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September 1, 2022

Google's Content Update Will Change Organic Search Results

Google announced a major content update with rollout starting on August 22 for all English language websites. This is expected to be one the the most significant Google content update in the past few years and the impact with most likely be huge.
Some of the key takeaways of the Google content update include:
  • This content update really only affects organic search results.
  • The content update is not a manual action, It purely is based on machine learning.
  • This update is a site-wide algorithm. It impacts your entire site, so you could have both helpful and unhelpful content getting in the way of each other.
  • It's a going to be a journey over the next 6 months to a year to monitor, analyze, prune and refine unhelpful content.
The Google content update demands a focus on people-first content, not content for search engines. A people first focus means content that answers "yes" to questions like:
  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they've learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
Some things to avoid that might trigger low quality content warnings include
  • Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
  • Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
  • Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you'd write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
This might be time to evaluate your SEO strategy and older low traffic blog posts and articles.

Google's first major effort at cleaning up content was the Panda Update in February 2011. The Panda update was designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. It was an attempt to organically reward better rankings for high-quality sites – sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, or thoughtful analysis. As Google matured and embraced A.I. and natural language processing into the machine learning of a more modern search engine, many of the "hand-crafted" algorithm filters like Penguin and Panda lost ground to newer organizations that built their businesses with a low quality "copy pasta" content models. This new Google update seeks out that content and basically devalues the content's worth organically, eventually disappearing them from search results.

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 the organic search results, 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.

We have been down this road before and know what to look for in a Google content update. If you are unsure how this impacts you are what steps you need to take, we can help you. Let's start a conversation.

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