SEO Community: Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update

The SEO industry has been speculating and chatting about the recent announcement from Google regarding its September 2023 Helpful Content Update. This update, which started on September 14th and finished on September 28th, has begun discussions and speculations from SEO professionals. VGISEO and David Freid wish to delve into the details and explore what this update means for the SEO community.

Understanding this Update

Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update primarily targeted content that is designed to rank well in search engines, also known as SEO-first content. While Google has not explicitly labeled it as a penalty, it aims to promote helpful content while potentially demoting unhelpful or low-quality content. It’s important to note that this update is NOT a core algorithm update.

The concept of SEO-first content refers to content that is created with the sole purpose of ranking well in search engine results. This includes employing various SEO techniques such as keyword optimization, accurate keyword densities, and reliable information. Many SEO professionals have relied on such content to improve their clients’ visibility in search engines, while also delivering factual and useful information to everyone.

However, with this update, Google seems to be targeting SEO-first content. Google wants to prioritize helpful and user-centric content over content that is optimized only for search engines. This shift has started an intense debate within the SEO community regarding the type of content that should be created to rank well in search results.

What Does This Mean for SEO Professionals?

Head-of-SEO for Verti Group International, VGISEO, David S Freid does not see this as a long-term concern for SEO. David goes on record by saying, “This is not a long-term path for Google and SEO. SEO-prepared content goes much further than expertly following Google Guidelines.”. He further added that VGISEO double-checks research for authentic and reliable content, while still keeping online search visibility in mind. Google search continues to be a consumer shopping aisle and a huge portal for buyers. SEO content and its reliability are something that those searching for a specific topic can rely on from a purely informational perspective.

SEO Community Debates Continue

While some argue that Google’s focus on helpful content is a positive step towards improving user experience, others express concerns about the potential negative impact on reliable and fact-based content. The question David Freid raises: why would Google want to mute the very best content that follows its own guidelines?

Several theories have emerged regarding the nature of the content that was affected by the September 2023 update. Some speculate that AI-generated or low-quality content may have been targeted, while others think that content with a poor user experience could have been penalized. The exact criteria used by Google to evaluate and rank content remain undisclosed, and this is what the SEO community is racing to find out at the moment.

Tracking Tools and the Latest Google Update

Throughout this rollout of the September 2023 Helpful Content Update, tracking tools reported a calm period with low volatility in search rankings. This could indicate that the effects of the update were not immediately apparent and may take some time to fully see. Depending on who you talk to in the SEO community, you can see people claiming the tracking tools aren’t seeing this extreme volatility yet.


Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update has brought about significant changes in the way search engine rankings are determined. Google claims they are prioritizing helpful and user-centric content, but will this achieve Google’s aims to enhance user experience and provide more reliable information to its users? SEO expert David Freid doesn’t think so.

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