An Overview of Google’s 2022 Ranking Updates

Date: January 24, 2023

2022 was a busy year for Google as they released an abundance of updates. In addition, these updates occurred much closer together than they typically do. Below is a recap of the updates that took place in 2022 that you should be aware of. 

Page Experience Update for Desktop 

The page experience update for desktop was the first Google update of 2022! This update was based on the page experience update for mobile that came out just a few months prior. Essentially, it emphasizes the importance of passing Core Web Vitals on BOTH desktop and mobile as it is a factor Google uses for ranking purposes. To check whether your website is passing Core Web Vitals, visit Google’s Page Speed Insights Report

  • Released: February 22, 2022
  • Complete: March 3, 2022 

Product Reviews Updates

The product reviews update occurred three times throughout 2022. The goal of these updates is to reward high-quality product reviews. What makes a product review high-quality? Well, there are a few factors that Google looks at, such as those written by an expert or topic expert and that have an insightful analysis with research to back up their claims. 

If you don’t have product reviews on your website, this is an update that would not pertain to you. 

  • Released: March 23, 2022, July 27, 2022, September 20, 2022
  • Complete: April 6, 2022, August 2, 2022, September 26, 2022

May Core Algorithm Update 

Towards the end of May, Google released a core algorithm update. A core algorithm update is when significant but broad changes occur within Google’s search algorithms and systems. This can often cause sudden fluctuations, both positive and negative, in keyword positions and overall visibility. 

  • Released: May 25, 2022
  • Complete: June 9, 2022

Helpful Content Updates

Throughout 2022, there were two helpful content updates that were released. As Google strives to provide users with the best possible results, recently they have placed a great emphasis on writing content that is for people, not search engines.  Essentially, the helpful content update rewards websites that create helpful, reliable, and people-first content. If your content is not considered to be helpful then you will be negatively impacted as Google continues to push high-quality content. On the other hand, if you have been and continue to create super helpful content for your target audience, you should see positive results such as higher keyword ranking and/or increased organic impressions and clicks.

  • Released: August 25, 2022, December 5, 2022
  • Complete: September 9, 2022, January 12, 2023

September Core Algorithm Update

In addition to the aforementioned core algorithm update in May, there was another core algorithm update that was released around the middle of September. Rightfully named the September Core Algorithm Update, it seemed relatively inconsequential compared to the May update. In fact, many people throughout the SEO community didn’t believe a core update actually happened due to the low impact it seemed to have across various industries. In short, this update hit fast but, overall, the number of sites that were impacted was much less widespread than core updates of the past. 

  • Released: September 12, 2022
  • Complete: September 26, 2022

Spam Update 

Google has automated systems to pick up on spam constantly. However, when they make notable changes to how these systems work, this is referred to as a spam update. These updates penalize sites that do not comply with Google’s Spam Policies. If you notice a negative impact after a spam update has been released, it is best to review Google’s policy and ensure your website is compliant in order to regain your previous organic position.

  • Released: October 19, 2022
  • Complete: October 21, 2022

Link Spam Update

Link spam updates differ from general spam updates because the link spam update focuses strictly on link spam. 

It is important to note that any potential ranking benefit from links that are deemed spam can’t be regained. Because of this, it’s critical that your backlinking efforts are targeted toward relevant sites with mid to high domain ratings. 

  • Released: December 14, 2022
  • Complete: January 12, 2023

Stay on Top of Algorithm Changes By Working With a Trusted SEO Partner

Since Google releases many of these updates often unannounced and providing few details, it’s important to consult with an SEO professional. The team at 9Sail stays informed on all algorithm updates Google releases and can help should you be negatively impacted. Contact us today to get started and see how the 9Sail team can help!