SEO MARKET UPDATES: OCTOBER 2022

Google’s October 2022 Spam Update

After only a month since Google rolled out the September 2022 Core update, it has released yet another update on the 19th October called the 2022 spam update. This comes just 11 months after the previous spam update.

What is the spam update?

Every so often, Google makes small changes to its AI-based spam prevention system, SpamBrain, for it to be able to detect spammers (or low-quality websites) within search results.

In short, the spam updates target sites that violate specific guidelines.

As far as we know, this spam update predominantly impacted websites that have automatically generated content, created through various tactics. However, Google did not implicitly say if the update was related to a specific area, i.e., content, links, or other forms of spam.

The update is global, affects all languages, and took around several days to a week to fully complete.

Here is the Google Search Central tweet announcing the update:

What impact will the spam update have on sites?

Even if you’re not actively using spam tactics, Google will identify low-quality content too. The search engine attempts to show the best possible results to users, meaning if you are creating poor content your website could be impacted.

Therefore, if you noticed significant changes in rankings or traffic from your site’s organic search results, you might want to investigate this further.

What do we know about the Google 2022 spam update?

Below is a summary covering what we know from the October 2022 spam update:

  • Update name: Google October 2022 Spam Update.
  • Date launched: October 19, 2022.
  • Rollout duration: Several days to a week for a full rollout.
  • Purpose of update: To improve Google’s spam detection techniques – “sites that violate our policies may rank lower in results or not appear in results at all”, Google said.
  • Who it will penalise: Sites adopting spam techniques that violate Google’s spam policies.
  • Location: The update is global and impacts all regions and languages.
  • What to do if impacted: Review content on the site to ensure no pages violate Google’s spam policies.
  • Recovery: Once a site is hit, it could take a few months to recover from the update.

 

The key takeaway from this update is that Google is looking to provide users with the most relevant information from reputable sites. This change looks to further improve user experience on the search engine results page, which should ultimately benefit searchers, retailers, and advertisers. If you are creating high-quality content that provides value to users, then this update shouldn’t be anything to worry about, but it is still good to be aware of.

 

If your site has been impacted by the recent spam update, Fusion Unlimited has the knowledge and experience needed to help. We can also ensure your site is prepared to tackle any core algorithm updates or product review updates.

Get in touch with us today if you need assistance in overcoming the impacts of the October 2022 Spam Update, or if you’re looking to supercharge your SEO strategy.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: SEPTEMBER 2022

Google September 2022 Core Update

WHAT’S THE STORY? 

Every day, Google releases small updates designed to improve their search results. This includes changes to its ranking system, user interface and more. Several times a year, however, they release updates that might be “more noticeable” to their search algorithms and systems – these are referred to as Google’s core updates. 

September was a busy month in terms of updates; Google released the September 2022 core update – the second core update this year. The update was released on the 12th of September, took two full weeks to roll out and came three days after another update (the helpful content update) finished rolling out.  

Google is now becoming more certain of its assessment and does not deviate as much from the previous assessment. We know that this was a global update and affected all categories, ie., it wasn’t specific to any region, language, or category of web sites. 

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU.  

September 2022 algo update and its impact. 

Based on data from tracking tools, the September 2022 core update seems less widespread than previous updates. 

In the event your site has been negatively impacted by this update, now is probably the time to start looking into analytics data to assess any pages that might have lost visibility, and create an action plan to improve the affected pages to regain rankings over time.  

As always Google’s advice for sites negatively impacted by these updates is to focus on offering quality content. 

As explained, pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. This said, we understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.” 

For questions, concerns or any further information on Google updates contact our SEO team here at Fusion. We would love to hear from you! 

September Product review update 

WHAT’S THE STORY? 

Another update that was released by Google is the September 2022 product review update. This is part of a series of updates aimed at targeting low-quality reviews. 

Google announced on Twitter that the update began rolling out on September 20th, and like most updates, would take approximately 2 weeks to completely launch. 

This follows the helpful content update which launched in August. 

For sites that do not publish product reviews, this update will not affect you. Unlike a core update (as mentioned above) which impacts all search results.  

Product Review Update Explained 

This algorithm update is designed to award high-quality product review pages that share in-depth research and ‘penalise’ low quality product review pages – i.e., content that has little or no value to the user and that provides information users can find on manufacturer’s sites. 

This update applies to websites that publish long-form product reviews; it does not apply to sites that sell products that customers can review. Customer reviews are not considered the same as product review articles. 

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU.  

 As the update is 100% rolled out, site owners may already see impact on product review pages. 

Google adds: 

If you see a change and wonder if it’s related to the core update or the product reviews update: 

  • If you produce product reviews, then it’s probably related to that. 
  • If not, then it might be related to the core update. 

Google also revealed that the ranking signal introduced with the helpful content update will likely get stronger as other types of updates roll out (read more). 

This means that this repetition of the product review update could potentially cause a greater impact than previous versions of updates. 

It is also possible that product review pages not affected by previously updates will feel the effects of this September product review update, which may not be a bad thing as with every algorithm update, there is always an opportunity to improve rankings. 

For more guidance on how to assess the impact of a product review update, see this article published on the Google Search Central Blog. 

SEO MARKET UPDATES: AUGUST 2022

Google on Updates and the importance of Quality Content

What’s the story?

A lot of us have experienced the frustration of clicking on a website that appears to have exactly what we are looking for but turns out not to meet our expectations. This could be content that lacks the specific insight you are needing, or even worse – content that could be considered clickbait.

While it isn’t a new concept, in recent years Google has been proactive in its efforts to improve the quality of content served to users. Since last year, numerous updates search updates have been released, such as the ranking better quality product review content which sought to make it easier for searchers to find useful, helpful and relevant content.

Last month, Google rolled out a ‘helpful content update’ (which is now fully rolled out) whose goal is to track content written to specifically rank well on search engines but has no actual value for people – in other words, poor content designed to manipulate search engines.

“The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.”

 Based on their research, Google confirmed that the ‘helpful content update’ will “especially improve results related to online education, arts and entertainment, shopping and tech-related content.”

What this means for you. 

This update may not directly affect your industry and if the content you create is people-first – i.e., “content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience” – not much action is required. Furthermore, answering yes to the below questions should alleviate any concerns regards people-first content and whether you are on the right track with your approach:

  • Are there prospects or existing audiences for your business or website that would find the your content useful/ helpful if they landed directly to you?
  • Does your content show first-hand experience and depth of understanding (for instance, experience gained from actually using a product or service or visiting a place)?
  • Do you have a main goal or emphasis for your website?
  • Will a reader believe they have learnt enough about a subject after reading your content to aid in achieving their goal?
  • Will someone who reads your content come away from it feeling satisfied?
  • Are you following our recommendations for both core updates and product reviews?

Naturally, if ever unsure or need further clarity always refer to Google’s guidelines.

 

Google Search Console Video Index Report

What’s the story?

Due to the growth of video creation and consumption on the net, Google decided to launch a video index report within search console to help site owners better understand the performance of video content on Google search, as well as identify possible areas of improvement for that content.

This roll out started in July and is now 100% live as of the 22nd August.

What this means for you. 

The video indexing report ultimately helps you track the status of video indexing on your website and helps to answers the following questions:

  • In how many pages has Google identified a video?
  • Which videos were indexed successfully?
  • What are the issues preventing videos from being indexed?

Bear in mind, however, that the Video Indexing report is different from the Video Rich results report. The differences are outline below:

  • Video Indexing Report refers to video indexing despite any video structured data.
  • Video Rich results report – provides information on which Video structured data items are valid or invalid on a website.

 

Google Search Console: Updated issue categorization

Google search console has been changed in terms of how URLs or items are classified within many reports.

 

Instead of URLS being grouped at the top level by three (in some cases more) statuses – e.g., Valid, Warning, and Error, categories are now grouped into two statuses (i.e., valid or invalid) – “where invalid means that there is a report-specific critical issue in the page or item, and not invalid means that the item might still contain warnings but has no critical issues”. This should, in practice, help Search Console users focus more on critical issues.

Despite this change, search console still categorises singular issues such as error, warning, or good. The change is predominantly a move from text label to classifications implied through colour and icons.

The individual Search Console report changes are as follows:

  • Coverage (Page indexing): The Valid and Valid with warning pages are categorised as Indexed status.
  • Error and Excluded issues have been grouped into the Not indexed status.
  • Core Web Vitals: The report now divides pages into two tables: one for Good pages and one for Poor/Need improvement pages.
  • Mobile Usability has changed from Not usable to Usable.
  • AMP Report: The major (critical) issues that are affecting AMP pages are shown in the first table, while the non-critical issues are shown in the second table.
  • Rich result report: Rich results that are impacted by critical issues are shown in the first table, while non-critical issues are shown in the second.
  • URL Inspection: After examining a URL, one of the following three verdicts will be given:
      • URL is on Google
      • URL is on Google but has issues
      • URL is not on Google

In conclusion, Google is now becoming more certain of its assessment and does not deviate as much from the previous assessments. Hence it is essential to ensure that your site meets Google’s standards and guidelines to rank well on search engine results. Following these guideline should result in users being served with the most relevant, helpful information and an overall great experience.

For questions, concerns or any further information on updates and Google products contact the SEO team here at Fusion, we’d love to hear from you!

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.