Hey all, it is time for another SEO update! This is something we had done in years past and have decided to bring back. Let’s get into it! Here are the algorithm updates and SEO highlights from Q3 2023 (July, August, & September). 


September 2023 Helpful Content UpdateSeptember 14th – September 28th

This update aimed to update the “helpful content system” Google had in place. This system continues to emphasize promoting content that is useful to visitors instead of rewarding content made purely for search engines. The update included three key changes per Search Engine Journal’s Roger Montti:

  1. Adjustments to the guidance on machine-generated content
  2. Revised rules for hosting third-party content on subdomains or the primary domain
  3. Additional advice on what to do if a website experiences traffic loss following a Helpful Content Update

Looking closer at each of these, Google previously had made a blog stating AI-generated content is okay to use, just like any tool, and the focus should be on creating user-first, helpful content from any source. This update softened their language across other areas that leaned slightly towards human-generated content to better align with this blog post and their evolved stance.

They also updated their rules regarding hosting third-party or irrelevant content on a domain or subdomains purely to try and boost rankings. For example, say a dentist had a subdomain that had nothing to do with dentistry but was hosting third-party content for other businesses/companies.

Finally, they also updated their helpful content guidelines for businesses to reference both in creating new content and if they happened to be affected by an algorithm update.


August 2023 Core Update – August 22nd through September 7th

Google often won’t say much of anything specific with their core updates, and this one was no different. They made a simple Twitter/X post announcing the release but provided no further details. For general information around core updates, they do provide this helpful article.

As with any update, the main focus for website owners should be on ensuring their content is relevant and helpful to their users – and not made purely to manipulate search engines. One way you can do this, which I’ve seen to be extremely successful, is including common questions and answers you receive around that specific product or service on the landing page. 

For example, if your customers are always asking how long recovery for a procedure takes, be sure to include it! This kind of simple yet important information is extremely valuable to users shopping around and can help them pick you over the competition. Review your content regularly to ensure it’s not missing important information for your visitors!


SEO General News

There are many SEO news items throughout a quarter; this last one was no exception. These three I thought were the most helpful or relevant that I wanted to highlight!

Google unveils “SEO Made Easy” YouTube Series

Google launched an “SEO Made Easy” YouTube series on their Google Search Central channel. This channel provides quick tips and tricks for both beginners and experts alike. I highly recommend checking it out!

Content Quality Is –the- Top Factor for Indexing

John Mueller of Google recently had a discussion with Gary Illyes about content quality and its role in getting a page indexed, among other things. They state explicitly that “…the quality, that’s the biggest driver for most of the indexing and crawling decisions that we make.” 

This is not only limited to the specific page but also other key pages of the website (such as the home page). So, if that page of yours isn’t being indexed despite not being blocked, make sure to review both the page’s overall purpose for your website, as well as what kind of content it’s providing for your visitors to ensure it’s both a good fit for the site as a whole, and for being included in Google search results. Check out my indexing section further below for more info.

Technical SEO Still Matters

With the recent focus on helpful content, some in the SEO world wondered if technical SEO is still impactful or worth spending significant time on. John Mueller reiterated in a Twitter/X thread that technical SEO is not going away or losing its importance. Website owners should continue to focus on providing a fast, easy user experience with minimal issues navigating the site. 

KROUPA’s CORNER – Indexing

A recurring question in the SEO world is, “Why isn’t my site or page indexed?” Time and effort are put into building a page, its content, and linking to it both internally and externally. When it’s not available for people to find, it can be particularly frustrating.

Here are common reasons a page/site may not be indexed and what you can do to resolve them.

The site/page is new – Google may not have had enough time to crawl or index it. Per Google, it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks to index a new site or page, depending on a variety of factors. Google Search Console is your best friend here (and really for all of these items!), as you can manually request indexing for your new website or page to help prod Google along.

The site/page is actively discouraging Google from indexing it – This can appear in a few different ways or places. The simplest is that the robots.txt file is blocking Googlebot, for example:

Google indexing

That single “/” after the Googlebot disallow is doing a LOT of heavy lifting!

Another common way Google could be discouraged from indexing the site is that a noindex tag is in the header code of a specific page (or even site-wide!).

That will look like this, viewable in the source code of a page:

source code on page

There can be other ways to block Google, such as with the .htaccess file or through a firewall, but these are generally more difficult to catch from the outside looking in and simply less common.

And finally… The page provides no value (in Google’s eyes) – Your page isn’t being blocked, it has been around a few weeks, but still, it isn’t being indexed. What now?

This goes directly back to the section above on content/site quality and how they DO matter for indexing. You will want to try and look at your website from Google’s point of view. 

Just because a page exists does not mean it will or should be indexed. It should be providing some sort of UNIQUE value to visitors or the overall website. If the information on a page is already being given somewhere else (like say the home page), and there are no internal links pointing to it, is there really a reason from Google’s point of view to index this additional page? Not really!

Expanded information about the product or service, unique photos, infographics, testimonials, and more are great ways to individualize a page and provide what visitors seek. Having cohesive content and an internal linking strategy throughout your website really reinforces each specific page as important and hence gives Google good reasons to index them. A good rule of thumb is if Google has crawled your page but hasn’t indexed it yet, it’s time to work on enhancing the page itself and its overall place within the website.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me (Sam Kroupa) directly via chat or email at [email protected]. I hope you all enjoy your holidays, and the Product team will continue to provide updates moving forward every quarter!


Sam Kroupa is an SEO Strategist at Boostability. Sam works on a variety of SEO projects for the company including testing and recording new SEO processes, Google algorithm updates, auditing client websites and data, and much more!