Google recently launched an update to its algorithm designed to reward companies for publishing high-quality, helpful and relevant content. The update is adorably named: The Helpful Content Update.
As the CTO of a website design agency in Bangkok, Thailand, I have to constantly keep up with the ever-changing Google algorithm to ensure our clients stay at the forefront of their clients’ minds.
However, this latest update has forced us at Lexicon to go through the last 8 years of our blogs to check for SEO optimization and ensure that they are not now being penalized due to these changes. What we’ve learned is that Google has extended its human-first approach to content indexing to levels hitherto unimagined and – by integrating AI into the analysis – they’re really able to identify the quality of your content in order to rank well on Google. They key criteria that Google is using to rate your content is as follows:
- Originality and substance
- Insightful analysis or interesting information
- Value added through additional sources
- Descriptive and accurate main heading or page title
- Trustworthiness and expertise demonstrated through sourcing and author/site background
- Credibility as an authority on the topic
- Factual accuracy
- High-quality presentation and production
- Limited ads that don’t interfere with the main content
- Mobile-friendly display
- Relevant to an existing or intended audience
- Demonstrates first-hand expertise and depth of knowledge
- Has a primary purpose or focus
- Provides enough information to help achieve a goal
- Provides a satisfying experience for readers
- Search engine-first content warning signs
- Made primarily to attract search engine visits
- Mass-produced content on many topics
- Extensive automation used to produce content
- Summarizing others without adding value
- Trend-following without relevance to existing audience
- Leaves readers feeling unsatisfied and needing to search again
- Writing to a specific word count based on SEO advice
- Pursuing a niche topic area without expertise
- Promising answers to unconfirmed questions.
But let’s start from the basics. Google’s purpose is to help us all to find information when we search by indexing content and prioritizing what they determine to be the most relevant to our search. This indexing is done by robots, and those robots are constantly looking for signs of relevance – from time on the page, to loading speed, to keyword optimization.
In the past, many websites have tried to publish low-effort content designed just to rank on Google. Worse yet, some websites would simply copy-paste stolen content and try to pass it off as their own. While duplicated content was already punished by previous updates, the Helpful Content Update goes further by identifying content that was simply re-written, using an AI automated tool.
This new update will rank websites in their totality based on the quality and helpfulness of their content. Note that this is a domain metric as opposed to a page metric.
This means at the very least that your service pages need to be well written and original. The good news is that Chat GPT can help you to validate your content, but be sure not to let it write all your content or you will fall victim to Google punishment.
But it is perhaps even more important if you are actively blogging or producing thought leadership content on your site. Unhelpful content can cause your website to lose credibility and fall down the Google rankings, so it’s important that you don’t only compile existing insights but also add your own perspective.
So what can you do about it? At Lexicon, we recommend focusing on quality over quantity. Invest in well-written content that is designed to help your audience succeed, while also being optimized for search engine visibility.
Perhaps even more importantly, figure out your 360-degree content strategy and use your website as the host for all content. Then, turn your written pillar content into social media-friendly videos, animations, infographics and quote images.
Leverage across social media with your multimedia content, and link it all back to your website, thus showing Google how helpful and relevant your content is to your target audience. Of course, you may need the help of an expert video production agency in Bangkok along the way.
The key is to know your audience and help them at every touch point. If you do that sincerely, Google will reward your helpfulness.
About the Author
Maxime Schmitt is CTO at Lexicon over 15 years of experience as a software developer with a specialism in developing progressive web applications. Maxime is a leader of the British Chamber of Commerce Digital Technology Committee and a regular guest speaker on web applications.
Lexicon is an award-winning brand storytelling agency focusing on telling impactful stories for clients based in Thailand and South East Asia. As well as integrated tech solutions, they also help tell clients’ stories through social media, branding and video production.