Google announced the release of its latest broad core update in September 2022. A tweet from Google Search Central mentioned that the rollout would take two weeks. The ranking release history page would be updated once the rollout is complete.
Reactions started pouring in as soon as the Twitter post was up, with people wondering how the new update differs from the May 2022 update and what it means for their website.
Today we released the September 2022 core update. We'll update our ranking release history page when the rollout is complete: https://t.co/sQ5COfdNcb
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) September 12, 2022
For those unaware, Google rolls out core algorithm updates frequently and regularly. Not all updates are announced unless it has a major effect on content discovery.
However, website owners must keep track of Google’s changes to determine what kind of content to produce.
Google has, surprisingly, rolled out two new updates in September 2022. First is the broad core update that is expected to impact how content is perceived.
The latest, which was announced on 20 September, is the product reviews update, aimed to improve the quality of English-language product reviews for customers' benefit.
Often, minor changes in search algorithms can impact search rankings. The September 2022 Core Algorithm Update might turn out to be one of those.
Here, we'll focus on the multiple core updates Google has been rolling out over the last few years and what site owners can take away from them.
Google announces a core algorithm update when it makes changes that can affect published and search marketers on a large scale. The core update may apply to multiple parts of Google's algorithm, which makes it more noticeable to end users.
Updates are slowly rolled out and take a couple of weeks to fully apply to all data centres.
Core updates are more general in nature, so expect them to affect search engine result pages (SERPs) in most languages. But it’s still unclear what exact changes can be made to address a new update.
Core updates matter as they change the way Google crawls web pages and assigns ranks. An update may also affect Google Discover. You might see that your website suddenly starts performing better or worse after an update rollout.
Google often releases updates to try and improve search results. Most aren't major, but all contribute to the performance of the search engine. Core updates are the few major ones that content marketers should track.
These updates warrant actionable information that site owners, content creators, and marketers can use to improve rankings. For a few important rollouts, like the 2018 page speed update, Google gives months of advance notice and guidelines.
If rankings drop, you'll naturally look for solutions, which is why it's a great idea to know about core updates while making content strategies.
The September 2022 broad core update looks at all content types around the world to assign search rankings and determine how valuable the web page is. It is focused on promoting or rewarding high-quality webpages rather than penalising poor performers.
Many expect this global update to impact all regions and languages. Going by core update history, other features, like snippets and Google Discover, will be affected.
Google has yet to announce what percentages of searches have been impacted by this update so far. To take an informed guess, this core update also looks typical and will possibly impact search results quickly and vastly.
The search engine giant has provided information on how you can assess any drop in rankings based on this core update. We'll look at those perspectives later in this article.
As SEO experts would tell you, the core update’s impact becomes noticeable with time. So, we can wait for further reports or the next core update to analyse this one further.
Google rolled out a Helpful Content Update in August 2022, with a people-first approach for search engines. This update was to target content specifically created to rank well rather than provide relevant information to searchers.
Following this, Google's core updates are expected to also focus on high-quality content rather than rewarding gimmicky articles and clickbait.
Sites too focused on SEO often don't have enough helpful content to answer search queries. They are guilty of having misleading titles, keyword stuffing, and promotional material.
Google aims to reduce this to "make it easier to find content that feels authentic and useful in search."
As a result, sites previously performing poorly may see a rise in traffic, whereas high-performing pages with SEO-focused content might witness a dip.
Google updates its algorithms quite often, and most of them have visible results on SERPs. We've already talked about what the latest update entails, but let's analyse what the previous ones mean.
Every time there's an update, Google reiterates that there's "nothing wrong with pages" that underperform after the rollout. It's not that they have violated webmaster guidelines or have been penalised.
In fact, no core update has ever targeted a page or website. These are simply to improve user experience and change how the algorithm assesses content. Due to changes in systems, some obscure websites might do better organically.
Core updates are a way to refresh internal guidelines to cater to searchers better. With numerous pages being published every day, it's natural your site may not be as relevant or up to date today as it was a month back.
That doesn't mean your content is bad or it needs changes at all.
Pages that dropped after a core update might not have specific issues to fix. But if there's a huge dip in performance, Google suggests a few ways to address the concern. That said, you may not see immediate results even after taking these measures.
In most cases, your rankings may improve only after the next core update. Even though there are no specific actions, here are some things you should consider if your website is hit by a core update:
To make things easier, Google provides a list of questions you need to ask yourself if your site underperforms after a core update. These questions are on:
Content questions include topics like:
Expertise questions cover things like:
Presentation and production focus on these:
Now, we come to comparative questions:
If you're unsure about any of the above things, consider running a site audit and fixing these issues.
Google's Quality Raters' Guidelines have great insight into creating impactful content for the search engine. E-A-T in SEO stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These three qualities matter if you want to improve your rankings.
By understanding how raters assess content, you can fix problems with your content. The bottom line is to produce informative and trustworthy content.
In short, focus on providing valuable information to users rather than tricking search engines into ranking your content higher.
If you find out which pages were hit and for which search keywords, evaluate the content based on Google's provided questions. Adding people-first content always works in the long run, so keep at it even if you can't see immediate results.
Google's core updates may have unpredictable results for your website, but there are ways around it. Keep track of all major algorithm updates to ensure you're ahead of your competitors. Also, consider getting professional SEO help to remedy these drops in ranking.