A Summary of the 2022 Google Algorithm Updates – and What to Learn from Them

 

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What are the Google Algorithm Updates of 2022?

In 2022, Google announced ten updates to its search algorithm.

The Google search algorithm is the program that Google uses to assign priority to web pages for a given search query on its main search page.

For over a decade, Google has been refining its search algorithm to provide searchers with the most helpful answers to any question.

Here’s a summary of Google’s algorithm improvements in 2022 and what Google and leaders in the SEO industry feel are the desired takeaways.

 

February: Desktop Page Experience Update

Google considers page experience a factor in search rankings. They test your web page to see if it loads easily, is secure (uses HTTPS), and doesn’t bombard the user with useless popups. If you present a good page experience, then your page will outrank a competitor that didn’t perform as well.

Originally, this metric only considered the page experience of the mobile version of a webpage. After this update, the same metrics for mobile pages now apply to the desktop version.

Takeaway: Ensure a good user experience for both mobile and desktop versions of your web page.

 

March/July/September: Product Review Updates

In 2022, Google introduced three improvements to how it weighs pages that focus on product reviews.

The primary theme for all three updates was the same. Google wants to promote product reviews that, “share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.”

Reviews that contain, “insightful analysis and original research,” as well as, “content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well,” will perform best in search results.

Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal reported, “In short, Google wants to see that you’ve tested and experimented with the product you’re reviewing first-hand… Rewriting the same content that already exists on the web will not cut it anymore.”

This update should only impact the ratings of product review content. However, Google says that they may look at your site as a whole to ascertain the relevance and trustworthiness of your product reviews.

Takeaway: If you didn’t try out the product (or interview those who did) about which you’re writing, you’re going to have a hard time making it on Google.

 

May/September: Core Updates

Google announced two ‘Core Updates’ in 2022. What’s the difference between a core update and any other Google update? Google explains as follows:

“Core updates are changes we make to improve search overall and keep pace with the changing nature of the web. While nothing is a core update specific to any particular site, these updates may produce some noticeable changes to how sites perform…”

These are holistic updates to Google’s search algorithm. Their purpose is to realize Google’s mission to provide relevant and helpful information for every search query.

For core updates, Google doesn’t announce beforehand the goal of the update. To say who will be rewarded, and who penalized. So, there’s no specific way to prepare for these updates.

Since you can’t prepare for a core update, what should you do after the fact?

First, determine if your traffic has gone up or down considerably after a core update. If so, the big question is what should I keep doing (if traffic went up), or what do I need to change (if traffic went down)?

One piece of advice offered by RankMath is to take a look at your competitors. If your position on Google went up or down, that means others took your place (or you climbed above others).

Analyze your competitors’ content and see if you can find a common thread that makes your page better or worse than theirs. Focus on those factors that Google has already told us are important, like E.A.T. (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and user experience. These are the factors that Google will be honing in on with any update.

Takeaway: Ricky Kessler from IncomeSchool sums up what we should learn from Google core updates:

“If you can create original, unique content, then you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of the others when an update occurs.”

 

August/December: Helpful Content Updates

Google stated that their goal for these updates was to, “ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”

What does this mean, in practical terms?

“Any content — not just unhelpful content — on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search.”

This means that Google may scrutinize your entire site in the process of evaluating an individual page. Even if your page is helpful and well-written by an authoritative source, it may not perform well on Google if your site also contains poor-quality content.

Takeaway: We are seeing a pattern here. Google wants to promote the best content. And this now comes to include the overall quality of your website. So if you’re serious about publishing quality pages, you should consider removing unhelpful content from your site.

 

October: Spam Update

According to Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal, ” If you’re following the Google Search Essentials,… it’s likely you don’t have much to worry about with respect to the October 2022 spam update.”

If your site tries to get users’ personal information or install malware, you’re already breaking the rules, and Google is simply cracking down further on these sorts of activities.

Takeaway: Google does not want to be a tool for crooks.

 

December: Link Spam Update

For their final update of 2022, Google’s Link Spam Update will directly affect search rankings as “…spammy links are neutralized and any credit passed by these unnatural links are lost.”

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land reported that Google has updated a tool they created called ‘SpamBrain’, with which they, “…can now detect both sites buying links, and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.”

With this final algorithm update of 2022, Google showed their intent, once again, to promote only genuine and quality content. In this instance, the specific aim was to demote content whose popularity has been artificially inflated by unearned backlinks.

Takeaway: This is getting repetitive, but Google is making it clear. Make a good product for publication. Its quality will be attested to naturally by real links, from real people. Your reward will be double as your earned links will make you an authority in Google. At the same time, your competitors that paid for links will fall.

 

To Sum Up Google’s 2022 Updates

As Google refines its algorithm tool, as it did in 2022, it moves closer to its mission. Honesty, expertise, and genuine value will be the defining characteristics of content that gets promoted to the top of a Google search page.

If you cannot provide honesty, you can continue to try to counterfeit it. But pretty soon, your only chance at success will be to rely on your competition not being any more genuine than you.

If you are interested in promoting your online content in a way that moves with Google’s mission, instead of against it, contact Topline Media Group at email@toplinemediagroup.com.