Google’s Helpful Content is now out for roughly two weeks. However, the sitewide update did not have as big of an impact as people were initially expecting. Search results did not change significantly after the update started rolling out.
Google’s Danny Sullivan shared his thoughts on the lack of Helpful Content’s big impact last week. He reiterated the fact that the Helpful Content update is indeed a big one but downplayed the need for significant changes to prove that.
“Updates don’t necessarily mean a big giant shift. If you have good content, you’re generally fine.”
Helpful Content signals x The next core update
This week, Danny Sullivan responded to the feedback and shared even more thoughts on when we can expect the search signal to get stronger.
According to Danny, it could happen around the time the next core update rolls out.
“Maybe the helpful content signal alone wasn’t enough to tip the scales and produce a change in someone’s particular situation, but when we do other updates (core, product reviews), it might add into that and be more significant.”
Danny also raised an interesting point that the small impact people have seen across the board is actually a good sign and in line with the overall expectations.
“Noticeable doesn’t mean every site sees a change and, why would that happen? Are the majority of sites unhelpful?”
Huge changes in the search engine results would mean that Google was showing unhelpful content until now, which isn’t the case. Google has refined and improved its search algorithm for years to only display relevant and helpful content.
The lack of big changes in the search results after Google’s Helpful Content update means that Google already has a high bar for SERP quality, and the Helpful Content update will build upon that foundation.
As for when Danny expects it to be a more gradual buildup with refinements over time. However, you can expect relatively more changes when the next core update drops.
“If you went through this initial release and had no change then 1) congrats, lots of content is helpful and that’s probably you or 2) if you do have unhelpful content, you shouldn’t think that we won’t figure that out and consider changing what you’re doing.”
What local business websites should do
Here’s what local business websites should do to prepare for the Helpful Content update:
- Create content that is for readers first — not for search engines.
- Audit your website’s content and remove or redirect pages that are not helpful. Because it’s a sitewide algorithm, the presence of low-quality pages on your website will also affect the search rankings of higher-quality pages.
- Create more comprehensive and detailed content that sufficiently provides all the answers an online searcher may be looking for.
- Make sure your business contact information is up-to-**** and easy to find as local business often drives a lot of search traffic for those queries.
- Create content for local search queries as per the search intent. This will help improve on-page time and bounce rate, signalling how helpful and relevant your content is.