Here Comes the Google Helpful Content Update

Google has announced that it is rolling out a new update to help content written for humans rise above content made with the sole purpose of trying to gain search traffic.

As part of the company’s strategy to inform webmasters and website owners, Google’s search liaison, Danny Sullivan, made the statement in a Twitter post on Thursday:

This is great news and the most important announcement since the Google Panda update in February 2011. The Panda update, for those of you who may remember, was launched to filter out low-quality websites in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

The result of Google Panda was that “content farms”, websites that generated huge amounts of content purely to rank for as many searches as possible, and then monetise those pages, were deemed of less importance than websites with quality content.

This was good news to quality authors eleven years ago and is music to our ears once again.

Write for Humans or Search Engines?

We spoke about this subject at length almost exactly five years ago in our article Content is King: For Humans or Search Engines?

In that piece we discussed that the primary audience of your website are the people in your target market. People look for answer to questions, information, advice, or to make decisions and transactions; This is the user’s search intent or just user intent.

We help our clients to create content that satisfies their users and their client base. We advise on the technical content that appeals to engineers, or by demonstrating the expertise that helps customers choose one law firm over another.

“Write because you have something to say, not because you have to say something.”

This is the very essence of writing for the web – write for the people who may be interested in your services. Write because you have something to say, not because you have to say something. Write to inform your audience of your new product or service, its benefits, your company news, your staff, their awards, highlight the testimonials, the case studies, the new technologies you’re using, appeal to the personas in your marketplace.

Remember the Mark-up to Help Search Engines… Present to People

We also urge our clients to remember that the other regular visitors to our websites are the search engines themselves. Whilst search engine robots (bots) are automated systems, they have been programmed to recognise many factors in website content. As such bots can effectively “understand” layout, content, expertise, sentiment, etc and need to be able to process what your web content is about.

Once you’ve written useful content for people by people, remember to go behind the words and mark-up what your content is about.

Use schema mark-up to enrich content about a business profile, an expert in their field, or a product, service, new or used car, a job opening, flight information, or even a show time. Help the search engines understand so that they can present your information in the relevant format.

Add relevant images to illustrate your content, and ensure they have the correct alt and title attributes to ensure they’re useful and accessible for those who need more than just visual information.

Make sure your phone numbers are tagged correctly so that people can use them, click them, and make calls directly to you, be that from a desktop app or a mobile device. Ensure that your statistical packages are able to measure phone call activity – the number of clicks, and what activity helped them to pick up the phone and call you.

All the links in your content should be tagged to open internally, or externally if they open up third-party sources. Tag your links with “tool tips”, expand acronyms in the rest of your copy, give your users all the information that they need to be able to make educated and informed decisions.

Provide data sheets, downloads, and videos, as necessary.

Remember the Helpful Content Update

Focus on your primary goal of providing helpful content written by people for people. Remember that the quality of what you write, your expertise in subject matters, your authority in your field, and the trust you have built up in years of excellent customer service and delivery are also key factors in how successful your website and your company will be.


Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO & Digital AgencyMake your content as helpful to your audience as you can. Be comprehensive. But also gauge the level of information too, for that is an incredible human skill that can reap massive benefits.

If you need help with creating content written by experts, tailored to resonate with your audience, and that helps your visitors realise your expertise and authority , call Clever Marketing on 01276 402 381 or complete the contact form.

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