By humans for humans - Google’s ‘Helpful Content’ Update

Search Engine Optimisation

Google’s latest core algorithm update is all about trustworthy, valuable, and authentic content.

On the 25th of August 2022, Google launched the latest update to its core algorithm. Many see this update - named the Helpful Content update - as being the most significant search engine update in several years. 

What is the Helpful Content update?

Google’s goal is to provide people with the highest quality content from the most authoritative sources. The Helpful Content update means Google’s algorithm will now - as the name says - prioritise content that it deems helpful.

In the plainest of terms, this update is an iteration of previous updates that seek to promote quality content, which will always be clear, well-written, and come from an authoritative source. What Google is trying to combat is content that tries to game the algorithm for clicks and higher rankings. 

Any brand that publishes content needs to be aware of the update and ensure its content is viewed as being of high quality by Google’s algorithm.

Producing helpful content

Here at Clue we produce content for several brands as part of their search engine optimisation plan. Our approach seeks to answer specific questions asked by their audience relevant to the business. 

We follow three steps to ensure the content we produce for brands is truly helpful content:

  1. Producing people-first content: our writing is produced naturally and is fully authentic.
  2. Well researched content ensures we’re adding value to the wider conversation and producing original content that responds directly to the questions people are asking.
  3. Apply SEO best practices to provide the ideal user experience and make it easy for Google’s algorithm to read the page

Why my content gets penalised by Google?

The best indication that your content or site has been penalised is seeing a dramatic drop in your keyword rankings. This isn’t good, and may take time to restore, but you will want to either update or remove the offending content. 

When reviewing your content, the below tips will be helpful:


  • Make sure you are talking to your existing customers and stay within your area of expertise
  • Have a primary focus or purpose for your site
  • Demonstrate depth of knowledge and first-hand experience, especially when referring to products and services
  • Provide your audience content that is useful enough for them to achieve their goal on certain topic(s)
  • Provide the best possible user experience and apply use best-practice on page SEO tactics


  • Enter niche topic areas without real experience and knowledge
  • Summarise other people’s content without attributing create and adding to the conversation
  • Create content with the sole aim of ranking higher i.e. gaming the algorithm
  • Produce content in different topics hoping some might perform well
  • Use extensive automation systems to produce content on many topics
  • Create content on various topics just because they seem to be trending
  • Write to a particular word count (Google doesn’t have a preferred number)
  • Promise to give answers to questions with no real answers i.e. for an unrevealed movie release date

Core Algorithm Update

Seperate to the Helpful Content update, Google’s core algorithm update released on the 12th of September 2022, is a small change to the search algorithm; the one that has between 200 and 500 different components in relation to importance, order, value, etc., that influence SEO rankings.

With this update, rankings may have shifted. Once again, don’t panic. Instead, update your content based on the previously stated Do’s and Don’ts, and as an extra step, do your research. 

Revise those pages that have higher rankings and find common positive features in terms of the content; about the type of answers provided, graphical features to aid in readers experience, and accuracy of data used.