Google rolls out countless algorithm updates every year, and 2021 has been a big one. Here are some of the key Google updates that you need to factor into your 2022 strategy
Google’s commitment to the search experience is the driving force behind the thousands of updates both big and small that we see (and sometimes don’t even notice) annually.
Every once in a while though, a Google update comes along that really has an impact, 2021 has been a good example of this with a raft of changes that will continue to impact SEO plans going forward into 2022.
Here are some of the most game-changing:
Table of Contents
The Page Experience Update
The long-awaited Page Experience update began in June of 2021 and completed in early September, delivering among other things, a new Page Experience score system via Google Search Console.
That score is linked to factors such as:
- Mobile friendliness
- Core Web Vitals
- Security & HTTPS usage (although safe browsing isn't and we assume never was a ranking signal)
- The Ad experience
These priority areas of SEO will of course continue to be important in 2022. Metrics such as loading speeds, speed of interactivity, cumulative layout shifts (particularly on mobile devices) and intrusive interstitials are all hurdles that many could (and absolutely should) spend the new year overcoming.
The Link Spam Update
The Link Spam Update of summer 2021 came with a warning for marketers from Google that it would have notable effects for those taking part in link spam as the links in question underwent fresh scrutiny by Google’s updated algorithms.
A large part of that warning was (and continues to be into 2022) ensuring that best practice is followed, both for outbound and inbound links, creating content of the best possible quality and a wider focus on improving the user experience going forward.
The Product Review Update
The best quality products and services should have better visibility in Search, right?
Google definitely thought so in spring 2021 with an update that went live in April targeting ‘thin’ content such as brief summaries, lack of expert knowledge and in-depth information around products.
The Product Review Update asked creators to take a fresh look at product reviews and to make optimisation a priority. December 2021 will see another Product Reviews Update, the emphasis this time is on rewarding authentic, high quality reviews.
That should certainly be on the SEO good housekeeping list for 2022 so keep an eye out for more details as we learn about them.
The MUM Update
A thousand times more powerful than what came before (BERT) and with the power of artificial intelligence helping searchers to undertake ever more complex tasks, The Mum Update was one of the most significant announcements of 2021.
As far as optimisation goes, there is little here to actually prepare for. The Multitask Unified Model raises the standards in terms of content relevance, utility and quality across the board.
2022 should be a year of awareness and understanding the practical applications of the technology. Search intent and user intent is everything.
Trying to stay on top of every single update is an intimidating (and probably a full-time) task in itself. Major Google updates however are always important to be aware of, disseminate and to understand. New features bring new opportunities and deliver important context to the things we see in our site’s data.
The above areas will continue to be vital, but 2022 will be certain to throw more than a few curve balls. It promises to be an interesting year!