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Google releases August 2022 helpful content update

Google has just started to roll out the new helpful content update that it pre-announced last week. As a reminder, the helpful content update targets websites that have a relatively high amount of unsatisfying or unhelpful content, where the content is written for search engines first. In short, did you write that piece of content to rank on Google or did you write it to help users?

The announcement. Google said on its update page on August 25, 2022, “released the August 2022 helpful content update. The rollout could take up to two weeks to complete.”

Rollout started this morning. Google started this helpful content update rollout at about TIMEGOESHERE and Google will update us when this update is done rolling out. We do expect the update to finish rolling out in a week or two. Google said we can also check the search updates page for updates on when this is finished rolling out.

What to do if you are hit. Google has provided a list of questions you can ask yourself about your content. Read through those questions as we posted over here, and in an unbiased manner, ask yourself if your content is in sync with this update.

Note, if you were hit by this update, it can take several months to recover, if you do everything right and make changes to your content over time.

More on the helpful content update. Google explained this new helpful content update specifically targets “content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people.” This update aims at helping searchers find “high-quality content,” the search company told us. Google wants to reward better and more useful content that was written for humans and to help users.

Content written for the purpose of ranking in search engines, maybe called search engine first content, has been a topic coming up more and more across social media and other areas. In short, searchers are getting frustrated with landing on web pages that do not help them but rank well in search because they were designed to rank well. This algorithm aims to downgrade those types of websites while promoting more helpful websites, designed for humans, above search engines.

Google said this is an “ongoing effort to reduce low-quality content and make it easier to find content that feels authentic and useful in Search.” This targets content written for search engines over human-first content.

Why we care. If you notice any ranking and visibility changes in Google Search over the next few days, especially if those were big changes, you can likely attribute it to this update. Read Google’s advice, make the necessary changes, and hope for a recovery in the upcoming months.

We hope you all benefited from this update and if not, we hope you recover quickly.

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About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.