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Understanding Google's Helpful Content Update – A Pocket Guide for Marketers

As an SEO professional or content creator, you have likely heard the news about Google’s helpful content update by now. But will this affect your content and SEO rankings? Before we look into it, you must understand what this update is all about. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.

Understanding Google's Helpful Content Update

To rank well after Google's update, you must publish content that provides value to users. This update aims to reduce low-quality content and reward pages that offer in-depth, accurate information.

Google wants to surface content that is:

  • Authoritative: Produced by experts or reputable organizations. Cite credible sources.

  • Comprehensive: Thoroughly covers the topic. Include details, examples, stats, and facts.

  • Accurate: Fact-checked and error-free. Double-check claims and quotes.

  • Up-to-date: Includes recent information. Monitor news and trends in your industry.

  • Original: Not duplicated from other sites. Provide unique insights, perspectives, and advice.

  • User-focused: Meets the needs and interests of your target audience. Survey readers to determine topics they find most helpful.

To comply with these principles, invest time in research, work with subject matter experts, and create content that genuinely helps and informs your audience. Publish long-form content, tutorials, and FAQs. Also, use an empathetic and constructive tone. You can update and improve content over time based on user feedback.

Creating Truly Helpful Content That Ranks

To rank highly in Google's search results after the update, you must now focus on creating content that provides real value to readers. Simply optimizing for keywords and producing thin content will no longer suffice.

You should aim to thoroughly address the searcher's query or intent. And this is only achievable by providing comprehensive, in-depth information on the topic.

Use headings and subheadings to logically organize your content, making it easy to navigate. Don’t forget to include images, graphs, tables, videos, and other visuals to demonstrate key points and enhance the reader's understanding. The latest trends show as many as 91% of consumers wanting to see more online video content.

You should write in a formal yet friendly tone for a general audience. Use simple language and short sentences and paragraphs. Your content should read naturally while still being authoritative.

Lastly, be sure to incorporate related keywords, synonyms, and phrases throughout your content. However, do not over-optimize or include keywords that do not fit naturally within the text. Place keywords in headings, subheadings, image alt text, and page titles for improved findability.

Optimizing Your Content

To rank well after Google's update and produce high-quality content, you must optimize your work for both relevance and expertise.


Ensure that the information you provide focuses on answering the user's questions. Writing content that is thoroughly tailored to your target audience is always preferable. So, use synonyms and related keywords frequently to show search engines that the content is relevant.


Establish your knowledge and authority on the topic. Back up key points with statistics, expert opinions, case studies, or other factual evidence from reputable sources. Explain complex ideas and industry terms in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner. Build trust by being transparent about your credentials, experience, and potential biases.

Producing content that balances expertise and relevance will lead to higher rankings in search results and a better user experience. Keep your content concise, scannable and digestible. Use an empathetic, helpful tone to connect with readers. Update older content over time as search trends evolve and new information becomes available.

Final Thoughts

Google’s helpful content update may seem like an obstacle, but in reality, it's an opportunity. By doubling down on creating content with real purpose and substance, you'll achieve sustainable success in search and build a platform with impact. The hard work will pay off through higher rankings, increased traffic, and a growing readership that comes back time and again. After all, content marketing can generate three times as many leads as traditional marketing while costing 62% less.


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