Was your site hit by the Helpful Content Update in the fall of 2023? In this course I will provide a step-by-step guide on how I prepared one of my websites that had been struggling for a couple of years for the update and saw a massive boost in rankings while other niche sites were crashing and burning. There was no link building, I didn’t start using Pinterest (who was the time?!), and there were no changes to my hosting, theme, or page speed. The only thing that changed was I rewrote the content on my whole site – all of it.
HCU in 2023 was actually a re-release of the first attempt about a year prior in 2022. There was ultimately too many issues to work out in a short amount of time so the 2022 version was rolled back a short while later. However, Google had sunk a fair amount of resources into it, so my partner and I figured that they would make the corrections and re-release it at a later date.
We dug into the research and started looking at what sites and pages had been promoted/demoted during the first go-round, and sure enough patterns started to emerge. We buckled down and spent several months updating a site that had previously been a top earner for us (monetized through affiliate links) but that had really been lagging in the rankings for a couple of years and whose income had dried up to less than $100 a month. For context, it had been bringing in around $21,000 per month at its peak. Altogether, it took us about 6 months to completely overhaul the content, either rewriting pages from scratch or pruning them if they weren’t worth updating.
We saw small improvements initially, but nothing that really brought in more than a couple of extra dollars per day. We finished updating the site at the end of September 2023. In mid-October 2023 there was a core update and we started to see some better rankings and some more traffic – hooray! But it was November 2023 that we really started to see the fruits of our labour.
I think the graph below really shows the difference. I zoomed it out to 2 years so that you can see that traffic had been quite low for a long time. What’s really interesting (and goes directly against what a lot of other folks say) is that we added no new content & no new backlinks. The purple line is domain rating, which is largely calculated by backlinks, you can see it actually went down. We also didn’t do any social media, email marketing, and we ran zero paid ads (the flat green line at the very bottom). Literally the only thing we did was rewrite all of our existing content by hand – no AI. There was a lot, it took a long time, but two months after finishing it paid off.
I can’t promise overnight results, or even results at all. Google could radically change the way the algorithm works tomorrow, and I don’t have a crystal ball. However I will show you what worked for myself and my partner, and as of right now has continued to propel our site upwards in ranking (still haven’t built any backlinks, either!), our research & content writing strategies, and I will do my best to answer questions.
I have seen so many folks completely and utterly discouraged after the update in the fall, so I wanted to offer some help. Rather than a done-for-your service, I thought I could reach more people by offering a course.
What Will You Learn?
- How to research what sites in your niche were promoted & demoted during the HCU
- How to use current best practices as well as what you find during the research stage to write content that will perform well post-HCU (yes, you can outrank big sites!)
- Common mistakes and pitfalls - outdated tactics that don't work anymore, in other words
Researching What Was Promoted/Demoted
Researching Historical Ranking Data45:50