Google Algorithm Update May 2022
May 25th 2022 saw the start of this year’s first Google algorithm update. With many sites still seeing turbulence from the impact of the core web vitals update in November, a selection of websites have been hit hard and fast by this latest update. So what has the update included and how has it impacted your SERPs?
Broad Core Update
There are two main styles of Google algorithm updates, those that are specific and target a certain part of the search process, and those that are considered broad core algorithms.
The May update, which hit fast with a total rollout time of two weeks, is considered a broad core algorithm update, with no focus on specific regions, languages or website categories, nor does it target an element of SEO specifically. With this update, Semrush reported that around 17% of the new top 20 results in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) came from below the top 20 before the update.
Back in November 2021, we saw a very targeted update that focused heavily on link building and authority scores. This update saw a very similar response in the SERPs where movement is concerned.
Our experts noticed initial volatility in rankings and reports immediately after the November update, however, with Google fixing bugs and the algorithm settling into place, many of the impacted sites recovered with very little work. This correlates with previous Google advice of “not to jump straight in to make as many fixes as possible”.
Google recommends waiting, possibly even a month, before starting to make changes to the site to try to recover lost positions. We understand that this might be a painful consideration based on website traffic and visibility, it is for us too, you may find that with simple maintenance work, it recovers organically. Rushing to make changes may mean that some changes do more harm than good.
(Search Engine Land)
Sudden Drop In Positions
Google emphasised that the latest update is not targeting any particular sites, and to not be concerned by pages that have dropped in rankings. However, Google has highlighted that their algorithms would rather reward you for focusing on creating high-quality content moving forward.
This isn’t to say that the existing content should be forgotten and not updated. Best practice shows that even existing content benefits from updates. For example, the removal of inaccurate or outdated content and replacing it with fresh and relevant content.
As with every Google Algorithm Update, we expect to see a number of changes in position, particularly initially. Some will see a positive increase, while others will see a decline.
Those least likely to see a negative impact are those that adopt an evergreen approach, meaning whilst a more gradual, and slower method of growth, far less likely to be impacted so hard by core updates.
There’s No Quick Fix
Google has announced that there is no quick fix for those sites that have been affected. However, Google does not provide a checklist of best practices for each update. Instead, industry experts share their experiences and findings from each update.
With the launch of a new website, it can take time for changes and updates to have an impact on your website, particularly in SERPs. This is the same after certain major core updates. This is all down to the time it takes to index a website. Google’s guidelines show that this can be anywhere from a couple of days to a number of weeks.
You can request an index through search console by simply using the URL inspection tool and requesting an index once the search is complete. It’s important to note that this is not always immediate and can still take a number of days.
Major updates can see ranking factors change, meaning that the current strategy might need to be adjusted to incorporate this. Back in 2021, Google shone a light on keyword search intent, a potentially long-standing ranking factor, but awareness of its existence offered SEO’s another component to effective keyword research.
Impact Of The Update
With the update only just finished rolling out, it’s difficult to determine for sure what has been directly affected. By allowing time for the movements in rankings to settle and Google to implement any further changes and amends to the algorithm, we have the chance to have a wider overview of the impact. While Google confirms that the rollout should only take up to two weeks, we consider the trailing influence it will have when we look to make changes.
For our clients, this means that we will be taking a fresh look at how we best optimise their sites moving forward, and the content that we release for them. After all, no matter what the latest update includes, content is always king.
Google avoids disclosing exactly what measures and factors they update, and any tips on how you can conform to their latest algorithm changes. However, a number of years ago they released a list of questions to consider when you are writing content. And according to Google, this list is still relevant today:
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
Secure Your Position
With several Google algorithm updates every year, keeping your website ranking well update after update requires frequent work. From fresh content conforming to all search engine optimisation (SEO) practices to technical SEO every change helps to secure your rankings position and improve your site’s visibility.
If you are looking for a digital agency to undertake your SEO in order to bolster your search engine rankings, get in touch with team optimise here at Netbiz. Our main focus is to update your website with both on-page and off-page SEO, keeping Google’s algorithms happy, and your site visible.