Understanding The Google Helpful Content Update

Understanding The Google Helpful Content Update

A new update is rolling out right now: the Google Helpful Content Update, and it’s a BIGGIE!

With over 5 billion searches taking place every day on Google, it’s really no surprise that the digital marketing department of businesses worldwide have been shaped by the little search box so many of us rely on in daily life.

A quick reflection on days gone by online will recover memories of varying search result success; alongside older logos and different formats for SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Over the years, the technology behind Google has developed and improved vastly and is now the best it’s ever been: all in pursuit of achieving their mission: “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

What are Google Updates?

In reality, tweaks are being made to improve the algorithm behind-the-scenes at Google constantly, with analyst estimations sitting at around one SEO update a week. Google don’t disclose the exact amount of updates they make or the content (and therefore impact) of them all, but periodically they do announce a major release that will be set to wider-ranging consequences on SEO.

The Google Helpful Content Update is the largest SEO Update in 11 years, so is set to be fairly major. Previous updates include Panda (2011), that was designed to eradicate Black Hat SEO tactics, Penguin (2012), which aimed to eliminate webspam, Hummingbird (2013), that tailored search for mobile devices, and Pigeon (2014), which impacted heavily on local search.

Why You Need to Be On Top of Google SEO Updates

Businesses need to keep abreast of Google SEO updates as a failure to do so will impact negatively on their rankings, amongst other results. In order to not just gain competitive advantage above others but also to maintain it, it’s important that a business’ SEO strategy remains relevant and appropriate to the current algorithm.

It is not enough to enact SEO best practice on a website and then not progress or update it, as over time it is unlikely to remain conforming to best practice and will instead slip down the rankings.

What the Google Helpful Content Update is All About

The exact details of the Google Helpful Content Update will never be fully released to the public, but we do have an overview of what it includes.

The search engine has stated that the update is being implemented to help its users “see more original, helpful content written by people, for people in search results”. This means that content written specifically for search engines in order to rank highly rather than to provide genuinely useful information for a particular audience, will be devalued – and ranked down.

The aim of the Google Helpful Content Update is for users to complete their search and feel that they’ve had a satisfying experience, finding authentic answers to their questions rather than just lists or computer-generated writing. This update follows an uptick in demand for AI-generated content amongst businesses who are looking to save money on their digital marketing – and will now force this work to be undone, unless the organisation isn’t concerned about their organic SEO rankings.

All of this means that businesses and content creators will need to take what Google calls a “people-first approach”. This idea centres on the creation of content for real people, and not just for search engines. Where the impetus is put on creating satisfying content with the SEO best practices put in place second, value is derived and the algorithm will rank the content higher.

The Google Helpful Content Update began this morning, and Google has said that it could take up to two weeks to fully roll out.

What Does the Google Helpful Content Update Mean for Businesses?

Realistically, businesses don’t have time to review and republish all of their content before the Helpful Content Update is released, but there are actions they can take to ensure that future content adheres to the new guidelines and ranks successfully.

Taking on the “people-first approach”, digital marketers should:

    • Produce content primarily to attract humans rather than machine algorithms
    • Produce content only relevant to their niche rather than on a variety of unrelated topics in the hope of ranking
    • Avoid using automation tools to produce content
    • Add value when summarising or reviewing content produced by others
    • Ensure that all relevant answers and information are presented in one place so that users don’t have to search again for more data
    • Abandon word count requirements where they don’t add value
    • Avoid clickbait headlines that aren’t true to the content within

All of the above will ensure that Google understands the value and quality of the content, and rank it appropriately.

Businesses would be well advised to take a more human approach to their digital marketing and content creation where they’ve found themselves previously striving just to work to SEO standards.

While SEO best practice is now fairly well known and understood, it has, for many companies, become too much of the priority – with customer needs flailing behind. Refining business focus again on the audience will help not just gain successful ranking on Google but also realign business and customer values in order to find the right balance.

Google MUM Algorithm Update

Google MUM Algorithm Update

The latest major update to the Google algorithm is known as Google MUM – and the Woya search engine gurus help explain the basics of what it is, what it does, and how businesses should update their practices to facilitate it.

What are Algorithm Updates?

What’s referred to as ‘the algorithm’ behind Google is actually its programming; a complex system of numerous algorithms and ranking factors to deliver webpages ranked by relevance on their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This behind-the-scenes programming decides what is displayed where on its indices and how that ranking is arrived upon. The ongoing aim of Google (and indeed, of other search engines) is to provide the most appropriate results to a query input – and the algorithm works to do just that.

Algorithm updates are tweaks and changes made to this programming in order to improve and enhance it. Many of these changes are minor and don’t have a huge impact on rankings or how businesses should approach improving theirs but some are more major and can have tangible outcomes. Although not confirmed, it is believed that minor algorithm updates happen almost daily; with larger changes made only once every few months.

What is Google MUM?

The MUM algorithm is the latest major update to Googles programming and is an abbreviation for Multitask Uniform Model.

MUM is a multi-modal algorithm designed to provide answers to complex search queries by concurrently assessing and drawing upon information across multi-language text, images, video and audio content. It is by far the most clever and comprehensive AI algorithm the search engine (or indeed, any search engine) has ever used and will replace its current algorithm, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), which was equally considered a state-of-the-art program when it was introduced.

BERT was the first transformer-based machine learning technique for natural language processing aimed at improving search results based on human-input queries. The MUM algorithm takes this technology to a new level – it is believed to be 1,000 times more powerful!

How will Google MUM Change Results for those Using the Search Engine?

Google MUM will transform the relevant search engine results provided to those with more complex queries than a standard keyword or phrase being input.

Using the T5 text-to-text framework, it doesn’t just understand the language being used in the query, but also generates it. Trained in 75 languages at its inception and able to enact multiple tasks at once, its knowledge is comprehensive and it draws upon multi-modal sources to learn.

For example, if a user asks Google about having visited one travel destination and looking for information to compare it to another one, chances are they would need to carry out several searches to find the exact information they require. Instead, with the Google MUM algorithm, the programming will understand the need for comparison and can draw upon other related material: such as weather forecasts, differing travel modes, reviews on places to visit, the items you may need to buy, linguistic differences, visa details, and even medical information for travellers. This will all be presented in one place rather than the user having to make several queries.

How can Businesses Optimise for Google MUM?

The Google MUM algorithm follows the broader trend of internet users accessing content through multiple forms of media and no longer just relying on text and the written word. By accessing and understanding different modes of media, the MUM algorithm’s introduction encourages marketers to create content across varying media types and to properly optimise each so that it’s understood as relevant by the search engine.

No longer will text filled with keywords or phrases be the most reliable source of appropriateness but such benefit can be reaped from the likes of imagery, video and audio files too.

Blogging, thought piece writing and comprehensive website copy will remain important but should be complemented by infographics, photography, tutorial videos and audio books, podcasts and ‘quick listen’ files for a full-service multi-modal digital brand presence. All bases must be covered.

Businesses must ensure that their content marketing strategies are set and solid but also that they don’t miss out detail in the pieces produced. The labelling and positioning of audio and video files must be accurate, all content must be coordinated across varying platforms and imagery must have proper alt-tagging and captions. The ability for businesses to link supporting documentation into their blogs or other written content will now be critical for SEO; gaining the attention of the MUM algorithm and of more customers as a result.

Eventually, as the MUM algorithm fully embeds and consumers realise the amount of information they’re able to gain from a single query, it may even become a competitor toward other brand presence online. For example, there may be little need for users to visit a brand’s social media profile to find all the info they need – as it instead could all be presented on a single search engine results page (SERP).

This enhancement of the search engine could reinforce the need for a cohesive brand presence on a website without the reliance of dumping every piece of available content or dataset on to a social media page for replication purposes. Mums are great, and the Google MUM algorithm is set to be just as helpful as the parents we know and love.

SEO is an important tool for digital marketing and will transform a business’ success online. Its potential is not to be underestimated, and neither should the ongoing effort and work required. Woya Digital are an expert SEO team who understand the evolving needs of successful SEO. Get in touch with us to discuss your online business growth.

Core Web Vitals Google Update – Coming May 2021

Core Web Vitals Google Update – Coming May 2021

The working world all but ground to a halt in 2020, but some businesses were better equipped than others to keep running and delivering their products and services. One such business was Google, and in some ways, they have truly benefitted from more people being at home and browsing online – because more searches equals more data, more data impressions and more to work with.

Google are continuing with their usual regular Google update schedule through 2021, it’s to be expected. The most recent update which has been publicly announced is to take place in May 2021, and there’s one major change – relating to Core Web Vitals.

What Are The Latest Google Changes?

The May Google update was technically announced in May 2020; it’s just that now they’re giving a date to it going live.

This change refers to the way Google ranks searches and is updating its criteria for high rankings to include page experience signals; that is, the way a website’s pages work as well as the content they include. Three of these signals are ‘Core Web Vitals’ and the other three are UX (User Experience) metrics.

This essentially means that websites are no longer just given a high ranking based on their content’s quality, quantity and relevancy, but also on its user experience. Whilst not completely confirmed yet, it’s also planned that Google will offer some kind of visual representation next to results who perform well on Core Web Vitals metrics – likely a small icon or different colour result.

The Google Core Web Vitals update means that if not already included in digital marketing strategics, marketers and developers need to move to include the optimisation of webpages into their plans, in order to stay well-ranked for those searching for them, their industry, their niche and their products or services.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Google’s Core Web Vitals are three metrics that measure the performance of a webpage. These metrics are:

  • Speed of loading – The LCP (Largest Contentful Paint). This measures the time it takes for the main content on any given page to load. The ideal LCP for a Google ranking needs to be quicker than 2.5 seconds.
  • Interactivity opportunities – The FID (First Input Delay). This measures the time it takes for a page to become interactive. The ideal FID for a Google ranking needs to be less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Visual layout shifting – The CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). This measures the amount of unexpected shifts of page layout, if any. The ideal CLS for a Google ranking needs to be less than 0.1.

What Are Ranking Signals?

Ranking Signals are all of the signs that a website gives to Google in order to justify and assert its place in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). There are many of these, and each tells Google’s algorithm what a website is about, how current it is, how relevant it is to various search terms, and how trusted it is, amongst other things. In the case of Google’s May 2021 update, the Core Web Vitals will be joining four existing Ranking Signals related to UX. These are:

  • Mobile responsive – how quick and well formatted the website is to smaller device access
  • Safety measures – that the website doesn’t include any deceptive or malicious code or threats
  • HTTPS security – the site is secured and delivered over HTTPS protocol
  • No intrusive interstitials – that the page is optimised for easy accessibility

Why Is This Google Update Important To Businesses?

Google is the biggest search engine in the world and appears in many forms other than just on google.com – so if a business’ web presence is likely to fall down the rankings as a result of Google updates, it needs to be rectified, quickly. At present, only around 15% of websites would fit the new guidelines well, but that’s not to say that the standards are unrealistic.

Businesses can view this Google update as an opportunity to improve; not just up search rankings but also in their wider UX online.

What Can My Business Do In Preparation For This Google Update?

Google had released tools for businesses to prepare for this update back in May 2020, but they’re still available to access for any who haven’t implemented them already.

If work into preparation for the Core Web Vitals update is not already underway by your digital marketing team, it needs to be begun as a priority. If you don’t have a specialist supporting you with your business website, our web designers at Woya Digital would be more than happy to help!

Google’s Site Console report for Core Web Vitals allows businesses to gain a basic overview of website performance against the key three metrics, to highlight any areas for improvement and offer explanations for any issues. From here, the PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse tools can help to fix any identified issues. What’s more, web.dev has a whole directory of tools relevant to identifying and improving website performance related to Google Core Web Vitals.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is another, albeit now external to Google, tools for businesses to improve on UX metrics with their websites. Businesses who are existing AMP Publishers can use the new AMP Page Experience Guide for diagnostic advice relating to Google Core Web Vitals. Google continues to support AMP content in its search results and says itself that the AMP software helps users “achieve great page experiences”.

Why Do Google Keep Making Changes?

Google has always been focused on being the best search engine in the world. That aim is continuing even through their market dominance.

Every time a new search is made on Google (and that’s about 3.5 billion times a day), their developers gain new data on how best to optimise results and improve their search experience – and including Core Web Vitals in their ranking signals is another way to do just that.

Woya Digital is a digital marketing agency made up of experts in our various fields. With a Woya Pay Monthly Website Package, we provide you a rapid solution to refresh your online presence and really impress! We make business growth through digital marketing, affordable for any business!





Latest Google Update Released

Latest Google Update Released

We seem to have entered an age where everyone blames their social media, web content or marketing related failures on ‘algorithms’; even if perhaps that’s not really the case. In an attempt to stop internet users scapegoating their tech updates, Google yesterday, for the second time announced a broad core algorithm update in advance of it actually happening and impacting on websites. What does a Google update actually mean for your business and web presence? Read on ….

What is a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?

‘Broad core algorithm updates’ aren’t specifically aimed at combatting any one issue, but rather at improving Google’s overall systems efficiency. These updates can take anything from a few hours to a few days to roll out across all content online. Whilst there’s no set schedule for these updates to take place, they do usually happen every few months. This means that what can be considered ‘Google friendly’ content changes frequently.

What happens when a Google Update is implemented?

The effects of algorithm updates vary depending on exactly what work has been done ‘behind the scenes’. The most notable impact is usually a change in the search rankings of content; so you may find your pages suddenly rank considerably higher or lower than they did before. This happens as Google reassesses all of its content to better align it and list it out.

For businesses who rely heavily on organic search for traffic to their websites and resulting sales, any change in SEO situation can have devastating effects if not managed adequately. It’s important, therefore, to work on your website optimisation regularly.

What should I do about a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?

Monitor the situation when it comes to your SEO. Any pages that have dropped in the rankings aren’t necessarily being penalised for poor content but may just sit differently alongside new criteria standards. Regardless, action should be taken after each update to ensure that your rankings are able to recover. No one set action will guarantee full recovery but doing nothing will almost definitely inhibit any chances of it – even if another update is just around the corner!

When creating new content, it’s important for it to remain as relevant and current as possible. It is this, and not necessarily stuffing pages with keywords and links, that will help the content stay well ranked. Seek advice from SEO experts and work with them at each update, staying mindful that the approach to take will need to differ every time, dependent on what changes have been implemented.

How soon can SEO action taken recover a site from a Google Brand Core Algorithm Update?

There’s a common misconception that any remedial action taken won’t take effect until the next algorithm update is run. That’s not true: any recovery should be noticeable the next time that an automated ‘crawler’ (a bot that scans the site’s content to judge its fit amongst other pages and analyse where it should sit in the search rankings) scans it. This happens periodically and doesn’t wait for further updates. This means that rapid recovery is achievable, if effective action is taken quickly.

At Woya Digital we are constantly work to ensure that our clients website SEO is optimised and brought in line with constant security and Google updates. Take advantage of our awesome Instant FREE SEO Site Audit Report which we’ll send you to highlight all the things that can be improved on your website, and to optimise your website SEO ranking.