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magento & ecommerce

Google Search Algorithm 2022: What's New?

Keeping up with the changes to Google's search algorithm is essential to improving your SEO performance. Since the beginning of 2022, the company has released several updates aimed at leveling the playing field in the search landscape. The goal is to enhance the rank of pages that have performed well during a certain period. Your website may have benefited from the patches, but competitor pages might have also surpassed it if you posted irrelevant content.

If so, you need to understand the new features of the Google search algorithm in 2022 to find out how to increase your score.

Core May Update

The core update was released in May to streamline the search experience and help users stay on top of the internet's volatile nature. Google claims that the patch doesn't relate to any specific site. Rather, the update should alter the way some pages in terms of organic results.

Here are the general guidelines on the core update:

  • The patch should lead to apparent impacts, such as drops and rises in SEO rankings.
  • The updates are broad and designed to enhance search result relevance to make them useful for everyone.
  • Sites that drop in SEO rankings aren't penalized. They're re-evaluated against other content published after the previous update.
  • Google recommends polishing your content to minimize the impact of the core update.
  • Additional core changes may spring up every couple of months. This should help websites recover between updates.
  • Improving your content doesn't guarantee better performance. However, not doing anything and remaining static is a sure-fire way to downgrade your rankings.

Overall, webmasters who have optimized their pages since previous updates should see a rise in SEO rankings. Conversely, if you've left your site unattended, your website is likely to be outperformed by competitors with better content.

Product Review Updates From March

Another algorithm update you should be aware of is the change to product reviews. This has been the third patch since 2021 that intends to award pages that provide in-depth reviews based on their first-hand experience.

Google wants to ensure that reviews come from users with extensive research and expert knowledge about products. They maintain that templated content that touches upon the basic features of services or products is of no interest to the users. Although the company doesn't want to penalize those websites due to irrelevant, low-quality posts, they want pages with better reviews to take over. After all, that's what the audience looks for when looking up something – a comprehensive evaluation.

The first update in this series was launched in April of last year. Another one was released in December, and each patch had specific ranking criteria. The same holds for the latest product review update. Here's what your page needs to include to be considered an authentic review:

  • Advantages or disadvantages of your product.
  • Any differences from the previous version.
  • First-hand insights from users who have digitally or physically used your product.
  • Evidence that demonstrates how to use the product.
  • The reviewer's perspective on the product, which shouldn't include just the manufacturer's description. It should be backed by visuals, graphs, and links.
  • Similar products, what makes your reviews product special.

The update has only impacted English queries, but Google plans to expand the patch to multiple languages. This initiative is part of their vision to help internet users obtain reliable and trustworthy information in any language.

Google Search Algorithm 2022

Since the update, numerous websites have experienced volatility in their rankings. If you've been hit by the change, here's what you should ask yourself to determine what you did wrong:

  • Is your review done by an expert with relevant industry or product experience?
  • Are you adding value to your review with benefits and drawbacks to help your audience make an informed buying decision?
  • Did you perform a thorough quantitative analysis by testing the product's performance in various conditions?
  • Was the product compared with similar items on the market? Did you mention what makes your reviewed product unique?
  • Did you talk about the improvements the manufacturer implemented compared to previous versions?
  • Did you highlight the factors that could influence the user's decision to buy a different product?
  • Did you incorporate graphs, videos, images, or other proof to support your claims?
  • Are you presenting your customers with products from more than one seller or manufacturer to convey objectivity?

Page Experience Update

As the name suggests, the page experience update was meant to optimize the page experience for your audience. It was rolled out to PCs between February 22nd and March 3rd, whereas the smartphone version took two months longer to release.

It's been a while since the update was launched. As a result, you can already accurately gauge the change on your SEO rankings. Google's built-in tools enable you to assess your score easily. For instance, the Google Search Console features a comprehensive report that evaluates your performance based on several criteria. If it shows your website in the yellow or red, the page was probably negatively affected by the update.

In this case, you want to determine why your page has a poor experience score. Evaluate your website according to the following criteria:

  • Core vitals, such as Link Control Protocol (LCP), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and First Input Delay (FID) - Among other things, these metrics indicate the responsiveness of your website.
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) – Websites with HTTPS are far more secure than pages HTTP pages. It features robust authentication to minimize the risk of DNS or BGP hijacking, on-path attacks, and domain spoofing.
  • No intrusive interstitials – These elements prevent your users from seeing the content clearly. Popup ads are the most common example.

If your page doesn't meet the above criteria, it won't gain from the experience update on your desktop or mobile.

Keep in mind that a decrease in ranking doesn't mean Google is punishing your website for not complying with the requirements. The company doesn't penalize such pages.

However, it does mean that other sites that meet the criteria rank above you due to a more streamlined experience. The only way to regain the position and remain competitive is to improve the score by addressing the three key metrics above.

One of the tools that can help you do so is Core Web Vitals. It uses real-life data to tell you how your website performs in terms of each criterion. Once you identify your weaknesses, rectifying them shouldn't be too difficult.

While advancing your page experience is helpful, it's not everything. Your site won't automatically climb the SEO ladder if you're in the green, and it won't automatically plummet if the score is in the red. Publishing relevant content is much more important.

No More Universal Analytics

Another major Google update is that they plan on terminating Universal Analytics in 2023. Although this is the most widely-used version, it will stop collecting data next year. Hence, you'll need to switch to GA4 (Google Analytics 4), the most recent iteration of this tool. The information from the current version won't be transferred to the new system, so make the change as quickly as possible.

The sooner you implement the new analytics, the faster you'll be able to compare the results of the two platforms. But more importantly, you'll get used to tracking online traffic sources on time. This is crucial to running your online company in the fast-paced modern marketing environment and lets you determine if your strategies are fruitful.

Finding Locations Through Images

If users are looking for a location with Google but can't remember its name, they can now look it up using photos. The search engine shows several images of the area, allowing them to choose the one that resembles the desired place the most. The company is monitoring this feature closely and updating it accordingly, but it's already incredibly beneficial for businesses.

If you have a physical store, such as a hospitality venue or shop, it can help customers revisit the place. They can also share the location with other people, so you can expect more clients.

Google Search Algorithm

Business Rebranding

Google has rebranded the Google My Business section to Google Business Profile. The feature allows you to update your profile directly using the products your business already has. Plus, you can now post, add images, update your business information from Maps and search results, and respond to reviews. This gives you a convenient way to refresh your page, evaluate your online presence, and improve your engagement with listings.

However, the most impressive update to Google's business tool might have been the addition of a new product check box. The company now lets you choose the product you want to promote the most using the "mark as special" field. Once checked, users will be able to see the product at the top of your page in search results.

The Changes Work in Your Favor

Google has rolled out an array of features that can help your business. Some of the algorithm changes may impact you negatively at first, but it's not the end of the world. On the contrary, it shows you need to update your content to make it more appealing to your audience. The more relevant your website is, the more visitors you'll attract to the page.

By interactivated • on June 30, 2022

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