With the year coming to a close, we’ve decided to look back at every algorithm update that has affected clients’ websites on Google Search according to their Google Search Console. Of the 14 algorithm updates that have occurred since 2022 started, we focused on the six that had the biggest impact (at least in our opinion, anyway).
Google Page Experience Update for Desktop?
What was Google Page Experience Update for Desktop?
The Google page experience update was a search ranking factor part of Google’s user experience ranking system for desktop websites.
How to Get Your Website Ready for the Google Page Experience Update
You must optimise your website’s page load speed to get your website ready for the update.
Having the Google page experience update meant that a user’s web pages would load faster without any elements affecting user interaction with the page.
There are several ways in which a site’s loading speed can be improved, which include:
● Compress and optimise images
● Reduce the number of apps or plugins installed
● Compress pages
● Use a caching plugin such as WP Rocket or Autoptimize (WordPress) or Core Web Vitals Booster (Shopify)
If you need extra help with improving your website’s Core Web Vitals and Page Experience, then check out our SEO services.
March 2022 Google Product Reviews Update
What was the March 2022 Google Product Reviews Update?
The Google product reviews update was first launched in April 2021. It targeted high-quality product reviews, enhancing Google’s work capacity. In December 2021, a second review was launched, followed by a third review in March 2022. The product reviews update promoted relevant and authoritative content, which helped Google give searchers high-quality product reviews at the top of the search results and push down those with low-quality content.
How to Get Your Website Ready for the March 2022 Google Product Reviews Update
Product reviews that stood out from the competition and ranked highly had a well-detailed and unique structure rather than structured templates.
Google announced the overall focus was to provide its users with insightful analytics and original search content written by experts or enthusiasts who understood the topic well.
When the update was launched the first time, Google recommended that reviews:
● Should express expert knowledge about products, where applicable,
● Give product demos and images of the product coupled with particular content beyond what the manufacturer provided,
● Convey how a product’s performance measured up in various scenarios,
● Expand on what sets a product apart from its competitors,
● Highlight and explain where a product’s certain use or condition is best suited, suggesting comparable products if appropriate,
● Ensure that product benefits and drawbacks were to be discussed based on thorough research,
● Describe the products cycle and releases, improvements, and issues that were to be discussed to give the users room to make purchase decisions,
● Ensure that the main deciding variables for the product’s category were to be identified, as well as the product’s key performance areas,
● Describe the key choices about how a product was designed and how it affected the users beyond what the manufacturer said.
The May 2022 broad core update.
What was the May 2022 broad core update?
This update’s primary purpose was to tweak the entire algorithm. It was not a targeted effort.
To have a holistic understanding of this update, think of it in terms of car maintenance. An engine tuneup maintains overall performance; it isn’t a particular fix meant to identify a specific problem.
Google’s broad core updates impacted all search-engine ranking criteria without specifically targeting any one component in detail. That’s why Google called them “broad.”
How to Get Your Website Ready for the May 2022 Broad Core Update
As Broad Core updates impacted how a website or web page ranked regardless of the industry or niche, site owners were encouraged to pay attention to providing high-quality content.
Google emphasised this in its news release for 2019.
In an interview, Google’s public liaison for search, Danny Sullivan, said that how a core update operates is just like making a list of the “top 100 movies of all time” in 2015 and refreshing that list in 2019. The list will naturally have changes.
He further explained that newer movies would be on the list and would rank higher than the old ones. In the same sense, broad core updates evaluated new pages and content against older ones, allowing more recent, quality content to rise in page rank.
How, then did site owners bounce back from the update? They provided valuable, useful, and comprehensive content to the user regularly. It was also proven that reading Google guidelines for success tips is good.
The August 2022 helpful content update
What was the August 2022 helpful content update?
Google introduced a search algorithm update called the “Helpful Content Update” in August 2022 that aimed to improve the quality of the search results and reduce the prevalence of “low-quality content.”
But then it begged the question of what was considered low-quality content?
According to Google, low-quality content was unoriginal, lacked substance and depth and was written to rank rather than help people.
Google wanted to reduce the number of times a user discovered content in the search results only to realise that it wasn’t helpful and then return to the search results again to find better quality content.
They wanted to particularly limit a website’s ranking potential, especially those that had unhelpful content that did not even relate to the website’s core topic.
How to Get Your Website Ready for the August 2022 Helpful Content Update
If your website got affected by the Helpful Content Update or if you need to avoid future “low-quality content” classification, you need to do the following steps:
1. Review your content creation method
2. Review how automation was used within your content
3. Review who is creating your content
4. Review where your content came from
5. Review who is peer-reviewing your content (if anyone)
6. Review how your content appeared on the search results pages
September 2022 Product Reviews Update
What was the September 2022 Product Reviews Update?
The Product Reviews Update primarily targeted websites that featured product reviews. As a result, if a site contained review-based material, the change in ranking that occurred after the September 2022 Product Reviews Update was most likely the cause.
On the other hand, if a non-review site still noticed changes in its SERP positioning, Google’s September Core Update could have been to blame.
How to Get Your Website Ready for the September 2022 Product Reviews Update?
If your site didn’t rely on reviews, all you needed to do was pay close attention to the main update. However, if you managed a website that included product reviews, you had to pay both updates (September and August) the same amount of attention to reduce your site’s issues.
Google’s John Mueller said that people should pay more attention to the general relevance of a website than to specific problems.
Therefore, whereas Product Reviews updates exclusively targeted product review sites, Core changes affected all websites. This also applied to Google’s changes in September 2022. Therefore, you need to follow Google’s guidelines carefully, bearing in mind the website’s purpose.
The October 2022 spam update?
What was the October 2022 spam update?
Google confirmed that an algorithm update targeted to fight spam was being rolled out to search results worldwide and in all languages. However, according to Google, the October 2022 spam update was expected to take quite some time to roll out completely. (This was quite obvious because it took 11 months of preparation to launch it.)
Often Google released spam updates to maintain the quality of its search engine results. However, unless they specifically target particular types of spam, like the link spam upgrade from August 2021, the precise contents of these changes are rarely publicised.
How to Get Your Website Ready for the October 2022 Spam Update
If you observed a drop in rankings following the October 2022 spam update, it is best to examine your site’s security and look for signs of a possible attack. Generally, when Google hits a site with a spam update, the content gets demoted in the search results or deindexed from Google.
If a spam update has hit your website, Google says it could take months to recover, provided you’re willing to make the necessary changes to comply with Google’s spam policies.
2022 was a rough year for Google updates, but our clients fared pretty well against them. The biggest issues were the August 2022 helpful content update and the Google Page Experience Update for Desktop.
What we always tell our clients is that they should provide high-quality content that benefits the user and don’t go extreme on fancy-looking websites that are slow.