Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithms each year. Most of them receive very little attention beyond the niche practitioners of the SEO world. However, last month Google announced a new Helpful Content Update—what are the implications for you?
This article explains the Helpful Content Update and offers four key content creation principles to help you continue to rank highly in light of this new update.
What is the Helpful Content Update?
The Helpful Content Update is a recent update to the Google algorithm that aims to prioritize “helpful” content.
According to Google, the update will help “ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.” In other words, this update aims to reward—aka, rank higher in the SERP—content that meets visitor expectations. This user-first approach will also prevent machine-generated content from ranking too highly.
Do not be alarmed! There is nothing groundbreaking about this update, as Google has been preaching about the necessity of good content for years. However, Google has said it will continue to refine this update in the future, even though the initial rollout is now complete.
Even if your website has not experienced any shifts in ranking yet, you may notice a difference soon if your content isn’t up to par.
Content best practices to help you rank
Confused about what “people-first” content actually is? Well, Google has included a brief list of questions in its recent developer update to help answer this. There is also a longer list of questions, if you want to dive deep.
Meanwhile, here are our top reminders for content best practices that will help you rank:
- Write for your users, not the search engines. Google is smart! Keyword stuffing and wonky alt text will only hurt your ranking—especially after this new update.
- Quality matters. While it may be tempting to use AI-generated blogs or outsource your content to non-legal professionals, you should think twice about this approach. The new update may penalize machine-generated content.
- Uniqueness matters. Do not publish duplicate content on your site, even if it’s your own content (e.g., rerunning a blog post from 2017 today). Instead, update older content with a fresh take. Make it truly useful and make it novel.
- Add new content regularly. Content strategy isn’t one and done. Commit to publishing new content every month, with a mixture of evergreen and timely articles.
Review and next steps
Google’s Helpful Content Update is just one iteration on the search engine’s commitment to delivering a better experience to searchers.
Your law firm’s ranking might be affected by this update, now or in the future. It is never too soon—or too late—to get help with your content strategy. Check out these case studies to see how we have helped law firms like yours achieve their SEO goals with smart content strategy.