What you need to know about Google’s Helpful Content update
Useful, unique content will perform best in Google search, and we can help you with it
Roughly a week ago, Google began the process of rolling out an update for their search algorithm to further help users find useful content on the web that may impact your website and how it shows up in search. If you already have unique content on your website—perhaps thanks to our content marketing solutions—then this update could positively impact your traffic, depending on how actively helpful Google believes that content on your website to be. But, if you’re relying on duplicated, boilerplate content—like the kind supplied by or copied from OEM websites—you’ll want to take action to make sure your website continues to deliver on your business goals, in addition to bringing in leads and sales.
Any SEO strategy is only as good as your content strategy. The quality, uniqueness, and usefulness of your content are how search engines tabulate their ranking scores. Thanks to Google’s Helpful Content update, the quality of your content is now even more important. We’ll explain what the update is, how it may impact you, and what you can do to ensure your website sees minimal impact from the algorithm update.
What is the Helpful Content update?
The Helpful Content update, released in August 2022 and focusing on English content in this first iteration, is poised to be one of the most impactful updates to Google’s organic search algorithm in many years. Content that provides users a satisfying experience—primarily by directly and clearly answering the user’s query—is rewarded by appearing in a higher average ranking position (or at all) on Google search queries. Content that provides an unsatisfactory answer—especially in the case where an answer is highly speculative or does not yet exist—will likely be deprioritized in average ranking position, even if it is uniquely created for the site.
What does Google consider to be helpful content?
In a nutshell, helpful content is what it sounds like: content that helps users find the information they’re looking for, with a few key factors in mind.
It should aim to be provided by an authoritative source: in our case, car dealers are likely to be treated as an authoritative source regarding information about the vehicles we sell or the services that we perform, but less likely to be authoritative about non-automotive-related activities or events in the area (looking at you, “Best Places to Go Apple Picking in the Greater Toronto Area” blog posts), unless, of course, the dealership’s connection to the activity or event is inherent and obvious, such as a named sponsorship.
Additionally, it should clearly and distinctly answer the questions that a user may have about the topic they’re making a query about, beyond what other authoritative sources may have already published. In our case, car dealers should have content about the models that they sell, but it should not simply regurgitate what the OEM has said about the vehicle, it has to level-up from there. What do you think are the best new features for that particular model? What is most important for a prospective customer to know? How does your dealership provide the best experience for purchasing that specific vehicle?
The most important piece we think may impact car dealers: if the answer doesn’t exist, we shouldn’t pretend it does, or make unsubstantiated guesses as to what the answer will eventually be. This is most commonly seen when future vehicles are announced but not a lot of information has been shared. If we don’t know a distinct launch or release date beyond the time of year (e.g. fall 2022), it will not inherently benefit us to specify a month that we aren’t sure of (e.g. October 2022) just to have a ‘better’ answer than everyone else, because, ultimately, our ‘better’ answer isn’t really better if it doesn’t help the customer find the correct answer. However, as soon as you get notifications from the OEM that your vehicles are moving into production, you could go back and update the existing content to share the updated timeline as more information becomes available.
To learn more about the factors Google considers important for helpful content, check out the checklists on their Google helpful content update page.
How to succeed with Google’s update
Ask yourself: does your content strategy consider people first, instead of search engines? If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track. However, if you’ve been writing content to appease search engines instead of creating content that users will find helpful, then it’s time to re-strategize.
How do I make my content more helpful?
Adhere to Google’s new update by removing boilerplate content—which is often duplicate content found anywhere online, including on other dealership websites—from your website. In fact, doing a comprehensive check of your website to make sure there’s no duplicate, outdated, and unhelpful content is equally important as improving your content, as any content on your site will be docked against your website as a whole. Creating unique content that is specific to your business, products, services, and location will help you find success in search, so new and existing customers will find you instead of the competition, and so that you can establish your dealership as an authoritative and trusted online destination for said content.
Help! I need some assistance with the Helpful Content Update
If you’re too busy to keep tabs on your website or write unique content, we’ve got you covered with our content marketing services. We’re offering a comprehensive content audit for $350 to give you some insight and suggestions on how you can improve your site for the Helpful Content Update. Need more help? The audit recommendations will provide some proposed solutions we can implement in an SEO package and we’ll credit you back if you sign up for a content marketing package within 90 days of the audit.
Unsure if it’s just your content that might need a review? Consider our Prestige package, a new package from EDealer that reflects the current automotive business climate. We’ve rolled our SEO and content services together to help you stand out in local search results.
Interested? Contact us, today, to learn more about how we can ensure your website is easily found and performs to its highest SEO potential.