What were the effects of Google’s Helpful Content update?

What were the effects of Google’s Helpful Content update?

February 22, 2024

Written by: Ryan Walsh

Date: 22/02/2024

Every year, Google rolls out substantial changes to its algorithm. Sometimes, these are minor algorithm changes; sometimes, they are colossal, like when the Google Helpful Content update was rolled out.

You might be scratching your head, wondering why a particular competitor is ranked at the top of Google right now, as their content marketing reads in a way where its, well, rubbish.

Yet, when a Google significant update gets rolled out, often it’s these businesses that will no longer rank at the top of Google’s results.
Many businesses may have experienced this when Google rolled out the “Google Helpful Content Update”. That’s because their business’s content marketing may have been deemed to be either one or all of the following:


– Content thin
– Low quality
– Little effort exerted to create it
– Offers no original perspective
– Low Google E-EAT score


This article will also explain why writing long yet really well-worded articles is worth completing.

We shall also explain why writing quality content marketing is useful for your customers, yet it can also help your company to rank higher on Google.


What was Google’s Helpful Content Update?

The Google helpful content update was launched back in August 2022, and there was a later update in September 2023.

Many SEO consultants believe the update is another step in placing businesses / pages higher on Google that offer helpful, high-quality content marketing that complies with Google E-EAT.


Aimed at removing more spam / over-optimised content marketing

As any excellent SEO consultant worth their salt will know, when it comes to eliminating low-quality and poorly written content marketing, Google has made massive amounts of effort to do this.

For example, The Google Penguin update, The Google Panda update all aimed at eliminating businesses from the SERP’s that used low quality SEO methods.

The Google Helpful Content update was another effort on Google’s part to eliminate low-quality pages.

The update affected all languages; it especially targeted content thin or over-optimised content marketing.


Spam filters

Google has many spam filters built into its brilliant algorithm, such as the Google Penguin and Panda updates. Google wants to serve high-quality answers to questions, that answer the customer’s questions very well. Pages of poor quality get removed by Google’s numerous algorithmic updates, and those pages will never show in the SERPs. Therefore, when Googlebot first crawls that page, if it is deemed as spam, it will never appear in Google’s results (SERP’s).


Has the Google Helpful content update impacted your business?

Does your content marketing answer the question?

Now, this may sound like a silly question:

Does your content marketing answer the question? Sounds a silly question, right? Well, it’s something to consider carefully after the

Google Helpful Content update, that’s if you have seen your organic ranking drop. The reason is that sometimes, some marketing companies write, say, 700 words, which doesn’t answer the question once you’ve read the entire blog post. It therefore causes sky-high bounce rates on that website, therefore leading to the organic rankings to drop.

It could just be a waste of time for the shopper to read say 700 words of waffle, therefore they often leave the page, and the bounce rate increases.
So sometimes marketing companies try to write a 700-word article with just the aim of just writing keywords in, say, the titles, h1 tag, and alt text; they may not care about offering quality advice. They want to try to improve the business’s SEO for that keyword. However, this type of SEO is dead and buried, here’s why:

Low-quality content marketing will:

Not appear in Google’s SERPs as the algorithms will in the first instance filter the page as spam
If it has been previously indexed, it will have a high bounce rate, negatively impacting the SEO
If the work has a low time-on-site figure, then again, this will negatively impact the company’s SEO

Experience and expertise

We previously quickly mentioned earlier on in this article the Google E-EAT algorithm update.

It’s essential to cover this point again, as the content marketing you produce today needs to demonstrate that you have excellent expertise about what you’re writing about. Whether it’s a part for an excavator or explaining the benefits of owning a new running trainer with an innovative sole made from recycled material, the content marketing must be well-written and informative.

In a nutshell, if the content marketing is “content thin”- written to be an absolute waffle, Google’s algorithm will notice its low-quality work, reject it, and most likely never appear in Google’s index, so creating it is an absolute waste of time.


Must answer the customer’s question

Suppose the customer wants to find an answer to a question, such as “what are the most energy-efficient washing machines” . The customer will want to be presented with many different products so they can select one in their price range; if the article presents just one brand or model, the customer may feel the article doesn’t answer their question. The work will, therefore, have a high bounce rate.

Google’s algorithm will spot the high bounce rate, and may move the business down the rankings, in the SERP’s.
So, content marketing needs to be helpful and answer the customer’s questions. It has been so good, so well written that the shopper will likely return to that store and bookmark the page when they are ready to buy the item, they are likely to return to your company.


Spelling and grammar

Before adding any text to a website, the article should be checked for grammar and spelling mistakes. If the work is low quality, in terms of a lot of spelling mistakes, this is likely to be off-putting to a shopper; it may even contribute to a shopper leaving the website, causing the bounce rate once again to increase.



To win at improving a company’s organic SEO these days, content marketing doesn’t just have to be good; it has to be simply superb. It has to shine, be excellent quality, be helpful, and show that you’re an absolute expert at what you do. If the work is half-baked or poorly written, it won’t have the desired effect of nudging your business up Google’s ranks.

The work must demonstrate you’re an expert at what you do, and that you have put serious effort into offering quality advice, that’s there to help your customers. This could be content marketing such as embedded Youtube videos, helpful product descriptions, and evergreen content marketing.

Every piece of work needs to be top quality, your best effort, something that says your company knows what it is talking about. Sure, you’re giving up time to create this work, writing blog posts that may take the best part of a whole day to write sometimes. Yet, all that effort is worth it, if the work is high quality, and will bring in more shoppers.


So here are the things that we think that the content marketing needs to display:

Google E-EAT

Just like in this article, and with many other articles you are likely to have read about improving your company search engine optimisation, “Google E-EAT” is now super important, and you need to therefore demonstrate “Expertise” and “Experience”, “authoritativeness” and trustworthiness in the content marketing you publish.

So, basically, the work needs to either be written by an expert, or written with input from an expert, that’s whether you’re talking about how to cure hair loss, or how to overcome a divorce.

Keeping laser-focused

When you write content marketing to improve your business search engine optimisation, don’t start to wander off-topic regularly when writing your company’s content marketing. So, for example, if you own a law firm, and they say you have quite a large solicitors practice.

You should write the blog post all about offering legal advice; you don’t want to start writing about rugby teams that you sponsored, or a local golf club, or even a marathon that some of your staff are entering, as that’s going off-topic. If you offer just employment law advice, then just write blog posts to do with that. Stay laser-focused, answer questions, your customers often ask.

If you start answering questions in a brilliant way that the customers frequently ask, you can get a lot more organic traffic. Then, it’s up to the business to convert the organic traffic into paying customers.


Does the shopper feel satisfied that you’ve answered their question fully or are they searching for clarity on their original question?
When you venture into a shop, and you approach a salesperson for advice, if they are super helpful, offer valuable advice and are friendly; you will want to buy from that person.

On the other hand, if the person was pushy, unhelpful and unfriendly, then you are likely to turn on their heels and go through an exit through the door.

While this is the same as your business content marketing, if it’s simply the best in the business, and can shine bright and has a super low bounce rate, high time-on-site, it is likely to attract a lot of quality do-follow backlinks.


Search engine optimisation.

At the same time, if the content marketing is unhelpful and low quality, this can affect your business seo in a negative way.
So, you need to create high quality content that is in-depth, well written, plus has a lot of titles so people can skip to the part they are most interested in reading.

Yet many companies come to us and hire our team quite simply because our SEO knowledge is second to none; we’ve got some of the most experienced SEO consultants in the whole country working at Walsh.

We are highly experienced at what do and do, everything right is the white hat way. Don’t get us wrong; organic SEO is not a fast process by any stretch of the imagination; it is a prolonged process, yet when the businesses start to see the results of coming through, in terms of more sales, they are pleased and stay with us for a very long period of time. We have repeat business for over eight years and are extremely good at what.

Come to the SEO experts come to us


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