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Google’s Content Update: What’s New?

Back in 2022, Google announced the launch of its helpful content update, with the aim of targeting content that ‘seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines, rather than to help or inform people’. Having been applied site-wide, this update sought to weed out the sneaky cheats and tricks employed by many websites using so-called ‘Parasite SEO’ tactics.

More recently, at the end of September 2023, Google rolled out their latest version of the Helpful Content update, which includes a range of new standards and regulations to work to, including the use of Artificial Intelligence.

In this blog, we’ll be breaking down the changes in this latest update and guiding you through these evolving search landscapes. Join us on this journey as we explore the latest SEO developments, how they might impact your online presence and finally, how Peppermint can help you craft an authentic image for your business online. Let’s get to it!

Understanding Google’s Helpful Content Update

Think of the digital environment as a vast terrain, with your website as a vehicle navigating through this landscape. Google, our trusted companion, points users to the most relevant and valuable content online. With the September 2023 update, Google has introduced some significant changes to ensure that the right content is being pointed towards its users.

  1. Embracing AI-Generated Content

Google has long championed content created by humans, for humans. Previously, Google’s emphasis was on content generated by people. However, this latest update signals a shift in perspective. Following the emergence of sophisticated AI tools such as ChatGPT, the guidance on AI-generated content has been revised, placing more importance on content created for people, whether that’s generated by AI, or by humans. This change signifies a more balanced approach to content evaluation, offering new opportunities and possibilities for AI-generated content. As a result, the quality of AI-generated content is likely to play a more substantial role in ranking decisions. To stay competitive, we recommend ensuring that your AI-generated content meets high standards of relevance and user value.

  1. Scrutiny on Third-Party Content

For a long time, we’ve played witness to a long-standing trend of hosting third-party content on websites and subdomains. With this update, websites hosting third-party content without proper oversight or alignment with the site’s purpose may face challenges. Google may now include such content in site-wide signals, like assessments of helpfulness. For content that doesn’t align with your site’s purpose or lacks close supervision during creation, Google recommends blocking it from being indexed. This underscores the importance of maintaining a cohesive and high-quality online presence. Be sure to evaluate the relevance and quality of your third-party content to keep your online presence strong.

  1. Emphasis on Self-Assessment

At the heart of this new update, self-assessment becomes your guiding principle. Google’s Helpful Content System now encourages content creators to assess the quality of their own content. Questions have been added to the Helpful Content Self-Assessment guidance to help you navigate these changes effectively. It’s important to ensure that your content is written or reviewed by experts or enthusiasts who have a strong understanding of the subject matter. It’s worthwhile to consider avoiding altering content dates without substantial updates and being cautious when adding or removing content solely for the purpose of improving search rankings. These practices could potentially lead you off course. Instead, prioritise user-focused, reliable, and people-first content.

  1. Prioritising Quality Content

This Google update reaffirms Google’s commitment to rewarding high-quality, user-centric content. The web is filled with content created primarily for search engine optimisation. Such content often falls short of providing much value to users. Google’s Helpful Content System aims to de-emphasise such content while promoting content created to assist and inform users. After all, if your content isn’t useful, what’s the point?!

  1. Navigating Recovery

If your website has been impacted by this update, there’s no need to worry. Recovery is possible! Google has provided guidance on how to rebound from any difficulties experienced due to the Helpful Content Update. The first step is to identify unhelpful content on your website and make the necessary adjustments. Review your content to ensure it aligns with Google’s latest guidelines. It’s important to keep in mind that recovery may take time, so remain focused on your objectives.

Navigating Success with Peppermint

As we journey through this ever-evolving digital landscape, Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update emphasises the importance of prioritising user value in your content. Whether your content is created by humans or generated by AI, ensure that it is relevant, valuable, and aligned with your site’s purpose. If you’ve hosted third-party content, evaluate its quality and alignment with your site’s purpose. And always stay on course with high-quality, user-focused content. Recovery is possible, so don’t be discouraged if your website encounters challenges. Instead, adapt your strategies and navigate toward success.

Peppermint is here to guide you through these changes with expertise and insight. If you’re seeking assistance in optimising your content or ensuring your SEO practices are in tip-top shape, we’re here to help. Contact us today and let’s navigate together towards online success.

With Peppermint by your side, you’re always headed in the right direction!