Keeping up with search engine optimization (SEO) is vital in the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape. Brace yourself for the latest wave of changes as Google rolls out its Helpful Content Update in September 2023.
This update signals a new era for content marketers and SEO professionals, placing a greater emphasis on the quality and usefulness of content. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and artificial tactics to boost search rankings.
Below are some details about this update and what it means for the future of SEO.
This Update Improves The Search Engine Experience
Google’s Helpful Content Update aims to make search results more useful to everyone who uses their search engine. How does it do this? It changes the way websites get ranked.
Instead of just looking for keywords, Google is now looking more at the quality of the content on websites. When you search for something, the websites you see at the top of the results will have more than relevant keywords.
They will also have reliable and helpful information about those words. This is excellent news for users who rely on Google to find the information they need quickly and accurately.
But what does this mean for SEO? It means that website owners and content creators must focus on producing high-quality, valuable content that meets the needs of their target audience.
This includes conducting thorough keyword research, creating well-written and informative articles, and regularly updating and optimizing existing content to stay relevant.
The Impact on Machine-Generated Content
Google’s Helpful Content Update has also changed machine-generated or AI-written content. Here are a few key points:
- More Weight to AI Content: In the past, content written by AI or machine learning was given little importance by Google. With the new update, this type of content might be ranked higher if it is helpful and valuable to readers.
- Focus on Quality: Although AI-written content will be given more weight, it must still be high-quality. This means it should be well-written, informative, and provide a good experience for the reader.
- AI and Human Collaboration: It’s not about replacing human writers. It’s about AI and humans working together. AI can take care of data analysis and provide insights, while humans focus on the creative part. This makes the content more engaging and personalized.
These changes mean that using AI could become a much more critical part of SEO strategy in the future. So, if you’re a content writer or a website owner, it’s an excellent time to explore how AI can help you create high-quality content that meets Google’s new guidelines.
Google is Looking at Third-Party Content
Google is now paying closer attention to third-party content. This refers to stuff written by other people or companies hosted on your website. This could be in a main section (like your blog) or a subdomain (a separate part of your site). Why is Google doing this? They want to ensure that all the information on your website is high-quality and valuable to people visiting it.
In the past, Google didn’t look closely at this third-party content. But with the Helpful Content Update, Google is now checking whether this content meets its new guidelines. This means the content should be well-written, informative, and helpful to website visitors. If not, this can impact your website’s ranking on Google’s search results.
Fake Content Updates Won’t Be Tolerated
The Helpful Content Update is taking things up a notch. Google will now issue warnings for attempts to trick the system by faking updates to pages or pretending to have fresh content. But what does this mean?
When people try to make it look like their webpage is updated more often than it is, Google’s onto them. This can happen in a few ways:
- Changing Dates: Some people change the date on their article or webpage to make it seem newer. This is like changing the “baked on” date on a loaf of bread to make it seem fresh. But Google isn’t fooled.
- Copying and Pasting: Another trick is copying and pasting the same content onto the page again and again. It’s like telling the same story repeatedly, hoping it will sound new the third time. But it doesn’t, and Google knows this.
- Minor Edits: Sometimes, tiny edits are made to the page, like changing a word or two. Think of this as painting an old car a new color and trying to sell it as brand new. Google sees right through this.
So, if you’re trying to trick Google by faking updates or pretending your content is fresh, watch out! Google will warn you, and your website’s ranking could take a hit.
Google’s Advice on Ad Usage
In addition to the Helpful Content Update, Google has provided further guidance on using ads on websites. The critical point is that while ads can be useful for generating revenue, they should not interfere with the user experience. Google strongly advises against excessive ads that distract users or make navigating the website difficult.
This means ads should not pop up excessively, cover the whole screen, or make it hard for users to find the information they are looking for. Websites that do not follow this advice may see their SEO ranking plummet.
It is essential to balance the need for ad revenue with the importance of providing a positive user experience.
Google Promotes the Use of Schema Markup
Schema markup helps Google understand what a website is all about. It’s like reading a book with a glossary at the back explaining all the tough words. That’s how schema markup works for a website – it helps Google understand the complicated stuff.
Google likes it when websites use schema markup because it makes its job easier. Schema markup allows Google to navigate a website like a map, which helps you find your way in a new city. It tells Google what the website’s pages are about. This allows Google to show the website to the right people.
Schema markup is a helpful tool that can make a big difference in how your website appears in Google searches.
Speed Matters: Why Google Wants Your Website to Load Fast
Google’s new update stresses the importance of quick website loading times. But why is this such a big deal? Well, think about it. It’s frustrating when you click on a website and it takes forever to load. You might even give up and leave. That’s precisely what Google wants to avoid.
Google wants to ensure you find what you need quickly and efficiently when using its search engine. Slow websites get in the way of that. So, from now on, websites that load quickly will get a boost in Google’s search rankings. On the other hand, slow websites might move down in the rankings.
This means website owners and developers must prioritize optimizing their site’s loading speed. Some ways to do this include compressing images, reducing the number of plugins or third-party integrations, and optimizing code. A faster website helps with SEO and provides a better user experience for visitors.
Recovering From a Penalty Issued By Google
If Google’s new update catches you off guard and your website gets a penalty, don’t panic. Google has shared some helpful tips on how to bounce back. Here’s what you can do:
- Understand the issue: First, understand why your site was penalized. Google Search Console will send you a message explaining the problem. This could be due to poor-quality content, keyword stuffing, or fake updates.
- Fix your content: Once you know the issue, fix it. If your content isn’t high quality, spend some time improving it. Write helpful, informative content that gives people what they’re looking for. If you’ve been stuffing keywords, stop doing that. Make your content flow naturally.
- Remove fake updates: Stop if you’ve been faking updates or copying and pasting the same content. Google wants fresh, original content. So, regularly update your site with new and relevant content.
- Ask for a re-evaluation: After you’ve made the necessary changes, ask Google to re-evaluate your site. You can do this through the Search Console. It might take time, but your site should recover if you’ve made the right changes.
You must contact professionals if you’re unsure what steps to take to fix these problems. The Small Business SEO team is here to help you.
Modernizing Your SEO Strategy is Important
Educating yourself about Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update is vital. With this information, you can keep your website at the top of Google. Let our team help you modernize your SEO strategy.
At Small Business SEO, We monitor the latest Google updates and adapt our marketing strategies to reflect these changes. This ensures your website stays on the first page of search results.