On May 25th, Google announced the first Core update of the year, the “May 2022 Core Update”. Expectedly, a lot of algorithm changes came along with it and all SEOs and site owners were made aware of that.
Despite Google’s claim that the changes would be noticed in two weeks, this update appears to have had more impact than previous ones.
In that case, what impact has it had? What are the differences from the previous update, deployed in November 2021?
In this post, we’ll explain:
- What Google Algorithm Updates are for
- The impact of the May 2022 Core Update
- How to protect your website from Google’s new SEO Update
Let ‘s dive in!
What’s a Google Algorithm Update?
Google has been the most popular search engine since 1988. A major reason for this is that it produces relevant results quickly and easily.
But, what’s behind it? The Google ranking algorithms. Thanks to them, each time you use the search engine, you receive reliable, quality results, tailored to your needs and preferences.
To guarantee the quality of its results, Google regularly updates its algorithms. Major updates included:
- Panda (August 12, 2011)
- Penguin (April 24, 2012)
- Hummingbird (September 26, 2013)
- Mobilegeddon (April 21, 2015)
- Rank Brain (October 26, 2015)
- Medic (August 1, 2018)
- Bert (October 22, 2019)
- Core Updates (2018-present)
Still, what is Google trying to accomplish with these updates?
Basically, with each Google search algorithm update, the search engine wants to:
- Improve its understanding of human language through search
- Understand users’ search intent better
- Offer search results with new features
- Offer search results tailored to a specific location
- Refine the way it determines the quality of on-page content
- Provide better suggestions for a more precise search
Depending on the scope of the update, these changes can be large or completely unnoticeable. Therefore, while some updates may barely affect your website, some others may have a noticeable impact on your ranking – whether positive or negative.
In fact, Google clarifies that if a site is performing poorly as a result of the update, it does not mean that it has violated the webmaster’s rules: it is simply something that can happen.
That’s why it’s essential for SEO teams to stay informed about updates and re-optimize their sites accordingly.
Google’s Algorithm Update 2022: May Core Update’s Impact
On May 25th, Google’s Danny Sullivan announced that the first big update of the year, the “May Core Update 2022” had been released.
According to Google:
“Some sites may note drops or gains during [broad core updates]. We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.
There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update.”
As mentioned, Google stated that the update would take one to two weeks to take effect, yet the impact was noticeable within 24 hours of its announcement.
SemRush and RankRanger examined the rank volatility associated with these updates, based on their data. Let’s take a look at what they concluded.
According to Semrush’s report, at first glance, the rank volatility level of Google’s May update appears to be as powerful as the one from November 2021.
Still, the period of very high volatility lasted only until May 26. When Semrush investigated the changes in the average volatility, they found that the November 2021 update had greater impact. Only certain industries were exempted, like real estate, which appears to have “markedly reorganized”.
On the other hand, Semrush reports that 17% of the new results ranked in Google’s top 20 (after the update) came from positions 20 and below. Something similar happened during the core update in November 2021, when 16% of URLs within the top 20 results ranked beyond position 20 before the update.
Of course, these are only the first conclusions, and the full impact of the update has not yet been determined. However, Semrush notes that May’s Core update looks similar to November’s and even less volatile.
According to RankRanger’s analysis, in contrast with Semrush, the May 2022 core update resulted in a sharp change in rankings on both desktop and mobile sites.
Moreover, it also compared the changes in search results with those that had occurred after the November 2021 update. Based on this data, RankRanger found that average position changes from the May 2022 update were higher than those from the November 2021 update.
Rank volatility, however, is similar in both November 2021 and May 2022.
According to the data, the retail sector was the most affected by ranking volatility.
To have a broader understanding of how Google’s plans for 2022 may change your SEO strategy, check out our guide to Google Analytics’ latest update.
How To Protect Your Website From Google Latest SEO Update
So far, May Core Update 2022 appears to be much more impactful than last November’s update. Only a few days after the release, rankings and traffic have reorganized significantly.
At this point, you may be wondering what could happen to your site. It’s possible that crawled URLs that previously ranked in the top 30, will now fall outside the top 100. Alternatively, they could remain largely the same, growing your traffic.
The truth is that you won’t know for sure until weeks after the algorithm changes are made.
During the first days, you’ll want to follow industry recommendations and talk to site owners to see how exactly they’re affected. For instance, many sites may be under spam backlinks or even have keywords that are not shown in the SERP.
That’s why you’ll want to improve your site’s SEO as much as possible and make sure your main keywords are still ranking well. At the end of the day, it is what will give you the best chance of staying ranked. Plus, Google recommends not only concentrating the efforts on optimizing the site for algorithms but also producing high-quality content for users.
To do so, we recommend you:
- Provide accurate information with valuable details.
- Don’t confuse users with vague or misleading data.
- Don’t make errors in spelling, style, or factual information.
- Offer content related to the users’ real interests, based on data, rather than assuming what will rank
Finally, you should take a broader, more holistic view of your website to find out what else can be improved. This update can be a great opportunity to reassess and restrategize.
Google’s Updates Will Continue, Take One Step Further
As you may have noticed, Google’s latest Core update has been making waves from day one.
Furthermore, Core updates are no longer limited to yearly events and can occur much more frequently. This puts SEOs and webmasters on constant alert, as they must prepare their websites for regular upcoming changes.
This can be exhausting, particularly when the website’s positioning is severely affected. To remedy this situation, you should ensure that:
- All your pages offer high-quality content
- Your code is clean and crawlable
SEORadar is designed to detect and alert you when your website’s source code changes, in a seamless, intuitive, and automated way. Get notifications when something changes, before your ranking drops. Alerts can be delivered how you want them via SMS, email, or Slack.