A major new Google algorithm update that uses machine learning to weed out opportunistic content designed to improve website rankings challenges some sites to clean up their act, leading British internet firm UK Linkology has said.
Called the ‘helpful content update’, Google’s move aims to give people better content when looking for something via the world’s top search engine, which commands a more than 90% global market share. ‘It’s part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results,’ said Chris Nelson of Google’s search quality team earlier in August, announcing the algorithm change.
It follows several similar core algorithm updates in recent years, such as Penguin and Panda, that force website publishers to provide the kind of quality content that people want and not try to game the system with various search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics to get higher up in Google results and therefore more traffic to their sites. With Helpful Content, Google wants writers to write for people, not search engines.
M-Flux+ to assist with Google update
UK Linkology founder and co-director Jason Brooks welcomed the new Google update, saying it was about time more website owners put more effort into creating content that people can use instead of trying to climb the Google results ladder by publishing irrelevant content.
‘We’ve been banging the drum about creating user-centred content and working with quality publishers for years but felt Google had lagged when identifying garbage, which was always disheartening,’ he said.
‘Hopefully, with their helpful content update, that’s all changed,’ said Brooks, adding that his company has developed an additional tool to give clients peace of mind regarding Google’s change. M-Flux+ is designed to ensure content is published on sites that meet UK Linkology’s quality standards and complies with Google’s requirements.’
‘We developed M-Flux in 2018 to filter out the best sites based on several trusted metrics, and our latest iteration, M-Flux+, takes that to another level by focusing more on how well a site’s content ranks. That’s a key metric for working with this update,’ said Brooks.
Web publishers who rely on artificial intelligence (AI) programmes to quickly and cheaply produce website content may soon feel the Google pinch due to the latest algorithm change, as the language can often be unnatural and turn readers away. It also targets sites with articles that promise to answer a question but don’t, leaving visitors frustrated and having to search again.
‘As this update rolls out, services that rely on automated, spun, and AI-written content will feel the long overdue impact of cutting corners,’ predicted UK Linkology co-director George Blandford, pointing out that there was still time to change so sites would be in compliance. ‘If you still haven’t got your house in order, it’s not too late,’ he said.