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Google Content Update: Essential Information

Google has launched a significant new algorithm update that will introduce new ranking factors aimed at enhancing the quality of the content in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Important information about the update:

The update was launched in August. If your site is affected, removing “unhelpful” content can help recover your ranking. The update will be applied to the entire site and will become a permanent part of the Google Algorithm toolkit. As it is a sitewide signal, sites with excessive “unhelpful” content will experience a stronger impact.
However, the signal’s strength will depend on the amount of unhelpful content on the site.

How does Google identify unhelpful content?

Google will use automated ML signals to determine what is considered unhelpful. This may result in some unexpected content being flagged as unhelpful. Some examples of signals that may be considered unhelpful include:

  • Content primarily designed to attract search engines rather than users
  • Content on diverse topics in the hope that some of it will perform well
  • Overreliance on automation
  • Summaries of others’ ideas without adding value
  • Writing about popular topics without considering one’s audience
  • Conforming to a specific word count
  • Entering a niche area without real expertise, just for the search traffic
  • Promising to answer questions without a confirmed answer (such as suggesting a release date for a product/TV show/movie that has not been confirmed).

It’s believed that if your content is too similar to other ranking content, it could be seen as unhelpful by Google. This could apply to content obtained from sources such as suppliers, real estate MLS, and review sites. To prepare for the update, make sure your website’s speed is fast and any unhelpful content is removed before the next week, when Google may be crawling more. Additionally, it’s recommended to avoid making any significant SEO updates to your website during this time. As being hit by the update can take months to recover from, it’s crucial to try to avoid it if possible.

Our initial thoughts also include:

This algorithm update has already been rolled out in some areas, where unique content is preferred. List-style content may be a focus of the update. Volatility can be expected.

You can read more about this update from Google, and Glenn Gabe has a helpful article here.