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During August, Google changed the rules of the game. They launched the Helpful Content Update, a new algorithm update where they value original and insight pieces over recycled content. 

With this new scenario, website owners had to focus on creating experiences aimed at people first, with useful articles containing first-hand experiences. This first launch was focused on English sites as a pilot, but now is going to be available on all languages.

So, in the first week of December, Google launched the Helpful Content Update worldwide. To achieve this, they are going to use a special system to classify the content written by humans for humans.  

The New Helpful System: Explained 

What is the difference between the Google update introduced in August and the announcement made in December? Well, the last one has two main focuses: improving the system and working across languages.  

Let’s remember that every search engine works with an algorithm in the background. The technology helps to identify the type of content and, then, classify it. 

In Google’s case, the new Helpful Update is going to reward sites that develop unique value. The more effort you put in differentiating yourself from other creators, the better.

The new changes can take approximately two weeks, so you will probably see some changes in your organic traffic. 

But Is Google Really Focused on Helping Their Users? 

In Google’s history, it is well-known that they worry about the user’s intention or needs, at least that is what they say. 

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However, we can see some dissonance in other research. For example, according to a Semrush survey, most people have to rewrite their query to find the correct answer. So, not everyone is satisfied with SERP results

On the other hand we have to understand that the Helpful Content Update is very new. In the next months we will probably see more improvements. 

How could Sites Be Impacted?

Any update is always going to impact site metrics. In the case of Rock Content Blog, we had a decrease during August and September after the first Helpful Content Update of this semester. So, probably something similar can happen in the last weeks of December.

Some major News sites saw an interesting movement in their traffic as well. For instance, The New York Times regained visibility during the two updates, but later they lost it significantly, only to regain it again. In this specific case, the August update had a negative impact on publishers and September’s had a positive effect.

During the last week of December you will probably see some changes in your traffic, but if you are already focused on delivering unique content, it is very likely that you will recover your web visits in the first weeks of January. 

The Practices You Will Never See Again

There are still some questions about how the system is going to work and how Google technology will work to classify the content. 

Although there are some “not-so-good” practices that will be gone forever.  

“Mash-up” Articles:

A common mistake when trying to rank in SERPS is “mixing” all the content that are in the first positions between one another content. Basically, it is rewriting what’s being said without adding something new. 

We understand that checking what is already doing well is good for your strategy, but if you try to be different, add another perspective and share your own experience, the user (and now Google itself!) will thank you. 

And, as a reward, you will rank higher. 

Write only to rank a keyword 

Keyword research is a common step in any SEO strategy. However, now we have to be wiser about the moment we are going to choose to work with a certain kind of term. 

Some creators opt to focus too much on keywords with a high volume and difficulty just because it’s popular or important. This is not enough. 

Now it’s time to pick queries that make sense to your specific audience. 

Not Using Specialized Writers 

Outsourcing the creation of your content is actually a good practice, especially if you work with a large number of pieces. But something you have to be very careful about is making sure that those freelancers know what they are writing about. 

If they are not experts but are enthusiastic about it, you can partner them with the actual experts on your team, so they can advise and coach writers with valuable information. 

For example, I really like animals and I like learning new things about them, so it would be a problem for me to write an article about how to keep my dog healthy. Although I’m not a veterinarian, my duty is to do a good research and ask a real expert to bring insights to that piece. 

Content creation for SEO ranking is a practice that still has a lot to do. Answering your audience’s questions and doubts is going to be vital to be successful in the digital scenario.



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