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Google is rolling out an update to its Helpful Content system. The December 2022 update was released on the 5th, but was announced on the 6th when Google said it was starting to be felt more widely.
“The Dec. 2022 helpful content update was released Dec. 5, starting to become more visible today & will take about two weeks to fully roll out. It improves our classifier & works across content globally in all languages.”
The Helpful Content system was released in August this year, and this is the first update to it. Google recently clarified its terminology around systems (such as Helpful Content), and updates to systems.
Helpful Content targets low quality content aimed at gaming the ranking system and written primarily with search engines in mind. It rewards helpful and original content written by people for people.
The initial impact when Helpful Content launched was less than expected. Google’s update improves the system so it may be better at identifying target content.
Google has published a useful help page on how Helpful Content works. If impacted, Google says a site can take several months to recover.
“Sites identified by this update may find the signal applied to them over a period of months. Our classifier for this update runs continuously, allowing it to monitor newly-launched sites and existing ones. As it determines that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long-term, the classification will no longer apply.”
The document also has a list of questions you can ask yourself about your content if your site is hit. If you remove offending content and work on publishing high quality, helpful content your site should see a recovery over time.
Update: Google confirmed the rollout had completed as of 12 January 2023