Will Your Website FLOURISH or DIE With the Google “Helpful Content” Update?
Last Update: Aug 25, 2022
You do realise that every piece of NON-FICTION content you’ve ever read, and will read, is merely based on someone’s opinion?
Even Einstein’s theory of relativity started out as an OPINION (which he was initially ridiculed for).
However, you would hope that people’s opinion is based on actual facts and experience.
But, as we are now in the middle of the “Informational Revolution”, it’s far easier for people to provide “opinions” with little or no facts or experience to back it up.
Here’s my OPINION!!
It’s neither right nor wrong, it’s merely my opinion.
It’s down to you to decide whether it’s a load of %$$£% of if there’s something to it.
The Current Google Algorithm Update
So, Google announced a new algorithm update last week, which has been rolled out this week, and will last for 2 weeks.
Two things immediately spring to mind for me.
Firstly, when Google PRE-announces an algorithm update, this means it’s EXTREMELY important.
Google does not always announce algorithm updates prior to releasing them.
In my mind, when they pre-announce something, it says, “This is going to be very important and we’re giving you some time to get your house in order”.
The 2 main updates that were announced prior to releasing, which come to mind for me, were the BERT update of October 21st 2019 and the Core Web Vitals update of May 28th 2020.
Plus, I feel these were HUGE updates that changed the way things are done online forever.
Now, funnily enough, these two updates were specifically aimed at
BERT - “understanding your content better by ‘reading entire sentences and paragraphs’ in order to determine if, how, and where to rank your content”. This in my mind started to spell the end for “exact match keywords”, adhering to what an SEO plugin tells you, and trying to write for the search engines, and not people (<===BTW, this is EXACTLY what the new update is aimed at too).
In fact, I’ve been saying this ever since the first update.
CORE WEB VITALS - “Make your website easily accessible for visitors in order to improve visitor experience”. So, basically, all the things that are slowing down your website, and therefore “ruining” visitor experience - sort it out.
So, as you can see, Google has been moving towards providing the BEST EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE for the people who visit THEIR Website (Google’s “website”).
Now, try to actually understand that for a moment.
Google is a BUSINESS.
Don’t believe me - Why does Google take approximately an 80% cut of Adsense revenue?
It’s not that Adsense is poorly paid, it’s simply that Google takes the largest cut.
Why Does Google have Adwords, thus allowing people to “pay” to appear at the top of the search results?
Where do you think that money is going?
Why Does Google have their own shopping adverts at the TOP OF THE PAGE when you search for products?
Why Does Google put a massive block of YouTube (owned by Google) videos at the TOP OF THE PAGE for certain informational searches, thus meaning that written content is “below the fold” and therefore not immediately visible to searchers?
The goal of ANY BUSINESS is to make money, while satisfying THEIR CUSTOMERS.
Google’s CUSTOMERS are the people who VISIT THEIR SEARCH ENGINE in order to obtain helpful information on the things they wish to know.
So, YOU ARE NOT GOOGLE’S CUSTOMER.
Google does not care about YOU.
Google is USING YOU.
Google is using you to provide the information that THEIR CUSTOMERS (people using the search bar) DESIRE.
That’s the first thing.
SECONDLY, and REALLY IMPORTANTLY, NEVER make any rash decisions during an algorithm update or immediately after.
Weird things happen with traffic during an algorithm update, not for everyone, but many will see things that either hugely excite or send them off into a spiral of depression.
DO NOT MAKE ANY SILLY DECISIONS OVER THE NEXT MONTH BASED ON WHAT IS HAPPENING ON YOUR WEBSITE.
Some people may suddenly see a spike in traffic, start receiving 10,000 visitors a day, and then this dies off in about 3 weeks, and you’re back to just your mum, dad, and your pet rabbit as the only visitors to your website.
Some people will have an established website, loads of traffic, loads of income, and suddenly their traffic falls by 80% overnight.
More often than not, these MAY not be permanent changes, but simply Google’s algorithms going haywire during the update period.
That being said, there are no guarantees.
The one thing you MUST do during both the good times and the bad is to remain consistent.
You are learning Blogging and SEO, so your main priority is to WRITE CONTENT.
It’s human nature to completely stop and panic when something goes wrong.
You then start feeling sorry for yourself, and trying to find the perfect answer from all and sundry.
Whereas, what you should be doing is not let it affect you, get your head, and work even harder.
But, as I say, it’s not human nature to work towards a solution when faced with adversity.
We all PANIC FIRST.
However, once you’ve finished throwing your little hissy fit, get back to work.
My second largest website has been “stuck” since the main Google Core update of May 25th 2022.
Traffic has not moved in the last 3 months, dropped ever so slightly, even though there have been over 100 articles added in that time.
I won’t panic, I’ll just continue doing what I’ve always done, and experience tells me that come the next MAIN CORE update (I’m guessing around November 25th 2022), my traffic is going to go through the roof.
But again, there’s no guarantee of this, but this won’t stop me from working towards my goal.
The point being, this is a business, so growth is never linear.
You're going to have good times and bad times ALWAYS throughout your ENTIRE internet marketing career.
How successful you’ll be depends on what you do during times of adversity.
Do you want me to be honest (and perhaps a little harsh)?
Many, many, many people will grind to a halt and completely stop working when faced with adversity, e.g. traffic drops, no rankings, nothing getting indexed, etc.
They will stare at their website for months and months, WITHOUT ADDING ANY MORE CONTENT or actually working on improving matters.
They will wallow in self-pity, they will convince themselves that they are working, but all they’re actually doing is moaning to others about how hard their life is.
This attitude will NEVER bring success, never mind in this business, in ANY walk of life.
You have to roll with it, and take the good times with the bad.
And in reality, how you deal with the BAD TIMES is what DEFINES YOU AS A PERSON.
What is “Helpful” & “Unhelpful” Content?
I’m just gonna be me, and blurt it out, to hell with the consequences (Kyle is soooo gonna punch me in the nose, Hahahahahaha!!).
If your website is SOLELY product reviews.
Trust me, things may well be going great at the moment for you, but you’re living on borrowed time.
So, if this describes your website, enjoy whatever money you’re making at the moment, because it is going to disappear very soon.
Come on, Google has been releasing “Product Review Update” after “Product Review Update” for the last 28 months now.
Obviously, the aim is that if you review a product, you have experience of that product.
So, this is definitely not going to be feasible for a one-person business with 1,000 product reviews on their site.
That being said, as Kyle has previously written about, you don’t need to own a product to review, and I do “partially” agree.
But, do you know where you’re going to get found out?
You pick a niche SOLELY BASED ON MONEY.
You have ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE in this niche, which comes across in your writing.
Don't treat Google like an idiot, because unless you’re an extremely talented writer, who has the ability to educate and entertain at the same time, Google and YOUR READERS will know that you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.
So, if you’ve picked a niche solely focused on financial gain, and you choose keywords, and then simply “rewrite” what’s already written on page one, you’re GOING TO GET FOUND OUT.
BYE rankings, BYE income, BYE forever!!
I’ve previously spoken of how to use the information that’s in front of you on page one in order to produce a great article:
“So today, I’m going to talk to you about why your labrador always pees in the house. To be honest, this isn’t an issue I’ve had with my two, so I had to delve quite deep and do my research. The result of which is here for you. Now, I visited Kyle’s website here and he says the reason for this is XXXX. Next, I headed on over to Old Fluff’s website, and she said XXXX. Now, I totally understand where these two are coming from, and I also think they have made some very valid points, but I do slightly disagree, here’s what I think.”
That is how you use other content on page one to your advantage, and in reality, you should be the most HELPFUL article on page one, as you included information about your competitors (so not reworded their content) and then you’ve given your OWN OPINION.
This is helpful content.
I also think the “bait and switch” method of product reviews is going to get a hammering, and this is especially true if you’ve got about 500 of them on your website.
This is NOT helpful, it is clearly ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.
The Bait - “Today, I'm going to review the latest Make Money Online product in the marketplace - ‘Prince Partha’s Potions’. I will break down what it is, how it works, who Partha is, and the various pros and cons.”
The Switch - “So, I don’t think Prince Partha’s Potions are any good, but here’s something I definitely know that works, Wealthy Affiliate, you will make a fortune and it’s proven, and I use it, and it’s fantastic”.
You have one or two reviews like that on your site, fine.
You have 500+ all dropping the “bait”, then suddenly “switching” to something completely different (and the same product every single time).
Do you not think Google is going to notice this?
“Oh here we go again - who, what, why, when, how, the product is useless, try Wealthy Affiliate”.
It doesn’t come across as very sincere, and this will NOT be viewed as helpful content.
I think the BIGGEST thing to avoid is something I see ALL THE TIME.
Look, most of you know that I’m not a fan of SEO plugins, in fact I haven’t used one for years.
That said, I have installed one just to see what “score” it gives me, and with the variety of SEO plugins my “score” is below 50 or RED.
And oh, guess what, pretty much everything I write, ranks, produces a heap of traffic, and earns income.
Basically, if you’re trying to please an SEO plugin, you are in effect becoming a robot and forgetting the human factor.
However, Google wants you to concentrate on the human factor MORE after this update.
So, if ALL your articles are trying to “please the search engines”, if you’re aiming for 100/100 or all green with an SEO plugin, then YOU ARE NOT WRITING FOR HUMANS.
You’ll eventually get found out eventually, and probably punished.
What else do we do that DOES NOT takes the human element away?
Word Count - stop trying to hit a perfect word count, and Google has even said in the details from this update that THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT WORD COUNT - it is NOT a ranking factor.
Do you know what, something I’ve NEVER agreed with, but have always kept my mouth shut about (yes, I do know how to keep my mouth shut, admittedly it doesn’t happen often but I know how to)...
And that is:
Check the length of the other articles on page one and then write an article of similar length in order to rank.
How is that focusing on the HUMAN ELEMENT?
Your article is finished when you have ANSWERED THE QUERY POSED IN THE TITLE.
You don’t try to fluff it out to hit a certain word count, but you MUST cover the topic in its entirety.
If you’re adding words just for the sake of word count, Google will know, you’ll get found out.
If you’re not answering the query posed in the question, then your articles are merely Clickbait, Google will now, you’ll get found out.
A very simple way to look at “unhelpful” content is if you are doing things in order to “trick” Google, so they rank you.
And yes, I include adhering EXACTLY to what a plugin tells you (an SEO plugin is an inanimate object, and yet you allow it to control you. Why?)
Finally, the reason I do niche research and keyword research the way I do - I want to know WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW.
So, wherever I start a new niche, here’s what I do.
I open a new gmail account.
I go to Jaaxy (yes, I do use it occasionally), I enter my main niche phrase.
I then find 5 “keywords” that are related to my niche, but slightly different to each other.
I then go to GOOGLE ALERTS.
I set up an alert for those 5 keywords to my new gmail address, and I’l choose to receive my alerts once a day.
I will then receive 5 different emails (for each keyword) once a day, which provide details of blog posts, news articles, etc, that have been written around those keywords.
Some will be great for research, some will be awful.
I then go to Google and type in
“Name of niche + forums”
E.g. Labrador + forums
I will go to Quora and Reddit, type my niche keyword into the search bar.
Then all I do is READ & TAKE NOTES.
I really, really, really want to understand the people in my niche, their problems, and what they REALLY WANT TO KNOW.
Only then can I conduct keyword research.
The reason I use Google for keyword research.
Well, I’m trying to rank on Google, so what better way than tpo “go to the source” for ideas.
Unfortunately here’s what many people do when they start a new site.
You have absolutely NO IDEA what to write about.
So, you go to Jaaxy, type in your main niche phrase, and then hope for the best.
Do you know what you’re doing here?
YOU’RE GUESSING (oh and once again, you’re allowing an inanimate object to control you).
By all means use keyword tools, but not before you have any idea what the people in your niche ACTUALLY WANT TO KNOW.
Remember, one of the main things I always say, and THIS WILL GUARANTEE FAILURE.
Never write what YOU WANT TO WRITE ABOUT
Humans are selfish, they don’t care about you.
If people are going to Google because they have a problem they wish to solve, if you’re NOT providing this solution to their problems, because you’re too busy trying to show how clever you are and how much you know about your niche, THIS IS NOT HELPFUL CONTENT. Someone else will sneak in and steal your traffic. Oh yeah, btw, Google will catch on to this, you will NOT fare well.
Basically, Google is starting to HAVE ENOUGH!!
People have lied, cheated, and used Google for their own means.
I am not an innocent here.
While Kyle went about it the legitimate day from day one, I didn’t.
I wasn’t adverse to “blackhat” tactics.
And do you know what?
I made a %%$$$$£ of money.
Even back then, I eventually got found out, after the Massive Google Updates of 2011 and 2012.
My business died overnight.
Ever since, I have ALWAYS made sure that my websites satisfy the human element first.
And what do you know, it works?
Look, the final thing I want to say.
Yes, we all want to make money, that;s why you;re here, right?
However, business, whether online or offline, has pretty much always been the same.
FIND OUT WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT, GIVE IT TO THEM.
If you can do this without thinking about “the money”, you’ll do well.
I’ve even said, I often don’t monetize a website for many months, perhaps not even in the first year.
A lot of you will think I’m crazy.
But, the by the time I do get to monetizing, as I’ve concentrated on HELPING people, my rankings are great, my traffic is superb, so even after a year of waiting to monetize, I can guarantee that when I do, I’ll more or less hit a full-time income in the first month of monetization.
However, “old” SEO practices, which many people still quote as fact, even here on the platform, and solely thinking about the money has nothing to do with HELPING YOUR VISITORS.
Stop trying to trick Google.
Stop trying to trick your visitors.
Be a helpful, knowledgeable, experienced person in your niche (and continue to educate yourself in your niche every single day) and you’ll do just fine.
Thank You For Reading
P.s. YES, I know some of you are waiting for PM responses!!! I’ve still got 43 to get through. And which of you smart-a**** decided that as I take ages to respond to my PMs, you’ll start leaving messages on my profile, which now other people have also started doing?? Hahahahahahaha!!! Aaaarrggggggghhhhh!!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter. Lots of great advise. I only made it half way through so far. After my mind digests the first half, I will come back to finish the second half.
That said, you motivated me to remove a plug in on my website today that is not being customer friendly.
As usual, an excellent informative post. I was thinking about whether to comment at all or write praise.
I'm new, and I don't understand many things. I read the lessons, but I work by feeling.
I was impressed by your attitude about the product review. I don't like it because I'm not capable of "lying," and I can only recommend what I know for sure is good (my niche is dentistry).
After a break, I continue to write and put what I consider a quality product at the end. I'll see if I'm wrong or not.
Search and find the problems people are having in your niche. Help the needy with your knowledge and research as best as you can.
I will keep watching where my traffic goes. I will be alive forever for this, Dear Parth.
Thank you for your research and your personal opinion.
Hi Partha, as you know I appreciate your way and I apply it in practice.
But I would disagree with some points. Why waiting with monetization? Google is more than clear about affiliate links, they see no problems with links. They have been saying this repeatedly for years. I have had two sites in the past that were generating income after two weeks, and after 6-7 months they were creating a 4-figure income.
I have seen even official teaching of one of the gurus here at this platform with statements not to add links, but to add them later. The logic is apparently first to rank and then add links when this happens. In other word, cheat Google. But Google can easily de-rank a post immediately when they see links. Of course they do not do this because they do not care. So why waiting?
What is the point of writing a review of a product which you recommend to the reader if you do not provide a way for the reader to go and buy it? It is illogical and also a bad user experience.
It may be different a bit in your case because you are focused on ads. But even in this case, why wait? I do not see any logical reason for this.
Of course it make no sense getting ads on a site that has 10 posts and no traffic at all. One person was announcing this these days as a great achievement. She collected quite a number of likes and comments, yours as well. And she was proud to declare that she was strictly following your approach. As we both know this is not your approach so my conclusion is that the person was a bit confused.
Anyway, off the topic, about the old guy you mentioned, in fact he was lucky with his general relativity theory. It was confirmed only 4 years after he published it in 2015. Lucky - because there was an astronomical event visible from S. Africa in 2019, so British sent expedition to measure.
It was - either Newton or Einstein, the matter of national pride. It turned out it was the latter, British were able to accept facts. The light was indeed bending around the Sun and they confirmed the theory. What a lucky bastard.
It was a bit different with his special theory but this mainly because only a few were able to understand it. But here again he was lucky, if it was not him, some others would have published it. There were several good thinkers at that time who were close. By the way, it is a fact that he did not invent his famous E=mc^2. The idea was known for years before him, precisely from Leibniz 1686, and it was also officially published by an Italian railroad engineer Olinto de Pretto in 1904, so one year before the lucky bastard. But who cares, right?
I read it carefully and am sure I will reread it.
Thank you, Partha.
When it comes to writing for humans, that makes sense.
On the other hand, I have noticed more and more AI tools that generate text.
These tools become better and better.
But I still think that these tools do generate text for search engines and for humans.
Correct me if I am wrong, but if that is the case what's the point of using them?
Is it trendy, just because of founders of these tools rely on people's laziness?
Just to be clear, I am not a fan of these tools.
From what I understand, an article written by a person who follows the guide above (Partha style) has more value than any AI-generated piece of content.
Hopefully, Google will be able to recognize it in the future as well.
Have a great upcoming weekend!
Based on our experience and knowledge of this whole issue is that AI tools are for the lazy and maybe even large companies who want to save money and know their brand is already popular.
But for those of us who wish to build an online business AI tools will not work. Search engines are very perceptive and know when a post is written by AI tools.
If we want to rank in Google we must share our own knowledge and experience in our own way to help those who are looking for information and solutions. AI tools cannot try a product and only rely on what we put on the internet. So that means we can be the originators of helpful information. Its the tools that are the copy cats and regurgitate what we say.
Taking pride in original content gives affiliate marketers success and ensures a websites longevity.
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Partha kindly allowed me to read this post before he published it.
I actually said to him that this is one of the most serious pieces of content that I had seen him write.
Every word is of value and needs to be carefully considered, it applies to all of us, and could make or break your business.
If you just skipped through it, looking for the funny stuff, or the entertaining rambling nonsense, I urge you to read it again.
How very dare you!!!
you guys are like an old married couple ya know! :)
Agree 100%. This post deserves a standing ovation.
No rambling nonsense found.
this is true!