The most important SEO changes in 2022 have been related to: E-E-A-T, ChatGPT, Search Essentials, and a lot more. SEO had another challenging year, with several significant changes. Here is a compilation of the last year’s most notable SEO news and stories.
Was 2022 the year of AI, or the start of the AI era? It’s been difficult not to hear about ChatGPT or resist the impulse to spend hours playing it since around a month ago.
We also had Google algorithm tweaks, new tools and features.
Here’s a look back at the year 2022’s most important SEO news from Google, other search engines, tool developers, and the SEO community.
Google Search Essentials updates
Google significantly modified its 20-year-old Webmaster Guidelines and renamed the document Google Search Essentials. The amended guidelines have been streamlined, simplified, and brought up to date “so that users have clear guidance on how to develop sites that serve people properly.”
Despite the fact that Search Essentials was the most significant modification to Google’s documentation in 2022, there were numerous more.
Google has revised a number of its Feature Guides, as London SEO expert Paul Hoda has already noticed:
- Link spam Reporting tool update.
- Education-Related Questions and Answers (new content guidelines).
- Implemented a new spam policy;
- Modified its review policies so that it is against the rules to discourage negative reviews or only ask for good ones; and it is also against the rules to pay consumers to remove or change unfavourable reviews. Google stated in a separate upgrade to local search that certain business profiles may need to be validated twice.
Also, after Ahrefs, conducted a study that revealed that half of GSC clicks went to hidden terms, Google removed a section of its Performance report (Search) support guide that said that hidden Search Console query data was “extremely infrequent.”
Google also made the following modifications to the documentation:
- Added more examples of site categories that may be affected by the product reviews update
- Added a new valid page metadata help document;
- Merged its SafeSearch help content into a single new document.
The E-E-A-T – Experienced Experts
Google’s search quality rater guidelines (QRG) were changed twice this year, in July and December.
SEO expert Paul Hoda, as usual, did an excellent job of clarifying what was different in both Google QRG releases.
For the July update, Google modified its definitions of YMYL, low-quality pages, and other terms (Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines Update: What’s New).
The addition of ‘experience’ illustrates that the quality of content can also be rated based on how much the content creator knows about the issue from personal experience.
Google also claims that “trust” is at the centre of this concept and is the “most crucial member of the E-E-A-T family” with this fresh perspective on E-E-A-T.
Another significant change was multisearch, which allows you to search by image and then add text to that image search.
This year, Google tried out “From the web” and “Other sites say” featured snippets, as well as showing two or more highlighted snippets.
Google also prioritised results with a high number of FAQs.
Here’s a look back at some of the new or tested features in Google’s search results in 2022:
- Search refinements: the top bar filters with similar themes.
- Multiple food searches, Google Lens translation, augmented reality beauty and shoes, Maps live view search, and more
- Add a Google Lens button to the home page’s search box.
- Coupons, side-by-side bargains, and pricing comparisons
- Site names and favicon logos
- On mobile, a grid structure makes it easier to see what’s going on.
Google’s algorithm underwent ten confirmed updates in 2022:
- There are two big upgrades each year, in May and September.
- Two useful content updates were released in August, and a system update was released in December.
- The product reviews will be updated three times in March, July, and September.
- An update on spam links: In December.
- The desktop page experience was updated in February.
Google’s Kim informed us at SMX Next that the Panda algorithm had been replaced by a new one named Coati. Even though this was old news regarding something that has been around for a long in the world of Google algorithms, it was still interesting to learn.
In addition, Google’s John Mueller acknowledged that the page speed signals from 2010 and 2018 were no longer utilised.
They were replaced by the Core Web Vitals.
According to a document Google sent to the United States Copyright Office, the Pirate Update can reduce search traffic by 89% for sites that violate the law.
Google published a document outlining its most key ranking mechanisms in November. It contained algorithms that are no longer utilised for ranking or that have been incorporated into new systems.
Google also made a “algorithmic improvement” in how it selects titles for search result snippets when the titles are written in more than one language or script, or when the title element is written in a language or script different from the rest of the page.
To learn more about the modifications to algorithms this year, read Barry Schwartz’s description. For the most recent news and recommendations on algorithm updates, visit our page on the history of Google algorithm updates.
AI and machine learning
Everyone in the SEO community was talking about ChatGPT in the final weeks of 2022. You can bet that we’ll hear a lot more about these and other intriguing AI technologies in 2023, especially because GTP-4 is approaching.
Without a doubt, many websites will attempt to leverage AI techniques to create a large amount of material at once. Just be aware that Google stated earlier this year that it does not want your AI-generated SEO spam content.
Which was amusing since, in principle, you could create your meta descriptions in Google Docs. And, surprisingly, they weren’t so horrible.
Google Search also discussed how it employs artificial intelligence. Google was also considering utilising AI to adjust business hours in local listings.
SEO will always be important in determining how your page ranks on SERPs. As Google continues to make changes here and there, we can expect the aforementioned trends to have a significant impact on how we will do SEO in 2023.