September 2023 Helpful Content Rollout Complete


Google announced the September 2023 Google Helpful Content Update has finished rolling out, which targeted SEO-first content.


Highlights

  • The September 2023 Helpful Content Update is complete.
  • Sites like Reddit, Quora, Pinterest, Instagram, and forums gained a significant increase in keyword impressions and rankings.
  • Guidelines pertaining to the Helpful Content System have been updated to educate website owners on Google’s expectations for producing people-first content.

Google announced on X (previously Twitter) that the September 2023 Helpful Content Update rollout that began on September 14 was completed on September 28, 2023.

The Helpful Content Update was expected to take two weeks to finish and came in at a final rollout time of 13 days and 11 hours. The update included an improved classifier for the Helpful Content System to promote people-first content in Google Search and demote content written primarily for search engine rankings.

This is the third iteration of the Google Helpful Content Update to improve the automated ranking systems so they ensure people see original, helpful content created for people in Google’s search results. The first update occurred in August 2022 and the second update in December 2022.

The September 2023 Helpful Content Update brought about five significant changes to Google search results and the Helpful Content System’s guidelines:

  1. Sites like Reddit, Quora, Pinterest, Instagram, and forums gained a significant increase in keyword impressions and rankings. Google Search shows a lot more content with personal, firsthand experience, from these types of sites in the top positions of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
  2. The guidance on machine-generated content has been softened. The guidelines removed the words “written by people” and wrote “helpful content created for people in search results.” This could indicate that AI-generated content is fine when it is helpful for users.
  3. Revised rules for hosting third-party content on subdomains or the primary domain. New guidance was added about hosting third-party content and how such content may be included in site-wide signals generated for the site, such as the helpfulness of content.
  4. Added new points about removing content or changing dates as a method to gain search engine rankings rather than focusing on creating people-first content.
  5. Provided additional advice for website owners on steps to take if their site experienced a traffic loss following a Helpful Content Update. Creators are given better guidelines for self-assessment and how to focus on people-first content rather than search engine-first content.

In Summary

Google has completed the September 2023 Google Helpful Content Update which targeted SEO-first content. This is the third iteration of improving the Helpful Content System by adding an improved classifier for promoting people-first content in the SERPs while demoting content created primarily for search engine rankings. Significant ranking changes have occurred in Google Search to surface more content that contains personal, firsthand experience, and the guidelines have been updated for website owners to self-assess their content if they have been impacted by this Helpful Content Update.

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