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By Abi Frain

Google’s new helpful content update is here…

Last Updated 23 Aug 2022

The next big Google algorithm update is here – and it might affect your website! On 18th August 2022, Google announced the launch of their latest algorithm update called the helpful content update. Since Google’s Panda update back in 2011, Google has been cracking down on machine-generated and low-value content, but not to this scale.

There has already been a lot of talk between SEOs and content teams alike regarding this search algorithm update and its potential impact. Search Engine Journal has even discussed how it could be the most significant algorithm change in over a decade.


What is Google’s helpful content update? 

Google has said that this new update

“aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitors expectation won’t perform as well.”

Basically, this means that Google is adding a new ranking signal into the mix that will negatively impact websites that publish high amounts of unhelpful content that doesn’t provide value. Unhelpful content is flagged as content that has been written for search engines rather than humans.

Searchers become frustrated when they land on unhelpful web pages that have been written to rank well organically, but do not provide them with the information they desired. Google has said that this is

“part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”

What types of content will this affect?

If you think that deleting or removing a few poorly written blogs from your site will mean your site won’t be affected, then you are mistaken. To begin with, this update will impact only English searches globally, with the plan to expand into other languages in the future.

This algorithm update introduces a new site-wide signal, meaning it will affect every single page of a site. Google will be using AI that automatically identifies little value, low-added value or content that is not helpful to those doing the searches.

What does this mean for my website?

Over the next few weeks, the new algorithm will roll out, so we strongly advise reviewing the content on your core pages as soon as possible to minimise the potential impact on your business. 

Google hasn’t disclosed what percentage of the pages on your site will need to be helpful versus unhelpful to trigger this signal, but they have said that it is sitewide and will impact the whole site rather than a few singled out pages.

If you have a number of helpful pages on your site but also a relatively high number of unhelpful pages, even your helpful pages will be affected by the update. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your helpful content pages will lose their organic ranking position, even if they are published on a site with large amounts of unhelpful pages.

Assisted’s top tips to prepare 

  • Always write people-first content. Regardless of where the content will appear on the website, writing it for the user rather than the search engine is vital.


  • Is the content you write primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than to attract people that your content can really add value to? If you have answered yes to this question, then we strongly recommend that you review how you’re generating web content.


  • If your site is affected, do not fear if your traffic doesn’t increase as soon as you implement ‘fixes’ to poor-quality content. Google has announced that it may take a number of months for the algorithm to associate the site with people-first content.


Source: Search Engine Journal, Google Search Central