Introducing Google’s helpful content system update in September 2023
3 mins read

Introducing Google’s helpful content system update in September 2023


Google has started rolling out an update to its helpful content system. The last update to the Helpful Content system was the December 2022 Helpful Content Update. The update started on September 14th and should take approximately two weeks to be fully available.

What’s new. Google said“The helpful September 2023 content update is rolling out with an improved classifier. Completion will take approximately two weeks. We will update our rankings page with release history once the rollout is complete.”

Google has added new details about helpful content, specifically:

  • Added new guidance on hosting third-party content and further explanation of what to do after a helpful update to the content system (perhaps you don’t need to do anything or rate your content yourself).
  • New items for removing content or changing data have been added to the Help page to learn how to create helpful, authoritative, human-centered content.
  • Google also removed the words “written by humans” and only wrote “useful content created for humans” in search results. I suspect this is meant to say that AI-generated content is fine if it’s helpful. Here is a screenshot of the before and after.
Before After 800x340

In May, Google told us that a helpful content system update would follow this year. Google said this update would allow its helpful content system to “better understand content created from a personal or expert perspective.” “We are also improving the way we rank results in search overall by focusing more on content with unique expertise and experience,” Google also said a few months ago.

Google said this is not today’s update. Google wrote: “This work is ongoing and is not part of this specific update. We will share more about our work in this area in the future.”

What to do if you get hit? Google has provided a list of questions you can ask yourself about your content. Read through the questions we posted here and ask yourself with an open mind whether your content is in sync with this update.

Please note that if you are affected by this update, recovery may take several months if you do everything right and make changes to your content over time.

More about the helpful content update. Google’s helpful content update specifically targets “content that appears to have been created primarily to rank well in search engines, rather than to help or inform people.”

This algorithm update is designed to help searchers find “high-quality content,” according to Google. Google wants to reward better, more useful content written for people and help users.

Searchers become frustrated when they land on unhelpful websites that rank well in searches 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 demote these types of websites while ranking more helpful websites designed for people above the 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 when searched.”

Why it matters to us. If you notice changes in Google Search rankings and visibility over the next two weeks, especially if they’re big changes, you can probably attribute them to this update. Read Google’s advice, make the necessary changes, and hope for recovery in the coming months.

We hope that with this update, you all will see a positive trend in your ranking and visibility in Google Search.