Google’s Helpful Content algorithm update

google helpful content update

What does Google’s Helpful Content update mean for SEO? 

While Google makes small tweaks to their search engine ranking algorithm all the time, sometimes it makes major updates that significantly affect how websites are ranked in the search results.  One of these was Google’s Helpful Content algorithm update.

The aim of Google’s Helpful Content update was to attract more diversity in the search results. Google described this as more original, helpful content for people, written by people. 

With this change, Google rewards content that gives website visitors a satisfying user experience.  Conversely, content that is written just to please search engines is demoted. Website content is not assessed singularly, but assessed as part of the entire website.

To this end, removing unhelpful content from your website is now recommended.

Is the content on your website outdated or unhelpful?

If your current website manager has been simply adding a bunch of unhelpful content to your website, purely with the goal of boosting your search engine ranking without adding any value, you may want to assess your SEO strategy.  To assist you with this, below is a helpful list of questions that Google provided to SEO experts.

  1. Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  2. Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  3. Will people reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  4. Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if it came directly to you?
  5. After reading your content, will your website visitors leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their purpose for visiting your website?
  6. Are you adhering to Google’s guidance for core updates and product reviews?
  7. What can you do to improve your content or make a balanced decision on deleting stuff?

SEO professionals and Google’s helpful content update

Further to this, SEO professionals should consider the following when writing content for their clients.

  • Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines rather than made for humans?
  • Will your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
  • Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
  • Are you mainly summarising what others have to say without adding any value?
  • Are you writing about things simply because they are on trend and not because they’ll provide value to your existing audience?
  • Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
  • Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard this is required for search engine ranking?
  • Are you writing about a niche topic simply because you think it will boost search traffic, rather than because it’s part of your expertise?

In short, Google’s helpful content update aims to reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.


If you have concerns that the content on your website doesn’t adhere to Google’s Helpful Content algorithm update, contact me for advice. I have been building websites for 25 years and have worked with hundreds of small businesses around Australia.  I offer cost effective website solutions that fit with your budget and requirements.

Contact Rebecca Mitchell

No ongoing fees | No lock-in contracts | I do not outsource to overseas contractors