Get ready for big changes to the SEO landscape in 2022.
From the Link Spam update to the Passage Ranking update, here are 7 of the latest Google updates poised to shake up the SEO world this year.
#1 MUM Update
Should we expect a multi-format search experience in the near future? With the introduction of the Multitask Unified Model (MUM), this may well be the case.
In May 2021, Google announced the upcoming rollout of the MUM, an AI-powered algorithm that allows the search engine to interpret complex search queries through a semantic-based approach. Considered more powerful than the BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), this algorithm is expected to overcome language and format barriers in searching.
The MUM is designed to process multilingual and multi-format questions to bring the most accurate, relevant, and localized answers to searchers. So with the arrival of this algorithm, users should expect a more convenient, context-specific search experience.
But aside from its spectacular processing capabilities, the MUM also introduces another innovation—a new SERP look. With the MUM, you might see the last of the leaderboard type of SERP. This update is said to introduce a multimodal SERP, wherein text-based results will be combined with different media-based data.
While Google hasn’t announced yet when this SERP look will be released, it will have an inevitable impact on SERP rankings. Google is expected to release this groundbreaking algorithm this year.
#2 Featured Snippets Update
You might be seeing multiple results on the Position Zero sometime soon.
Google announced that it’s testing two major enhancements on the Featured Snippets, which are set to transform how results are presented to searchers—the “From The Web” and “Others Sites Say.”
In “From The Web,” multiple excerpts are shown at the top spot, as opposed to today’s Featured Snippet where only one excerpt is displayed. Meanwhile, in “Others Sites Say,” multiple excerpts are displayed below the main passage. In this impending Featured Snippets update, Google examines whether presenting a number of related excerpts from multiple sources is more helpful to users.
You’re most affected by this imminent change if you have existing Featured Snippets. Once rolled out, these can put a strain on your website traffic since there will be increased competition at the top spot of the SERPs. So you might want to rework your SEO strategies before it's released to avoid any negative impact on your performance.
The testing for this Featured Snippet update was announced in April 2022 but there is no official launch date yet.
#3 Link Spam Update
You might want to look into your backlinking schemes with the newest algorithm update.
To keep manipulative link-building practices at bay, Google introduced the Link Spam update in August 2021. The Link Spam update enables the search engine to identify the presence of toxic backlinks on websites and nullify or disregard them in ranking. It doesn’t exactly penalize them for utilizing these scheming practices but it does prevent them from ranking high on SERPs.
But keep in mind that the Link Spam update doesn’t just affect websites that use toxic backlinks. It also impacts those that utilize commercial backlinks. This includes sponsored links, affiliate links, and guest posting links.
So if you happen to be engaging in link exchanges and content partnerships, you might want to optimize your content based on this update to prevent your SERP rankings from taking a nosedive.
#4 Product Reviews Update
Google is adamant about keeping unreliable purchasing advice at bay.
In March 2022, the search engine proposed additional ranking guidelines for e-commerce through its third Product Reviews update. Much like the previous updates, the main objective of this March update was to elevate product reviews that demonstrate expertise and trustworthiness on SERPs.
While this latest change isn’t as big as the previous ones released in April 2021 and December 2021, the newest Product Reviews update can still influence SERP rankings of websites with product review pages. So it’s best to follow these recommendations to avoid a dip in your traffic.
This Product Review update affects product review pages only. Google has yet to announce whether this update will expand to other types of pages in the future.
#5 Passage Ranking Update
Google just discovered a smarter way to identify context.
The Passage Ranking is Google’s new approach to examining long-form content on websites. Instead of analyzing the entire body of information on a web page, Google now sifts through each passage of long-form content to derive better context and provide the most relevant answer to users.
But while the Passage Ranking may appear like a major SEO update, it mostly affects the ranking of websites with long-form content. However, if you don’t have long-form content on your website at the moment, then this is the perfect time to beef up on comprehensive write-ups.
The Passage Ranking update was first unveiled in February 2021.
#6 Page Experience Update
How do you know if your website is technically healthy?
Google’s recent Page Experience rollout in May 2021 includes the integration of the Core Web Vitals, an additional set of metrics for measuring the overall user experience (UX) of a website. The Core Web Vitals are considered additional SEO ranking factors, together with existing Page Experience signals.
However, while the impact of the Page Experience update is massive on SERP standings, Google said that content quality is just as important as page experience when it comes to ranking. Even with this major algorithmic change, the search engine still prioritizes websites that have both exceptional page experience and high-quality content.
#7 GPT-3 Update
While this isn’t a Google update, the emergence of the Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) is big news to the SEO world.
It’s safe to say that this powerful AI-powered content generator might soon replace writing professionals. The GPT-3 is an advanced language model that is trained on gigabytes of text data on the internet and can write content as good as humans. It has an excellent command of grammar and an extensive vocabulary that can adapt to different styles of writing, eliminating the need for human intervention.
When made more accessible, more and more businesses will integrate GPT-3 to reinforce their content creation processes. This will reduce the amount of poor-quality content on websites and even help lower businesses’ marketing costs. But how ready are we to let AI dominate the world of SEO?