“Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.” – Bill Gates

In 1996 when Bill Gates coined the term “content is king,” few understood the implications of a social and commercial revolution led by the internet, let alone the capacity of this ‘marketplace of ideas’ to shape nearly every aspect of modern life.

That same year,  Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched the first version of Google called BackRub. The initial name referred to the way their program analyzed the web’s ‘back links’ to understand the importance of a website, and what other sites it related to. And while BackRub ultimately became Google.com, the framework for the engine’s mission to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ remains unchanged, even as algorithm updates like the helpful content update take place.

What Happens When the Algorithm Updates?

First off, Google’s algorithms work to retrieve indexed data via numerous ranking factors to deliver relevant pages based on the search query. This means the good, the bad, and the ugly are fair game in your quest for content.

As a search engine, Google is a work in progress, with hundreds of updates to its core and periphery search algorithms made every year. When Google recently announced and released its ‘helpful content update,’ many wondered about all that unhelpful content Google’s algorithms are working through. It’s important to note: Google’s systems will automatically identify content that seems to have ‘little value, low-added value or otherwise not particularly helpful’ when a user searches. 

For 4.3 billion users around the world, Google has been serving up content to over 90% of internet users worldwide. When an update happens, it has implications for both users and creators, as nearly two-thirds of the global population will have internet access by 2023. An estimated 5.3 billion users and over 70% of the global population will also have mobile connectivity. 

What Does Google’s “Helpful Content Update” Mean for Users and Creators?

We’ve distilled the essentials from Google’s updates regarding an increased focus on people-first content and the unwinding of content creation trends that rely too heavily on SEO-first content creation. 

  • Be Useful – Do you have an existing or target audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
  • Be an Expert – Does your content demonstrate first-hand knowledge and expertise?
  • Be a Specialist – Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • Be Educational  – After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to achieve their goal?
  • Be Satisfying – Reading or viewing your content should be a pleasurable experience.
  • Be Well-Reviewed – Have other users reviewed your content, product or service?
  • Be Interesting – If you’ve checked off every item on this list, don’t forget there’s an audience out there for you—make your content interesting!

Google’s efforts to overhaul the algorithm will help ensure users see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, with search results that avoid content written to game the search engines. 

As with most things, quality over quantity goes a long way. And when it comes to quality: E.A.T. your words. This means provide Expertise, speak with Authority and build Trust with your content. 

As a content creator, when you head to the camera, keyboard, or Canva, remember to make your content count. And if you’ve been building an SEO Tower of Babel, it’s time to fortify your architecture by removing unhelpful content that could cause your efforts to come crashing down! 

Need help with content to tell your story? RAD is ready to help. Contact us today!