September Helpful Content Update

If you're in the niche site or affiliate marketing game, you know that the September Helpful Content Update wrecked a lot of us.

Some of my sites fared the storm while others didn't.

Below is what I'm doing to make sure we don't get hit again.

If we’re all being real with ourselves, 90% of affiliate sites on the internet do not provide solid, helpful, and insightful content.

Don’t believe me?

Tell me the last time you were doing research for a product you wanted to buy and searched for “best XYZ” and clicked on an affiliate site.

Probably not since you learned about affiliate marketing..

Example: I was recently looking for a 55-inch TV and the ONLY site that I trusted in the SERPs was

They are the gold standard.

I avoided reading reviews from any other website because I knew it was B.S.

Additional research of mine was done on Reddit and Youtube where I could find people who were reliable and who I knew actually bought the TVs that they spoke about.

This tells me, it’s time to step up our game.

Now, getting hit by an update hurts.

I get it.

But honestly, I think it’s for the better.

This update is raising the bar for affiliate sites and, IMO, making the internet a better place.

So how are we leveling up our content?

1. Getting real professionals and industry experts to review and edit our content.

It’s one thing to create a fake persona and plaster “Reviewed by” or “Fact-checked by” info at the top of your page, but it’s a whole other thing to actually have a pro

review your content.

They will poke holes in it where you could have never imagined.

2. I’m also spending hours and hours in each niche trying to learn as much as possible so I can help steer the ship.

This way I can press my writers and editors to go deeper with their content.

Without this knowledge, I can't give them much feedback outside of SEO.

Want to see an example of a website doing this well?

Good - because you don't have a choice.

Now, they are not perfect but I’ll be damned if they aren’t one of the best sites in the fitness niche.

And take note of how they climbed during the update.

Let's take a look at one of their articles:

This is a solid (not perfect) article on what to look for in pre-workout.

The depth that I love to see is when they are discussing Creatine.

Most websites say “yeah, creatine is the most researched supplement and it's totally a pro if it's in your pre-workout."

But that’s not entirely true.

Yes it is the most researched supplement and yes it is amazing for you.

But you shouldn’t care about it being in your pre-workout because no supplement company puts the minimum effective amount (5 grams per day) in pre-workout.

You should be taking creatine separately to actually get the effective amount and thus the desired results from it.

Otherwise, it does nothing for you and you're paying extra for an ingredient with no upside.

This is something GGR alludes to:

Again, copy above could be improved but you get the point.

This is the level of depth that you need within your content and I’d argue that only experts in your niche are going to be able to provide this.

Side note - you also need to take creatine everyday to get the desired results from it.

Most people only train 3-4 times a week and therefore only take pre-workout 3-4 times a week.

This alone will make sure you don't get the benefit of creatine.

Woah... did I just realize I'm a fitness expert??


Anywho, outside of upgrading your content, the action steps are the same as usual.

  1. Get more links - specifically big links form HARO & Digital PR
  2. Don’t rely on Google

#1 is straight-forward if you’ve been doing this awhile but #2 isn’t.

I highly suggest you start investing in other marketing channels if you want your brand to stay alive. Don’t have all your eggs in one basket (Google).


Find out where your core audience is hanging out and hit it hard.

For instance, the fitness industry is all over Youtube & Instagram (very visual people) but not really on Twitter or Facebook.

This is why GGR hits Instagram and Youtube hard and they’re following on each platform reflects this.

  • Facebook: 24,000
  • Twitter: 2,266
  • Instagram: 293,000
  • Youtube: 449,000

That’s it for this week.

I can’t tell you exactly what you should do for your site but I hope this article serves as a thought experiment to help you level up your content site.

Onwards and Upwards.