Google is renowned for its continuous efforts to enhance the user experience on its search engine. In line with this mission, the tech giant released its’ 2023 Helpful Content Update’ that began on September 14, 2023 and just completed, leaving many unanswered questions as per usual. Let’s review what we DO know so far of what the update entails and how businesses can adjust their strategies to align with the update’s objectives.
Introduction to the Helpful Content Update
On September 28, 2023, Google confirmed the completion of its September Helpful Content Update rollout. Initiated on September 14, this two-week-long update focused on improving the relevance and authenticity of search results. Google’s primary aim? To prioritize content created genuinely for users rather than for mere search engine ranking.
Key Features of the Update
- An Improved Classifier: Google’s refined system now better identifies content crafted primarily for search engine ranking. Content that doesn’t provide genuine value to users will be downgraded.
- Changes in Google’s Documentation: Google has altered some directives, advising against practices such as blindly adding or removing content and updating content dates without significant revisions.
Decoding the Changes
Adjustments to Machine-Generated Content: Earlier, Google showed a clear preference for human-generated content. The recent update reflects a more neutral stance, harmonizing Google’s view on AI-generated content with its general content creation advice.
Hosting Third-Party Content: The new update tackles the practice of hosting third-party content on primary domains or subdomains. Google now recommends blocking third-party content from indexing if it doesn’t align with the main site’s purpose or lacks oversight.
Updated Self-Assessment Guidance: Google emphasizes the importance of regular content reviews, warns against superficial content updates, and advises against excessive content manipulation to appear recent in search rankings.
Gary Illyes from Google Addresses the Latest Algorithm Changes
Gary Illyes from Google shed light on the nuances of the update, particularly addressing the challenge of micro-sites. These third-party platforms, often operating on subdomains without proper oversight, sometimes skew search results more than they offer genuine value. Illyes highlighted that these platforms, rather than serving users, sometimes just aim to manipulate search outcomes.
Recovery Tips for the Affected
If your website has been adversely impacted by the update, Google provides clear guidance. The primary advice is straightforward: Identify and rectify or replace content that isn’t helpful.
For the Latest on Google Algorithm Updates Check Back Regularly
The September 2023 Helpful Content Update is a testament to Google’s commitment to delivering quality and relevance in its search results. As the digital ecosystem evolves, so does the need for genuine, user-first content. For businesses and SEO professionals, adapting to these changes is crucial to maintain or improve their online visibility.
For an in-depth analysis and to ensure your content is in sync with Google’s latest update, consider partnering with professionals. At Nickel SEO, our team is equipped with the expertise to guide your content strategy in alignment with Google’s ever-evolving guidelines.