Helpful content and spam updates

During the months of late August and October 2022, Google released its most recent changes. Both “the helpful content” and “spam updates” were names given to this update. Websites with low authority or a dearth of useful information throughout were the focus of the spam updates and helpful content campaigns.

Moz created Domain Authority (DA), a search engine ranking value that ranges from 0 to 100. A website is more likely to rank on search engine results pages the higher the score.

This is extremely comparable for those content writers and SEO specialists who recall the Panda upgrade from February 2012 and the effect it had on how we wrote content moving forward. It’s likely to result in yet another significant adjustment to website content tactics.

Google stated:

“Google’s automated methods for identifying search spam are always in operation, although we periodically make significant advancements in how they function. When this occurs, we label it a “spam update” and include it in our list of Google Search ranking updates. Our AI-based spam-prevention solution, for instance, is called SpamBrain. We occasionally make changes to that system to enhance spam detection and make sure new spam kinds are caught.” Credit: Google Spam Updates 

The websites that contained content that was written for search engines rather than for humans were the focus of the helpful content upgrade. This content’s main goal is to rank well on Google.


What is people-first content?

Instead of writing for search engines, content that is written for people-first focuses on a specific topic for a target audience. For instance, if someone were to Google “How to write content for humans?”

The goal of Google and other search engines is to provide the best response to the user’s query. As a result, the content must be worthwhile, provide the specific information people are seeking, and be easily readable by humans. Otherwise, visitors will leave the page and visit another site, which can raise your bounce rate. Consequently, your authority is impacted.

According to Google, their aim is to “better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well”. Credit: What is Google’s Helpful Content Update?

Google’s algorithm upgrade affects the entire website, so if it concludes that there is a lot of spammy, useless content created for search engines, your entire website will be affected.

What are doorway or location pages?

Doorway pages were particularly effective in the early days of search engines if you wanted to be found for a specific service in a specific location. As an illustration, a page would be made for each location with the exact same text, with the exception that the location would be modified, such as “Bakery in Lincoln,” “Bakery in Grimsby,” or “Bakery in Scunthorpe.”

Google’s definition of doorway pages is as follows:

“…sites or pages created to rank for specific, similar search queries. They lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.”

You can read more about doorway pages here; What are Doorway Pages?

The duplicate content on local company pages was one of the main targets of this change, which was released in the last quarter of 2022. Many of these websites saw wholesale de-indexing of the pages that contained “duplicate content,” rather than just ranking penalties. However, it had a knock-on impact that led to a decline in rankings for the relevant pages.

It is possible that you have been harmed if you have noticed a decline in your website’s ranks, traffic, or page clicks since the spam upgrade went live. Although the system evaluates each page separately, the modification affects the entire site, so it’s possible that your entire content is “unhelpful” to searchers.

Can doorway location pages still work?

In short, yes, doorway pages can still be useful when they are created with unique content, however, it is a dying SEO practice and will shortly join practices like hidden text or meta keyword stuffing. Therefore, is it worth keeping or creating location pages? Google’s SpamBrain AI is evolving to target easily distinguishable doorway pages. Currently, it’s location pages with duplicate content that is being de-indexed.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that Google’s algorithms are continuously changing, and location pages with original material but nonetheless crafted to rank higher than for users are probably the next algorithmic target.

Google aims to highlight high-quality, well-written, and informative content that has been created for human consumption rather than search engine optimization. Location pages rarely serve the needs of the user. As part of an “ongoing effort to minimise low-quality content and make it simpler to access stuff that feels real and useful in search,” they claimed, this is being done. 

The good news is that Google has noted that “removing unhelpful information could enhance the rankings of your other content” if you have any of these “unhelpful content pages.” Websites with more authority or pages with entirely original material that are located elsewhere were not deindexed.