The roll-out of the May 2022 Core Update officially started on May 25th and ended on June 9th but we are left wondering what caused the massive changes in search results immediately before and a after that time frame. Was it something to do with Twitter removing NOFOLLOW from its outbound links? Was it tremors from the Core Update? Or was it a completely different algorithmic update that Google refuses to comment on?
We discuss these theories below, but we also have a look at some new SEO optimization advice from Google for ecommerce sites.
June 9th – End of the May 2022 Core Update
As we predicted last month, results in Google remained volatile well after the May 25th launch date. Tools like the SEMRush Sensor (which measure changes in ranking on Google for a large sample of keywords) showed peaks of volatility on May 26th May 29th, June 1st, June 5th, June 9th and then again on June 15th – which should not be linked to the Core Update, but many suggest was.
Unconfirmed updates or Core Update tremors
In the article Google May 2022 Core Update – Big Tremors After It Was Complete, Barry Schwartz reminds us that SERP tracking tools detected rank changes 2 days before the May Core Update officially launched and he suggested that volatility detected afterwards could be “tremors” felt after the update. Much like tremors that are felt after an earthquake.
He wrote the article on June 13th and volatility continued to be measured on June 15th, June 16th and then again June 23rd and June 28th. If these are unrelated to the May 2022 Core Update, then they must surely be linked to another unconfirmed update from Google. And a fairly big one.
Barry also remarked that he has not seen such an important reaction to a Google update for a long time and shared a lot of stories of websites suffering badly from it. It is worth remembering that after each update, some sites loose ranking, traffic and revenue overnight.
It is why it is vitally important for Google to share clear information on when different updates start and end. So that website owners can better understand why they lost traffic and what to do about it.
Are Google updates global?
In a new AskGooglebot video, John Mueller answers the question, “When a new algorithm update rolls out, does it roll out in all countries? Does it start in English-speaking countries and then spread to the rest of the world?”
Without using those actual words, John replied, “It depends”. He says that Google tries to roll out most algorithm changes globally, but for some major updates it may test them in one language or one country first before rolling them out globally.
One example may be the Product Review update. Launched in April 2021 and updated in December 2021 and March 2022, the Product Review update has only been released in English so far. Back in December 2021, John Mueller had misleadingly suggested that update had been released globally, but this was not the case. We guess that there is a strong possibility that this update will be rolled out to other languages soon.
Twitter removed NOFOLLOW links
On June 10th, Chris Silver Smith tweeted news that Twitter had removed NOFOLLOW attributes from links in posts and profile pages. NOFOLLOW attributes can be added to links individually or to all links on a page using the ROBOTS meta tag. For example, WordPress sites can use SEOPress to manage the ROBOTS meta globally or on individual posts.
SEO folks, you might be interested to know that Twitter is apparently no longer using rel="nofollow". So, profiles, tweets, and other pages on Twitter may now contain followed links!🔗‼️ Observations🧵👇 pic.twitter.com/P5ldLSfaxq
— Chris Silver Smith (@si1very) June 10, 2022
Tweet by Chris Silver Smith
In theory, removing NOFOLLOW meant that links from Twitter to other websites would be indexed by Google and would be included ranking algorithms – via PageRank. Still in theory, pages with lots of links from Twitter could see improved ranking following this change. Read our tutorial The Importance of Backlinks for more information on backlinks and PageRank.
In practice, though, Google almost certainly ignores links from social networks when calculating PageRank whether those links have NOFOLLOW attributes or not. This is simply because it is too easy to generate links on mass from social networks and including those links in PageRank would make it too east to manipulate search results.
Neither Google nor Twitter has commented on the change, and it now appears that NOFOLLOW attributes are back in links from Twitter. We don’t think that this change was related to volatility in search results after June 9th but without confirmation from Google, that remains open to speculation.
Google Search News Video – June 2022
John Mueller also featured in a new Google Search News video released in June. Although the video was released late June, it covered a lot of news from previous months including the May 2022 Core Update, Google I/O held in May, the Search Central Virtual Unconference held in April and the Google Webspam report released in April.
It did however also include announcement of new episodes in the Ecommerce Essentials series released in June, including a video dedicated to ecommerce SEO that we have decided to focus on below.
Google Search News June ’22
Ecommerce essentials SEO tips video
Two videos and one short were released in the Ecommerce Essentials series on YouTube in June.
The two long-form videos were “How to make your ecommerce website mobile friendly (8 Tips)” and “How to SEO optimize your ecommerce website (8 Tips)”. Both may be of interest even if you don’t have an ecommerce site, but we will focus on the latter, SEO optimization, video.
How to SEO optimize your ecommerce website (8 Tips)
In this video, Alan Kent gives some good, basic SEO tips to ecommerce site owners including some new recommendations on setting URLs for product variants that were also published in an updated version of the Google Search Console documentation in June 2022.
Alan’s 8 SEO tips for ecommerce sites are
- Get the technical basics right
- Check the breadth of your content
- Ensure that you markup product variants correctly
- Preserve deal page URLs
- Performance matters
- Be patient
- Consider expert help
- It’s all about users
If you use WooCommerce to manage your ecommerce site, you may also be interested in our ebook WooCommerce SEO: the ultimate guide. This helps you get the most out of your WooCommerce site with step-by-step tutorials, real-life case studies, and more to help you maximize its full potential.