Why Most Websites Failed the September 2023 Google Helpful Content Update (And How You Can Succeed!) 

In September 2023, Google rolled out a significant update to its Helpful Content algorithm to enhance how it organizes and ranks information. Unlike previous updates, this one has global implications, affecting search queries in all languages. Google has long advised that regular content updates can positively impact a website’s visibility in Google Search and Google Discover.

Additionally, Google has issued new guidelines for websites that curate content from other sources. These guidelines apply whether the content resides on the main website or a separate subdomain. According to these new rules, the refined algorithm will evaluate the utility of the content, and this assessment will influence the site’s overall ranking.

If websites experience a drop in organic traffic following this update, Google recommends focusing on improving the content to enhance its usefulness to users. The tech giant has clarified that it has no objections to AI-generated content, provided it offers value to the user. The revised documentation for the September 2023 Google Helpful Content Update has shifted its emphasis from ranking content authored by humans to ranking content that serves the user’s needs. 

This change implies that the algorithm does not discriminate against AI-generated content. However, Google emphasizes that for optimal ranking, content should be created or verified by experts in the field.

Lastly, Google warns against the manipulative practice of updating the publication date on content without improving it or adding new, relevant information. This tactic, once a common SEO strategy, is now subject to penalties from Google.

However, the update has not been universally well-received. Many SEO professionals and website owners have taken to social media to express their frustrations with the rise of poorly written, AI-generated content in top search results.

While some have called for Google to roll back the update, Google Search Advocate John Mueller has stated unequivocally that there’s no chance of that happening. However, he did indicate that future updates to the Helpful Content System are in the works, which may address current concerns.

In summary, September 2023 Google Helpful Content Update (HCU) could be “aggressive.” Google’s primary objective is to ensure that top search results are helpful and high-quality. They are continually refining their algorithms to achieve this aim. Nevertheless, many website owners who believed they were producing quality content have been disheartened to see their rankings decline following the update.

The online conversation about the September 2023 HCU has been robust, with some website owners growing increasingly concerned about falling rankings. There are also complaints about low-quality, AI-generated content dominating top positions in search results. Despite the backlash, Google remains steadfast in its position, reiterating that the HCU is designed to elevate content that is useful, reliable, and aligned with user needs.

If you believe your website has been negatively impacted by Google’s Helpful Content Update, it’s crucial to hire an experienced SEO services company for effective damage control.

Insights From Google September 2023 Helpful Content Update

Recent findings indicate that certain websites have experienced a decline in visitor numbers, with some witnessing traffic decreases ranging from 10% to 70%. Consequently, these sites have been forced to reduce their workforce. Our analysis of 100 websites, including current and former clients, yielded key insights.

Helpful Content Update

Relation Between User Experience and Content Helpfulness

We discovered that even websites offering valuable content suffered ranking drops following the introduction of the Helpful Content Update (HCU). A recurring issue on these sites was the presence of excessive or irrelevant material. 

Users reported being frustrated by autoplay videos and intrusive ads, which hampered their experience. Regardless of the quality of the information, an overwhelming number of distracting elements rendered the content less valuable to the user.

Quality and Authenticity of Content

Google has revised its guidelines on what constitutes “helpful content,” removing the stipulation that humans must create it. While this suggests Google may be open to AI-generated content, it doesn’t guarantee that such content will automatically achieve high rankings.

Human interaction and expertise remain crucial. For instance, if a medical professional uses AI to generate a blog post, it should incorporate their own expertise and insights. Doing so enriches the content and addresses user queries uniquely and credibly.

Facts vs. Claims

Websites specializing in sensitive fields like health, finance, and law must distinguish clearly between verified facts and unsubstantiated claims. For instance, health-related assertions should be backed by scientific evidence and research. This underscores the importance of having knowledgeable and expert writers for content, especially when dealing with topics that require a high degree of trust and expertise.

Multiple Niche Issue

September 2023 Google Helpful Content Update (HCU) employs sophisticated tools to assess a website’s quality, linking sites to specific subjects within Google’s knowledge graph. This poses a challenge for multi-niche websites. They must ensure high-quality content across a range of topics. 

If the algorithm detects subpar content in any particular niche, it could adversely affect the site’s overall reputation. Hence, websites should identify and focus on those areas where they excel.

Google’s Mission for Search

Google is tirelessly committed to enhancing its search engine. This is hardly surprising, considering that much of the company’s revenue depends on user satisfaction with the natural search results it delivers.

Revenue by Sector

Sector2020 Q1 Revenue ($)2021 Q1 Revenue ($)YoY Growth(%)2021 Q1 Revenue Share (%)
Cloud2.774.0546.27.32
Network5.226.830.2612.29
Other4.436.4946.511.73
Search&Other24.531.8830.1157.64
Hedging Gains/Losses0.05-0.11-120-0.2
Other Bets0.130.253.850.36
YouTube Ads4.036.0149.1310.87
Revenue (Total)41.1555.3134.41100

Figures: businessquant.com (All numbers are in billions, except for the percentages)

Imagine the repercussions if users find Google’s search results unhelpful. They might abandon Google altogether, resulting in fewer clicks on ads and diminished advertising revenue. Moreover, other companies like Amazon, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and recently TikTok are eager to lure users away to their own search platforms.

Currently, Google dominates the search market, capturing 91.46% of it. Bing, its closest competitor, lags far behind. To maintain its leadership, Google must continue to innovate.

The Helpful Content Updates are part of Google’s ongoing effort to prioritize user needs in the search experience. Website owners should understand that Google’s primary objective is delivering the best search results for users, not ranking websites per se.

Many website owners question why Google seems to favor their competitors. It’s important to realize that Google’s overarching mission is to organize global information and make it universally accessible. Put simply, Google’s algorithms are politically neutral and focus solely on satisfying user queries.

From a user perspective, the Helpful Content Updates aim to improve the search experience by highlighting top-quality content. However, websites that have relied on manipulative SEO tactics will find that their shortcuts to success are now ineffective. The key takeaway is that unless your website offers genuine, expert-backed information that meets user needs, you’re unlikely to benefit from Google Helpful Content Updates.

Additionally, the main objective of your website and its content should be closely aligned. For instance, an insurance-focused website is unlikely to rank high for an article on heart diseases unless the article explicitly addresses heart conditions covered by the insurance plans offered.

Finally, consider why Google should prioritize your content over similar articles that were published months ago. If you have a compelling answer to this question, the Helpful Content Updates are unlikely to affect you adversely.

Also Read: How to Run a Successful SEO Campaign in 2023? 

What Does Helpful Content Update Mean?

How do users feel when they exit your website? Are they satisfied or disappointed, or do they feel the need to continue searching elsewhere? Google gauges the quality of a page’s content by the user’s reaction. If users find what they want and remain on the site, Google perceives the content as relevant and valuable. Conversely, if users quickly navigate away and continue their search, this signals Google that the content didn’t meet their needs.

Websites churning out abundant but irrelevant pages can expect a decrease in traffic from Google, particularly in the wake of Google’s Helpful Content Update. Google categorizes such sites as low quality because they fail to assist the user effectively.

However, Google clarifies that helpfulness is not the sole criterion for ranking a website. Pages that excel in other aspects can still secure higher positions in Google’s search results. Google has long advised webmasters to create content that caters to the needs of human users rather than focusing solely on algorithmic optimization.

Furthermore, the qualifications of content creators will carry greater weight. For example, if someone writes about technical SEO but has never worked in the field or published similar articles, they are unlikely to see their content rank well in Google’s search results.

Recipe Websites Affected

Websites about recipes and lifestyle were strongly impacted by this update. We have simplified our observations.

  • Bloggers who made health claims in recipes without proper evidence saw a decrease in popularity
  • Sites that have too much unnecessary content, particularly long background sections, also experienced a decrease in their rankings
  • Some people permitted advertising companies to control their “Jump” buttons, so the button that was supposed to take them directly to the recipe instead took them to an advertisement
  • Google made changes to the search results. They now prioritize the feature, “People Also Ask” for gluten-free and dietary specific queries. After that, they show corporate websites and then niche sites related to gluten

We have been examining other sites that have been affected too. This is a summary of what we think about the websites we have visited.

  • Homepages that only have articles and links to other websites, but they don’t provide information about the brand
  • Websites created only to earn money
  • Trying to appear high in search results for many topics without providing useful or detailed information
  • Bad user experience
  • Writing reviews of products by gathering information from comments and opinions shared on the internet

Why Are Websites Experiencing Decline in Traffic?

The helpful content system is an AI system that can label your website as not useful. The system creates a signal that Google uses to decide how to rank websites.  This grouping applies to the entire website. We see it as your website having a signal that tells Google that your content is generally not the most useful for people searching for information.

If you notice that your website is getting much less traffic from Google since September 14 (and it’s still ongoing), it probably means that the new system that assesses the usefulness of content has categorized your site as not being very helpful or valuable to people.

Also Read: Top SEO Trends of 2023 to Follow for Higher Rankings 

Effects of September 2023 Update May be Related to Experience

In December 2022, Google made changes to its guidelines for website evaluators. They placed more importance on experience and said “E-A-T gets an extra E for Experience”. This update rewarded websites that showed real-life experience.

The rater guidelines help the people who rate Google’s algorithms understand what Google wants to reward. In the latest update, they included a new sentence in section 2.2 called “Understanding the Purpose of a Webpage”, which is “To share a personal experience, perspective, or feelings on a topic.”

If you were impacted by this update, it is probably because Google’s system that determines if content is useful to users has now learned from actual examples in the real world.

How Does Google Decide if a Website is Helpful?

This helpful content system learns from websites. It studies examples of content that are considered useful or not useful to understand what kind of content people find helpful when they search for information. Google’s quality raters give examples.

If you want to know more about this, you can read articles that explain how Google’s Helpful Content and other AI systems could be affecting how easily people can see your stuff. But, we don’t need to understand the complex math and processes behind how Google makes this model.

We already know what it is designed to give as a reward. If we answer Google’s content questions well, we have a better chance of being seen as helpful by their algorithms and systems. We have to think from the point of view of Google to create the best content.

Does This Mean SEO Is No Longer Effective?

While it’s true that SEO tactics from the early 2000s became largely obsolete by the early 2010s, it’s essential to recognize how much SEO has evolved since then. By 2023, the SEO landscape has transformed so dramatically that it’s nearly unrecognizable to those who practiced SEO in its early days.

The critical point here is that the Helpful Content Update does not spell the end for SEO; instead, it makes SEO even more crucial. Google’s recent update explicitly states that for optimal results, websites should produce high-quality content and adhere to best SEO practices. In other words, a website that attracts visitors through effective search engine optimization and offers valuable, helpful content is well-positioned to improve its rankings.

How to Prevent the Negative Effects of Helpful Content Update?

The Helpful Content Update may affect your website’s overall ranking, but it’s not as devastating as receiving a manual penalty. There are steps you can take to recover your website’s standing. Here’s a guide to navigating the update’s impact:

  1. Avoid Using AI-Generated Content

Many websites rely on AI tools to automatically produce content, but this approach often falls short in offering value. Much of this AI-generated material is merely rephrased versions of existing online content. If you have published such content, it’s advisable to revisit and rigorously edit it to ensure it makes sense and offers genuine value.

AI-generated content should provide something more than what is readily available online. A number of websites leverage AI to generate content, but the output often lacks value, offering only minor variations of existing material.

Additionally, AI-generated content, particularly on popular topics, is susceptible to duplication since the exact text could appear across multiple sites. We recommend eliminating auto-generated content and creating new, insightful articles that your readers will find helpful. Aim to differentiate your content from what’s already available online.

However, using AI tools to enhance your content is acceptable. When applied judiciously, AI can sometimes articulate your ideas more effectively. Furthermore, such content remains unique, unlike automatically generated articles that can be found verbatim on other sites.

Google recently modified its guidelines on its Search Central Blog. The phrase “written by people, for people” has been updated to “helpful content created for people in search results.” This adjustment indicates that Google is now more receptive to the responsible use of AI tools for content creation.

According to recent AI content guidatchnce from Google, if you are using AI tools for specific, value-adding reasons, the Helpful Content Update is more likely to benefit you than to pose challenges. Google has clarified that its algorithms don’t inherently discriminate against AI-generated content as long as it meets its overarching criteria of providing helpful content to users.

  1. Write for Your Target Audience

Google advises websites to specialize rather than attempt to be a jack-of-all-trades. Sites that cover a broad range of topics—such as technology, health, CBD, and finance—are usually designed to attract traffic through various means. Often, such websites aim to monetize through guest posts, a practice that Google does not endorse.

The new update seeks to deprioritize these types of websites in search results. While news websites that offer credible and accurate information will likely remain unaffected, sites that aggregate or duplicate information from other sources could struggle to maintain top positions in Google’s rankings. As such, it’s advisable to steer clear of writing on topics solely for the purpose of drawing search engine traffic.

If you possess in-depth knowledge about a particular subject and feel the current online information is inadequate, that’s a perfect reason to publish your own content. Conversely, writing solely to capture high search rankings without adding value to readers is counterproductive. Google frowns upon this, asking, “Is the content mainly designed to appeal to search engines rather than to serve the needs of human readers?”

When your writing addresses people’s concerns, questions, and uncertainties, visitors leave your site feeling satisfied with their decision to click on your link. Conversely, some websites aim solely to lure traffic without offering value. These sites often duplicate existing content or use misleading titles and descriptions. 

The result? Visitors to such sites often leave frustrated, feeling compelled to continue their search elsewhere. Google aims to prevent this kind of user experience. In the context of the Helpful Content Update, a website’s ability to satisfy its visitors will play a significant role in its search engine ranking.

  1. Unique Content Weighs More Than Word Count

Contrary to popular belief, Google isn’t particularly interested in lengthy articles; the content’s quality and relevance matter most. While you may encounter websites with extensive articles ranking higher, they often provide valuable, easy-to-navigate information, not merely because they have more words.

Unique Content Weighs

Some websites inflate their articles with unrelated content to reach a word count of 1,000 or 2,000, aiming for a perceived SEO advantage. However, only a handful are erroneously ranking higher than they should. The Helpful Content Update is likely to downgrade such sites in rankings.

E-commerce platforms, too, are padding their product and category pages with lengthy, general information to elevate their search rankings. Some even add 3,000 to 4,000 words on category pages based on AI tool suggestions. However, this strategy is expected to lose its efficacy following the Helpful Content Update.

Going forward, these websites should focus on including only the essential information to help potential customers make purchasing decisions. For example, a page featuring men’s jeans doesn’t need an extended discourse on the history of denim or styling tips. Instead, details about the brand and the variety of options available will be far more useful and relevant to the consumer.

  1. Pay Attention to E.E.A.T

It was a common belief that only YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) websites needed to emphasize Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E.E.A.T). However, with the Helpful Content Update, Google is likely extending the importance of E.E.A.T to all kinds of content. According to Google, only those who truly understand their subject matter will be able to deliver content that users find valuable.

Pay Attention to E.E.A.T

For website owners, your brand should have a strong online presence showcasing your expertise in a particular field. Google increasingly utilizes entity recognition technology to identify and comprehend a brand’s authority and expertise in specific areas.

If you’re a blogger, writer, or publisher, it’s essential to highlight your expertise in your chosen subject. One straightforward way to do this is to include a concise bio outlining your qualifications and field experience. This can aid Google in assessing whether you possess the requisite knowledge to offer valuable content. This isn’t a new concept; Google has evaluated author expertise since at least 2013.

  1. Google Plans to Stop Promoting Speculative Content

Websites that traffic in speculative or unverified information may find themselves losing both visitors and search rankings after the Helpful Content Update. Google cites examples of this kind of content as websites predicting release dates for products, movies, and TV shows without confirmed sources.

In our research, we’ve encountered numerous tech websites speculating on the release dates of iPhones and software updates, among other things. This is also prevalent on websites speculating about the release dates of movies, TV shows, and even details about actors’ personal lives.

Publishing content that purports to answer unanswerable questions can mislead users and send them down the wrong path. Google’s Helpful Content Update aims to take stringent measures against websites that disseminate such misleading content.

What Does Real World Experience Mean?

Here are a few examples of websites that Google has started to promote more after they made helpful content updates.

Offline Customers

Make sure that your rankings are reflecting actual businesses in the real world. If this happens, it will be difficult to compete with.

Topic Expert

The Quality Rater Guidelines provides many examples of pages that are considered high quality because the website is well-known and trusted for its topic. For instance, The Knot is a well-liked website for weddings. The Onion is famous for its funny content. We have noticed a few specialized recipe websites that were affected by a situation even though they had good content and recipes.

However, these websites were not famous for anything specific about their recipes. If you have a delicious lamb recipe, but there isn’t proof that people regularly look for your recipes, especially the ones with lamb, then Google will probably display other websites to people searching for lamb recipes. We think some of you who were affected can get better by learning how to create really great content that makes you famous for your subject.

Product or Service Experience

If you know a lot about a subject, I think you could try to show Google that you have real-life experience by including more content that comes from users. This could be in the shape of useful remarks and conversation or maybe a properly managed group where people can share their thoughts and ideas.

Your objective is to initiate genuine discussions about the subjects you are interested in.

So far, we have noticed that websites like Reddit and Quora, which people use to talk to each other publicly, are becoming more popular and getting more visitors. Some people say these conversations are not trustworthy, but they are just people talking about their own experiences.

Service Experience

The updated QRG version gives us a lot more information. The most important thing is that for certain subjects, trust is mostly based on personal experience. When it comes to experience, the guidelines suggest that we should think about whether the content creator has firsthand or real-life experience about the topic. There are many types of pages that are trustworthy and do a good job when they are created by people who have a lot of personal experience.

Product Experience

How to Find Unhelpful Content?

Sometimes, it can be hard to make decisions because Google doesn’t give us clear reasons why we don’t match their helpfulness standards. There are many books that help you learn how to think like a quality rater. They teach you how to understand what people are looking for and give them useful information.

The most obvious type of unhelpful content that we have observed when analyzing websites affected by previous updates is content that just repeats what others are saying. The first question is about whether the content gives new and unique information, news, research, or analysis.

Being original with words alone is not sufficient. Google does not have to display many versions of the same information to the user. This is very important because we are seeing more searches done with Bard or SGE. In our opinion, as Google becomes more focused on being an AI answer provider, people will still look for certain websites like:

  • Websites that provide really useful and valuable information about your topic
  • Websites with really useful information that you would like to explore beyond just finding basic answers. This is the kind of website that you would save as a favorite or share with a friend. It meets the criteria for being informative and useful
  • Content that provides useful information and is relevant to what the searcher is already seeing. This usually comes from personal experience

We don’t know much about how to bounce back from suppressed helpful content. Google’s instructions say to get rid of content that doesn’t help, but they don’t explain exactly what that means. Probably, simply deleting information is not sufficient. You have to be really useful for Google to always select your website to help people who are searching.

The model keeps changing as it learns what is and isn’t likely to be useful. We have seen some cases where content improved and things got better, but it’s hard to know if the improvement was due to their efforts or just a natural change in the situation.

For instance, there was a website we previously worked with that was making remarkable progress. However, they still haven’t taken any action based on our suggestions. They are people who actually do things, with real stories, customers, and knowledge from personal experiences.

We don’t think anyone knows exactly what it takes to get better after being affected negatively by the helpful content system. We think that a lot of websites that were affected will not be able to get better. However, we believe this will serve as a wake-up call that brings about an exciting new era for certain bloggers.

200+ Websites Impacted By September 2023 Content Update

The SISTRIX data on websites that lost rankings in the September Google Helpful Content update indicates a common trend among sites with thin, outdated, or irrelevant content. According to the analysis, websites that lacked depth in their subject matter or did not provide comprehensive and valuable information to users were most impacted. This underscores the importance of creating high-quality, relevant content in alignment with Google’s evolving algorithms.

A list of 200+ domains that were impacted by the update.

acrobatusers.com0.440.10-0.34-76.33%
bikelockwiki.com0.290.07-0.21-74.31%
killerguitarrigs.com0.880.23-0.65-73.83%
talkaboutpopmusic.com0.440.10-0.35-78.08%
stylesatlife.com2.800.74-2.06-73.71%
writingtips.org0.940.21-0.73-77.81%
howtofix.guide0.220.05-0.17-77.85%
color​​ingpagesonly.com0.260.06-0.20-75.82%
getjerry.com0.630.17-0.46-73.49%
luxatic.com0.650.16-0.49-75.64%
ghgossip.com0.410.09-0.32-78.33%
cartoonvibe.com0.320.07-0.24-77.25%
scrolldroll.com0.350.09-0.26-75.75%
invajy.com1.080.25-0.83-76.82%
ccarprice.com0.410.10-0.31-76.31%
routinelynomadic.com0.310.08-0.23-73.73%
acrobatusers.com0.440.10-0.34-76.33%
bikelockwiki.com0.290.07-0.21-74.31%
killerguitarrigs.com0.880.23-0.65-73.83%
talkaboutpopmusic.com0.440.10-0.35-78.08%
stylesatlife.com2.800.74-2.06-73.71%
writingtips.org0.940.21-0.73-77.81%
howtofix.guide0.220.05-0.17-77.85%
color​​ingpagesonly.com0.260.06-0.20-75.82%
getjerry.com0.630.17-0.46-73.49%
luxatic.com0.650.16-0.49-75.64%
ghgossip.com0.410.09-0.32-78.33%
cartoonvibe.com0.320.07-0.24-77.25%
scrolldroll.com0.350.09-0.26-75.75%
invajy.com1.080.25-0.83-76.82%
ccarprice.com0.410.10-0.31-76.31%
routinelynomadic.com0.310.08-0.23-73.73%
acrobatusers.com0.440.10-0.34-76.33%
bikelockwiki.com0.290.07-0.21-74.31%
killerguitarrigs.com0.880.23-0.65-73.83%
talkaboutpopmusic.com0.440.10-0.35-78.08%
stylesatlife.com2.800.74-2.06-73.71%
writingtips.org0.940.21-0.73-77.81%
howtofix.guide0.220.05-0.17-77.85%
color​​ingpagesonly.com0.260.06-0.20-75.82%
getjerry.com0.630.17-0.46-73.49%
luxatic.com0.650.16-0.49-75.64%
ghgossip.com0.410.09-0.32-78.33%
cartoonvibe.com0.320.07-0.24-77.25%
scrolldroll.com0.350.09-0.26-75.75%
invajy.com1.080.25-0.83-76.82%
ccarprice.com0.410.10-0.31-76.31%
routinelynomadic.com0.310.08-0.23-73.73%
acrobatusers.com0.440.10-0.34-76.33%
bikelockwiki.com0.290.07-0.21-74.31%
killerguitarrigs.com0.880.23-0.65-73.83%
talkaboutpopmusic.com0.440.10-0.35-78.08%
stylesatlife.com2.800.74-2.06-73.71%
writingtips.org0.940.21-0.73-77.81%
howtofix.guide0.220.05-0.17-77.85%
color​​ingpagesonly.com0.260.06-0.20-75.82%
getjerry.com0.630.17-0.46-73.49%
luxatic.com0.650.16-0.49-75.64%
ghgossip.com0.410.09-0.32-78.33%
cartoonvibe.com0.320.07-0.24-77.25%
scrolldroll.com0.350.09-0.26-75.75%
invajy.com1.080.25-0.83-76.82%
ccarprice.com0.410.10-0.31-76.31%
routinelynomadic.com0.310.08-0.23-73.73%
acrobatusers.com0.440.10-0.34-76.33%
bikelockwiki.com0.290.07-0.21-74.31%
killerguitarrigs.com0.880.23-0.65-73.83%
talkaboutpopmusic.com0.440.10-0.35-78.08%
stylesatlife.com2.800.74-2.06-73.71%
writingtips.org0.940.21-0.73-77.81%
howtofix.guide0.220.05-0.17-77.85%
color​​ingpagesonly.com0.260.06-0.20-75.82%
getjerry.com0.630.17-0.46-73.49%
luxatic.com0.650.16-0.49-75.64%
ghgossip.com0.410.09-0.32-78.33%
cartoonvibe.com0.320.07-0.24-77.25%
scrolldroll.com0.350.09-0.26-75.75%
invajy.com1.080.25-0.83-76.82%
ccarprice.com0.410.10-0.31-76.31%
routinelynomadic.com0.310.08-0.23-73.73%
acrobatusers.com0.440.10-0.34-76.33%
bikelockwiki.com0.290.07-0.21-74.31%
killerguitarrigs.com0.880.23-0.65-73.83%
talkaboutpopmusic.com0.440.10-0.35-78.08%
stylesatlife.com2.800.74-2.06-73.71%
writingtips.org0.940.21-0.73-77.81%
howtofix.guide0.220.05-0.17-77.85%
color​​ingpagesonly.com0.260.06-0.20-75.82%
getjerry.com0.630.17-0.46-73.49%
luxatic.com0.650.16-0.49-75.64%
ghgossip.com0.410.09-0.32-78.33%
cartoonvibe.com0.320.07-0.24-77.25%
scrolldroll.com0.350.09-0.26-75.75%
invajy.com1.080.25-0.83-76.82%
ccarprice.com0.410.10-0.31-76.31%
routinelynomadic.com0.310.08-0.23-73.73%
acrobatusers.com0.440.10-0.34-76.33%
bikelockwiki.com0.290.07-0.21-74.31%
hackerztrickz.com0.360.12-0.24-67.09`
review42.com0.290.09-0.20-69.84`
graphicmama.com0.250.07-0.18-72.77`
textranch.com4.561.29-3.28-71.79`
unscramble.org1.660.51-1.15-69.16`
pxfuel.com2.820.78-2.04-72.36`
wealthofgeeks.com0.950.27-0.68-71.90`
fishingtackle2u.co.uk0.310.10-0.22-69.40`
musicaroo.com0.380.11-0.26-69.72`
theyoganomads.com0.660.19-0.47-71.90`
you-well.co.uk0.410.13-0.28-69.01`
chipsaway.co.uk1.780.60-1.17-66.11`
britishracecourses.org0.410.12-0.29-70.75`
hookedtobooks.com0.370.11-0.26-69.47`
fileour.com0.340.11-0.23-68.39`
connectloaded.com0.210.06-0.15-69.76`
bollytube.online0.230.07-0.16-68.31`
wonder-day.com0.230.07-0.16-69.10`
techshout.com0.220.07-0.15-69.32`
mrdustbin.com0.360.11-0.25-70.69`
mobgsm.com0.720.21-0.52-71.53`
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Recent Talks About Helpful Content Update

Removing Unhelpful Content

Marie Haynes recently questioned Danny Sullivan from Google on how website owners can address being flagged for “unhelpful content.” Specifically, she inquired whether webmasters should edit portions of web pages, delete entire pages, or eliminate outdated content that no longer serves a purpose.

Removing Unhelpful Content

In response, Danny advised website owners to meticulously scrutinize their content to determine its value to their audience. For those uncertain about the utility of their content, we recommend a three-step process:

Do Self-assessment

Firstly, review your content to decide if it genuinely serves a useful or valuable purpose for your audience. If you believe it does, then retain it. Otherwise, consider revising or removing it.

Review by a Third Party

It’s often challenging to objectively evaluate your own work. In such cases, soliciting feedback from a knowledgeable third party is beneficial. They might offer alternative perspectives and insights that you hadn’t considered.

Update Content Instead of Deleting

If you have content that isn’t entirely up to the mark but is salvageable, consider improving it rather than discarding it. The appropriateness of this approach will depend on factors like the nature of your website, the kind of content you produce, and its current quality.

Hope for Bloggers

If you have practical experience in your field, we suggest you think of unique ways to show it to others. Set a goal to become known for your subject, but not because of advertising. Instead, do it because you have a strong interest in it and share valuable things that others appreciate.

We think we are going towards a time when Google will become an AI that can answer questions. We are currently present here. This weekend, we went into our garden and used Google Lens and Bard to ask questions like, “Why are there holes on my grape leaves?” or “How should we trim this plant?”

Bard helped us find answers to many of our questions. Lens directed us to several sites, including blogs, authoritative sources, and forums like Reddit, where real people were discussing their problems. This helped us find answers to my questions.

As more people use AI, they will still prefer websites that can teach them something new. If you can make that happen, there is probably a chance for you to get better. People come to your website to learn from your personal experiences, not to be taught what is already known from textbooks or common knowledge.

We think not many people know how to make this kind of content because it’s something new to us. As people who sell things, we often try to copy big companies, or do the same things as other people who sell things. This makes it difficult to be seen as original.

Can We Recover from this Decline?

We think some of you can get better. We think that a lot of websites that lost popularity won’t regain their lost users. The classification will stay on your webpage for a couple of months. According to Google’s documentation, the “classifier is always working, so it can keep an eye on websites that have recently started and ones that already exist”.

When they see that the unhelpful content has not come back for a long time, they will no longer consider it as unhelpful. The instructions say that we should evaluate our content based on their suggestions. They used to only talk about getting rid of content that doesn’t help.

But, we were happy to see that the new version of this document says, “you should evaluate your content and fix or delete anything that doesn’t seem helpful”. So, you might be able to retrieve your rankings by improving the unhelpful content in your website.

Takeaways From September Helpful Content Update

Update Unlikely to be Rolled Back

John Mueller from Google has confirmed this. These changes will probably stay. Some websites may move up and down in the search results as Google’s system learns what information is useful and what isn’t. But, if you were deeply affected, you will probably have to make big changes to recover.

If you don’t have any real-life experience, it will be really hard. As we said before, we believe that Google will start favoring different kinds of websites in the future. If you want to try something new, here’s what we suggest you do now:

Be a Topic Expert

The guidelines say a lot about being known for the things you talk about. Google wants to suggest things from people who are famous in a niche. Using marketing is fine, but Google’s systems prefer to recognize and support people who are recognized for being enthusiastic and helpful in what they do.

Create Useful Content

This is listed in the helpful content criteria for a reason. Your content should be so good that the users who benefit from it should return for more content and also share it with their friends.

Create a Forum

A successful online platform with knowledgeable and passionate individuals discussing your subject can generate valuable content that others will benefit from. However, a forum that exists solely for the purpose of user-generated content is not beneficial.

Integrate with YouTube

We think we will start to see more of YouTube shorts being combined with Google’s search results. They will also be mixed in with SGE or Bard answers because they are a good way to show off skills or expertise.

To Conclude

The September 2023 Google Helpful Content Update has negatively impacted a wide array of websites, particularly those requiring real-world expertise and reliable data. If your site has been affected, it means Google’s algorithms have likely classified your content as not being the most helpful for users.

You can reverse this classification by enhancing the quality of your content and addressing its shortcomings. This will likely involve eliminating unhelpful elements and substantially improving the remaining content. After a few months, you may notice the negative classification being lifted.

This situation is disappointing for many who have made a living from blogging. However, we believe you can still succeed even when circumstances appear bleak. If you genuinely cater to your audience’s needs and demonstrate a passion for your subject matter, you stand a good chance of success.

FAQs

Why is traffic declining for some sites?

Google’s Helpful Content System is an AI-driven mechanism that can categorize your website as ‘unhelpful.’ This system informs Google’s ranking decisions. A significant drop in your Google traffic around the time of this update likely means that your website has been labeled as offering little to no value to users.

How does Google determine helpful content?

Google utilizes a machine-learning framework to identify what constitutes helpful content. This system is trained on examples categorized as either ‘helpful’ or ‘unhelpful,’ which are provided by Google’s quality raters.

While the specific algorithms and complexities behind this model are not publicly disclosed, we do know its intended purpose: to reward content that aligns with Google’s criteria for being helpful. The more closely our content adheres to these guidelines, the more likely it is to be favorably ranked within Google’s intricate algorithms and systems.

Is it possible to recover from this decline?

Many websites that have seen a decline might not recover quickly. The ‘unhelpful’ classification can linger for a few months. Google’s official documentation advises website owners to self-assess their content and remove unhelpful elements. By doing so, you may eventually recover your rankings.

How do I get back my rankings?

To reclaim your lost rankings, create high-quality, unique content for your target audience. Avoid using AI-generated content, focus on a specific niche, and adhere to the E.E.A.T guidelines. Additionally, be aware that Google is not promoting speculative content, such as predicted release dates for movies or new phone models.

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