What Actually Is Helpful Content In 2024?

Helpful content is content that solves user problems.

Imagine it’s Friday night, and you’ve promised to make something impressive for dinner. You decide to go for Spaghetti Puttanesca (good choice!)

To figure out what ingredients to buy as you rush into the shop, you whip out your phone and search “Spaghetti Puttanesca” on Google.

First page, top result: A recipe with a list of ingredients and the quantities needed right at the top. The evening is saved, and you just stumbled on helpful content. 

In the above example, the problem the user has is finding out what ingredients to buy for a fancy Italian pasta dish. But content can also do other things like help someone understand what software solution best fits their business’s cybersecurity needs. 

From an SEO perspective, helpful content is important because in 2024 and beyond, Google says that it only wants to provide its users with content that actually answers their questions. It’s also the name Google gave to one of its biggest core updates ever.

In their own words, Google describes helpful content as: 

Original, helpful content created for people in search results”

Google says they will not only promote helpful content but will also penalize sites that produce unhelpful content (you know what this looks like). If you publish content online, it needs to be helpful content first and everything else (SEO, branding, sales, updates, etc) second.

Helpful Content Examples You Can Publish Right Now

Creating helpful content means using your core expertise to bridge user needs and solutions.

Gone are the days of filler content and generic blogs (fingers crossed). Goodbye to “in today's threat landscape” and hello “What five years as a CISO has taught me about endpoint security.” 

To gain and maintain rankings, you need to publish content that answers questions, comes from experience, entertains users, can be trusted, and is designed to help users - not just sell them something. 

Examples of helpful content include:

  • A blog that immediately gives non-technical executives an answer to a question they need but also provides enough supplementary information for them to understand how you got that answer. See this high-ranking blog about how much a business should spend on cybersecurity, which puts key information about security spending in bullet points at the start.

  • An infographic that helps business leaders understand the typical research and development spend among top companies in their space. Just looking at this infographic helps you understand the R&D spend of the 10 biggest companies in Nasdaq In 2022 at a glance. Remember: Helpful content is not always text but can be images/videos/infographics, or even podcasts.

  • A comparison table that shows data security professionals the advantages and disadvantages of your solution versus alternative solutions in a fair and transparent way. Note the easy-to-read comparison table mid-way through this blog comparing DSPM vs CSPM tools

  • An easy-to-find section on your webpage explaining to prospective customers what your integrations are and what integrations you don’t have yet but are working on soon. Not just information hidden in your technical docs. 

  • A blog that gives potential customers advice, based on your experience, about a technical query. For example, “Can you use x solution in y environment?”. A great example is this blog about using network detection and response tools to protect remote workforces

  • An article that helps people concerned about identity theft figure out how to delete themselves from Google. For example, look at this article, which ranks top of Google for searches about removing your home address from the internet. 

How to Create Helpful Content 

Google gives you six rules for helpful content:

1. Self-assess your content.

2. Provide a great page experience.

3. Focus on people-first content.

4. Avoid creating search engine-first content.

5. Get to know “E-E-A-T” and the quality rater guidelines.

6. Ask "Who, How, and Why" about your content.

But we think you can do one better (or at least simpler).

Distill these rules down, and you end up with one simple question that you should ask yourself before you publish any content asset on your company’s blog, LinkedIn page, YouTube channel, or wherever else.

That question is:

Would I (imagining yourself as your target customer) read/watch/look at this if no one was paying me to and feel like it was a good use of time?

Sorry if this sounds a bit blunt, but a lot of companies forget that their content is going to be consumed by people whose first instinct is to actively dislike it. 

Research shows that company blogs are some of the least trusted sources of information for B2B buyers. 

To break through this barrier, keep asking yourself the above question, and don’t stop editing your content until you are confident you can answer it.

That’s what we do anyway, and it works for our clients.

Read our case studies to learn about how helpful content helps business.

Written by Robert Galvin