as people initially thought. However, that can be misleading.
Google’s Dunny Sullivan learned about this notion that the Helpful Content is a smaller update and decided to address the situation by sharing more information on Twitter.
Here are a few important points he made that would be helpful to know.
The Helpful Content update is still being rolled
We are one week into the launch of the Helpful Content update. If everything still feels very quiet on the search engine results pages, that’s because the update isn’t done yet.
Danny Sullivan mentioned that Google will “keep refining how it works.”
“Update isn’t done. It’s also part of a continuing effort, as we’ve explained. We’ll keep refining how it works. Directionally, the guidance we’ve given is what SEOs and creators should be considering.” — Danny Sullivan.
The Helpful Content doesn’t guarantee big changes
Yes, it is a big sitewide algorithm update, but the rollout does not necessarily mean big changes on the SERPs. It’s especially true for websites that already have good, helpful content.
“Updates don’t necessarily mean a big giant shift. If you have good content, you’re generally fine.”
Sullivan also suggested that people who have been severely affected by the update because they didn’t have helpful content on their websites are less likely to share their feedback. That could be another reason why we may not hear about the lack of big changes and high volatility on the SERPs as much.
“Those who have content with issues, there can be reasons why they might not want to be particularly vocal about a change.”
The Helpful Content is a continuing effort
Unlike Google’s core algorithm updates, the Helpful Content update is going to be more of a continuing effort. Google expects this update to evolve over time. The plan is also to refine the algorithm — and its subsequent impact — with a major launch every few months.
In other words, Google’s helpful content will finish rolling out next week. However, that won’t be the last time we hear about it. Going forward, Google will rely on “incremental improvements” in the way Google analyzes and ranks content. Google will notify if there are more significant updates on the horizon.
“I expect if we make really significant changes to how our classifier works, we’d give notice about that. But more incremental improvements might happen as part of ordinary operation. And it’s very much not a case, as our post tried to explain, of “wait until the next update.”
Important points to remember about the Helpful Content update
Google’s Helpful Content update is still relatively new, but we believe this will set the direction of how Google wants to operate in the future and decide how to evaluate the quality of a content piece.
In case you missed it, here are four important points to remember about the Helpful Content update.
- A higher word count does not necessarily guarantee that your content is helpful. Instead of focusing on how many words your web page has, Google is more concerned about the quality of the content. Word count is an arbitrary metric in the grand scheme of things.
- The Helpful Content wants your content to give all the answers that the search engine users may have about a topic or question. If they feel the need to search for more content after leaving your website, it signals that your content wasn’t as helpful as it could be.
- Google will prioritize content that clearly demonstrates first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge. The Helpful Content update wants authentic, credible, and reliable content. Do not rehash information that is available on other websites. Create something new.
- The Helpful Content update is a sitewide algorithm update. What it means is that if your website has a mix of helpful and unhelpful content, your entire website can be negatively affected. The unhelpful pages can bring down the helpful pages in search rankings.
For more information, check out this resource by Google that shares what content creators should know about the Helpful Content update