The May 2022 Google Core Update is upon us and there's been a lot of talk online with many site owners experiencing big changes in their rankings.
These broad, core updates can usually take a week or 2 at least to roll out though… So it’s still too early to tell how the SERPs will look once the smoke clears.
But among the madness, sadness, and occasional win, we wanted to find some positive and actionable tips. And luckily there are some hopeful findings that we’re happy to share.
But first some let's look at just some of the things the SEO community have been saying about this update.
Some Chatter About The May 2022 Core Update So Far
- Source: Twitter
- Source: Twitter
- Source: Niche Pursuits Facebook Group
As you can see the results are all over the place.
And no one really knows what’s being targeted and why some sites are growing while others are being destroyed.
In fact, we usually don't even know when they actually start. And there were unconfirmed reports that it may have started as early as May 16, 2022.
But what we do know is that when a site gets hit, it can kinda feel like this:
But it's not all doom and gloom.
And some of us have enjoyed a boost in rankings.
What we wanted to find though are some high level trends that the update is possibly showing.
Things found from an experienced SEO with access to tons of data that could potentially help us adapt, share hope, and ideally mitigate risk from future updates. And that's exactly what we did.
Some interesting findings from the May 2022 Google Update
Spencer found a great Twitter thread from Malte Landwehr, head of SEO at one of Europe’s biggest eCommerce companies idealo.
He does a great job of digging around Semrush and highlighting some really interesting and important findings from Google USA that will help keep us focused and motivated.
Here's a sum up of some of things he found.
Video-Content Will Continue to Grow
We've reported on the rise of short form video recently. One of the reasons, is that it's becoming increasingly apparent that in many niches, if you hope to rank, you will need to produce video content.
But not just any content. Ideally, short bite sized videos that deliver information in an easily digestible package.
Google has probably seen that when it includes video shorts in the SERPs, the engagement tends to be higher on short-form video than other forms of content – at least for certain topics.
And Malte found that basically all video-focused sites won big in the update.
TikTok grew by a shocking 90% and YouTube by 23%. And in total, Malte reports that video sites grew by 25%.
Specialists Beat Generalists
This has the potential to be great news especially for eCommerce sites and hopefully affiliates.
We'll have to wait and see if in fact these finding stick but it appears that ‘generalist' news sites have lost some ranking.
What Malte found was that big, broad news publishers that typically try to rank for everything (from breaking news to which toaster you should buy) lost on average 4% of their rankings.
This could be a huge win for everyone tired of these sites taking advantage of their high DR to outrank independent affiliates trying to escape their 9 to 5s.
This loss is believed to be a lack of E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) from the news sites to reasonably rank for certain consumer terms.
And if this trend continues, this could be an excellent ‘leveling of the playing field' for niche site owners focused on building their topical authority.
And it also relates to Malte's other finding which is also very important for site owners of all shapes and sizes to prioritize.
Matching Search Intent is Key
Above all else, Google appears interested in satisfying the needs of its users. This is how they can keep people coming back and feeding them ads.
And so ranking pages that match the search intent is key to their business.
What Malte found was that Wiki, Dictionary, Lyric, and Stock photo type sites all experienced volatility, mostly losing rankings.
As Malte suggests, this is likely the result of Google improving its understanding of the intent of searchers. And (hopefully) prioritizing quality pages that match the intent more than ranking any old site with a high DR.
Wiki and dictionary sites didn't lose quite as much as lyrics and stock photo sites but they did hopefully highlight an evolution in Google's use of ‘filler' results. (Those results that don't necessary match intent but are vaguely similar and have strong backlink profiles.)
This could be hopeful for anyone worried about the recent news that dictionaries are getting into affiliate marketing.
But Merriam Webster (one of the dictionaries now publishing affiliate content) did gain 1% in ranking. And maybe for affiliate-related terms 🥴.
May 2022 Google Core Update Positives
So to sum it all up, some of the positives we can take from these findings by Malte Landwehr are:
- Video content (and short-form videos) should definitely be added to your content plan.
- Focus on strengthening your brand and expertise in your niche.
- Always try to match search intent by any means necessary.
These don't break any new ground but hopefully these messages have been helpful.
And if you'd like to learn more about core updates and ways to avoid issues, check out this post from Google Search Central.