Google has once again proved that change remains the only constant. They’ve been busy in the past few months (e.g., local search update, product reviews update), continuously requiring the users to audit their websites and adapt to innovations.
But by now, it should be well known that Google search changes 12 times per day on average. – Only in 2020, Google made 4.500 search updates.
However, some are more palpable than others. The May 2022 core update is among them.
Many online visibility and marketing platforms experienced significant rank fluctuations a day after the change announcement. That indicates that rank volatility will increase faster, although it might subdue afterward.
Let’s start by explaining the meaning of core updates.
What are Core Google Updates?
According to Google, core updates are changes that aim to improve Search overall and keep up with the ever-changing nature of the web. These adjustments don’t target any website in particular, but most experience performance shifts.
For instance, some sites could undergo gains or drops, but Google explains that website owners shouldn’t perceive them as errors and try to fix them. Slower performance after the updates doesn’t mean that they violated the webmaster guidelines or were subjected to manual or algorithmic action.
It’s also possible that previously under-rewarded pages start performing better because the changes enhance how Google’s systems assess content. So, what makes the latest update different?
Why is May 2022 Core Update Significant?
The latest broad core update took 15 days to roll out, and it went live on June 9. It targeted all content types, striving to reward or promote stellar web pages.
The update is global, spanning regions and languages. Google didn’t disclose the percent of queries these changes would impact, but SEO professionals know they affect Google discover and feature snippets.
Moreover, this update is likely not final, and we’ll notice periodic algorithm refreshes. Website owners may not get a heads-up regarding these additional changes, as Google often rolls them out before announcing them.
Even though they never revealed the exact effects people should expect, the SEO community has already identified a few changes. Here’s what we know:
- The core update seems to prioritize video content.
- Specialist content ranks higher than the general one. However, this refers more to the person who wrote it than the content. For instance, articles and blog posts written by specialists come before those written by generalists.
- Google has also increased its ability to identify the language intent, offering higher-quality results.
What does that mean for SEO professionals and marketers?
- Video content will outweigh texts and pictures. Because of that, people will find more answers to their searches as videos than articles.
- Video websites are already experiencing increased visibility. – No wonder 80 percent of marketers say that video has helped them increase their sales.
- News publishers will continue to struggle with a steady traffic decline, likely due to the lack of videos.
- TikTok videos will become more prevalent in the search results. That explains why this app gains eight new users every second.
So, who will reap the most benefits from the May 2022 core update? – Websites prioritizing video content will likely find this change more beneficial than others.
However, they’re not the only ones. E-A-T (expertise, authority, trustworthiness) websites will also rank high, particularly those that could potentially impact people’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability (YMYL websites).
On the other hand, web pages that focus on general information or elementary content could struggle with a low ranking. According to the head of SEO at Idealo, Malte Landwehr, websites with good search intent matching might also enjoy better positioning thanks to this update.
However, their rankings will fluctuate more than video-focused and specialist-centric web pages. Hence, the dictionary and wiki space sites could be among the winners, just as much as among the losers.
The May 2022 core update is also significant because it reduced the amount of both Knowledge Panels and Featured Snippets. The SEO professional, Glenn Gabe, noticed that the latter has experienced massive fluctuations.
As a result, the information people see at the top of SERPs, such as lists, tables, bullets, and highlighted paragraphs, now experience either significant losses or gains. That could affect many businesses because featured snippets often bring high organic traffic.
Websites with insufficiently relevant or high-quality content, according to Google, could lose featured snippets, resulting in fewer visitors and interactions. That’s why website owners should track these short texts and react before it’s late.
Finally, it seems that this update doesn’t affect everyone equally. Here are the industries that felt the most intense impact of these changes in the first few days:
- Autos & Vehicles
- Beauty & Fitness
- Arts & Entertainment
- Jobs & Education
- Internet & Telecom
- Law & Government
- Online Communities
- Pets & Animals
But Food & Drink, Travel, and Real Estate haven’t experienced a drastic impact from the latest Google update. Even though the effect is slowing down every day, website owners from more affected industries should be more attentive to how their web pages perform.
They should also pay attention to informational keywords because these are taking the most significant hits. Sites focusing on navigational keywords will likely experience fewer changes but also fewer gains.
How Are Other SEO Professionals and Marketers Reacting to Google Core Update 2022?
So far, the SEO community has mixed feelings about the latest Google update. Most people still strive to understand how this change affects their websites, traffic, and visitors.
Some website owners have noticed that their pages-per-session went slightly down while the bounce rate went up. Others have struggled with traffic being sluggish, particularly in the U.S.
However, most SEO professionals share the same opinion – keep calm and give it time.
The update is still recent, and the lasting effects will only be visible in a few weeks. Until then, website owners should avoid checking their analytics every hour, making significant content changes, URL migrations, and redesigns.
But it could be beneficial to add good FAQs to old blog posts as these snippets have increased from 22 percent to 27 percent of queries on SERPS.
What Can You Do to Maintain Good Website Performance?
As various SEO professionals have already reported, the key to handling the impact of this update is avoiding rash decisions and adding drastic changes to your website. Instead of panicking and making moves you might regret later, look for patterns and try to understand whether some of your website sections are affected more than others.
It’s okay to track and evaluate your analytics but avoid doing it compulsively. Focus on determining what Google is trying to achieve and how that benefits you.
Also, pay attention to your competition and check whether the landscape has changed. Identify new ranking websites and priority content and patterns.
Consider what issues need urgent addressing and whether you must recapture your website’s organic traffic. Leverage these insights to plan, strategize, and prepare for future updates.
However, you may also want to seek expert advice to get your ranking back on track or reinforce your position. It’s crucial to improve your SEO efforts and boost your website’s SERP rankings.
These actions should help you get the most out of this update and use the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.
To Wrap Up
Changes imminently bring a certain level of uncertainty. The latest Google core update is no different.
But even though many website owners believe they have found themselves at the shorter end of the stick with this change, their current position isn’t necessarily permanent. Although this update may have affected your website negatively, you can turn things around to your advantage.
Prioritize content that shows your competence, leverage video content, and add more relevant FAQs. Continue tracking your website’s performance and seeking patterns, as that will help you understand the next steps you should take.