Written by Aaron Rains October 4th 2023

September 28th Useful Content Update

On September 28, 2023, the upgrade was completed. Numerous sites have been affected.

I’m still looking for patterns on affected sites. If you missed it, I’ve published some blog posts about my thoughts. My latest article, The September Helpful Content Update: Why you were affected and what you can do, discusses how this update largely affected SEO-dependent sites. This update may have demoted content or boosted real-world experience. It appears that user-experience material like comments and forum conversations are benefiting.

I used to work on a site with lots of user-generated Q&A. The March core update affected them, but the August core and September helpful content updates improved things. Their user-generated interactions are likely successful. Ahrefs says Reddit is performing well, although their traffic was already rising. People have asked, “But where’s the EEAT?” Remember that first E is experience. Reddit is real people sharing genuine experiences. Google said they will add an E to E-E-A-T to recognize and reward experience-based content.

Will big beneficial content updates continue?

When Google unveiled the helpful content system, they promised to improve it to help searchers find the best information. The Perspectives update to the helpful content system that will reveal “hidden gems”—experts and enthusiasts—has yet to be released. Every blogger should aim to be known and sought out for producing useful information on their topics. AI answers most informational inquiries well. Topic aficionados should provide fresh, useful information for Google.

Glenn Gabe wrote on the update so far. Glenn believes the September 2023 helpful content upgrade targets sites with low-quality material and bad user experience, especially those with disruptive advertisements. If you were affected, read this.

Ignore the SERP to Create Useful Content!

Great content requires knowing your searcher’s goal. Good content is a race to understand the question. Top results can sometimes be counterproductive.

Here’s one way to understand a query and write top-ranking content.

  • Be aware of the question: Indeed, you must Google it to understand search intent.
    Wait, what?
  • I advised you to disregard SERP. But there’s some essential stuff to know beforehand. For instance, which formats are ranking? The question’s main point? Does anyone want to solve difficulties quickly? Does comprehensive research fit better?
  • Do people search for this term in diverse contexts or with many meanings?
  • Do Not Click Results: Stay away from the results.
  • Create something better than what’s out there.
  • Reading the top results won’t help and may injure you now.

We are most impressionable when initially learning about a topic or issue. Clicking through may cement these results in your mind, making it tougher to create fresh content. Just skip.