Google rarely relaxes. They often announce new algorithm updates, new tools, and changes to how they judge and reward websites. If you work with websites, marketing, or SEO, it’s essential to keep updated with the latest news from Google. Therefore, we collect them in this post and summarize the biggest, most important ones every month.
Table of Contents
- Google December news 2022
- Google November news 2022
- Google October news 2022
- Google news September 2022
- Google news May 2022
- Google news April 2022
- Google news March 2022
- Google news February 2022
- Page Experience for desktop rolling out
- Pages can be un-indexed forever
- How Google understands infinite scrolling
- Google news January 2022
Google December news 2022
It’s hard to believe how quickly it has gone, yet the year 2022 is already in the books. Hence, we believe right in time to review the Google updates from December 2022 and highlight the most important Google improvements from 2022.
E-E-A-T – Google has added the extra “E” for experience
The concept of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) to create content and evaluate whether information published on your website is actually relevant, is already well-known in the SEO community. However, in December Google added an extra “E” for experience to its assessment. “E-E-A-T or Double-E-A-T” is now part of Google’s search raters guide, which can help creators write original and helpful content.
It is important to note that helpful information can come in a variety of forms. Some tactics to showcase expertise might include videos, links, or author profiles in your blog. Moreover, Google understands expertise if a creator has actually used the product or service or has visited a place and can thus provide first-hand experience.
Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that the guidelines are used by Google’s search raters to evaluate the performance of its search ranking systems and hence, do not directly influence ranking.
Finally, according to Google, the update really aims to “better capture the nuances of how people look for information and the diversity of quality information that exists in the world.”
The Link Spam Update – it’s meaning and impact on link building
Next to the above-mentioned update, Google introduced the December 2022 link spam update. By leveraging SpamBrain, the AI-based spam-prevention system used by Google, spammy links that were obtained for artificial manipulation of search engines only can be detected and neutralized. Not only can the system detect spammy links but also find sites buying links, and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.
The update is being rolled out globally, in all languages, during the coming two weeks. Thus, the Link Spam Update might influence rankings, as spammy links are nullified and credits passed on by these are lost.
Google establishes the Google Search Status Dashboard
The Google Search Status Dashboard is a page that provides status information on the services that are part of Google Search. Among these are for example Crawling and Indexing. In a calendar format, users can now view the current status of the services.
With the introduction of the tool, Google aims to communicate more transparently about widespread issues affecting a substantial amount of sites or search users.
Introducing the Visual Elements Gallery
The Visual Elements gallery is a guide including visual components to the most common user interface elements of Google web search. The guide showcases what the different elements look like, explains their names, and whether you can optimize your website for each element.
The gallery includes the most common elements that are likely to show up on the search results such as:
- Text results
- Video and Image results
- Exploration features
Google Search Central’s highlights and review of 2022
With 2023 being only a few days old, we thought the time might be right to look back and reflect upon the Google updates in 2022. Google has confirmed several updates in its algorithms during 2022:
Page experience update in February 2022
The Page experience update from February was designed and launched to improve the desktop browsing experience.
Product reviews update in March 2022
In March Google announced the first of three product review updates that would be rolled out throughout the year. The ultimate goal of the product review update was to credit sites providing detailed specifications and descriptions of items, showed expertise, and linked to a range of merchants to enhance consumers’ choices and compared products against their competitors’ products.
Core update in May 2022
The winner of the core update in may were major names such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Youtube, likely due to the product review update that was rolled out earlier last year.
Product reviews update in July 2022
A little tweak to the Product review update in march was announced. Only little impact was noticed and it left many sites untouched.
Helpful content update in August 2022
The update resulted and will result in significant changes to the way how websites operate. In the future, sites offering helpful and consumer-focused content will be rewarded in Google’s search results.
Core update September 2022
The update counterbalanced some of the damage caused in May. Big e-commerce brands continue to be successful. However, the trend for promoting videos was reversed and YouTube took a very hard hit.
Spam update in October 2022
The Spam update was an extension of the helpful content update and aims to identify spammy sites and filter these out.
Helpful content update in December 2022
In December the helpful content update was updated. Its impact will become visible soon.
Google November news 2022
Google introduces an optimised way to show products with Search Console
With the goal of supporting merchants, Google introduces the section Shopping tab listings in Search Console. The tab aims to support online store owners to grow their business and easily display their products across Google.
As an eligible online store owner, all you need to do is to connect your Merchant Center account to the Search Console. From there, keep your product structured data up to date and get products listed quickly.
The shopping listing tab will be gradually rolled out over the next few weeks.
Google Introduces New Search Labels For Coupons & Promos
A recent survey by Google found that 43% of Americans, who are planning to shop for the holidays, are looking for deals and sales more than last year. In order to help searchers in finding the best available prices, Google is introducing new features for coupons and promos.
Users will now be able to see items that offer a coupon code and save it for when they are ready to make the purchase. Furthermore, a comparison tool enables you to view deals across different retailers side-by-side. Lastly, Google’s price insight feature enables searchers to compare prices of a product across retailers and thus, helps shoppers to make more informed buying decisions.
Google Publishes Guide To Current & Retired Ranking Systems
Google uses various automated ranking systems in order to rank hundreds of billions of web pages and present them in the most relevant way to its users. So far, new systems and updates to these were communicated through blogs and other publications. With the introduction of the new guide to Google Search ranking systems, Google creates a page with all the relevant information on updates in one place. In doing so, it should become easier to keep track of the ever changing landscape of ranking systems.
Google also made some clarifications in regard to terminology, as some confusion around the use of system and update became prevalent. While a system is now defined as something that constantly operates in the background, like the helpful content system, an update refers to a one-time improvement, i.e. an update of the helpful content system.
Google Updates Review Snippet Structured Data
The aim of this update is to standardise the way numbers are written within the structured data code for reviews. As outlined by searchenginejournals.com “a review snippet is a short excerpt of a review or a rating from a review website, usually an average of the combined rating scores from many reviewers”. Hence, topics that might be affected by this update include, among others:
Google recommends the use of dots in markup but commas are still okay to use and will still be eligible for review snippets (for example 4.4 instead of 4,4). Although commas are still okay to use it is suggested making things easy for the search engines. Thus, if Google recommends using dots then using dots can inspire confidence that Google will understand the structured data.
Google Predicts Strength Of Backlinks Ranking Factor Are Likely to Drop
For years backlinks have been a crucial indicator of how Google is ranking web pages. During a Brighton SEO live-session, Google Search Advocate John Mueller predicted that the strength of backlinks as a ranking factor will drop over time:
“Well, it’s something where I imagine, over time, the weight on the links at some point will drop off a little bit as we can figure out a little bit better how the content fits in within the context of the whole web.”John Mueller
However, he further argues that links will always be important to Google as they help finding pages on the web. Hence, links are still important signals but the ambition from Google is to find a way where links are not the same critical factor as in the past.
Google October news 2022
The MUM technology becomes more visible on the search engine
At the Google virtual event “Search On”, they have announced – among other things. that they will roll out a “discussion & forum” section and translate news stories from local sources.
Discussion & forum
Google will show more content from online discussions, comments, and forums (User Generated Content). Something that will initially be launched in the English search results.
This will be an addition to current search results. You will be able to see links to various forum posts, from people sharing personal experiences/content.
We’ve heard from you that you want to see more of this content in Search, so we’ve been exploring new ways to make it easier to find. Starting today, a new feature will appear when you search for something that might benefit from the various personal experiences found in online discussions.Google
This means that through more user-based content – that helps users – you will be able to increase traffic, through better rankings and visibility.
Translated news stories
Google is working on the ability to translate news coverage using machine translation. Machine-translated news is set to roll out in 2023 on mobile and desktop, and the new feature will be able to translate French, German, and Spanish into English.
Say you wanted to learn about how people in Mexico were impacted by the more than 7 magnitude earthquake earlier this month. With this feature, you’ll be able to search and see translated headlines for news results from publishers in Mexico, in addition to ones written in your preferred language. You’ll be able to read authoritative reporting from journalists in the country, giving you a unique perspective of what’s happening there.Google
You can read more from Google here.
Google makes the difference between ads and organic results bigger
Google has shared that they will update the search results so that the well-known “ad” label is removed from ads. This will instead be replaced with a “sponsored” label, company names, and logos going forward.
This will make it easier to tell the difference between Google ads and organic results. Something that is seen as a response to the criticism Google has received for making ads look too much like organic results.
Update for ads on Google
This new update should therefore bring less confusion and hopefully make us more aware of ads vs. organic results (especially since people generally chose to click more on organic search results).
Overall, the changes will be:
- ‘Sponsored’ label instead of ‘ad’ label
- Company names are displayed instead of ads
- Logos on search ads
Google does not remove any information; they make the companies’ names more obvious in the ad section. This change will help in those situations where a company bids on a competitor’s brand name. Now it will be more clear to users which company they actually chose to click on.
These updates to Google’s search results first roll out on mobile, then on desktop.
Company names and logos in Google search results are currently in beta and limited to those advertisers who meet Google’s eligibility criteria.
With this, it is exciting to follow how the difference between organic traffic and paid ads continuously develops.
You can read more from Google here.
New spam update from Google
Google has once again rolled out a spam update. It goes by the name ‘October 2022 Spam Update’, and goes straight for content that is considered spam.
What this means is that Google continues its focus on updating the algorithm to spot spam and detect content that violates its guidelines. You can read more about it here.
Overall, this update is designed to detect content that consists of spam and is not helpful.
We detect policy-violating content and behaviors both through automated systems and, as needed, human review that can result in a manual action. Sites that violate our policies may rank lower in results or not appear in results at all.Google
Once again, this means that Google is looking for more natural and helpful websites that are optimized for people – and by people. This includes having unique content that helps the user have a better experience from A-Z and generally follows Google guidelines.
You can get a full overview of Google’s updates here.
If you are otherwise in doubt about how your website is doing, you can start with an SEO audit.
Google postpones Universal Analytics “Sunset” date to 2024
Google elaborates further for enterprise customers that their performance will likely degrade in Universal Analytics up until the new “sunset” date – i.e. when Google stops its development of Universal Analytics.
Therefore, the earlier you switch, the more historical data you will have access to in GA4.
Some of the new features that Google has already implemented with GA4 are:
- Automatic migration: If you don’t already have a GA4 property before early 2023, Google’s Setup Assistant will set one up for you. You can also choose to set it up manually.
- Behavioral modeling: GA4 gets reporting in real time – ‘behavioral modeling’ uses machine learning to fill in gaps when things like cookies and other identifiers are not possible.
- Custom channel grouping: Compare the overall performance of a customized selection of channels.
- Integration with campaign manager 360: Allows marketers to bid against GA4 conversions in Display & Video 360’s automated bidding strategies.
You can read more about it from Google here.
Google news September 2022
New Core update from Google
On September 12, Google announced a new core update, which was rolled out until September 26. A Core Update is the type of update that picks up on the latest algorithm changes, often affecting the entire search engine. Google generally announces these core updates a few times a year, and they are often focused on content.
Lately, content has been a large focus at Google. For example, in August they announced the ‘Helpful Content’ update. And it also seems that the ‘September 2022 Core Update’ was launched to provide a similarly broad update to the general content landscape of Google.
If you have been affected by the update, you can always contact us at Bonzer. Then we can help analyze your domain so that you can be better prepared for the next update.
You can read about Google’s information about core updates here.
Product review update – another one…
Google has once again announced a product review update – i.e. an update addressing the way website owners should work with product reviews.
Google announced it on September 20th, and the rollout was finished on September 26th, with a focus on English sites to start with (as usual).
The takeaway from this update is that Google emphasizes how important it is that product reviews are credible and entirely based on the experiences of people who have actually tested the products. It is through consideration of these signals that one either moves forward or backward in their organic positions, following the update.
This is one of many updates related to product reviews from Google this year, which is why it is important to be extra up-to-date if you work with content in this genre.
News from Google Search On Event 2022
Google has held its “Search On Event 2022”, where they share and outline the latest advances in Search. Most recently, Google has chosen to talk about whether search results are personalized or not. Google is improving its personalized search results, especially in English search results in the US. This is to show more relevant results, based on past searches and browsing history. Information regarding personalization and the ability to turn it off has been added under the ‘About this result’ section, this is to make it clearer, when and why individual search results have been personalized.
The goal of personalized search is to help users find answers that are more relevant to the user’s interests.
Furthermore, Google also shows more signs that the MUM technology is affecting more search results and users. This is based on the announcement that English search results, will be able to see translated news from local markets. In addition, a “discussion & forum” feature will also be rolled out in English search results.
At the event, there was also other news from the search giant – i.a. about making search more natural.
New reports from Google in Search Console
Google has announced two new reports in Search Console; HTTPS Report and Merchant Listings Report.
The HTTPS report provides greater insight into the HTTPS status of a domain, and the Merchant Listings report provides insight based on ‘product’ structured data.
Both of them, therefore, provide more insight into the domain, which can be used in daily reporting.
Google news May 2022
Another month has passed and that means it’s time to share updates from Google. The month of May has offered a core update, concrete tips from Google on how to do search engine optimization, a major blunder in internal training material and new metrics for Lighthouse.
Google Announces New Core Update
On May 25, Google announced a new core update, aptly named “May Core Update.” The update will be rolled out over the next 14 days.
Core updates typically come a few times a year and are broad updates to the algorithms. They are not focused on specific niches or pages but are instead an update on how Google understands and rates content.
How to respond:
- Wait, first of all. No need for desperate actions before the update is completely rolled out.
- If you are experiencing a drop in your rankings, then it is probably not because you have violated any guidelines. In fact, a fall for you simply means an increase for others
- So look up! The pages that have been rewarded, what have they done right?
A lot of revelations from Google Marketing Live 2022
Google holds an annual conference on online marketing. During this, they announced a large number of new initiatives that are primarily about ads.
It can be broadly divided into the fact that Google will integrate video and shopping to a greater extent, that they have strengthened and will strengthen the interface and functions in their various ads campaigns, as well as to increase the insights it is possible to gain.
Here’s a quick selection:
- Video action & app campaigns coming to Youtube
- Product feeds to appear on Youtube
- Video commercials hit Discover-fed
- Performance Max campaigns get A / B tests
- Optimization scores for all kinds of campaigns.
Watch the video at the bottom of this section or read our rendition of the six tips right here:
All of these errors can be diagnosed with Pagespeed Insights. Watch the video
Google news April 2022
The fight against spam
Google released their annual webspam report. Here they detail how they work to combat online spam and keep the SERPs free from malicious actors. According to them, their sophisticated antispam algorithm called SpamBrain caught and removed six times more spam than in 2020. In short, this means Google can keep 99% of all searches free of spam.
Another big part of the fight against spam is their updated review best practices, which should help prevent spun content from dominating the SERPs on queries that result in reviews being shown.
Google now allows removal of more personal information
Google has long allowed people to request them to remove personal information. Typically, this would bea s a result of doxxing or hacking, where for example sensitive information like credit card numbers and other banking information might appear online.
Now, the policies are adjusted and you can request more kinds of information to be removed. This includes things like contact information (names, phone numbers, addresses) or information that can lead to identity theft (sensitive log-in information)
Google announces major breakthroughs in new AI model PaLM
Google is not just the world’s largest search company but likely also one of the largest AI researchers in the world. And in a recent research paper, they talk about the major breakthroughs achieved by their new Pathways Language Model, or PaLM. Allegedly, this new AI architecture doesn’t just outperform current language models but also humans in reasoning and arithmetic.
I encourage you to read the more in-depth walkthrough at Search Engine Journal, but we’ve also highlighted a couple of examples of the advanced reasoning skills PaLM achieves here:
Sean was in a rush to get home, but the light turned yellow and he was forced to do what?
Answer Choices: (a) take time (b) dawdle (c) go slowly (d) ocean (e) slow down
The answer is (e) slow down.”
Jennifer looked out her window and sees a really cool cloud below her. She unbuckles her seatbelt and heads to the bathroom. Is Jennifer probably traveling more than 300 miles per hour relative to the earth?
300 miles per hour is about 480 km/h. This is about the speed of a commercial airplane. Clouds are usually below airplanes, so Jennifer is probably on an airplane.
The answer is “yes”.”
How to react:
- Marvel at how a computer outperforms your own reasoning skills.
Google news March 2022
Structured data gets a faceliftt
The GSC view for structured data issues is now much more helpful. Google has added a lot more helpful context to structured data issues. In essence, it’s not adding new features to GSC as much as it is about making the details more explicit.
How to react:
- This change should not provoke any big changes to your marketing projects.
- Will make technical SEO fixes easier
- Especially for nested attributes it will be easier to see which errors affect your site.
Say goodbye to the URL parameter tool
The seldom used, well-hidden URL parameters tool is being sunset during April. It’s an old tool from the nascent days of SEO. The tool is used to instruct Google on how to understand and handle URL parameters (those sneaky “?” that make their way into URLs).
How to react:
- Due to low usage and low impact, the tool is being removed.
- It had its place in the old Wild West of SEO, but now Google knows parameters much better
- In the future, rules for parameters should be specified in the robots.txt if needed – but trust that Google is generally pretty good at understanding them.
Update (again) to review best practices
2021 and 2022 are years where Google has been working hard to improve product reviews. Very needed in my opinion as the space is filled with bad actors. Read more news on the newest update here. It’s about surfacing results that are authentic and helpful and not rewarding spam and low-quality posts.
How to react:
- Google answers three central questions in the highlighted blog post.
- They also reiterate the importance of authentic, factual reviews of products the authors have actually tested.
- In the future, work hard to adhere to the best practices lined out by Google.
New “Highly cited” label highlights original news stories
A new label for search will highlight news articles that are heavily cited by other news organizations.
How to react
- Rolling out for US mobile now and globally afterwards
- Will mostly impact news stories
- Ostensibly this is done to “fight misinformation”
- Focus on digital PR efforts for your link building.
Google news February 2022
Page Experience for desktop rolling out
It has been announced that the update will finish rolling out in March 2022. This is in line with Google’s commitment to only showcasing the results that provide the very best user experience. This means that where in the past only the mobile experience counted, now the desktop will as well.
How to react:
- Check out the new Page Experience report in Search Console and assess the results you are getting there.
- However, if you already have decent mobile scores you very likely will skate through this update unchanged.
- You can check out our guide on investigating and optimizing your Core Web Vitals score.
Pages can be un-indexed forever
In a recent Webmaster Hangout, John Mueller stated that the “Discovered – currently not indexed” can last forever.
“That can be forever. It’s something where we just don’t crawl and index all pages. And it’s completely normal for any website that we don’t have everything indexed.
And, especially with a newer website if you have a lot of content, then I would assume it’s expected that a lot of the new content for a while will be discovered and not indexed.
And then over time usually it kind of shifts over, like well it’s actually crawled, or it’s actually indexed, when we see that there’s actually value in focusing more on the website itself. But it’s not guaranteed.”
The issues with indexation are not new, and any consistent reader of our Google News updates will know this. In fact, I think anybody working with SEO will know this.
How to react:
- Remember that it is not a fundamental right to have your content indexed.
- Don’t just wait for things to turn around – it might just be time that’s a factor but that’s a risky bet.
- Instead, just focus on consistently improving the quality of your website and your posts.
- If the indexing issues are very grave, consider whether to stop publishing new content and to fix the current content by improving quality and increasing the amount of inbound internal and external links.
How Google understands infinite scrolling
We recently got a confirmation that in fact, Google is probably able to deal with infinite scroll – but it depends on the implementation.
Since Google renders pages at a very big viewport, if infinite scrolls are automatically triggered by screen size, Google should be able to see most of the content under infinite scroll.
How to react:
- You need to make sure Google understands how your page works.
- You can also use the inspection tool in Search Console or the Mobile-Friendliness Tool to check out how Google renders the page and what HTML it sees when it does so.
- Be on the lookout for how links are inserted. A link that Google understands is wrapped in a <a href> tag and includes the full URL of the page that is linked to.
Google news January 2022
Google is going to crawl less in the future.
Citing environmental and sustainability concerns, Google considers reducing the amount of “refresh” crawls in the future.
Google’s Gary Illyes states it like this:
“We are carbon-free, since I don’t even know, 2007 or something, 2009, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t reduce even more our footprint on the environment. And crawling is one of those things that early on, we could chop off some low-hanging fruits.”
The fact of the matter:
- Discovery crawls are unlikely to be impacted.
- Google wants to improve their ability to discern between sites that need refresh crawls and those that don’t.
New robots tag: indexifembedded
Google has announced a new tag especially for larger publishers. The indexifembedded tag allows sites to both have media pages noindexed and have their media content indexed.
Essentially it’s about offering a larger degree of control to websites that organize their content in a certain way.
To exemplify, Google states the following:
“… if podcast.host.example/playpage?podcast=12345 has both the noindex and indexifembedded tag, it means Google can embed the content hosted on that page in recipe.site.example/my-recipes.html during indexing.”
- Use the tag if to get content indexed when it’s embedded through iframes in other pages, even when the content page has the noindex tag.
- Should be used in combination with the noindex tag
- This is a very edge-case tag that is probably not going to be useful to most websites.
Impressions are a poor proxy for search volume
Due to Google’s hyperpersonalized nature, impressions are a poor stand-in for search volume. Mueller recently made the point that impressions aren’t a great way to ascertain search volume, even if you are in the first place.
A common sense approach would dictate that if you’re first for a query, you would be shown for every search made on that query. That means that impressions should equal the actual search volume for a time period.
However, keep in mind that the metric in Google Search Console is actually the average ranking position. That’s why it’s often going to say 1.3 or 2.6 instead of 1 or 2.
The reason for that is that your ranking position is going to fluctuate during any given period. Further, queries made by some people might not even have you show up. Not only that, depending on the SERP features (how many Ads listings, knowledge panels, featured snippets etc.) some people might not even scroll down far enough to see your links.
The conclusion is this: Impressions are not going to give you an accurate measure of how large search volume actually is. However, while Mueller completely sweeps the idea of using it for search volume away, the facts above should mean that it’s probably at the very least a good measurement of minimum search volume.
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