Google’s December 2022 Helpful Content Update: Search-Engine First Content to People-First Content

Published: January 13, 2023

min read

Google has confirmed that the "December 2022 useful content update" is now complete.

Earlier this month, Google announced it would begin rolling out this update, and it took 38 days to be released.

This new and major algorithm update favours content that appears to assist or inform people over content created primarily for search engine optimization.

The Google Search helpful content system generates a signal that is used by our automated ranking systems to improve the visibility of helpful content in search results. It is a global update and will impact all languages, not just English.

The helpful content system aims to better reward content where visitors feel they had a satisfying experience, whereas content that fails to meet a visitor's expectations will perform poorly.


Unlike many Google algorithms, which are applied page by page, this new helpful content update will be applied sitewide.

That is, if Google determines that your site is producing a relatively high amount of unhelpful content, primarily written for search engine ranking, your entire site will be impacted.

This will affect not just individual pages or sections of your site, but the entire site.

Google won't say how many pages on your site must be helpful versus unhelpful to trigger this classifier, but they did say it is sitewide and will affect the entire site, even if you have many helpful pages.

These algorithms do not directly target any specific niche. Still, Google stated that the following types of content may be the most impacted: They are online educational materials, arts and entertainment shopping, and tech-related niches. The reason for this is that content in these niches has historically been written for search engines rather than humans.

How will the new algorithmic update influence marketers?

No matter what kind of digital marketing strategy each brand is working on, organic marketing helps to drive more website traffic.

SEO is significant for driving traffic and promoting your brand, and it works hand-in-hand with the user experience.

But when brands try to trick search engines, it will only lead to harm.

Google’s "December 2022 useful content update" reiterates the same.

We expect this algorithmic change by Google to be one of the most significant changes that will have a meaningful impact on search results.

It is time for marketers to keep an eye on analytics to notice if any big ranking or visibility changes are happening. If needed, brands have to make the necessary changes to their websites, as Google suggests, to keep them on track.

We believe Google's helpful content update will cause a fundamental shift in SEO content strategy, similar to the Google Panda update. The latter had a massive and far-reaching impact on SEO for years.

Panda's retribution fell on websites of all sizes and industries. There were numerous reports of organisations going out of business as a result of their years-long dependence on Google traffic. When that traffic vanished, so did their business.

Although it is too early to assess the magnitude of the new update's impact, we believe it is nothing more than a wake-up call for marketers. To focus on people-first content rather than search engine-first content to pull in more traffic.


Grace Wang

Grace is an advertising professional who keeps abreast of the latest and greatest in the marketing and advertising space. She is a traditionalist in lifestyle and modernist in her profession. Outside of marketing and advertising, she helps younger generation try and adapt traditional lifestyle for a healthy living.


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