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5 Things to Know About Google’s Helpful Content Update

As of August 25th, 2022, Google rolled out a new search engine optimization update called the helpful content update, which may take up to two weeks to fully roll out. The goal of this update is to target sites that have a large amount of unsatisfying or unrelated content that has been written for search engines first. Specifically, this update will target content that isn’t written to inform people. This will help users find more “high-quality content.” 

 

What is a Google Update?

A Google Update, also known as an algorithm update (such as the Mobile Update), is the term used to describe a change affecting how rankings are calculated by the search engine, Google. Some of these updates are major updates based on a new ranking factor, while others aim to improve the quality and relevance of the content being ranked. Google’s main purpose is to rank content that is applicable to a user while answering a query or search of some kind. 

 

How Will The Helpful Content Update Impact Nonprofits?

This update will impact all websites and content, including nonprofits and content created by nonprofits! It’s important to ask if your nonprofit is truly creating content for your audience or just to rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Google wants to reward better and more useful content by ensuring that it ranks high and has better visibility which is crucial for your nonprofit!

This algorithm update will downgrade those websites and promote more helpful websites, and it’s important to make sure your content doesn’t lose visibility or move down in rankings. Nonprofits need to take note of this update because if your rankings are impacted and drop, you’ll lose key traffic, which could impact donations and conversions. 

 

5 Key Tips to Keep In Mind for Google’s Helpful Content Update

1. Ensure Your Content is People-First

While it’s crucial to optimize content for SEO purposes, you want it to sound as though a human wrote it and ensure that it targets your audience specifically. We suggest you follow SEO best practices to optimize your content and website!

 

2. Include First-Hand Experience

Google wants you to write about topics that you understand or have experience in. If the author clearly doesn’t have experience or knowledge, the content won’t be as helpful as it could be.

Google wants you to ask yourself if you are really adding significant value with what you are sharing with your audience or if you are just summarizing what others have to say.

 

3. Don’t Combine Unrelated Topics Into One Post

Unfortunately, a website can’t answer all questions that target multiple topics! If your nonprofit shares resources on women’s rights, you probably should avoid writing content about how to save endangered animals.

 

4. Are You Answering a Query?

Will your audience feel they learned something new or had their question answered? If not, your content will not be helpful to your audience or other users searching for answers. When writing content, it’s important to help answer a question that brought them to your nonprofit in the first place. Here are a few questions that Google suggests asking yourself while writing content:

  • Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
  • Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (While it’s best to write more than 300 words, there is not one specific length Google prefers. It depends on your audience and topic!)

5. Avoid Using Extensive Automation to Create Content

Writing specific content for your audience may be time-consuming, but it’s the most authentic and the best way to relate to your audience! If you feel that your nonprofit doesn’t have time to write content, consider working with an agency to create high-quality content that is directly related to your niche.

 

Next Steps for Nonprofits

While this may feel overwhelming,  it’s important to educate yourself on Google updates and make sure you don’t lose traffic! Keep an eye on your traffic and rankings in the coming weeks to see if this helpful content update impacted your site. 

If it did, we suggest that you take a look at your content and the intentions behind the content. If your content rankings improved, keep up the great work! While there are many SEO ranking factors, the content will still remain at the top, even for nonprofits.