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Latest Google Algorithm Updates: A 2022 Edition

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

Google makes thousands of updates to its underlying algorithms every year. These updates take shape to improve the quality of search results. While there are a lot of updates that don't affect the search, a few key updates disrupt the SEO game forever.


Table of Content

Latest Google Algorithm updates | TTH Blogs
Latest Google Algorithm updates | TTH Blogs

What are Google Algorithms?

The google algorithms are a set of complex systematic processes that google uses to rank webpages. The search engine uses the process of crawling, indexing and ranking the webpages based on the user query and ensures the most relevant result is shown.

Initially, Google used to release only a handful of updates which would simply go unnoticed, but now, Google releases thousands of updates that significantly impact the search engine result page. Here's what the timeline of these algorithms look like:

Google Algorithm update history by Tall Tale House
Google Algorithm update history by Tall Tale House


2020-2021 Google Updates

Towards Q3 of 2020, Google had announced a few major updates which focused primarily on quality content and improving the user experience on the website. One such update was The Page Experience Algorithm which would focus on the bringing a better experience to users by prioritizing pages that offer a quality page performance — i.e. fast load times, and a non-shifting, stable page.

Google always had some metrics in place for this update such as mobile-friendliness, HTTPS security etc. but in 2021 Google introduced three new metrics system to measure both the speed and overall page experience, which is called Core Web Vitals.


What are Core Web Vitals?


According to Google:

Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.

The web vitals include:

Core Web Vitals by Google
Web Vitals Metrics

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). The purpose of these new metrics is to help website owners monitor and improve the loading speed, responsiveness, and stability of their websites to ultimately build a better user experience (UX)






LARGEST CONTENTFUL PAINT:

This metric measures how a user perceives the initial load of a page — it measures the visual part of the load time. More specifically, LCP measures the time it takes for the largest block of visual content on a page to load. LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.


FIRST INPUT DELAY:

This metric measures how fast it takes for a page to become responsive. If you’ve ever tried to click something on a web page (like a button) and it takes a sec to respond, that means it has a slower FID. Pages should have a FID of 100 milliseconds or less.


CUMULATIVE LAYOUT SHIFT:

This metric measures page stability. For example, if you’ve ever been trying to read an article, and the page shifts and you have to find your place in the article again, that annoying shift is a page layout shift. The cumulative layout shift is the overall shift in a page's layout as it loads. Pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1. or less.


The Page Experience Algorithm

The Page Experience update are a set of signals that go into creating an optimal browsing experience for users.

Google assesses each of the signals and gives a website an overall ‘page experience’ score. Site owners can view their score in the new page experience report in Search Console.


So which are the signals that Google is going to assess?

  • Core Web Vitals: Read above

  • Mobile usability: A page must have no mobile usability errors.

  • Security issues: Any security issues for a site disqualify all pages on the site from a Good status.

  • HTTPS usage: A page must be served over HTTPS to be eligible for Good page experience status.

  • Ad Experience: A site must not use advertising techniques that are distracting, interrupting, or otherwise not conducive to a good user experience.


What's new in 2022?

In 2022, Google is said to be releasing and updating a few major updates that are supposed to completely change the way we look at SEO.



1. Multitask Unified Model (MUM)

Google released the MUM algorithm in June 2021 as an upgrade to BERT. Google states that this upgrade is going to be 1000x more powerful and will prove to be a major breakthrough in AI.


Google's Multitask Unified Model
Google's Multitask Unified Model

MUM will improve Google's ability to better understand complex search queries and its key features will include the following:

  • Visual search via Google Lens and image recognition

  • Translated results from multilingual content (for multilingual SEO)

  • Subtopics for users to explore topics without typing additional queries

  • A ‘Things to know’ section highlighting key details of the topic users search (similar to the ‘People also ask’ section)

  • Refine this search’ and ‘Broaden this search’ feeds for users to delve deeper into topics and return to more general results without altering their search query

  • Improved understanding of misspelt words

  • Better understanding of the key moments in video content

An example of visual search via Google Lens
An example of visual search via Google Lens. Image Source: Google

2. An updated Core Web Vitals reporting tool

Google is working on updates to release a much simplified version on Core Web Vitals report on Search Console so that the website owners can easily understand which URLs of their website are performing well and which need immediate attention.

Although this update has already been rolled out earlier, Google has further stated that one should always expect further changes to Core Web Vitals. Meanwhile, Danny Sullivan has hinted this is another update that could become more important over time, as we’ve seen in the past with one of the signals it includes: mobile-friendliness.


3. Content, Context shall always prevail

In 2022, the SERPs are going to show the most related and accurate content. What it means is that misleading titles with irrelevant content will no longer get their spot on the page results. Google’s algorithm is getting better at recognising content with the most relevant and reliable information.

Google will provide more detail and context-rich answers, and in return it hopes users will ask more detailed and context-rich questions.



In conclusion

Google search, its inputs, outputs, algorithms, and language models have all become almost unimaginably complex. This is an issue the company has confronted in the past, sometimes known as the “one true answer” problem. When Google tries to give people short, definitive answers using automated systems, it often ends up complicating things.

Well, as webmasters one can only expect more updates in future and probably try to figure how to keep their websites in the good books of Google.



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