Google’s Latest Update Emphasizes Reliability

It seems that Google is forever on the go. Changes and updates are made on a seemingly ever-evolving basis. The most recent change will be good news to online users everywhere, and the key word to keep in mind is: reliable.

Why will there be another update from Google?

This action on Google’s part to implement further updates stems from user complaints of how the experience of searching and finding what they were looking for had deteriorated. Danny Sullivan, a spokesperson for Google, promises that the new user experience on Google will be faster and more reliable.

Helpful content

These updates—collectively named by Google as the “helpful content update”—will help single out truly quality websites and place them high in search rankings, thus helping users to seek and readily find pages and data which have information that is genuinely—and here’s that word again—reliable. This will be accomplished by the implementation of a new site-wide ranking signal that targets sites with extraneous—or “unhelpful”—content. (This is content that simply ranks in search engines without any genuine value.) Oh, and this site-wide ranking signal will always be “on” 24/7.

The rollout for Google’s “helpful content update” is scheduled for next week.

What content is changing?

Google will zero in on content that at one time had been created to rank high in search—labelled “SEO-first.” If a user were to search for some specific product or service, he or she would have a plethora of websites to view. The catch is that many of these sites did not include any unique information that related to what they were searching for. Mr. Sullivan states that the “helpful content update” will ultimately present users with websites that have been prioritized to offer content that is helpful, authentic, and—yes—reliable. This will be particularly useful for searches pertaining to education, shopping, entertainment, and technology. In short, Google is reversing the position of “SEO-first” to “people-first.”

Preview of new review setup from Google

Additionally, Google intends to overhaul and step up its capabilities for product review results. Similar to the intentions of “helpful content update,” reviews that describe users’ firsthand experiences of the products and services of brands or businesses will be placed at the top of search results. After all, what is more reliable than firsthand experience?

What brand and business owners should be aware of…

It is important for owners of brands and businesses to understand that the “helpful content” update will impact rankings throughout websites everywhere. As a result, brands should get to work reviewing and revising their sites thoroughly, with a focus on seeing that each and every bit of content is relevant and reliable to a random search from an online user, and that all unhelpful content is deleted for good.

How does Google “know” whether content is helpful or unhelpful

The new signal-wide “helpful content” update is “weighted.” This means it can detect websites that have a great deal of unhelpful content. The more unhelpful or irrelevant the content is, the stronger the signal will be to identify it as such. (On a positive note, once unhelpful content is eliminated, a site can recover its standing and have the potential to rank high in Google search, although that may take several months.)

What business owners should consider

The following points are strong indicators that a website is more “people-first” than “SEO-first.”

  • If an existing or potential audience consistently finds helpful content when visiting a site.
  • The website content features firsthand expertise and a great deal of knowledge.
  • There is a primary focus and purpose to the website.
  • A user actually has learned something of value after having visited a particular website that will benefit him or her.
  • The site should be mindful of Google’s core updates and keeps on top of product reviews.

On the flip side, these are indicators that should be avoided in order to not be labelled as “unhelpful content.”

  • Content that is intended to attract people from search engines.
  • Too much random content that’s posted for the chance of performing well in search.
  • Overdoing the use of automation to produce content.
  • Summarizing the ideas of others and not providing any unique value.
  • Putting trends before customers when writing content.
  • Leaving visitors asking questions than finding answers.
  • Being too “word count-conscious.”
  • Posting about niche topics—but having no expertise.
  • Making promises that can’t be answered.

So, there is a lot to review, digest, and—if necessary—change where websites are concerned. Websites, at the end of the day must be (you guessed it)—reliable.

Michael DiMarco, SEO Director at EGC, states his views:

A shift towards user-friendly content that relies less on following an SEO checklist and more on providing useful, insightful and original information is not a surprising one. The Google “helpful content” update is a leap in the direction that Google search results have been moving to for years by providing higher rankings and rewarding websites that promote expertise on their subjects. But just as important, Google is looking for authenticity, as users are frequently turning to public forums such as Reddit to find answers to their searches. Establishing credibility in the eyes of Google by citing credible sources and building upon them while writing content in a way that provides valuable information to users is critical now more than ever.

The EGC Group continues to keep track of the latest changes and happenings that are relevant to your brand or business—particularly in the online world. We can help improve your brand’s online presence through our top-of-the-line search engine optimization (SEO) services, which yield results—and are reliable.

Get in touch with us to learn more.