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  • Writer's pictureMordy Oberstein

Is the Helpful Content Update Defective?

With so many SEOs complaining about the Helpful Content Update demoting legitimate sites from the top of the SERP we ask: Is there really a problem with the Helpful Content Update?


Rohan Ayyar joins the SEO Rant Podcast to separate the legitimate issues with the Helpful Content Update from just the usual SEO moaning and groaning.


  • The evolution of the Helpful Content Update means Google will get things wrong

  • Why a lot of the chatter about the Helpful Content Update being defective is a bit misguided

  • How the lack of incentive has led to a lack of helpful content




What Is Behind the Lack of Helpful Content on the SERP?


Rohan Ayyar on the SEO Rant Podcast

The Helpful Content Update. (HCU) has been the source of controversy within the SEO industry. But how much of that critique is warranted? While some sites complain that their content deserves to rank I've seen many cases where the content we claim to be "helpful" is really just crap.


That said, there are legitimate gripes with the HCU. I do think that in a weird way gripes are par for the course. The HCU is a learning update - it is going to take time for it to refine itself, especially in a world where content is so volatile for so many reasons. I think we underestimate the impact of the shifting content sands on things like the HCU. Not that this makes it any less frustrating for sites in certain cases.


Still, one thing seems to be certain - there is a lack of helpful content ranking on the SERP. The question is, why?


It's a mix of various factors - but one culprit that doesn't get enough attention is "incentive." To a large extent, there is not enough incentive for creators to produce legitimately helpful content. A lot of that falls on search engines and their ability to reward such content. (At the same time, Rome wasn't built in a day - the evolution of the technology search engines need to rank helpful content is a slow burn).


Part of it falls on people and what they are willing to accept. This is rapidly changing - people are starting to demand a higher standard for web content.


Lastly, it falls on brands. Brands need to have the cajones to make the leap and produce content users want. To them, that's a risk because there is no historical behavior to support it. In an environment where user demands are rapidly changing brands no longer have the luxury of relying on past performance to the extent they used to. They have to leap forward and take a risk that they have a solid understanding of user demands.


 

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For more of the SEO Rant Podcast check out our previous episode on: Why SEO demands critical thinking

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