Google 2023 Core and Helpful Content Updates

Google 2023 Core and Helpful Content Updates

August and September have some new Google updates to recap! 

The 2nd core update of the year for Google started in August and completed rolling out in September. Meanwhile, the September helpful content update is about to be completed.

Core Update

The goal of any core update is to improve the search results and experience for Google’s users. When watching the impact of any core update, key in on what it tells you about Google’s perception of a desirable search outcome. 

We like to talk about Google’s algorithm as a recipe, with a variety of ingredients and processes that produce a desirable result. Core updates are essentially tweaks to that recipe, and could impact the balance of ingredients or make changes to the processes used to evaluate search results.

Like in previous updates, there is a chance your website may have been impacted in a negative or positive way. It is also possible that your site didn’t fluctuate at all. It’s important to check your sites to see what effect a core update has. 

Usually, in evaluating “winners and losers” of core updates, you can see Google’s way of evaluating shifting user preferences. Winners sometimes reflect a pattern of SEO strategy missed by losers. 

For most sites that experience a negative outcome as a result of a core update, we don’t recommend “resetting” your search strategy- rather focusing on pivoting or evolving your approach. Declines with core updates are not penalties for doing wrong so a large scale overhaul of your strategy is often counterproductive. 

Helpful Content Update

The Helpful Content Update touches on AI,  cracking down on 3-party content that is hosted on subdomains or the main area of a website, and other search ranking criteria.

The Helpful Content System is Google’s system for promoting quality content and helping to remove unhelpful content from search results.

Some key points about September’s update are:

  • Google will be shifting away from trying to identify machine generated content.
  • Some pointers are given on hosting 3rd-party content on subdomains or on the main domain.
  • The update provides Information and guidance on how to handle your site losing traffic due to the Helpful Content update.

Google’s attitude used to be more geared towards prioritizing human-created content, however, with this update, that part of the guidance is removed. Google has shifted to a more agnostic view on AI content, so long as it represents helpful content to search users. At Coalition, we remain resistant to wholly depending on AI generated content since it cannot meet Google’s EEAT criteria without a unique data set and human input or oversight. 

Regarding 3rd-party content on subdomains or main websites, with the Helpful Content Update, 3rd-party content may negatively affect websites.

A section that was added to the Helpful Content Update states: 

“If you host third-party content on your main site or in your subdomains, understand that such content may be included in site-wide signals we generate, such as the helpfulness of content. For this reason, if that content is largely independent of the main site’s purpose or produced without close supervision or the involvement of the primary site, we recommend that it should be blocked from being indexed by Google.”

With guidance on handling your site losing traffic due to the update, Google recommends self-assessing your content. 

“Evaluating your own content against these questions can help you gauge if the content you’re making is helpful and reliable. Beyond asking yourself these questions, consider having others you trust but who are unaffiliated with your site provide an honest assessment.”

Keep Up with Google

To ensure your site aligns with Google’s updates – now and in the future – we recommend talking to one of our digital strategists here at Coalition Technologies. We stay on top of updates to ensure your site continues to perform at its highest level.

Related Posts That May Help