Google Announces Upcoming Helpful Content Update

helpful content algorithm update impacts for b2b tech
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    A potentially impactful algorithm update is set to launch next week according to Google. Google is leveraging innovations in detecting duplicate product reviews and other low-quality product review spam from fake users that is commonly leveraged in e-commerce and bringing it to broader search results. People have been complaining for a while now about low-quality content aimed at beginners dominating the search results, and obfuscating answers and insights created by knowledgable contributors. In short, Google is cracking down on people writing content specifically for search engines, and not for people and by people. Technical content specifically has been named as a target and the algorithm update will include a focus on uniqueness and originality.

    What Does The Helpful Content Algorithm Update Mean For Tech Companies?

    The update is due to start rolling out next week, so at this point, it’s too early to tell and as with most algorithm updates they tend to roll out over a period of time so we will likely see ongoing SERP volatility over at least the coming month after launch. Google does offer some clues as to what the impacts may be though, and it’s clear that unique and original content will be given priority.

    We can infer that means syndicated content, aggregated content, and backlinks from content aggregators will most likely be devalued in favor of named canonical URLs and higher quality backlinks.

    I suspect commonly used content syndication sites like Medium, and LinkedIn will also be impacted. This could impact referral traffic for SaaS where content syndication is commonplace.

    MSPs in particular should be sweating a little bit about this one as it’s a pretty widespread practice to use the same aggregated blog articles and white label content that other MSPs are using in the space. Other industries that leverage white label content and content spinning will likely be impacted. It’s unclear whether this will impact only aggregated content or overall domains but this could be very bad if this creates domain-level impacts as original content on landing pages could be de-ranked as a result of leveraging low-quality content on a blog. This was already the case to some extent, but the impacts could be much worse.

    Google rarely goes to the trouble of “naming” an update these days, but they are dubbing this one the “helpful content update” so there could be big potential shakeups.

    How To Recover Rankings From The Helpful Content Update?

    The best way is to avoid negative impacts from the helpful content update will be to create high-quality original content on your company’s blog. Posts that drone on for the express purpose of racking up word count, AI-spun content that scrapes SERPs using GPT or other similar technologies, and posts that use large segments of quotes and other semi-plagiarized content will not cut it anymore. Creating an opinion and acting as a thought leader in your respective space will continue to grow in importance. This is just a continuation of an ongoing trend in technical content marketing. Educational content created by experts will dominate the rankings and give tech companies who can source insights from their developers, analysts, and other knowledgeable parties will reign supreme.

    Have You Been Impacted By The Helpful Content Update?

    Tortoise and Hare provides search engine optimization services for B2B technology companies. We’ll be monitoring this update closely and working with our clients and partners to ensure quality traffic from desirable technology buyers is reaching our client’s websites. We already act as an outsourced content marketing team and search engine optimizer and have helped our clients substantially grow their organic traffic and position their companies as a thought leader in their space. All content we create on behalf of our clients is original thought leadership content and development is led by content strategists with technology backgrounds, resulting in higher quality. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help you react to this latest Google algorithm update and generate more organic traffic from your ICP.

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    Hunter Nelson

    Hunter is the founder and president of Tortoise and Hare Software, a digital marketing agency for B2B technology companies. Hunter has more than 10 years’ experience building web applications and crafting digital strategies for companies ranging from scrappy startups to Fortune 50 household names. When not on the clock, you'll find him spending time with his family and pups, relaxing on the beach, or playing competitive online video games. See LinkedIn for more.


    1. digby on September 6, 2022 at 11:55 pm

      My small MSP often uses syndicated blog content (saves us a lot of time). We always create a canonical link to the originating content in order not to be accused of duplicate content.
      I’m not entirely sure how that works for our SEO efforts? Does our blog article get any juice from the google crawler or does it just ignore our page and go to the canonical link, thereby wasting our efforts.

      • Hunter Nelson on September 7, 2022 at 4:07 am

        Using syndicated content is fine and marking it with the canonical is the right thing to do, but it’s not going to generate any SEO value for you. Syndicated content can be leveraged on social media as a way to bring people to your website but don’t expect it to drive traffic via search.

    2. digby on September 7, 2022 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks for confirming that. I had suspected my SEO efforts were being wasted. I will devote some time to rewriting those syndicated articles and dropping the canonical from here on in.

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