Google rolled out one of its notorious core algorithm updates on May 25, appropriately titled the May 2022 Core Update. These updates happen several times a year, but always make publishers and site owners nervous because they can cause web traffic volatility. Google says that core updates are implemented to increase the overall relevancy of its search results.
Historically, the search engine will not divulge details about its core updates, but will only confirm the existence of a core update in anticipation of some sites experiencing changes in traffic patterns.
In fact, if your site does experience a dip in traffic, it can be hard to determine what’s wrong. In its statement about the May 2022 Core Update, Google said, “Some sites may note drops or gains during them. We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don't try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.”
Google also notes that core updates don’t target specific pages or sites, but instead change how its systems assess content overall. This can even cause some sites with poor web traffic to experience improvements.
\u201cToday, we're releasing a broad core update, as we do several times per year. This update is called the May 2022 core update. Learn more: https://t.co/7kFklwdkAb\u201d— Google Search Central (@Google Search Central) 1653493546
Despite Google’s vagueness, the SEO community will usually try to identify patterns in web traffic to gain insight into what kind of content or sites could be impacted by each core update. The May 2022 Core Update had a larger-than-usual impact on SEO, according to search expert Barry Schwartz. Within 24 hours of the update’s rollout, site owners were complaining about dips in traffic.
Schwartz was able to put together key facts about the update over at SEO Roundtable:
- Name: Google May 2022 Broad Core Update
- Launched: May 25, 2022 at around 11:30 p.m. ET
- Rollout: It will take about one-to-two weeks to roll out.
- Targets: It looks at all types of content.
- Penalty: It is not a penalty; it promotes or rewards great web pages.
- Global: This is a global update impacting all regions, in all languages.
- Impact: Google would not say what percentage of queries or searches were impacted by this update.
- Discover: Core updates impact Google Discover and other features, like featured snippets and more.
- Recover: If you were hit by this, then you will need to look at your content and see if you can do better with Google's core update advice. (Read more about that here.)
- Refreshes: Google will do periodic refreshes to this algorithm, but may not communicate those updates in the future. Maybe this is what we saw over the past couple of weeks around all those unconfirmed Google updates.
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