SEO in 2022 – Google has Changed Big Time!
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over our years in digital marketing, it’s that Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. It can be hard to keep up with all the latest changes, especially the huge changes that have altered the algorithm as we head into 2022.
We’ve lost count this year as to how many times Google has tweaked its algorithm. Experts put this number at 500 changes a year, but thankfully the majority of these changes don’t add to the digital marketing landscape at large. Despite this, some updates are still significant to those keeping their eye on best practice for SEO (search engine optimisation).
It feels impossible to keep up with these changes, especially if you don’t have someone else managing your SEO optimisation, but the truth is that these changes are designed to better user interfacing, so even if you aren’t managing your own SEO services, you should still be aware of the updates coming around and stay ahead of the curve.
Top Google Algorithmic Changes
From latest to oldest, and from most relevant to least relevant, here are the most recent algorithmic changes you should be aware of as we head to 2022.
Spam Update - Valid From November 3, 2021
What Google said: “As part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems. This November 2021 spam update should be fully rolled out within a week. We encourage sites to follow our best practice for Search,” Google on Twitter.
Why it matters: This update is designed to better user experience and encourage page creators to avoid Black Hat (spammy and penalty giving techniques) while encouraging best practice. This means that Google is now being harsher on spammy content, this is content that is of low quality, with numbers too high to be created by a human. Results that are driven by low-quality backlinks will also be impacted by this update.
Page Title Rewrites - Valid From August 16, 2021
What Google said: Last week, we introduced a new system of generating titles for web pages. Before this, titles might change based on the query issued. This generally will no longer happen with our new system. This is because we think our new system is producing titles that work better for documents overall, to describe what they are about, regardless of the particular query.
Why it matters: Back in 2012 Google used a title tag system that now seems too long, too keyword rich and too geared towards the repetitive language to rank high. Now, Google encourages a focus on great HTML title tags. They will favour descriptive and concise text that avoids keyword stuffing, without repetitive elements or overly long title tags. With this in mind, you can start changing your existing titles, or keep this mind going forward.
Link Spam Update - Valid From July 28, 2021
What Google Said: “in our continued efforts to improve the quality of the search results, we’re launching a new link spam-fighting change today — which we call the “link spam update.” This algorithm update, which will roll out across the next two weeks, is even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages. Sites taking part in link spam will see changes in Search as those links are re-assessed by our algorithms.”
Why it matters: Since penguin 4.0 was released in 2016, Google has been nullifying spam links by simply ignoring them. This is different from a penalty and is still in place. This means that if your ranking isn’t going anywhere, you may not have received a Google penalty, instead of receiving a nullification. Once again, this update is meant to better best practice, and places a huge emphasis on organic links, this means that Google now wants you to bring in new links over time. We recommend focusing on best practice and creating high-quality content and improving user interfacing without manipulating links and creating your links over the span of a few weeks or months instead of link dumping.
Core Update - Valid From July 1, 2021
What Google Said: “Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our search results. Most aren’t noticeable but help us incrementally continue to improve.
Sometimes, an update may be more noticeable. We aim to confirm such updates when we feel there is actionable information that site owners, content producers or others might take in relation to them.”
Why it matters: The latest core update from Google is important as these updates happen only once or twice a year. This means that your site can see some interesting new developments due to this update, and you should be aware of this going forward.
This update has a huge focus on good content, highlighting the importance of well written, well created, and organic content. This means that content shouldn’t all be uploaded at once, Google would prefer organic uploading of new content. In addition to this Google is placing more emphasis on the headlines and page titles, preferring less exaggerated and shocking titles, and favouring well written, accurate titles. The way Google says to judge this is to ask yourself ‘would I pass this on to a friend?’ If the answer is yes, you’re on the right path.
If your ranking starts to decline, you might want to investigate your content. If it is well researched, well written and easily verified, it will do well. Google also states that they want the content to display well and be readable across multiple devices. So make sure your content works on laptops, mobile phones and tablets.
It seems like a lot of work to keep on top of Google’s Algorithm changes, but in reality, best practice never goes out of style. As long as you make websites that do not incorporate spammy aspects, great original content and top design features, you shouldn’t drop down the ranks.
If you want to move up the ranks, however, keeping on top of these changes is what will set you apart from the competition.