Tag Archives: Google algorithm

How does Google define “Helpful Content”?

How does Google define helpful content

How does Google define helpful content

The news of Google rolling out the new “helpful content” algorithm update is all over the Internet.

I too covered the news a few days ago.

Although content has been at the center stage of every algorithm that Google has rolled out, it is for the first time that the term “helpful content” has been specifically highlighted.

According to Google, in a nutshell, “helpful content” means the content

  • Is created for a specific, targeted audience.
  • Delivers what the searcher is looking for.
  • Shows expertise.
  • Portrays trustworthiness and credibility.

In its blog post on the “helpful content” algorithm update Google has shared some information on what it considers helpful content.

Google suggests that you write and publish people-first content.

Don’t obsess over your search engine rankings.

Don’t write content to make search engine algorithms happy.

There are certain indicators that can tell the Google algorithm that you are writing content for the search engine and not for people.

Google asks you to make the following observations when writing and publishing content on your website or blog:

  • Do people who directly come to your website (not from Google) find your content helpful and useful?
  • Does your website content have a central theme around which you have published detailed content?
  • Do you write articles and blog posts with first-hand experience, and do you share in-depth knowledge of your field?
  • Do people find enough information such that they no longer have to search for the topic somewhere else?
  • Do people feel satisfied after reading what you have published?

What does Google want you to stop doing when publishing content?

  • Stop publishing different versions of the same topic hoping that one of the versions will rank well on Google.
  • Don’t scrape content from other websites just to fill your website or blog with content.
  • Don’t use topics just so that they rank well on Google.
  • Don’t use automated tools to write and publish content on your website and blog.
  • When creating content from other websites, don’t just merely summarise – add more value.
  • Don’t extend your article or blog post to a certain word count just so that it ranks well.
  • Don’t write about a niche topic unless you are an expert in it or you have in-depth knowledge about the topic.
  • Don’t answer questions for which you don’t have a definite answer such as a health-related question or the release of a movie.

Other “helpful content” recommendations by Google

  • Write blog posts and articles from different perspectives, such as, both pros and cons of using a product or a service.
  • When reviewing a product, go beyond what the provider or the manufacturer says, and share your own first-hand experience.
  • Describe in detail how a product performs in different areas – for example, how a mixer grinds different categories of vegetables.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of your readers – would you trust the information you are sharing on your website or blog?
  • Are you sourcing facts and statistics from authoritative websites and blogs?
  • Doublecheck your content for easily verified factual errors.
  • As much as possible, provide information that is original, research-based, and well analysed.
  • Cover exhaustive information about a topic.
  • Deliver in the body content what you have promised in the headline or the meta title.
  • Create content people would like to bookmark, or share, or recommend.
  • Link to useful information on your own website or other authoritative websites.

Google recommends focusing on search intent

People search with different needs.

In this document Google shares some major motivations with which people use the search engine.

  • I want to know: People are looking for information, knowledge, and news.
  • I want to go: People are mostly looking for local businesses where they can go and entertain themselves or have food.
  • I want to do: This is primarily how-to content when people want to solve a problem and are looking for a solution.
  • I want to buy: They are ready to buy, and you just need to keep them focused.

You may also like to read: Why search intent is most important when writing content for your website

New Google ‘Helpful Content’ update will benefit websites with quality content

Google announces the new helpful content algorithm update

Google announces the new helpful content algorithm update

Google is constantly updating its search algorithm to put more emphasis on human-centric content.

The recent Google update is being termed as one of the most significant changes in over a decade.

We all know that there are many websites that publish content simply to draw search engine traffic.

They don’t concentrate on quality.

They simply rehash content from other websites to publish web pages and blog posts extremely fast, get search engine traffic, and generate ad revenue.

Although legally there is nothing wrong in publishing low quality content, but it harms Google’s interest.

If people are constantly finding low quality content in search results, they will get frustrated and stop using the search engine and worse, they may move to a search engine that provides them relevant results.

What is Google’s “Helpful Content” algorithm update?

Google announced the new algorithm update in a tweet


It basically devalues content merely written for search engines.

As a professional content writer and copywriter, I always advise that more focus should be on writing and publishing human-centric content.

Yes, writing content in a search engine friendly format is necessary so that it is easier for crawlers to crawl your content, index it, and appropriately rank it, but ultimately, it is the human readers who consume your content.

You may like to read: SEO content writing: Should you write content for robots or humans?

The aim of the new “Helpful Content” update is to put more emphasis on finding high-quality content that is

  • Original
  • Relevant
  • Solves the true purpose of the search query

The new update will be rolled out within two weeks (I’m writing this on August 20, 2022).

Once it is active, it will severely downgrade the content that is merely written to generate search engine traffic.

The new Google algorithm update will raise the rankings of content written for people (humans) and lower the rankings of the content primarily written for SEO.

Unlike some algorithm updates that target specific kind of pages, the impact of this update will be sitewide.

It means, if you have been publishing low quality content, the new Google update will impact all pages of your website.

What does Google suggest?

  • According to this link from Google:
  • Focus on people-first content
  • Avoid creating content for search engines first

Google further suggests some remedial measures

Any content — not just unhelpful content — on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere from the web that’s better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.

How to focus more on human-first content?

The best way is to ask yourself, does your content help someone?

Are you answering genuine questions?

Are you providing solutions that can solve people’s problems?

The new “Helpful Content” algorithm update will be favourably evaluating websites with vertical content depth.

What is that?

Content that is more aligned with the central topic of a website.

For example, the central topic of my website is content writing and copywriting.

I’m also shifting the focus towards general digital marketing that also includes blog posts on search engine optimization, email marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing.

These are my focus areas.

But what if I publish content on mobile app development?

Does it help my core audience?

What about a list of best SaaS accounting applications?

Is the topic relevant to the central theme of my website?


Such content, and websites publishing such unfocused content will be downgraded.

What does Google suggest?

Ask the following questions before you write and publish content to make it human-first content

  • Have you built an audience for your website and does your content solves its purpose?
  • When writing content, do you have first-hand experience and depth of knowledge about the product or service you are describing?
  • Do people find answers to their questions when they come to your website from Google?

Google also suggests avoiding

Writing and publishing content that focuses more on search engines and less on humans.

Producing lots of content on unrelated topics merely to attract search engine traffic?

Using automation tools to extract and produce content on different topics.

Simply rehashing content from other websites without adding much value for your own opinion.

Focusing on word count rather than the value you are delivering.

Publishing on a niche topic just because it is lucrative in terms of search engine traffic.

Interestingly, according to this Techcrunch analysis, one of the biggest reasons behind this “Helpful Content” algorithm update might be that 40% of young people use TikTok or Instagram to find their favorite restaurant or an eating joint, instead of Google Search or Google Maps.

Along with this update, Google will also launch a series of updates to make it easier to find helpful and in-depth reviews in search results.

This Search Engine Journal update says that the new Google “Helpful Content” update will be activated on 25 August, 2022.

Writing content for multitask unified model – MUM

Writing content for Google MUM

Writing content for Google MUM.

Google is implementing a new machine learning technology in search called “multitask unified model”, in short, MUM.

MUM is touted as 1000x more powerful than BERT (bidirectional encoder representations). For years we have been talking about how right now machines cannot read through images for search purposes, but MUM will be able to do so. It is multimodal in the sense that it can understand information across text and images and in near future, it will also be able to understand information in video and audio.

You may also like to read: Optimizing your content writing for the BERT algorithm update

The new algorithm can also process 75 languages for the purpose of search results. For example, if you post a query in English on Google and if the algorithm thinks that a better answer exists on a Japanese website, it will bring up the Japanese website after translating it into English.

Yes, now, you won’t just be competing for space in your own language, but also with 75 other languages.

Up till now, within search, Google’s main revenue model has been PPC ads. More revenue opportunities can be created by finding contextual results when people search, and then, offering commercial products and services for further exploration. Google wants to provide “context-rich” answers.

Ultimately, the company hopes, the company aims to achieve a “richer and deeper search experience”.

What does it mean for content writing? All my clients want me to write content that helps them improve their search engine rankings. How can technologies for algorithmic logics like MUM can be incorporated into the process of content writing?

Good content is based on targeted queries. If you’re looking for a content writing service for your logistics company, you are more likely to search for something like “content writer for my logistics company website” or “content writing services for a logistics website”, and other variations.

When the MUM-powered search algorithm goes mainstream, two main things are going to happen that concern your search engine rankings:

  1. Google may find content related to “content writing for logistics company website” even on websites in different languages and show them in your language if it thinks they have a better answer for what you’re looking for.
  2. It may also showcase information on why your logistics company needs a quality content writing service that can help you improve your search engine rankings, educate your visitors and lower your bounce rate.

Frankly, most of the blog posts and articles trying to explain what exactly MUM is are simply regurgitating what Google has published on its own blog. Everybody is using the hiking example used by Google – they haven’t been able to come up even with your own example. Hence, the understanding of the technology is still unfolding.

But the main takeaway is that the search algorithm is not just going to focus on the query that is submitted to Google for bringing up search results. It will also use its own logic to decide what more information could be useful to you and then present that information to you. It may combine multiple links into a single search result to give you a comprehensive, context-based result for your query.

Is MUM all about writing and publishing pillar pages and topic clusters?

Right now, it seems like it. How do you create a complete context? By packing everything into what you are writing. But you cannot write very long web pages and blog posts because then people won’t read them. What do you do? You create a pillar page with the main topic and then you create a series of topic cluster pages or the contextual pages that present all the needed information that is related to the main topic or the pillar page content.

In the end, what matters is the relevance and quality of the information that you publish on your website or blog. Write relevant content. Maintain a close relationship between your topic and the body text. High-quality, relevant content always stands the test of time.