Google: Sites Hit By The Old Helpful Content Update Can Recover & Grow

May 6, 2024 - 8:01 am 211 by

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Google's John Mueller said again this morning that sites hit by the old September helpful content update or even new core updates can recovery. He said on X and on LinkedIn that it is possible to recover but it is not a simple change you can tweak on your website, but rather it takes a lot of effort, over time, to recover.

John said that not only can you recover but you can grow. He said this morning, "Yes, sites can grow again after being affected by the "HCU" (well, core update now)."

Last week we covered how John said it may just take a lot of time to recover from that helpful content update. This is despite Google telling some people it can take weeks (then said several months) to recover.

I know the helpful content update is no more, it is now a core update. But many were expecting some of those hit by the September helpful content update to recover with the March 2024 core update - but that did not happen.

John Mueller from Google said on LinkedIn, "It's just that some kinds of changes take a long time to build up, and that applies to all kinds of systems & updates in Google & in any other larger computer system."

He wrote on LinkedIn fully:

I realize this is from the title of Barry's post, but to be clear, it's not that "helpful content update" "recoveries" take longer than other updates. It's just that some kinds of changes take a long time to build up, and that applies to all kinds of systems & updates in Google & in any other larger computer system. Saying that this is specific to the helpful content system, or to core updates would be wrong & misleading.

There is, however, the additional aspect of the "core update" being about how our systems assess content overall, how we consider it to be helpful, reliable, relevant to users' queries. This does not map back to a single change that you can make on a website, so - in my experience - it's not something that a website can just tweak overnight and be done with it. It can require deep analysis to understand how to make a website relevant in a modern world, and significant work to implement those changes -- assuming that it's something that aligns with what the website even wants. These are not "recoveries" in the sense that someone fixes a technical issue and they're back on track - they are essentially changes in a business's priorities (and, a business might choose not to do that).

He added on LinkedIn:

making a site more helpful (assuming that's what you're aiming for) doesn't mean you have to add more content. There's a lot that goes into making a helpful site - content is one part, and more content is not necessarily more helpful. Think about how you use the web.

He also posted this morning on X, "Yes, sites can grow again after being affected by the "HCU" (well, core update now). This isn't permanent. It can take a lot of work, time, and perhaps update cycles, and/but a different - updated - site will be different in search too." He added, "Permanent changes are not very useful in a dynamic world, so yes. However, "recover" implies going back to just-as-before, and IMO that is always unrealistic, since the world, user-expectations, and the rest of the web continues to change. It's never "just-as-before"."

Here are some of the new posts on this topic from John over the weekend:

So keep working on your site and maybe you will recover in the long run?

Forum discussion at X and LinkedIn.


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