Google rolls out the second Helpful Content Update

Google released the first Helpful Content Update in September 2022. Now, a year later, they have released an updated version of the guidelines. The rollout began on September 14 and ended September 28. Over the past year, there have been conversations around AI-generated content with the release of Chat GPT 4, Bard and various AI tools.

Google has updated its guidelines on AI and third-party content hosting due to the popularity of AI. Let’s explore what this means and what the new content guidelines consist of.

Google’s Helpful Content algorithm update ranks websites based on content quality, working with other algorithm components.

Writing people-first content

In the first Helpful content guidelines, Google addresses the importance of people-first content. This guideline still applies; people-first content is more important than ever.

  • When creating content, it’s still important to ask yourself questions around:
  • Does this content resonate with my target audience?
  • Does it provide any valuable information or insight, and what can my audiences achieves from reading this content?
  • Is it original information based on my research or analysis?
  • Does it position myself as an expert in my industry and demonstrate enough knowledge?

What are the new guidelines around AI generated content?

The guidelines around AI generated content have been softened. Google says using AI content to manipulate search engines without providing value violates their spam policies.

So, when is AI generated content acceptable? Google approves the use of AI for content creation. However, clearly indicating that the content was generated by AI is important.

The AI generated content should also provide helpful information. If you are using automation to generate content, then it is important to take these considerations into account:

  • Are users aware through disclosure that the content has been generated through automation?
  • Are you stating how AI generated the content?
  • Can you explain why you used AI to generate this content?

Google’s new guidelines emphasise the importance of being transparent with your audience when using AI to create content. It is crucial to clearly communicate the reasons behind utilizing AI in content creation.

Enhancement of E-E-A-T

Google’s ranking systems take many factors into account. Google uses a mix of signals which can enhance the visibility of your content. It is important that your content shows Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

It’s essential to build that trust with your audiences through showcasing experience and expertise. Being honest and informative with your audience is important, while also giving them useful and accurate information.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when it comes to creating content and showcasing E-E-A-T:

  • Is your content spread across many different topics just to manipulate search engines?
  • Again, are you extensively using AI to produce content on lots of different topics?
  • Are you writing content just because it is trending, and doesn’t necessarily add any value to your audience?

Here are our top tips on how to ensure your content is showcasing E-E-A-T:

  • Create content around topics which you are an expert in rather than focusing on many different topics
  • Demonstrate your first-hand knowledge, and if you outsource your content, make sure the writer has enough information about your industry. Always review outsourced content to ensure it adheres to your brand
  • Don’t decide to enter a niche topic area without real expertise as this could really impact your trust with audiences
  • Don’t just change the date on your content to show that the content is “refreshed”, instead review your content and see where you can add real value

What to do if your website has suffered a loss in traffic

If your website’s traffic has decreased, it’s good to check your content and see if it’s helpful. Analyse the pages that experienced the most impact and the queries that decreased in rankings.

Make sure your content follows the new rules. If you used AI to create it, be honest with your audience.

Ensure that the content on your website is valuable and provides readers with helpful information. Avoid creating search-engine-first content, instead, there are things you can do that are specifically meant to help search engines discover your content. Ensure that your content has the relevant keywords, has relevant internal linking and is discoverable through your sitemap files.

Review your page experience, Google’s new guidelines state that their core ranking systems will reward content that provides a good user experience. Focus on all elements of Page Speed and optimize Core Web Vitals (CWV) for better performance. Good Page experience should apply to both mobile and desktop.

Keeping on top of your content and all the various algorithm updates can be tricky. At The PHA Group, our skilled SEO and Content team can assist you in reaching your organic search objectives. Contact us now if your website’s traffic has dropped, and we’ll develop personalised content plans for your company.

Get in touch with the team