A few weeks ago, I reported that Google has updated its help documentation to specify that Google Discover visibility can be impacted not just by the core updates but also specifically by the helpful content update. I asked Google when this changed and after flip-flopping a bit on the answer, Danny Sullivan of Google said this changed around October 2022.
October 2022 is a bit weird in terms of timing being that this was between helpful content system updates. We had the August 2022 helpful content update that finished rolling out on September 9, 2022 and then we had the December 2022 helpful content update that started on December 6, 2022.
I guess sometime in October Google pushed a more minor update to say, let the helpful content update impact Google Discover. I guess a new helpful content update did not need to be pushed for this to happen, but I assume something was tweaked with Google Discover to make this happen that was not announced – not that Google has to announce everything for us…
Going back to the flip-flop… Danny Sullivan, after first saying the help document was incorrect, that the helpful content update did not impact Google Discover visibility, said last night that he has a correction, it does. And he added that this change happened in October 2022.
Danny wrote on Mastodon, “Sorry for the confusion over this. Did more checking. We do indeed use it and have done so since last October.” So he is saying that after checking one more time, (1) Google Discover is impacted by the helpful content update and (2) he got back to me on when this changed, and this changed in October 2022.
Then Danny went on to say, “but it’s a very light use.” Because of that he added, “so we’re leaving the page as is, but as I also said, we won’t be confirming each search signal used by Discover.” This is the page that says The system generates a site-wide signal that we consider among many other signals for use in Google Search (which includes Discover).”
Danny also referenced this generic advice, “If you want to be successful with Discover, which is part of Search, it makes sense to pay attention to the things that are helpful with Search.”
So there you have it:
(1) Google Discover is impacted by the helpful content update.
(2) This all began in October 2022.
Forum discussion at Mastodon.