This summer, Google released a series of core updates to its search engine results page ranking algorithms. Some were long anticipated, and digital marketers were prepared to adapt their SEO/SEM strategies accordingly. Others came out of the blue and left professionals scratching their heads.

Here’s an overview of some of the key changes:

  • May 2022

May 2022 saw some of the biggest changes to the algorithm in many years—but at least it was a planned annual update, and digital marketers had plenty of notice that it was coming. In fact, there hadn’t been an update in over six months. It’s often hard to know exactly what an update will change, or do, since it isn’t explicitly stated, however; it’s something that web managers and marketers often trace back through breadcrumbers. In this case, many people who had focused on FAQs saw better rankings in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Those little snippets that help quickly answer people’s questions were well-rewarded. Another recognized change was better rankings for video results. Some experts also noted that context seemed to factor in more—meaning someone who’d been searching for camping gear who typed “buggy” might get insect repellent, whereas someone who just ordered diapers might be shown strollers.

  • June 2022

It came as a surprise to many website managers and digital marketers when another round of changes came out shortly after such a dramatic—but at least planned—set of core updates in May. But in June 2022, people began to notice dramatic drops in their numbers on Google Analytics, and they couldn’t entirely account for the change in user behavior on their digital properties. Thankfully, it was soon easy to confirm—continued updates from May were still coming through, weeks later, but in a dramatic enough way to only now be registering in their numbers. Although people weren’t very happy about it, and reporting for the quarter—or the year—was going to be a little off, at least marketers could account for and explain the dip in numbers as “one of those Google things.”

  • July 2022

In July 2022, Google released a new algorithm update that specifically targeted product review pages. It intended to reward pages that provided potential shoppers with more informed, more unique, and more authentic reviews—as opposed to those that relied upon product spec pages to flesh out details or regurgitated details from more thoughtful and previously published reviews. This didn’t affect, for example, a big box retailer that asked shoppers to leave reviews after purchasing a product, but rather content sites dedicated to getting web traffic as credible experts in a certain area (like the infamous mattress reviewers who made millions for their reviews). For the most part, marketers could breathe a sigh of relief that this unexpected update, at least, didn’t mess up their analytics or create a need to change strategy in any noticeable way.

How about you? Did you notice any strange behavior from your web traffic or user behavior stats this summer? How will these algorithm changes impact your marketing plan or reporting strategy? For a consultation about what steps can be taken next, reach out to the team at Mad 4 Marketing today.