dave_c The Google Helpful Content Update, as described by Google, was designed to boost sites that offer good people-first content, over sites which were offering SEO-first content. Alongside this, there appears to have been changes to how Google treat AI content (they now seem to look at it more favorably) and some online commentators are speculating that Google are boosting how much they care about the "Experience" part of E-E-A-T, leading to a boost of sites that are primarily UGC (user-generated content), such as Reddit.
I've listed some bullet points below that may be worth looking at. Not all of them will apply to your site, but I'd be doing you a disservice if I left them off, just in case they do:
- Was your site utilizing any SEO hacks that could be frowned upon by Google? For example, Google have mentioned updating the dates of posts to make them seem more fresh, without actually updating content. This could have led to Google seeing your site less favourably.
- Are the pages that are ranked higher than you now, offering something that you aren't? Are they answering questions that your page doesn't? Do they offer video content? Is there anything, no matter how small, the five sites ahead of you have in common that your site isn't doing?
- Does your site offer a good user experience? Are there any improvements that could be made here?
- Is there any old content on your site that Google may now be considering "unhelpful"? Google have confirmed that they will penalize a site as a whole if they find a lot of this, so it may be worth looking through old content to make sure the site is as helpful as possible.