The Impact of Google’s Helpful Content System Update 2023

The Impact of Google’s Helpful Content System Update 2023

Google ‘s latest update, Helpful Content, is getting a lot of attention. Whether among SEOs or marketers, everyone wonders how it affects website rankings.

Some lost positions, others gained. But what has really changed in the search results? This is what we will see together in this article.

The impact of the Helpful Content update on SERPs


  • The impact of the Helpful Content update on SERPs
  • What do these graphs suggest?
  • How could sites affected by this update proceed?
  • In summary

Launched on September 14, 2023, the Helpful Content update was completed on September 28, 2023. Today, several days after deployment, we want to look at the influence exerted by this recent adaptation of the Google algorithm.

Indeed, this update had a profound effect on the SEO landscape. Even though some tools reflect less turbulence with this update, it is still a substantial change.

Google has finalized the September 2023 Helpful Content update going live after a two-week rollout period.

Despite the mixed reception given to the previous two Helpful Content updates, this latest deployment sparked a distinct reaction.

This might be seen as an unusual update, as we’ve seen reduced volatility from many of Google’s tracking tools.

At the same time, the SEO industry was buzzing with reports of ranking changes, whether for clients or other sites during this phase.

This update had a predominant influence on the SEO industry and probably impacted search engine optimized sites more than sites that are not limited to visibility in the SERPs.

However, it is essential to point out that this does not mean that there were no consequences on other sites and it is obvious that reliable sites also experienced a drop in traffic linked to the Helpful Content update.

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According to Barry Schwartz,

“But from what I see, it seems that this update had more of an impact on SEOs than on the average website owner.”

September 2023 Useful Content Update Data Providers

It should be noted that most data contributors did not identify as much disruption with this change as with standard Google algorithm updates.

This made it difficult to obtain detailed information from a large number of data providers.


The SEMrush sensor started reflecting reduced volatility when the update launched. Here’s how it evolved over the days:

SEMrush also shared a graph of volatility spikes according to several categories.

 “Comparing the volatility spikes to the recent core content update, the numbers for UHC are much less severe. The overall average did not peak at 6 on the SEMrush Sensor scale and only 3 verticals experienced a volatility peak above 7”.

When referring to Moldy Overstain from SEMrush,

“Compared to the December 2022 update, this one has been significantly influential, although not up to par with the recent core update.”

This is doubtfully true and we can see the impact of this update in this graph:


Barry Schwartz Engine Land obtained from secularity a list of the biggest gainers and losers in this update.

Here are the charts showing the secularity winners:

As for the losing sites, we have:

Apart from seo Clarity, other companies have also shared their volatility charts following the Helpful Content update.

What do these graphs suggest?

There is no doubt that this update was mainly aimed at content that prioritized search engine optimization.

Let us remember, however, that this does not mean that there were no unintended consequences. Quality and beneficial sites have indeed seen their traffic decrease following the update.

Given his intention, it makes sense. The update was initially designed to target content primarily produced to rank high in search engines.

This algorithm adjustment aims to help search engine users find high-quality content.

Google seeks to appreciate and reward better quality, more user-friendly content, written in the interests of Internet users rather than for ranking purposes.

It’s often infuriating for searchers to come across unproductive web pages that rank highly only because they were designed for search engine rankings.

Such pages can be considered “search engine-first content” or “SEO content”.

The Helpful Content system aims to downgrade these websites, while promoting more useful and user-friendly sites.

According to Google, this is an ongoing effort to reduce low-quality content and improve the readability of authentic and useful content in searches.

How could sites affected by this update proceed?

To help site owners review their content, Google has provided a series of questions. Consider these questions and objectively evaluate whether your content aligns with the update’s goals.

Please be aware that if this update affects you, the recovery period could last several months, even if you change your content quickly.

It’s essential to go deep and identify content and site improvements that can be implemented on your site.

This is a painstaking journey spanning several months, but with hope and patience improvements can be seen in the months to come.

Google Discover is a platform that allows users to discover relevant content based on their interests and online behavior.

However, it is not uncommon to find that traffic from this platform can fluctuate significantly over time. To maintain or improve your visibility on Discover, it is important to know the reasons behind these variations.

In this article, we’ll look at the key factors behind why Google Discover traffic can change over time, as well as steps you can take to optimize your presence on this platform.

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The top three reasons why Google Discover traffic may change over time 


  • The top three reasons why Google Discover traffic may change over time
  • Steps to take to make content eligible for Discover
  • Monitoring the performance of your content on Google Discover
  • What is the difference between Discover and Google Search?
  • In summary

Because Google Discover is unpredictable, the traffic it generates is less stable and reliable than Google Search. It is therefore better to view it as a complement to Google search traffic, rather than seeing it as a primary source of visitors.

Google states this in its documentation:

”Due to our ongoing efforts to improve the Discover user experience, sites may see a change in their traffic unrelated to the quality or frequency of posting of their content.”

Here are the top 3 factors that cause traffic from Google Discover to vary:

1. Changing User Interests

One of the biggest factors influencing how Google Discover traffic fluctuates is changing user interests. Google Discover strives to personalize content based on each user’s activities and interests.

If a user’s preferences change over time, the type of content displayed in Discover will adjust accordingly.

2. The Variability of the Content Offered

Google Discover is not static. The platform is constantly evolving, updating its algorithm to offer a variety of content to users. This means that topics and content sources may change.

3. User Engagement

User interaction with content is another key element. If your content gets high engagement, it’s more likely to stay visible on Discover.

On the other hand, less engagement can lead to lower traffic. It is therefore important to create engaging content to maintain a high level of user interaction, while maintaining a strong presence on Google Discover.

Steps to take to make content eligible for Discover

First, please note that making content eligible for Google Discover does not guarantee that it will appear to users.

In summary

The September Helpful Content update that Google rolled out caused some volatility in the SERPs. This volatility is revealed by many companies to highlight the impact of this update on the sites.

Must Read: Expert Google Latest Updates 2023 For SEO Trends & Algorithms

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