Google has confirmed that the December 2022 helpful content update is now finished rolling out. The update took 38 days to roll out, starting on December 5, 2022 but was first noticeable on December 6th, and ending on January 12, 2023. Google has posted it was completed today, January 12.
As a reminder, Google’s helpful content update is a sitewide signal. It targets websites with a relatively high amount of unsatisfying or unhelpful content, where the content is first written for search engines.
What was new with this update. The December 2022 helpful content update (aka system) is a global update, impacting all languages and not just the English language. This will help Google’s systems detect more forms of low-quality content created for search engines and primarily not for people.
Google also told us this system was updated with additional signals to help Google identify more content created primarily for search engines versus people.
What to do if you are hit. Google has provided a list of questions you can ask yourself about your content. Read through those questions as we posted over here, and in an unbiased manner, ask yourself if your content is in sync with this update.
Please note if this update has hit you, it can take several months to recover if you do everything right and make changes to your content over time.
More on the helpful content update. Google’s helpful content update specifically targets “content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people.”
This algorithm update aims to help searchers find “high-quality content,” Google told us. Google wants to reward better and more useful content that was written for humans and to help users.
Content written for the purpose of ranking in search engines – what you might call “search engine-first content” or “SEO content,” has been frequently written about lately and discussed across social media.
In short, searchers are getting frustrated when they land on unhelpful webpages that rank well in search because they were designed to rank well.
Google’s new algorithm aims to downgrade those types of websites while promoting more helpful websites, designed for humans, above 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 in search.”
Why we care. If you notice any ranking and visibility changes in Google search over the past two weeks or so, especially if those were big changes, you can likely attribute it to this update. Read Google’s advice, make the necessary changes, and hope for a recovery in the upcoming months.
We hope you all benefited from this update and if not, we hope you recover quickly.
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About the author
Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to IXLCenter.io and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.