Google’s helpful content algorithm rolled out last week on August 25 after its early announcement of the sitewide update just seven days prior. The rollout, which started on August 18, is expected to take about one to two weeks to complete.
SEO professionals and Search Engine Roundtable have already reported some volatility; however, it is yet to be confirmed whether it was linked to the helpful content update.
In an article on Google Search Central, the search engine giants said that unhelpful content primarily curated for search engines would no longer take top spots in search engine results pages (SERPS).
This update aims to motivate content creators to provide valuable answers to user search intent rather than reward those that have cleverly implemented SEO tactics to boost their content to the top of the SERPs.
In an article released by Search Engine Land on August 18, Google suggested that educational, art, entertainment, eCommerce and tech-related sites may be impacted the hardest as they were more likely to contain this type of content.
SEO professionals, marketers and content creators were urged to focus on finding a balance between providing useful content and following SEO-best practices to leverage this latest update.
Although there has been no mention of a penalty from Google, it may feel like one for those hit by the update, as it could take a couple of months to bounce back, even after content has been updated.
Currently, only English content on Google searches may be impacted; however, this could be extended to other languages and platforms like Google Discover.
Those affected by the update were advised to re-evaluate their website content to assess if it aligned with the principles outlined in the help document. If not, the best thing to do is simply to remove the content altogether.
To find out when this update sunsets, you can check the Google Search ranking updates page or follow the update here.
Google’s Article Structured Data Guidelines Updated: Last week, Search Engine Journal reported that Google had changed three things in their Article Structure Data Guidelines that will affect top stories’ eligibility for search results. First, a new section was added to the guidelines; Google suggests adding Article to structured data to help the search engine better comprehend what the content is about. This means that more websites may be eligible to feature in these top spots. Although it’s not necessary to add structured data to qualify, using the Article Schema.org structured data is still recommended as it will improve your chances of featuring in this section. Another change made to the guidelines is that using AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is no longer necessary to qualify. AMP framework allowed HTML pages to load faster, but seeing as the entire section has been removed, it stands to reason that it isn’t a requirement. Lastly, image size requirements have been reduced in the guidelines. Previously high-resolution images were required. Now the image size requirement has dropped from a minimum of 800,000 pixels to a “(minimum of 50K pixels when multiplying width and height) with the following aspect ratios: 16×9, 4×3, and 1×1.” For more information, check out the Author markup best practices guidelines here.
New Google Education Q&A Structured Data Content Guidelines: Google introduced new guidelines to its Education Q&A Structure Data help document. The guidelines are the same as Google’s Q&A guidelines, except they must be education-related and have a minimum of one Q&A, of which the answer must answer the question. In addition, the content of education pages must be accurate. Search Engine Land stated, “If a certain amount of your content is inaccurate based on quality and pedagogical review processes, then all or a subset of your Q&A pages may not be eligible for this feature until you resolve the issues.” This is to make sure that users are provided with quality resources. Two things could happen if the quality and accuracy of the content are reviewed and found to be subpar. Google could take measures against the website itself or simply not display them in the rich result section. These guidelines apply to types of pages, Flashcard pages and single Q&A pages that want to appear in Google Search results, Google Lens and Google Assistant.
Google Updates Its Search Console Core Web Vitals Reports: Google Search Console has introduced URL refined data that could help to improve Core Web Vitals (CWV) scores and aggregate URL group scores. The Search Console report will now have an additional level of data known as URL-level data. When you click on this panel you’ll be able to determine exactly which URLs need work. This will save Search Console users the time and effort of having to check each URL individually to see if there’s a problem that may or may not exist. New classifications were also added, according to Search Engine Land. Pages are now grouped under two tables; Poor or Needs Improvement, which displays all subpar pages, and Good. On top of that, an additional information section was added. It also makes mention that you can run a page speed test on a specific URL; yet highlights the difference between Page Speed Insights and Core Web Vitals results.
New Google Search Console Video Indexing Report Released: Google Search Console’s video indexing is complete, and a report has now been made available to users in the coverage section. The rollout started a month back in July after the announcement was first made in May 2022. Google made the Video Indexing Report announcement via Twitter on August 22, stating that it aims to help users better understand the performance of their videos. So now, if Google crawls your site and detects a video, you will receive a report showing how many pages containing a video have been identified, videos that have been indexed successfully and any problems stopping videos from being indexed. It’s important to note that only indexed pages will appear in this report. Pages that are blocked or defined as non-canonical will not feature. According to Search Engine Roundtable, the URL Inspection tool checks the video status, providing information about the video and thumbnail URL, if the video was indexed and a list of issues pertaining to non-indexed pages.
Google Search Console International Targeting Report To Be Removed: Google Search Console has received yet another update. On August 24, 2022, Google announced on Twitter that it would be diminishing its International Targeting report, which will be removed as of September 22, 2022. Initially launched in 2013, it allows users to track hreflang errors or select a preferred country for search results. According to Search Engine Land, Google vows to continue to support hreflang, and no changes have been made as far as “recommendations for multilingual and multiregional sites” go. The reason? Google stated, “the ability to target search results to specific countries using Search Console country targeting was determined to have little value for the ecosystem and is no longer supported.”
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