Google is making changes again! A new search algorithm called the “helpful content update” is currently being rolled out. This update will focus on websites with a large amount of unhelpful content. The primary target will be sites written for search engines instead of a live audience.
Helpful Content Update
Google’s helpful content update is geared toward awarding sites that provide high-quality content written to inform and help actual humans. Content that is written solely to rank well in SEO searches, but that isn’t helpful, is beginning to frustrate online users. When you click on a highly ranked search result and nothing useful is provided, it detracts from the entire search experience.
Designing content that ranks well, but provides low-quality content, is becoming more frequent. As a result, Google is taking action to downgrade these types of uninformative webpages. The helpful content update is designed for humans seeking authentic and quality answers to their searches.
Impact of Helpful Content Update
Google does not directly target any specific websites or topics. Still, the types of content most likely to be affected by the new algorithm include educational materials, tech-related content, arts, entertainment, and shopping. These websites are more commonly written as “search engine first” sites rather than for humans.
The algorithm is a site-wide update, so if a significant portion of your site’s content is unhelpful, your entire website will be negatively impacted. While only English searches will be affected initially, Google intends to expand to other languages soon. Additionally, even if your law firm removes unhelpful content from its site, it may take months before you see it perform better.
What is “Helpful” Content?
Since the algorithm does not affect individual pages, but rather your firm’s entire site, you must ensure that your content is deemed to be overall useful and helpful. Google has not disclosed what percentage of a website must be helpful versus unhelpful to trigger the classifier. It is helpful to remove the unhelpful content to protect your law firm’s website ranking (and the pages that provide useful information).
Google provided the following checklist for creating content for people, not search engines. If your firm can answer “yes” to the questions below, it means you’re probably on the right track with a people-first approach:
- Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
- Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
- Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
- Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?
Applying SEO to your people-first content is the way to “win-over” the new algorithm.
Machine Learning Identifies Unhelpful Content
A new machine learning algorithm is performing the identification and evaluation of unhelpful content. The algorithm should improve over time as the automated machine learning gets better. Additionally, a variety of indicators about the website will be used by the update to determine the ranking of the page or site.
Contact The Rainmaker Institute for Legal Marketing Help
The experts at The Rainmaker have always focused on providing quality legal content to inform and educate your firm’s online visitors. Your law firm’s digital presence – particularly your website – is crucial in generating and converting leads. You have worked hard to get where you are, so learn to use technology to your advantage so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor more often while also generating new clients!
The Rainmaker Institute can help you implement a successful SEO strategy with top-quality content created for your clients and potential clients that will take your law firm’s online presence to the next level. We handle your legal marketing so you can focus on lawyering.
If you are ready to ensure your law firm’s website is the best it can be, and see your Google ranking improve, we can help. Whether you choose to attend one of our live events or you want a free, confidential consultation, we are here to help!