Google Unleashes the September 2023 Update to Weed Out Low-Quality Content

Google has started rolling out its September 2023 helpful content system update, which is set to take around two weeks to complete.

This is an important update as it reflects Google’s continued efforts to improve search quality by rewarding websites that prioritize helpful and reliable content

This is the first update to the helpful content system since December 2022, and it includes an improved classifier and new guidance on how to host third-party content.


What’s New with the September 2023 Helpful Content Update?

The aim of the update is to promote high-quality, reliable content that has been created for people, rather than content that has been created with the primary goal of ranking well in search engines.

If you’re producing helpful content, then you don’t need to do anything; in fact, this system may be good for your site, as it is designed to reward helpful content.

However, if you’ve noticed a change in traffic that you suspect may be related to this system, such as after a publicly posted ranking update to the system, then you should self-assess your content and fix or remove any that seems unhelpful.

Google’s advice for creating helpful, reliable people-first content has been updated, with new points added about removing content or changing dates.

Arguably the biggest news in this update is that Google has removed the words “written by people” and instead wrote, “helpful content created for people in search results,” which suggests that AI-generated content is fine when it is helpful.



Implications of the Update

Google’s helpful content update specifically targets “content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people.”

This algorithm update aims to help searchers find high-quality content, and it rewards better and more useful content that was written for humans and to help users.

Searchers get frustrated when they land on unhelpful webpages that rank well in search because they were written for the purpose of ranking in search engines.

This is the type of content you might call “search engine-first content” or “SEO content.”

Google’s helpful content algorithm aims to downgrade those types of websites while promoting more helpful websites, designed for humans, above search engines.

Google said this is an ongoing effort to reduce low-quality content and make it easier to find content that feels authentic and useful in search.

If you notice any ranking and visibility changes in Google search over the next two weeks or so, especially if those were big changes, you can likely attribute it to this update.

If your content is hit, it can take several months to recover if you make changes to your content over time.


What to Do to Ensure Content Ranks Well

In order to ensure that your content ranks well, it is recommended that you review your existing content and make sure that it is helpful and reliable.

Google advises that you ask yourself a series of questions about your content, such as whether it is written or reviewed by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well.

Review Google’s help page about creating helpful, reliable, people-first content to assess the quality of your content.

You should also avoid changing the date of pages to make them seem fresh when the content has not substantially changed.

If you want to achieve maximum success with Search, Google advises that you offer valuable content that is the result of your own hard work and represents your unique brand.

Overall, this update is designed to reward sites that create helpful content that is designed to help users, rather than content that is created solely for the purpose of ranking well in search engines.

It’s important to ensure that your content is helpful, reliable, and designed for people, rather than search engines, in order to rank well in Google search.

So, if you’re looking to improve your site’s visibility and rankings, now is the time to take a closer look at your content strategy and implement Google’s expert advice.


What to Expect in the Future

Google confirms that they’re still working on bringing new and exciting features to the helpful content system, one being the exploration of “perspectives.”

This is with the intention of shining a light on content with unique expertise and experience.

Google stated: “This work is still continuing and is not part of this particular update. We’ll share more about our work in this area in the future.”