In the search engine industry, we are all familiar with the big announcements that a search engine like Google is changing how it indexes or ranks websites. Often, they have cool nicknames like Penguin or Jagger, but they are usually an attempt to deliver better results to searchers with a rapidly growing and changing internet. This is called the Core Update, and they can drastically change what we focus on to increase a website’s visibility.

This year, just like in November last year, Google has been making big core updates (the “Helpful Content” update) to tackle the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence content and some spam updates such as content abuse, expired domain abuse, and “Parasite SEO.” Since the advent of ChatGPT, many website owners have been using those tools to develop and launch site content rapidly. Over the last year or so, this has dramatically increased the noise, with thin, non-original content overtaking original, human-written content. In Google’s eyes (and mine), this is a bad thing, and they are making significant changes to how they prioritize content. In their words, “We’re enhancing Search so you see more useful information, and fewer results that feel made for search engines.

Should I worry about Google’s Helpful Content Core Update?

For the most part, if you are writing your site content, this will only increase your visibility by lowering your AI competition (competitors using AI to write for them). One SEO agency in my area had glossaries and a wiki developed with ChatGPT content. They were ranking in the top 3 for my niche, and now they aren’t even in the top 20 as Google has lowered the value of their content, deeming it too untrustworthy and artificial. So, if you are using AI on your site, now is a great time to rewrite that content in your voice to ensure the improvements being made by Google do not adversely impact you. And while this is not the easy path, it is the one with the most long-term value to your brand online.

Write well, write often, and let the world see your expertise.

Search Engine Watch has a superb article about the March 2024 Core Update if you want to dive into its nuts and bolts. And if you are one of Ikusa’s clients, you can rest assured we will never recommend AI in our work. The only way to establish lasting visibility and authority online is for your site to have a unique voice, helpful information, and trustworthy signals.