Google Releases May 2022 Core Algorithm Update

Following rumours across the industry, on 25th May 2022 Google announced the release of a new broad core algorithm update:

This follows the previous Core Algorithm Update that rolled out November 2021, with the latest update a further general refinement of its algorithmic systems. With a rollout period of around 2 weeks, the update finally competed it’s release on 9th June 2022.  

As the name suggests, this is a broad update meaning it does not target specific websites, and it is designed to promote or reward good quality content at scale. According to Google’s Danny Sullivan:

“Core updates are changes we make to improve Search overall and keep pace with the changing nature of the web. There’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.”

Although websites may be positively or negatively impacted by an update, Google states that no specific actions should be taken in response but to keep monitoring rankings and traffic. In case a website was dramatically impacted by the core update, site owners should not take any actions but focus on honing the quality of their content, according to Google:

“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.”

Beginning with the June 2021 broad core update, Google appears to be keen to make periodic refreshes to it’s algorithmic systems. Based on initial analysis from some third parties, this could be part of a larger trend that has core updates becoming less impactful over time, although time will tell whether this is actually the case.

PageSpeed Insights adds INP and TTFB into the Field Data Report

Google’s Annie Sullivan unveiled a new metric called INP or Interaction to Next Paint at this year’s Google I/O event.

INP measures overall responsiveness to user interactions on the page and it was introduced as a more comprehensive version of the current FID metric. INP measures the full path of interactions: from the very first hit on a page until the delivery of a visible response.

Interaction to Next Paint brand-new PageSpeed Insights indicator showing a bar with "Good", "Needs Improvement" and "Poor" thresholds
INP (Interaction to Next Paint, via Web.Dev

Google’s explains the new Interaction to Next Paint (INP) metric:

INP is a metric that aims to represent a page’s overall interaction latency by selecting one of the single longest interactions that occur when a user visits a page. For pages with less than 50 interactions in total, INP is the interaction with the worst latency. For pages with many interactions, INP is most often the 98th percentile of interaction latency

A high INP value score is usually indicative of a high reliance on JavaScript or other main thread work that may run concurrently with user interactions. Hence, sites built in Angular.js or React.js may be particularly affected by high INP scores as interaction latency is largely extended.

SEOs have been wondering whether such an indicator is going to have a tangible impact on the overall Page Experience. Google’s spokesperson Annie Sullivan quelled mounting concerns and claimed that INP is still an experimental metric.

Given that responsiveness is crucial to serving user experience throughout the page lifecycle, Google may soon replace FID with INP as a proper Core Web Vitals.

Despite holding a less straightforward impact on user experience, TTFB (Time to First Byte) field data will be collected from the CrUX (Chrome User Experience) for the first time in PageSpeed Insights. TTFB measures how fast the server responds to a request for a resource helping SEOs to isolate factors which can have a negative effect on all other page loading metrics.

New Translated Results feature added to Google Search Console

On 13th May Google released a new search appearance filter to the performance report in Google Search Console called “translated results”.

The new filter is designed to provide further information on how many searchers accessed one’s site content when Google translates it in the search results. To date, the release is currently available only on mobile, with support at present only for Indonesian, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu.

New Translated Result filter within the Search Appearance tab from the Performance section in Google Search Console
Translated results within Search Appearance tab in Google Search Console, via Seroundtable

Google had already covered within its official blog how this new feature would have worked once rolled out.

In short, Google may translate the title link and snippet of a search result for results that are not in the language of the search query. Once a searcher clicks the translated title link from Google Search, the content would be delivered automatically by Google Translate because of its automatic machine learning model.

Google removing support for some video and sitemap extension tags

By August 6th, 2022, some outdated sitemap tags will be deprecated as a result of a recent announcement from Google aimed at making sitemaps less cluttered with redundant code.

Google made the point by stating that “deprecated tags will have no effect on indexing and search features after August 6th, 2022”. That means that tags can safely be removed, without the need to worry about any negative impact on SEO performance.

Google added that at some point Google Search Console will notify webmasters via messages or errors in case any dismissed tags were still in place on a sitemap file.

The following sitemap extension tags will no longer be supported:

Within image sitemaps:

  • caption
  • geo_location
  • title
  • license

Within video sitemaps:

  • category
  • player_loc[@allow_embed]
  • player_loc[@autoplay]
  • gallery_loc, price[@all]
  • tvshow[@all]

Google adds new Education Q&A Structured Data

Google has announced the rollout of a new “Education Q&A” structured data type, specifically designed to aid users find pages containing quiz flashcards within search results.

When searching for education-related topics on desktop and mobile, users can now browse through Q&A carousel speeding up query response, thereby easing their learning process on educational subjects.

Questions & Answers mock up box, unfolded in 3 rows containing one question each
Q&A carousel, via seroundtable

To encourage the display of the new feature within SERPs, webmasters are required to add Education Q&A schema on their educational content and make sure to abide by a few best practices, such as:

  • Ensure to implement structured data on the most detailed leaf page possible.
  • Ensure questions aren’t held only in a data file or PDF, and are immediately visible to users browsing the page.

At present, the Q&A carousel is only available to those with the browser language set to English, across any region.

Apple to release new Search Engine

A multi-colour half bitten apple mounting upon a search bar as part of the brand-new Apple’s search engine interface
New Apple search engine, via Seroundtable.

A few hours before the end of May, the SEO industry heard through the grapevine that Apple was to release a new search engine at this year’s Apple WWDC (aka World Wide Developer Conference), which took place on June 6th.

Apple had been slowly sneaking into the web search over the years. Following the Applebot rollout back in 2014, Apple listed their own search ranking factors along with Applebot user-agent details.