In October 2023, Google made some changes to their search engine ranking results and how they rank content. Several of these changes are significant for marketers and going to have a major impact on search results and ongoing SEO strategies.
Here is the short version:
#1: A.I. content will rank on Google
#2: Just “refreshing” posts and pages will no longer work as an SEO Strategy (sorry Backlinko Strategy Followers)
#3: Write Helpful Content – which is interesting that they say this is new, when this is what Google has always asked for.
Here is a big longer of an explanation and why the October 2023 Google Update matters.
#1: A.I. Content will Rank
Content written by A.I. was getting a lot of pushback, and still is in many circles. The big debate was whether you could use A.I. written content and still rank on Google. Google made it plain – they could recognize any content written by ChatGPT or Jasper or any of those writing A.I. content generators.
And, the implication was that if they could see it, it wasn’t going to rank very well in their SERP’s and people were saying that you might even be punished for using and publishing A.I. written content.
Now Google is specifically saying that they WILL rank A.I. content as long as it is “helpful” – which to me is Google’s way of saying what they’ve always said: Write good content and publish it.
#2: Refreshing Content Won’t Work
Uh Oh! All you Backlinko fans should be worried. I called the August 2022 google update the “neil patel” update since they announced that pretty much every strategy he had been teaching would now hurt you in the SERP’s.
I will call this October 2023 update the Backlinko update. Why? Because that was the “basic” Backlinko strategy. Write some great blogs and just keep perpetually adding to it.
What did Google say about this specifically? They say that unless you a page or post is significantly and materially altered or updated with new, relevant, and important changes, you will no longer rank well for “refreshing” content.
So, if you are content publisher who has been in the habit of just periodically changing the date on your posts and adding a paragraph to it, Google can see that now, and they are not going to rank that content.
#3: Helpful Content
This is important – Google is calling this something new, but it isn’t new. It is the same thing Google has always said. Before, they always said to write “good” content. But I like this new specificity.
What are they saying? Be helpful! That’s right – be helpful. Help people. Write something that is useful. Write something that is original or actually adds to the conversation. Add some new insights or at least YOUR insights.
Content should be helpful? Who knew!
Summary – The 2023 Google Update and What it Means for Search Engine Rankings
As we have said in many blogs before this one – Google punishes two groups of people:
Group #1: Cheaters
Group #2: Lazy People
And if you look at this update, what are they asking you to do? They are asking you to produce content that is helpful to people. They are not going to rank content you just “refresh” with a new paragraph and a date change.
And lastly, they are saying that they won’t specifically penalize you just for using A.I. – but, you must learn how to use A.I. to generate content that is helpful, useful, interesting, and entertaining. Which is Google’s way of saying, “if you think you are going to use A.I. to churn out “puff pieces” and crap, and pollute the internet with it, and junk up our search results, you are wrong.”
Which is back to what we have always said – Google punishes Lazy People.
And what about cheaters? Have you seen coded SEO yet? That is where you code a bot to churn out A.I. generated content in mass – think like 100 articles a day posted live to your blog by a bot.
I wouldn’t do that on your own website if I were you. Yes, people will get away with that for awhile and someone will make money from it and write books about it and sell it to you as a “how to” plan. But beware – Google punishes cheaters.
So remember folks – Google wants you to write good content, which they are not calling “helpful” content. So do that. Be helpful. Write something that adds to the conversation that helps people.
How is this article helpful in understand what the October 2023 Google Update will mean for search results – it is interpreting the “tea leaves” of Google for you the reader so you can know what to do, know what not to do, adjust your content strategy accordingly and reap the rewards of ranking well on Google now and in the future.