Just as we're learning about the changes the August Core Update ushered in, Google has released a new update to the helpful content system.
Here's what I've noticed has changed in Google's helpful content documentation:
They've changed the opening paragraph to say, "content written by people for people" to "content created for people".
They've added this:
"If you host third-party content on your main site or in your subdomains, understand that such content may be included in site-wide signals we generate, such as the helpfulness of content. For this reason, if that content is largely independent of the main site's purpose or produced without close supervision or the involvement of the primary site, we recommend that it should be blocked from being indexed by Google.
What does this system and updates to it mean for my site?
If you're producing helpful content, then you don't need to do anything; in fact this system may be good for your site, as it is designed to reward helpful content. If you've noticed a change in traffic you suspect may be related to this system (such as after a publicly-posted ranking update to the system), then you should self-assess your content and fix or remove any that seems unhelpful. Our help page on how to create helpful, reliable people-first content has questions that you can use to self-assess your content to be successful with the helpful content system."
There are also some minor changes to the helpful content documentation.
"Is this content written by an expert" has changed to
"Is this content written or reviewed by an expert."
"Are you changing the date of pages to make them seem fresh when the content has not substantially changed?
Are you adding a lot of new content or removing a lot of older content primarily because you believe it will help your search rankings overall by somehow making your site seem "fresh?" (No, it won't)"
Google's a little early on this one. I am traveling next week. This should be an interesting one to watch. Hope you fare well!