A Guide to Google’s Helpful Content Update for eCommerce Sellers

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A Guide to Google's Helpful Content Update for eCommerce Sellers


Google’s new algorithm update has validated the long-standing SEO best practice of focusing on people-first content rather than search engines. This means creating content with your audience in mind rather than trying to game the system.

Content is a key part of eCommerce, and you must be wondering how the new update affects your eCommerce site. Read on to find out the future of eCommerce with the new helpful content update.

What is the Helpful Content Update?

Google’s helpful content update is an algorithm update designed to reward websites with content that offers a satisfying user experience. Content that doesn’t meet user expectations will not perform as well. In other words, the update tries to improve the quality of search results and reward content creators that create additional value for searchers.

How does the Helpful Content Update work?

The helpful content update uses a machine learning-powered classifier process that provides a new site-wide signal that Google uses to rank web pages. It automatically identifies content with little or low-added value and relevance to searchers.

Websites with large amounts of unhelpful content are less likely to rank on (search engine results pages) SERPs. So to improve your chances of ranking high on Google, remove any unhelpful content from your site. 

Why is helpful content important to eCommerce brands?

Along with a few other areas, Google tested eCommerce for the new update and found that it benefits the user search experience.

This update will help fix some poor eCommerce product search experiences, e.g., product search results that consist of irrelevant affiliate links, multiple product variations, AI-generated content, short or no product descriptions, and reused manufacturer product descriptions. In addition, the new people-first content focus will enable searchers to more easily find what they are looking for and improve their search experience.

As a result, this update will directly impact eCommerce businesses – ranking eCommerce brands higher on SERPs if they invest in the high-quality and helpful site content.

How do you identify “unhelpful” content?

Many eCommerce brands will have a natural question: how to decide if their content is helpful enough. Follow these simple steps to make sure your content is helpful and uses the people-first approach:

1. Check if the existing content on your website is helpful enough with Google’s comprehensive list of questions. Then, remove all pieces of unhelpful content.

  1. Conduct a website audit to identify any impact of the new update on your eCommerce store. Assess the impact on the product, category, and site levels.

How to make eCommerce SEO content “helpful”?

We interviewed one of the UK’s top SEO experts Freddie Chatt (on Traktion), who has 9+ years of experience working with a wide range of eCommerce brands. Here are Freddie’s key recommendations for how 

“Following this update, eCommerce brands will not just focus on product optimization but create relevant content that adds value to their audience’s search experience.”

A good SEO consultant will always treat quality content as the backbone of eCommerce SEO. With this update, it becomes even more important to:

  • Optimize your product descriptions by making them as detailed as possible. The new update emphasizes demonstrating your first-hand expertise and in-depth knowledge of the product.
  • Provide content beyond the product that meets the intent of the search audience. Your content should ensure that it provides a user with enough information about your products, brand, and service while meeting their search intent.
  • Ensure that you follow Google’s guidance for core updates and product reviews.
  • Avoid using automation to produce bulk content for your eCommerce store.
  • Create content guidelines for your brand and train SEO content writers to improve the quality, consistency, and uniqueness of your future content

What languages does the Helpful Content Update apply to?

The helpful content update currently impacts English searches globally, with Google’s plan to expand to other languages in the future.

A Guide to Google’s Helpful Content Update for eCommerce Sellers