Google’s new algorithm update, and what it means for you

In a digital world built on unfathomably complicated algorithms a new revolution is on the way from the Google wizards they’re calling “Helpful Content”. Google is asking some big questions to determine whether our sites are designed to help people, or rather, created to do well on search engines.

If the latter is the case, you may find yourself hit with a sitewide signal that makes it difficult to rank.

In laymen’s terms this update is geared toward sites that have gamed the system, creating content that isn’t super helpful to people but still ranking well because of SEO rather than on the merit of the content on the site.

It is a sitewide update rather than page by page – if Google thinks the site as a whole is producing a significant proportion of unhelpful/over-SEO-ed content, the entire site will suffer a visibility hit from the update

While these algorithms do not specifically target any specific niche, Google said these types of content may be impacted the most:

  • Online educational materials.
  • Arts and entertainment.
  • Shopping.
  • Tech-related.

This is because content written in those areas has historically been written more for search engines than humans.

Google has said the search company validated these new results with its quality raters and confirmed that using this system improves Google’s search quality.

Sites that get hit will take several months to recover even once they start to take improvement actions, so with an initial rollout starting Aug 22nd (UK only to begin with) now is the time to take a look at your own website and begin to adjust accordingly.

Many people who have created sites that are created with SEO efforts foremost in mind will rationalise that their content is created to inform people.

If you’re unsure, we encourage you to review the next two questions:

  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?

As the update rolls out, make sure to watch your analytics and, if necessary, re-evaluate your content strategy around the advice Google has provided.

The extent to which this change will effect individual companies website visibility is yet to be seen, this is merely a call to action to make sure your “ducks are in a row” or at very least to monitor the potential effects through data analytics.

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