As 2022 proves once again, SEO is never boring.
Was 2022 the year of AI or the real dawn of the AI era? The temptation to spend hours playing ChatGPT this past month has been hard to resist.
We also made our usual share of algorithm updates, new tools and features, acquisitions, and many other changes.
One constant throughout? For 16 years, Search Engine Land has covered all the biggest news, as we did again in 2022.
Take a look back at the biggest SEO news of 2022 from Google and other search engines, tool providers, and communities.
Google Search Basics and other documentation changes
Google has overhauled its 20-year-old webmaster guidelines and renamed them Google Search Essentials. The updated guidelines have been streamlined, simplified, and updated “to help provide clear guidance on how to build sites that work for people.”
Search Essentials was the biggest Google Docs update of 2022, but there was a lot more.
Google has updated the help documentation for some feature guides.
Also, not long after a study by SEO tools firm Ahrefs showed that half of GSC clicks were for hidden terms, Google announced that hidden Search Console query data from the Performance Report (Search) help documentation was ” Removed the wording calling it “extremely rare”.
In other documentation changes, Google will:
EEAT and QRG
Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines (QRG) for Search were updated twice this year, in July and December.
Lily Ray provided her usual excellent breakdown of what changed in both updates to QRG.
In the July update (Updates to Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines: What’s Changed), Google restructured its definition of YMYL and revamped its definition of low-quality pages.
Also, as Ray highlighted in his December update (a major update to EEAT and Google’s quality rating guidelines):
“The addition of ‘experience’ shows that the quality of content can also be assessed through the lens of understanding the extent to which content creators have first-hand experience with the topic.
With this restructuring of EEAT, Google also states that “trust” is at the heart of this concept and is “the most important member of the EEAT family.”
Before EAT became EEAT, we learned from Google that EAT is synonymous with “excellent content quality.”
“EAT is a template for how we rate an individual site. We do it for every query and every result. Digging deeper: 7 takeaways from the SMX Next keynote with Hyung-Jin Kim, Google’s VP of Search.
This is obviously nothing new, but it’s always good for SEO professionals to understand why Google does things the way they do.
Continuous scrolling, multisearch, featured snippets, and other search changes
We constantly test our SERPs, all to ensure that our users have a great experience and find the information and answers they’re looking for.
One of the biggest changes is that Google introduced continuous scrolling (don’t say infinite!) to the desktop earlier this month. Yes, it’s time to officially ditch the term “Google’s Page 2” and focus on position when talking about rankings.
Another important change is multi-search, where we search by image and add text to that specific image search.
Google played around with Featured Snippets this year, testing “From the web” and “What other sites say” in Featured Snippets and showing two or more Featured Snippets.
For feature snippets, Google currently uses MUM to determine if there is general consensus about the information. Google also reported that MUM helped reduce false assumptions by 40%.
Also of note, SERP analysis shows People Also Ask is 10x more likely to appear than Featured Snippets. The PAA was also in the news as People also ask appeared half as often in Google searches, but then returned to normal.
Rich results for FAQs also greatly increased visibility in Google SERPs.
Oh, and if you’ve ever struggled to keep track of all the pieces that make up Google’s user interface, Google has launched a visual gallery documenting 22 elements.
Take a look back at even more features added or tested to Google search results in 2022.
10 Google algorithm updates have been confirmed for 2022.
At SMX Next, I learned from Kim at Google that Google’s Panda algorithm has evolved into a new algorithm called Coati. This was new information on something fairly old in the world of Google algorithms, but it was still an interesting find.
Google’s John Mueller also confirmed that Google is no longer using the 2010 and 2018 page speed signals. These have been replaced by Core Web Vitals.
We also learned through a document Google published with the US Copyright Office that Google’s Pirate Update could reduce search traffic on offending sites by 89%.
In November, Google published a noteworthy ranking system document. This included algorithms that were no longer used for ranking or that were incorporated into new systems.
Google also introduced new “algorithm improvements” in how it selects titles for search result snippets for multilingual or transliterated titles, or when title elements are written in a different language or script than the content. bottom.
Read Barry Schwartz’s recap to dig deeper into 2022 with Google algorithm updates. Also, check out the Google Algorithm Update History page for all the latest news and guidance on the latest algorithm updates.
AI & machine learning
ChatGPT has been all the rage in the SEO world in the last few weeks of 2022. And we’ll hear more about (and other) exciting AI technologies in 2023.
No doubt many sites will try to churn out their content using AI tools. be careful. Earlier this year, Google warned that it doesn’t want AI-generated SEO spam content.
This was a bit ironic, given that you could theoretically use Google Docs to write meta descriptions. And surprisingly they weren’t that bad.
Google also details how it uses artificial intelligence in Google Search. Another way Google was looking to use AI was to update the business hours of local listings. Google also officially introduced SpamBrain, an AI-based spam prevention system launched in 2018.
And despite the many positive and exciting ways to use AI, there is always a dark side, as we reported in Beware of Fake DMCA Link Requests by AI-Generated Lawyers.
A lot of local search news for 2022 – new attributes, review issues, Google business profile changes, and scams were among the main headlines.
Google Business Profile, Maps & Reviews:
Other Google News
Microsoft Bing continues its IndexNow initiative, adding joint sharing of URLs with Yandex, and announced in August that over 16 million websites are using it (1.2 billion per day). We are exposing more URLs to the IndexNow API). New integration:
More news about Microsoft Bing
If you’ve missed all the thousands of reminders to roll out Google Analytics 4, now is the time to roll out GA4. Universal Analytics is due to him ending on July 1, 2023. I hope you are ready.
In a quirky rebranding, Google Data Studio has been renamed Looker Studio. Google said it was “integrating” its Google business intelligence products “under the Looker umbrella,” including the popular Google Data Studio product.
google search console
Google Search Console has many new features, including improved tools, features, and reporting. Here are links to our coverage:
In December, we reported on an experimental feature called Content Ideas. A few days later, he learned that the hub would be closed. match? We may find out in 2023.
GSC also reported quite a few bugs and other issues in 2022.
Also, say goodbye to the URL Parameter Tool, the old message panel, and the International Targeting Report, which Google called “low value.”
Also, have you received an intrusive interstitial notification from GSC?
Acquisitions in the SEO field
The beginning of 2022 looked very busy with acquisitions. Things slowed down around the middle of the year, but check out the key changes we’ve seen this year at some of the biggest his SEO tech companies.
Moz, an SEO tool, was removed from Google Search in less than 12 hours due to a DMCA request. Having a branded term removed from Google search is an SEO nightmare, no matter how long it lasts.
Zero Click: Another Look
Semrush has published an interesting study on zero-click search. We found that 25.6% of desktop searches and 17.3% of mobile searches were zero clicks, much lower than in our previous zero-click survey (let’s call it “suspicious”).
Other search engines
Ahrefs made big news when he revealed details about his own general-purpose search engine, Yep. It’s not a Google killer, but more alternative search engines are a good thing.
Meanwhile, DuckDuckGo, the most popular privacy search engine, appears to be growing steadily, finally surpassing 100 billion searches in January. Until April. It was around that time that his average daily searches on DuckDuckGo fell below his 100 million. Since then, DuckDuckGo has never been able to return to that level.
In 2022, we lost influential SEO pioneer and expert Bill Slawski on May 17th. He was best known primarily for helping the community understand search patents with his SEO By The Sea. Thankfully, even after being temporarily offline, that treasure trove of information lives on.In the wake of his death, we also found some upsetting Google search results [bill slawski obituary].
Another incredibly sad loss was that of Tatiana Perebeinis, SE Ranking’s chief accountant, who was one of four people killed in the Russian attack in Irpin, Ukraine.
SMX Advance & Next
We hosted two digital events this year. SMX Advanced in June and SMX Next in November. Both shows were full of practical his SEO tips and insights.
Below is a link to an article on Advanced’s SEO track.
Also, over the next few weeks there will be many articles on SMX Next’s SEO track on Search Engine Land.
SEO in 2023
Looking ahead, here’s what we know:
The current GA will be retired in July, so unless you plan to abandon Google Analytics, you should embrace GA4 and fully adopt it. Not yet migrated? Year-over-year data is very difficult to compare. Also, save any historical GA data you need. All removed by Google. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Should ChatGPT excite or scare you? Yes. In other words, it depends. Remember ChatGPT is only useful until 2021. But GPT-4 is coming soon.
It will be interesting to see how Google responds to what could become a flood of duplicate AI-generated content with the rise of AI tools. Spoiler if that happens: it doesn’t work on those sites. There are plenty of great tools out there for detecting AI content, and Google knows what’s going on.
We also know there is an update to the Google algorithm. Google has confirmed 10 major updates for him for 2021 and 2022. We know there will be a core update and probably more with helpful content updates. And when it happens, Search Engine Land will be the first to report it.
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