Google confirmed it had released a Core Update in May 2022, the first update of this type since November 2021. There were also what appeared to unconfirmed updates earlier in the month and, if you are willing to trust a Google employee’s facial expressions as evidence, we may have had confirmation that these are also linked to Google’s evaluation of site quality. You can judge yourself by watching John Mueller’s face in one of the videos below.
May 25th – Official Core Update
On May 25th Google published the article May 2022 core update releasing for Google Search on the Google Search Central blog. A link to this article was shared on the @googlesearchc Twitter account which has been confirmed as the preferred channel for official Google Search update news.
The article states, “Several times per year, we make substantial improvements to our overall ranking processes, which we refer to as core updates. Core updates are designed to increase the overall relevancy of our search results and make them more helpful and useful for everyone. Today, we’re releasing our May 2022 core update. It will take about 1-2 weeks to fully roll out.”
Fluctuations were detected in Google Search results from May 26th (see RankRanger screen shot below), but it is likely that more tremors will be felt early June. If you have lost ranking for keywords since May 25th, it is possible that your site has been hit by the May 2022 Core Update. If you are reading this before the update stops rolling out, there is still a possibility that ranking may come back before the end of the roll-out. So be alert to Google announcing the end of the update on the @googlesearchc Twitter account.
Google Update specialist Dr. Marie Haynes (who was not on vacation for this update) has given advice on Twitter with some helpful links.
If you were hit by the May core update, a few things to know:
🔸It's still rolling out. Will take 1-2 weeks
🔸Google says to focus on content and E-A-T
🔸Sometimes the changes can be bc G better recognized the user's intent. That's hard to fix.
A few helpful links in this 🧵
— Dr. Marie Haynes🐧 (@Marie_Haynes) May 30, 2022
Marie is cited in Google’s article What site owners should know about Google’s core updates as a good source of information on improving site quality. She suggests that website owners affected by this update should read Google’s article first to better understand E-A-T and Core Updates. She also points readers to the Quality Rater Guidelines document published by Google and further resources published by herself, Glen Gabe, Lily Ray, plus a video recorded with Barry Schwartz and John Mueller for Duda on May 26th – just a day after the May 2022 Core Update. You can also re-read our article Optimizing WordPress sites for Google EAT from August 2020.
Google Updates, Announced and Unannounced. What You Need to Know https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGw8pEzLsEw
Fluctuations in search results, unconfirmed updates in May
Before the official Core Update was announced, tools tracking search results also showed fluctuations around May 1st, May 8th and May 16th. These updates are frequently reported by Barry Schwartz in Search Engine Roundtable as unconfirmed updates and they are rarely linked to a specific ranking factor.
RankRanger’s Rank Risk Index https://www.rankranger.com/rank-risk-index
In the “Google Updates, Announced and Unannounced,” video mentioned above, Marie Haynes and Barry Schwartz failed to quiz Google’s John Mueller on these unconfirmed updates. However, it is interesting to note that on 23 minutes, Marie shared a tweet from Danny Sullivan (also from Google) who replied to a question about unconfirmed updates with a link to What site owners should know about Google’s core updates. As Marie speculates that unconfirmed updates may be very similar to Core Updates and based in the evaluation of site quality, John Mueller appears to nod vigorously to confirm what she is saying.
In fact, John Mueller talks very little in this video. Most information he provides is through facial expressions as either Marie or Barry state opinion on Google updates. Maybe we are clutching at straws, but John’s nodding is the closest thing we have to an explanation so far on what causes turbulence in search results outside of official updates.
Death of Bill Slawski
The “Google Updates, Announced and Unannounced,” video also allowed the participants to pay tribute to Bill Slawski who sadly passed away on May 17th. Bill was famous in SEO circles for analyzing Google’s patents to try and explain how search worked and why search engine results changed with new advancements in search technology.
We're devastated to share that our colleague and dear friend, @bill_slawski has passed away. Words simply cannot express our sadness. We are forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Bill. We’ll share much more info and arrangements as it comes available to us. pic.twitter.com/5mD6jqw7XR
— Go Fish Digital (@GoFishDigital) May 19, 2022
Google videos releases in May
Google released more new videos for website owners in May.
In How to optimize images for your ecommerce website (6 tips) Alan Kent gives tips on making images fast and efficient. The 6 tips are: Eliminate image Cumulative Layout Shift, correctly size your images, use the best image file format, compress images appropriately, cache images in the browser and correctly sequence your image downloads.
In The latest in Google Search for site owners session from Google IO, John Mueller gives news for site owners about the Search Analytics and URL inspection API provided by Google Search Console. Dikla Cohen gives news on new Google Search Console reports, including a new Video Page Indexing report due soon.
In Why do Search Console graphs fluctuate? John Mueller gives a quick answer to a user question about analyzing results in Google Search Console.
Google announces changes to sitemaps
On May 6th Google published the article Spring cleaning: some sitemap extension tags are going away to announce that it was simplifying the structure of sitemaps. With this change they have removed tags and attributes for images and videos that it had previously featured in the Google sitemap documentation.
SEOPress removed the deprecated tags in Image and Video XML sitemaps in version 5.7 of the plugin released on May 12th. Thumbs up from John Mueller please 😊.