The State of Search: Review and Affiliate Site Updates

1. May 16-18 (Unconfirmed) - Significant turbulence was reported by our algorithm sensors and throughout the SEO community during this time. Early analysis indicates that review sites and affiliate sites were hit the hardest while larger, authoritative sites like the FDA and CDC saw major increases in visibility leading us to believe that Google may have turned up the dial for authoritative and expertly written content, especially when it comes to searches pertaining to your health, life, and finances (YMYL).

When questioned, Google representatives did not confirm the occurrence of an update and reminded users that they are constantly working to improve the quality and relevance of the search results which can lead to some sites becoming more or less visible over time. 

2. May 25 (Confirmed) - Google announced the release of the May 2022 core update. The first broad core update in 6 months, the May 2022 core update will take 1-2 weeks to roll out completely. Generally, we don’t see the full effect of core updates until they finish rolling out and even then, sites may feel residual tremors as Google makes tweaks to the update. Once again, Google has shared its guidance on core updates for those sites negatively impacted by this update.

Google News and Tips

  • Google Reviews - Portions of Google reviews for a business can now appear in Google maps, reinforcing the importance of having a good strategy for garnering and managing Google Business Profile reviews. 
  • Video Content - Google only associates one video per landing page. When adding video content to your site, build a dedicated page for each video for maximum exposure.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights - Two new metrics were added to the PageSpeed Insights API and UI for Lighthouse. The metrics are labeled “experimental” and are now being collected for field data while the corresponding lab data can be used for diagnostic purposes.
  • Author Markup - Google has added author markup best practices to its article structured data guidelines. When using article structured data, be sure to include author markup as well to better communicate to Google who is responsible for the content on the page–an important E-A-T signal.

What This Means for You

While analyzing the impact of the May 2022 core update, closely evaluate site pages where rankings were lost and consider the quality of the content by asking yourself these questions as you review. It is also important to consider the timing of the core update’s release–the Friday leading into the long, holiday weekend. When updates coincide with a major holiday, it can be even more challenging for site owners to determine where to attribute changes in organic rankings and traffic. As you review May data and reports, keep in mind that seasonality plays a major role in fluctuations–both positive and negative–and all cannot be attributed to Google algorithm updates alone.

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