Atlanta, GA | September 25, 2023 – Google unveiled the September 2023 Helpful Content Update last September 14, 2023, set to complete its rollout within two weeks. This update introduces two significant alterations to the website ranking process.
The first change concerns Google’s stance on machine-generated content. Previously, Google had placed a strong emphasis on prioritizing content created by humans within its Helpful Content System. However, this particular guideline has now been removed, signaling a shift in Google’s approach towards AI-generated content. This adjustment aims to align AI content more cohesively with other seemingly contradictory AI-related guidance.
The second change relates to the hosting of third-party content on websites and their subdomains. Traditionally, websites have often incorporated third-party content into their main domain or subdomains. For instance, news media websites frequently host third-party credit card affiliate content on a subdomain. The reasoning behind this practice has been to leverage the main site’s ranking authority to enhance the visibility of subdomain content. However, Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content update has introduced modifications that could potentially impact websites hosting third-party content. Publishers are advised to take these new guidelines seriously, particularly emphasizing the importance of ensuring that the hosted content remains relevant to the main site’s purpose and is subject to adequate supervision during creation.
In response to the Helpful Content Update, Google has also provided additional guidance in three key areas:
- Loosening the previously stringent guidelines on machine-generated content.
- Addressing concerns about hosting third-party content on either the main website or subdomains.
- Offering insights into the steps to take if a website experiences a decline in traffic following a Helpful Content update.
This update is part of Google’s broader Helpful Content System, which is designed to promote high-quality content and reduce the visibility of content deemed unhelpful in search results. It operates in conjunction with other ranking systems employed by Google, with a primary focus on identifying signals indicative of quality and helpfulness in content.
Furthermore, Google has emphasized the importance of identifying and rectifying unhelpful content as a means of recovery should a website be adversely affected by any Helpful Content Update. This proactive approach is recommended to restore a site’s standing in search rankings.
In summary, Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update introduces adjustments to its ranking criteria, particularly in the context of machine-generated content and the hosting of third-party content on websites and subdomains. Website owners and publishers are encouraged to adapt to these changes and follow the newly provided guidance to maintain and improve their search presence.