What is Helpful Content – and how do you know if yours qualifies?

We’ve talked a lot about Google’s latest algorithm update on the MyAdvice blog lately, but assessing your content to determine if it qualifies as helpful is still difficult. According to Google, it generally means two things: it’s written for people, and it’s not written for search engines. But what exactly constitutes writing for people or search engines? Let’s break that down even further. 

What does it mean to write content for people?

Here’s the thing about good content: you know it when you read it. Think about the best thing you ever found on the Internet. It probably had some or all of the following qualities.

  • The author is an expert or trusted source.
  • It is original and has something interesting to say.
  • It answers your questions about the topic at hand and then some – you probably learned something extra too.
  • The website is trustworthy (you would give them your credit card info) and works well (nothing broken, no annoying popup ads).
  • There are no typos, spelling errors, or grammar mistakes. 
  • There aren’t tons of articles on the website about the same topic.

If you can look at your own website and content and say the same is true, congratulations, you’re writing for people! So, what does the opposite look like?

What does it mean to write content for search engines?

Have you ever clicked a link thinking that it will answer a question only to be immediately frustrated? You probably found a website that only cares about content for search engines. Your blood pressure likely went up as you encountered any of the following:

  • The website has tons of content on tons of different topics with no real theme or commonalities.
  • It reads and sounds like it was written by robots, automation, or something other than a human being. 
  • There’s really nothing in the article that you couldn’t find somewhere else – no different point of view. 
  • There are so many random and strange words that you begin to suspect they’re trying to hit a random word count in the hopes it will make them rank higher, or they’re trying to use certain keywords.
  • The website you’re on is broken, hard to navigate, full of intrusive ads, and you’re pretty sure your information is being stolen somehow while you’re on it.
  • There are lots of claims or advice in the article, and you aren’t sure they’re accurate or written by someone who is qualified to be making them. 

If you look at any of your own content and think this might apply, it’s time to update. Remember, with the Helpful Content update, one bad page can impact your entire site. 

We Can Help

Need help assessing your website and your content? MyAdvice has been assisting practices like yours for more than 20 years. Contact one of our experts for a complimentary consultation.

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