Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update: What You Need to Know

Google has officially confirmed the completion of its highly anticipated September 2023 Helpful Content Update. This update, which spanned over 14 days from September 14 to September 28, 2023, is set to reshape the search landscape and impact websites across the internet. In this post, we’ll delve into the key details of this update, its objectives, and what webmasters need to be aware of in the wake of these changes.

The Rollout and Confirmation

As of September 28, 2023, Google has successfully completed the rollout of the September 2023 Helpful Content Update. This update, which began on September 14, has been closely watched by the SEO community due to its potential to significantly affect search rankings and website traffic.

What We’ve Observed

While an in-depth analysis of the update’s impact is yet to be conducted, initial observations have revealed unusual stability in search engine rankings during the rollout. This stands in contrast to the usual volatility that accompanies Google updates. Despite this, many within the SEO community have reported noticeable fluctuations in their clients’ and their own website rankings since the update’s commencement.

Stay tuned, as we will be conducting a detailed examination of the update’s impact in the coming days, once we’ve had the opportunity to analyse the data provided by our sources.

Key Highlights of the Update

The September 2023 Helpful Content Update introduces several notable changes to Google’s search algorithm. Some of these changes, as outlined in our previous coverage, include:

  1. Improved Classifier: Google has refined its algorithm to better identify and reward high-quality content that genuinely helps and informs users.
  2. Targeting Third-Party Content: The update aims to address hosted third-party content, although this particular aspect may not be fully implemented in this iteration.
  3. Content Written for People: Google is prioritising content created for human readers rather than content solely designed to rank well in search engines.
  4. Self-Assessment: Webmasters are encouraged to assess their content to ensure it aligns with the update’s objectives.
  5. Expert Review: Google suggests having experts review your content to ensure its quality and relevance.
  6. Content Date Management: Avoid altering content dates without significant updates, as this could negatively impact your site’s rankings.
  7. Caution with Content Changes: Webmasters are advised against making hasty additions or removals of content without careful consideration.

What Google Aims to Achieve

Google’s primary goal with the Helpful Content Update is to elevate the quality of search results by reducing the prominence of “search engine-first content” or “SEO content.” This update seeks to prioritise content that genuinely serves the needs of users, aiming to deliver more authentic and useful search experiences.

Google’s message is clear: searchers should not land on webpages created solely for the purpose of ranking in search engines but should instead find high-quality content that caters to their needs.

What to Do If Your Site Is Affected

If your website has been impacted by the September 2023 Helpful Content Update, Google has provided a set of questions you can use to evaluate your content. It’s crucial to approach this assessment objectively and make necessary adjustments over time. Recovery from such updates may take several months, so patience and persistence are key.

Key Takeaways

The completion of Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update marks a significant milestone in the search landscape. Webmasters and content creators should closely examine their content to ensure it aligns with the update’s objectives of promoting high-quality, user-centric content. Adapting to these changes may require time and effort, but the long-term benefits of providing valuable content to users are well worth the investment.

Stay informed and stay tuned for our upcoming analysis of the update’s real-world impact on search rankings and web traffic.