What was initially set to be a two-week rollout for the December 2022 Helpful Content Update (rolled out on December 5) and the December 2022 Link Spam Update (rolled out on December 14) took longer than expected, but has now been completed. The Helpful Content Update took 38 days to roll out, while the Link Spam Update, took 29 days.
What took them so long?
According to Danny Sullivan, normally, updates would be concluded faster but rollouts can slow down or pause when it reaches the holiday periods. In addition, John Mueller responded that sometimes, updates take longer and how they tried to reduce the amount of change in their system over the holidays for safety reasons.
Google’s Helpful Content Update
Google’s Helpful Content System generates a signal used by Google’s automated ranking system to better ensure that people see original, helpful content that are written by people, for people. It aims to reward content that provides a satisfying experience to visitors while those that do not satisfy users will not perform as well. The system is set to automatically identify content that are low value and are written primarily for search engines.
In the December 2022 Helpful Content Update, improvements in their classifier system were made, in order to identify more content created for search engines rather than for people. It was a global update that impacted all languages.
If you are affected negatively by this update and if you are wondering what could be done to help you regain your rankings, check out our article on what to do if you are affected by a helpful content update.
Google’s Link Spam Update
Same as with the December 2022 Helpful Content Update, the December Link Spam Update was also rolled out globally and impacted all languages. The link spam update was set to leverage the power of SpamBrain to neutralize the impact of unnatural links on search results. SpamBrain is Google’s AI-based spam protection system.
In this update, Spambrain can now detect both sites that are buying links and sites that are used for passing on links.
Take note of Google’s use of the term “neutralize” instead of “penalize”. This means that the links deemed as spammy will be ignored and not counted. Though if you think about it, the neutralizing of such links can be a penalty for those who have quite a number of unnatural links, as this is bound to cause ranking drops.
How did your site or clients’ sites fare during these two December updates? Looks like Google is set tight on combatting the search results quality issues that have come up in the past year/s and looks like we could see more updates coming along in the future. Hang tight and we hope your sites are able to ride the waves and always come up on top!