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Google: Helpful Content Signal May Get Stronger With Next Core Update

Google says future core algorithm updates could add strength to the helpful content ranking signal.

Google: Helpful Content Signal May Get Stronger With Next Core Update

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, says the helpful content ranking signal may get stronger with future algorithm updates.

The helpful content update started rolling out two weeks ago. Early feedback from SEOs and publishers suggests that the new ranking signal doesn’t significantly impact search results.

Sullivan addressed the feedback last week, emphasizing the helpful content update is a big one, despite anecdotal evidence suggesting otherwise.

As the update is a continuing effort, its impact will become more apparent over time, unlike past updates, such as Panda and Penguin, which immediately produced significant changes in search results.

To that end, we now know when the helpful content update could become more noticeable.

This week, Sullivan responded to feedback again, revealing that the helpful content signal might get stronger when other algorithm updates roll out.

He states:

“Maybe the helpful content signal alone wasn’t enough to tip the scales and produce a change in someone’s particular situation, but when we do other updates (core, product reviews), it might add into that and be more significant….”

The above quote is taken from a longer Twitter thread where Sullivan repeats many of the same talking points as last week.

Again, Sullivan says the impact of the helpful content update is in line with what he expected:

“Noticeable doesn’t mean every site sees a change and, why would that happen? Are the majority of sites unhelpful?”

He makes an interesting point in the above quote, as it would be concerning if a significant number of sites dropped in rankings. That would suggest Google was previously elevating many sites that publish unhelpful content.

It’s good to know Google already had a high bar for content quality in search results, considering the helpful content update didn’t tank rankings for many sites.

One last highlight to pull from Sullivan’s tweet thread — if Google missed some unhelpful sites during the first wave of the rollout, it doesn’t mean Google won’t catch them eventually.

Here’s the quote (emphasis mine):

“If you went through this initial release and had no change then 1) congrats, lots of content is helpful and that’s probably you or 2) if you do have unhelpful content, you shouldn’t think that we won’t figure that out and consider changing what you’re doing….”

That said, it’s too early to tell if the helpful content update isn’t as big as other Google algorithm changes.

It’s an ongoing effort, as Google likes to say. Give it a few months to a year, and differences may be more noticeable when comparing SERPs before and after the helpful content update.


Source: @dannysullivan on Twitter

Featured Image: Just dance/Shutterstock

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Matt G. Southern

Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

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