On June 9, 2022 at nearly 4 in the morning, Google Search Central tweeted 9 little words that could have big implications for your business:
“The May 2022 core update rollout is now complete.”
Wait a minute – core update? When did this happen? It’s a fair question – after all, the May 2022 Google core update was announced in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it article just 9 days prior to its completion. With the start of the busy summer season ramping up just as this announcement was made, it’s safe to say you’re in good company if you were one of the business owners or SEO experts who blinked and missed it.
Nonetheless, this was a big update, and one that rolled out fairly quickly. Because of this, some websites may have experienced some residual tremors that caused their SEO to take a hit. Google updates its algorithm thousands of times per year – 12 times per day on average – so you know an update is bound to make waves if they provide advanced warning. If you’ve noticed some seemingly unexplainable fluctuations in your search analytics recently, the May 2022 Google core update could very well have been the culprit.
So what is the May 2022 Google core update exactly, and what kind of impact might it have on your business, your website and your SEO?
What is the May 2022 Google Core Update?
Unlike flashier past Google core updates like Penguin and Panda, the May 2022 Google core update didn’t target any specific area of SEO to improve. Instead, it was a more general update that impacted the way Google’s algorithm processes and interprets content on websites. Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm to ensure that it is providing the most relevant and accurate results possible for searchers, and this update was simply another way they are working to improve the user experience.
While we don’t know all of the details about how exactly this update works or what factors it takes into account, we do know that Google’s primary focus with this update – as always – is on the searcher. They want to make sure that when someone types a query into the search bar, they are getting results that are relevant to what they are looking for. More relevant results mean happier searchers, which in turn means more people using Google as their primary search engine.
Sounds pretty vague, right? And it is – potentially by design. With the upcoming Google Multisearch expansion on the horizon, it is possible that this update is simply laying the groundwork for something larger to come in later months. Google usually launches 2-4 core updates each year, so it’s safe to assume this isn’t the last of them for 2022.
How Does it Compare to the November 2021 Google Core Update?
If you’re familiar with the November 2021 Google core update, it probably isn’t for a good reason. The November 2021 core update has a reputation for being especially troublesome from an SEO perspective. But is that reputation truly deserved from a data standpoint, or did it just seem worse than usual because it happened right at the start of the busiest shopping season of the year?
It was deserved.
Let’s take a look at SEMrush’s SERO volatility report from November 2021. On the day the core update was launched, Google’s SERP volatility scored very high at a 9.3. This volatility score peaked and valleyed as the core update was put into effect, but the peaks were especially high and the valleys only added to the tumultuous nature of this update.
Let’s compare this to the May 2022 Google core update. On the day the core update was launched, Google’s SERP volatility scored high at a 5.6. This score stayed has stayed relatively consistent, barring a few short-lived very high peaks.
At first glance, this may look worse – after all, the November core update had a few days in the green zone, while this one has none. While this is true, it’s important to note where the volatility score is currently trending. As of June 14, 2022, the SERP volatility is on a downward trend nearing normal levels. Compare that to the chart following the November 2021 core update, and you’ll see that the volatility score was still trending high, and trending upwards. While it is still to be seen how much and how long the May 2022 Google core update will impact SEO, their latest SERP volatility scores suggest the initial waves may have flattened already.
How Could This Update Impact SEO?
The May 2022 Google core update has been called a “softening” of the November 2021 update, which is good news for those who were hit hard by the latter. But even if this update is less severe, it could still have a big impact on your website and your SEO strategy. Here are a few potential impacts:
Ranking Changes: The most obvious impact of the update will be changes in rankings. For some websites, this could mean a sudden drop in traffic as they lose their spot on the first page of results. Others may see a gradual decline as their positions slowly slide down the SERP. Still, others may see a boost in traffic as they move up in the rankings. As you can see, the impact the May 2022 update could have on your ranking is rather unpredictable.
Traffic Fluctuations: In addition to changes in rankings, you may also see fluctuations in your website’s traffic. These could be short-term spikes or dips as the update is rolled out, or they could be long-term shifts in traffic levels depending on how your website is affected by the update. If you notice any changes to your traffic, don’t panic immediately – fluctuations are to be expected with any Google update, but they are something to keep an eye on. They may bounce back on their own, or it may require some adjustments to your SEO strategy to improve your traffic again.
Algorithm Adjustments: As Google refines its algorithm in response to the update, you may see changes in the way your website is ranked for certain keywords. This could manifest as a sudden change in rankings for a particular keyword, or it could be a more general shift in the way your website is ranked for all keywords. This may require you to modify your keyword and/or content creation strategy to make up ground where you may have dropped in the rankings for certain keywords.
Local SEO: The May 2022 update will also impact local SEO, though the exact extent of the impact is not yet known. This update could cause changes in local search results, impacting both the rankings of local businesses and the visibility of their listings. It’s important to keep an eye on your local SEO ranking and make adjustments as needed if you notice your website slipping on a SERP for the locations you are targeting.
Is Your Business Ready for the May 2022 Google Core Update?
Trick question – there’s no way to truly be “ready” for a Google update, especially one as large and unpredictable as a core update. But there are some things you can do to help your website weather the storm, and perhaps even come out ahead. By keeping an eye on your website’s data and being prepared to adjust your SEO strategy, you can help ensure that your website comes out of the May 2022 update unscathed – or even improve its position on a SERP.
As the May 2022 Google core update continues to roll out, we’ll be keeping an eye on its impact and sharing any new information that we learn. In the meantime, we recommend that you keep an eye on your website’s traffic and rankings, and be prepared to adjust your SEO strategy as needed.
Have you noticed any changes on your website since the May 2022 update? If you have – or even if you’re just looking to be proactive – you’re in the right place. Our team of SEO experts have seen their fair share of Google core updates over the years, and have the tools, insights and experience needed to help you fine-tune your website’s SEO strategy and make sure that your website is in the best possible position to navigate any algorithm changes. Higher rankings and more traffic are only a click away – contact us to get started.