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The end of the summer is usually the period when Google "surprises" us with new updates that not so rarely lead to big changes in the ranking. For some, positive for the worse, and for some, catastrophic. September's Helpful Content Update brings us some serious changes in the algorithm that are definitely worth paying attention to. About the Core Update that was released in August you can read here.


September Helpful CoContent Update

Google has announced the September 2023 Helpful Content Update, which contains two important changes to the way sites are ranked.

This update is expected to be completed in two weeks. The new Update appears to take a more "friendly" view of machine-generated content, while warning against 3rd party content hosted on websites or their subdomains.

Google has also added additional guidelines to its own Helpful Content System documentation with new tips on what to do if your site has lost traffic after the Helpful Content Update.

This System is designed to promote the highest quality content possible and reduce the presence of content that is determined to be not that helpful. Google presents it as a System that works together with all other systems that rank websites together. This System is primarily focused on identifying quality signals that correspond to Helpful Content.


What does the September Helpful Content Update bring?

Google has updated its documentation to add guidance in three areas:

Removal of Machine Generated Content Policy.

Hosting third-party content on subdomains (or on the main domain).

Offering additional guidance on what to do if your site loses traffic due to an update.


Google's previous guidelines on machine-generated content emphasized that the useful content system prioritized content created by humans. That part of the guidance has been removed, signaling a shift in Google's stance on AI content to better align with other seemingly contradictory guidelines on this type of content.

The new guideline reads: “Google's Helpful Content System generates a signal that is used by our automated ranking systems to better ensure that people see original, helpful content created for people in search results. "

So, the part that explicitly states to force human-made content is omitted here. The ultimate measure of content quality is its usefulness to users. In translation, this means that if you create AI-powered content that is most helpful in answering queries, that content will be favored and rewarded with search position.


Self-Assessment Guidelines

Changes have also been made to Google's guidelines for self-evaluation of useful content, creating useful, reliable content aimed at people.

Google's automated systems rankings are designed to present useful, reliable information that is primarily created to benefit people, not to rank search engines. The new guidelines bring useful information:

The first change is the inclusion of the word "reviewed" while the rest of the sentence remains the same: "Is this content written or reviewed by an expert or enthusiast with proven knowledge of the subject?"

The next new addition to the guide is about faking page updates "Do you change the date of pages to make them look fresh when the content hasn't changed substantially? "

The last addition also talks about faking content freshness: “Are you adding a lot of new content or removing a lot of older content primarily because you believe it will help your overall search rankings by somehow making your website look “fresh?” (No, it won't)”


Recovering from the Helpful Content Update

Google has added new guidelines on how to recover if a site has been affected by the Helpful Content Update. A new paragraph added to the documentation recommends identifying unhelpful content and removing or replacing it.

Google's new guidance reads:

"If you've noticed a change in traffic that you suspect is related to this system (for example, after a publicly released ranking system update ), you should self-assess your content and fix or remove anything that seems unhelpful."

Our help page on how to create useful, reliable human content has questions you can use to assess for yourself whether your content can successfully meet the requirements of the Helpful Content System."


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Source: Searchenginejournal

Made by Nebojsa Radovanovic - SEO Expert @Digitizer

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