Is Google’s “Helpful Content” Update Harming Your Small Business Website?

If you have noticed a shift in your website traffic lately, you may want to read this!

Google made a major shift in how the search engine rewards content on websites. For some, it has been devastating to their website traffic.

The most recent “helpful content” update on September 14 changed search algorithms. The search engine is now designed to favor specific kinds of content that is helpful to users. Here’s how Google describes helpful content. (The Gist: The content needs to be original, trustworthy, well written and not generated by AI. It is best told from personal experience, excellent research, expertise and/or first-hand accounts.)

While this is great in theory, it has negatively affected a lot of local company websites. We are still doing research to find out why that is happening. But, as we have gathered some information on what “helpful content” looks like, here are some ideas of what could be going on:

Why Small Businesses Took a Hit

  • Some local companies do not have the bandwidth to write great articles about their businesses in addition to running a business. They might be outsourcing that job or using the assistance of AI.
  • Most companies have been utilizing old search engine optimization (SEO) guidelines and generating content to attract search engine traffic, instead of writing articles to help users who want to know more about a specific topic. 
  • Big companies and popular websites have a lot more money and time to do the research, pay the experts, write the high-quality content.

So, what can a small business do? Do we have any hope of being more discoverable to our potential customers or readers? Yes! There’s home.

Here Are Some of Our Ideas To Create More Helpful Content

  1. Offer your expertise. Your customers want to hear what you have to say. So, even if someone else is writing your blog, chime in and give your two cents.
  2. Show how the sauce is made. If possible, let people see what you can do. Give them hints and tricks that only you, the expert in your field, would know.
  3. Get a copy-editor and do not just copy.  Repetitive, plagiarized, error-laden, or AI-generated content hurts the quality of your content.
  4. Make sure your website offers a great customer experience. By this we mean, easy to navigate, fast loading and no aggressive ads.
  5. Remove unhelpful content. Go back through your blogs and determine what might just be filler and take it out.
  6. Don’t pander to the search engine, write for the customer. While SEO is okay with the algorithm, if the content is not also helpful to the person, it will be penalized. Worry less about your keywords, and more about what the customer needs to know.

Did these updates affect your small business website? We understand! And, we can help you find your way back to great customer traffic online. Contact us for information.