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Helpful is all about the content

Google is focusing on what it calls ‘helpful content’, and its big update last year even referenced that by name. But what does it mean to be ‘helpful’? In this case, it’s only about the content. As this article says, “Although a fast website is ‘helpful’ to a user and can deliver the ‘content’ to them faster, the speed of delivery doesn’t reflect the quality of the information on the page itself.”

That doesn’t mean that page speed isn’t important, just that it’s not an element in this particular search ranking criterion.

One thing that is becoming clear is that Google equates ‘helpful’ with clarity and accessibility. So if a page is answering a query, it needs to get to the point. With any luck, that’ll reduce the ranking of pages which bury the answer a long way down, forcing us to read all sorts of other stuff before they reveal the answer.