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Google May 2022 Broad Core Update SEO Impact



Google May 2022 Broad Core Update SEO Impact

Last week, on May 26th, Google released the long awaited Google May 2022 core update. The update really kicked into high gear quickly, with a ton of volatility noticed within 24-hours after it was formally launched. In my opinion, this update was one of the bigger core updates or Google algorithm updates we’ve seen in some time – at least in terms of the SEO impact.

Let me share the quick facts, in case you missed it in the first story and then I’ll share some of what the SEO community has seen with this update:

Google May 2022 Broad Core Update Quick Facts

Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:

  • Name: Google May 2022 Broad Core Update
  • Launched: May 25, 2022 at around 11:30pm ET
  • Rollout: It will take about one to two weeks to roll out
  • Targets: It looks at all types of content
  • Penalty: It is not a penalty, it promotes or rewards great web pages
  • Global: This is a global update impacting all regions, in all languages.
  • Impact: Google would not tell me what percentage of queries or searches were impacted by this update.
  • Discover: Core updates impact Google Discover and other features, also feature snippets and more.
  • Recover: If you were hit by this, then you will need to look at your content and see if you can do better with Google’s core update advice.
  • Refreshes: Google will do periodic refreshes to this algorithm but may not communicate those updates in the future. Maybe this is what we saw the past couple of weeks or all those unconfirmed Google updates.

SEO Impact: Community Chatter on May 2022 Core Update

Like I said above, this core update was felt in a big way by the SEO community. We saw the early chatter in our first story, but the chatter really has not slowed at all. I will share some, just a sampling, of what the SEO community has shared within the SEO forums and on SEO twitter below. Keep in mind, there are about 200 comments on my core update story – that is a huge huge number. The May 16th update has about 170 comments and then an additional 100+ comments on the follow up to the May 16th tremors story, which is also huge, but many thought that was a core update, without Google confirming that. So there is tons of chatter within this site as well.

I also wrote a more data centric piece based on data from Semrush and RankRanger and posted it on Search Engine Land. This piece here is more individual stories from SEOs and site owners.

Also, keep in mind, Memorial Day weekend was this past weekend, so that might lead to declines in overall traffic.

Let’s start with WebmasterWorld to respect our elders. This is picking up where I left off in my original story:

Right now, we’re seeing substantial increases over Thursday last week (+15%) but it doesn’t look right: Bounce rate is slightly up while pages-per-session slightly down (which make sense together), but the average session duration is substantially lower. I also double-checked the latter per hour of the day to correct for regional behaviour since we have a global userbase.

In any case, I doubt the traffic gains will last. Within a week or two we’ll be back to our “assigned traffic volume”.

I am seeing a BIG decline in USA traffic today…similar to the one day blip last week. USA is down 56% and search is down 30% at 11:30am. Once again my most important landing pages are down 70%+…it’s always the same landing pages that get hit too. I see this at least once a week now, and it usually bounces back at the end of the day, or next day.

This is the result of on-page changes I assume…i.e. loading the pages with too much crap so that organic results get pushed down. I would be panicked, but my SERPS actually improved overnight so I am thinking it will last 12-24 hours again. Otherwise if this sticks it will be very ugly.

Large, 25 year old informational/entertainment/education site.

Right now trending down around -10% for a Thursday.

It’s early so fingers crossed. We have made *significant* best-practice seo and site quality improvements over the past 12 months.

Can’t do this anymore, I keep hoping that one day Ill be able to get back to 7 years ago when I was making a living off my website, Now I have to work a two jobs and the spare time I have like today I work on my site, the motivation is gone, no money coming in barely made 35 cents yesterday, posted up 9 articles all originally written, no top stories placement when searching for title of article after I published, and then when I post the title in google news search my article is on the second page but the first page is another website that has similar topic and then takes up like 6 spots that have nothing to do with the topic

Whats going on? This is getting depressing this is like the worst update ever.

And again a spammy news site in top stories with a wordpress favicon is outranking me, I have schema installed, I added my logos in news publisher and still not ranking in google news, I checked my search console and it says 14 clicks from google news in 5 months. Ive been in google news for 10 freaking years too and the last year and half has been horrible and this last two months the worst, they never fixed the search you cant find anything you are looking for, when someone searchs an exact title they expect to find that title at the top not the 3rd or 4th page.

Huge improvments here in positions. Traffic? Inconclusive, as it’s holiday time for me.

Lot of better positions, yes, but from 74th place to 23th. Yeah.

Let’s see how it evolve…

Yesterday not quite as bad as I feared… c. -17% on last Thursday, with particular losses on UGC. The watching & waiting continues…

35% down in traffic today compared to the same day the previous week. Rankings continue to drop.

SERPs don’t make sense, therefore expecting to bounce back, but the stats are difficult to look at.

Some numbers from my 5 sites.

Yesterday compared to previous week

Info site, oldest of them all, +54%

Info site, 8 years old +51%

Info site, 1.5 years old, +34%

Info/Affiliate/CPA offer site -5%

Pure Affiliate site -80%

My ranking is holding steady and actually slightly increasing in the last two days, but traffic is abysmal…very sluggish and well below normal. My home page and main landing pages were down 34%-56% yesterday from an average Thursday.

As expected, the steep drop recovered somewhat in the evening between 5pm and 10pm, as has been the pattern for months. Today USA and UK are down 20%-38%. Canada, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland and most of Western Europe are at -100% (zero visits)…but I do have tons of traffic from East Europe and Asia!:

USA traffic more than halved today therefore checked my SERPs and at the moment all looks ok … I’ll see where the numbers end up before having a serious in-depth Saturday afternoon where the roller-coaster is heading.

I hope everything goes back to normal, so far yesterday traffic was down about -20% on my largest site and about -8% on my second website. My other 5 websites are also down, but the traffic is irrelevant.

Down 30%, been hit by all updates since December 2020. So far lost 80% of traffic since then and it looks like I’m headed to zero

Ouch, ouch, ouch … ok, it’s a Saturday morning and over 8 hours gone, is my server down? Nope but several sites with 0 (zero) visitors so far, several with 1 (one) and another with 40 (forty) … That’s it for today folks !

I was able to recover (~90%) from the 2019 core update. It was one of the major updates.
It took more than 8 months to reach close to previous traffic. During 2020 and 2021, traffic was average with low CPC.
Traffic improved after March 2022 until now. Hope it will settle back after a few ups and downs.

My blog is losing Google positions every day – three days ago I had 140 KW’s in TOP3 today I have only 114 KW’s in TOP3.
Traffic is also down by about 30% and impressions in GSC are also down … sad
I hope in the next few days everything will go back to normal again …

The effects of whatever is going on are dramatic. Congratulations, we are now down to a $2/day income. This whole broken system should be scrapped and re-engineered on the blockchain.

Rankings holding steady, core web vitals improved, backlink count increased and traffic from Europe is quite a bit better today. USA traffic is relatively low, but it’s a holiday weekend. I have seen traffic to my home page and all of my major landing pages much lower since the update was announced…we’re talking 30%-70% declines here. Let’s hope it was a blip

Does G love anyone at the moment? My SERPs seem to be unaffected however Saturdau’s traffic was almost half of a regular Saturday meaning, bassically, it was 33% of a weekday.

So far today all, except for two visitors, have been single page views which is very unusual and after 17 hours of my Googelday traffic is half of Saturday’s so far … G definitely seems to be grinding something out / down / in / up / wherever! We’ve got what, another 10 days to go of this manipulation?

A 50% drop seems extreme @RedBar. I ended Saturday -2% in total, – 8% on USA, but my landing pages were still hit pretty hard. I have noticed that direct traffic has dropped almost every day since May 22nd…it’s a 2/3 decline in total. Is anyone else seeing this? Is this Google Image traffic in general?

For me everything is down (5 – 20% depending on site) and continues to gradually slide lower, especially one site and specifically English language traffic.

Site that is down the most navigated recent volatility (before this “core update”) better than others. What happened, what did I change? I don’t know. Only thing that sticks out is that I submitted disavow file with spammy links. I know Google has terrible, lame ranking algos, but maybe they are even dumber than I think and fake backlinks from fake sites are essential these days?

But then, now I’m 50% down in traffic after this update so who knows if it had an impact now, a year later. However, my site has grown since then, so I doubt it. Ahrefs also reported DA drop a bit once I disavowed those domains, as it was a young domain, but as I said, rankings were doing great.

Basically Sunday was 33% of my normal weekday and half of my weekend average.

Monday doubled Sunday but was still 66% of my weekday average.

After 11+ hours of today Tuesday, I am already at Monday’s traffic levels.

No spikes, sources looking normal, this is precisely why it’s called a roller coaster!

Hello guys, I wanted to share something that I see. Since the 26th of May what I see is a ranking drop of some main commercial keywords but that is accompanied by a 20% increase in organic traffic since the 26th. This kinda makes no sense to me – rankings drop and traffic increases… I have to mention that the increased organic traffic does not result in more conversions, quite the opposite, conversions are down to almost zero.

Looking at the last week I have seen big traffic declines in my home page (-39%) and many of my most important landing pages (-15% to -53%). Search is down -18% overall while direct is -44%.

Traffic losses are wide ranging…USA down 27%, UK -2%, CA -14%, AU -28%. The rest of the world has seen mixed results…some countries -70% traffic loss, others an equal traffic gain.

I continue to climb in overall numbers of terms that rank, but some of my most important terms by volume have dropped from top three to position 6 for example. If you add those up they are far more important than gaining a lot of low volume terms that never convert. I am seeing new sites ranking on terms that have been stable for a long time, and I don’t see why…there is nothing there that would cause them to rank so highly. The two sites that Google has favored throughout 2021 are now ranking higher across the board. One is just cookie cutter content used over and over for every city, but it seems to be working.

looks like our main & english language site (11yrs, entertainment/UGC) has lost a good 20% of its organic clicks,
but the other language subdomains of the same site have not been affected at all so far it seems.

Guess the update will be rolled out to other languages later, just thought I’d mention my observation.

USA ended -17% yesterday and is starting -61% today. Traffic hasn’t budged for hours. My home page has lost ~50% of its page views since 24th. This while my ranking increased for three days straight.

From one of the many threads at Black Hat World:

I have 2 websites.

1 site is losing rankings (good quality content) and 1 site is gaining rankings (best quality content)

On my sites I haven’t noticed any real change, but some websites I looked at were hit very hard. Specifically one that went from a traffic of over 1.2m to 300k+.

That’s the biggest drop I’ve seen, losing 70+% of traffic.

2 of my big sites in a niche got hit, checked the Top competitors and they were hit too. On other hand, 1 of my baby site in the same niche saw some good movements and traffic, So who is winning if all the top authoritative sites in the same niche are getting hit? Google seems to be taking power from authority sites and distributing it among smaller sites. The Opposite of what happens in every update.

From 450$ from affiliate to 50$ a month 🙂 Hard hit by good for my affiliate site.

Lost between 10 and 15% of traffic on my sites. First update that hit me badly… the others have always benefited me quite a lot. I see my SERPs the same in the correct positions, at least the ones that give me the most traffic. Let’s hope with the days that it improves again since that 15% represents a lot for me.

This update looks like it’s a hunt for affiliate sites.

But some sites in the same niche were not affected. In my perception, the ones with the strongest domain, with backlinks and old ones didn’t suffer as much

I’ll wait a while to see if I have any recovered, but not very hopeful of that.

What I’m going to try is to change my pages, try to see how to make it look less like an affiliate, try to camouflage Amazon links, among other things.

click for full size

Here are some of what people shared with me on Twitter:

And here are some quotes from comments in my recent post on this site:

My site is about 85% informational, 15% affiliate and I still got hit hard (45% down). Site is about 2 years old, all whitehat, all quality, no sponsored posts or PBN links. So I guess I’m somewhere in between all this? So far today, seems like it remained and isn’t dropping more, but it’s down about 45% compared to previous Monday. Still some time left to wait and see if anything changes.

30% drop so far and continuing today. Been replaced by sites that have bought ex-government, news, or education websites. They have then posted a title tag or full article in a forum and taken over all of the search results on page 1 and mainly page 2 also. I think in honesty it’s about time websites like this and others stop giving John M and Danny S any air time at all. They are clearly both puppets for the cause and anything they say cannot any longer be believed.

I’m not sure I can agree or accept that. In 2021 December update I slowly got hit then as well, but regained. Although it wasn’t as harsh as this one, and definitely wasn’t as much (maybe 10-15% of slow drop), but I regained my rankings. I guess I’m in Denial stage, but I just can’t accept it. What useful purpose is there to consistently keep ranking my site then cut everything to 50%? This has to come back. My site is of the highest quality, nothing blackhat going on, so I’m not sure how can this make sense.

You know, I could get sites losing traffic over time, but to lose 50% of it in 2-3 days? While getting increased traffic for years? Where’s the warning? Where’s the yellow flag? I’ve even improved according to Google’s new guidelines. And I’m far from being the only one.

3 years to make my website profitable.

2 updates in less than 6 months (December 2021 / May 2022) for Google to kill my site.

In the first update it dropped from 160 to 80k traffic. In the last month, April, I managed to recover that traffic to above 80k, which became 90k. Now, it’s over, 75% drop in traffic. I have no desire to continue in the SEO business.

I got hit in December only slightly, and slowly, but regained. Now got hit by 50% immediately in 2 days, now keeps dropping still.

You may be right but that’s what I have been telling myself since May 18th. It has gotten a tad bit better actually but traffic still 60% down. To be honest, we were hit bad like this maybe in 2011 or around that time. We worked so hard to recover most of that traffic and bam, it’s gone again.

I thought it was just me, seem to have made gains and no losses yet traffic is down 40% in a day, I wondered if someone turned the internet off! Contacted a friend who manages 40 clients sites and he says the same, zero contacts/conversions since yesterday even though positions are fine, this is really strange!

My website got hit around 30%. It’s an informational and “content-download” website that strictly follows all the Google rules. It’s really good content that used to get donation and a lot of compliments.

Hey Paolo. My website was also hit by around 30-35%. It’s also informational, high-quality that follows Google rules as well. I have a feeling we’ll bounce back from this stronger than the rest. Maybe not tomorrow, but next week, or June. Hang in there!

Same here. Traffic down 35%, high quality informational site, but I’m hoping to bounce back after the update is complete.

my website is 70% down and I thought it was good.

And so much more – that is just a sampling of the heart breaking, terrifying and shocking results for some after this Google core update. Some are up, but most people in these forums share the negative, not the positive.

I really hope most of you did well with this update.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld & Black Hat World.


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Google’s Answer To OpenAI’s ChatGPT?



Google Chat Bot Ai

CNBC reported the other day that Google is working on its own AI chatbot named Apprentice Bard. Apprentice Bard is reportedly built on Google’s AI LaMDA language model stack and while Google is being more cautious with this rollout, Google is working on testing an AI bot in search.

CNBC wrote, “As a result of ChatGPT, the LaMDA team has been asked to prioritize working on a response to ChatGPT,” read one internal memo viewed by CNBC. “In the short term, it takes precedence over other projects,” the email continued, warning that some employees stop attending certain unrelated meetings.

“Apprentice Bard looks similar to ChatGPT: Employees can enter a question in a dialog box and get a text answer, then give feedback on the response. Based on several responses viewed by CNBC, Apprentice Bard’s answers can include recent events, a feature ChatGPT doesn’t have yet,” CNBC said. This makes sense, as Google can crawl the web in almost real-time and process that information faster than any other company.

The examples given by CNBC show that Google even picked up on the Google layoff news and was able to respond to questions about this. Whereas ChatGPT only has content from 2021 or earlier.

Also, CNBC said Google is working on designing an alternative search interface to support this chat feature. CNBC said, “One view showed the home search page offering five different prompts for potential questions placed directly under the main search bar, replacing the current “I’m feeling lucky” bar. It also showed a small chat logo inside the far right end of the search bar.” “When a question is entered, the search results show a grey bubble directly under the search bar, offering more human-like responses than typical search results. Directly beneath that, the page suggests several follow-up questions related to the first one. Under that, it shows typical search results, including links and headlines.”

Super interesting stuff and I suspect that if Google does release something, it will be a lot better than what we’ve been seeing so far, if that is even imaginable…

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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A New Googlebot Crawler From Google Named GoogleProducer



Crochet Google Bot Spider

Google may be crawling the web with a new crawler, a new Googlebot, named GoogleProducer. This useragent is not listed on the official Google crawlers page but maybe it is too new to be listed yet?

Hernán Marsili spotted this and asked Google about this on Twitter. He said, “we are seeing a lot of traffic to publisher’s sites with a new user-agent ‘GoogleProducer; (+ ‘. Our WAF is currently blocking it, but it’s origin is actually Google Proxy hosts. Is this legit traffic?”

That link goes to this page that 404s within the Google News Producer section.

As an FYI, Google Producer is part of Google News and Google Currents, I believe. This help document from Google says, “You will use Google Currents producer to manage your issues (e.g., pricing, description, etc.) for Google Play Magazines. If you’re participating in Google Currents, Producer will look familiar to you. You can manage both your edition(s) for Google Currents and your issues for Google Play Magazines through Producer. See our article on publisher account setup for the steps you need to take to fully set up your publisher account and magazines for Play. If you have any questions about using Producer for Google Currents, please see the Currents Producer Help Center.” Note, the Currents Producer Help Center redirects to the Google Publisher Center help center.

John Mueller of Google said he will look into it:

I guess we will see what he says but until then, I do suspect this is a legit Googlebot crawler.

Update: This is old, an older one:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Microsoft Bing Says The lastmod Tag In XML Sitemap File Is Critical




Microsoft Bing posted a new blog post saying “for XML sitemaps, one of the most critical tags you can include in your sitemap is the “lastmod” tag.” And it will become even more critical as Bing is reworking its crawl scheduling stack to rely more on this lastmod field.

Yes, by June, the way Bing decides what to crawl will be more dependent on the lastmod tag. Fabrice Canel from Microsoft wrote, “we are revamping our crawl scheduling stack to better utilize the information provided by the “lastmod” tag in sitemaps.” This is being done so it can “enhance” the “crawl efficiency by reducing unnecessary crawling of unchanged content and prioritizing recently updated content.”

“We have already begun implementing these changes on a limited scale and plan to fully roll them out by June,” he added.

So making sure your lastmod date is accurate is now even more important. It should be the last time you modified the URL, not the time the URL was first published and not the time the XML sitemap file was generated. In fact, that is the biggest issue Bing found with the field, that it often just shows the date the XML sitemap file was generated and not the date the page of the URL was last modified.

Here are some data points Bing put together on XML sitemaps:

  • 58% of hosts have at least one XML sitemap.
  • 84% of these sitemaps have a lastmod attribute set.
  • 79% have lastmod values correct.
  • 18% have lastmod values not correctly set.
  • 3% has lastmod values for only some of the URLs.
  • 16% of these sitemaps don’t have a lastmod attribute set.
  • 42% of hosts don’t have one XML sitemap

Oh, Bing still wants you to use the IndexNow protocol for the most efficient crawl solution but if you don’t – make sure your lastmod date is accurate.

In terms of Google, in 2015 Google said they don’t really use the lastmod date but then changed that in 2020 they said they do. The current Google documentation says, “Google uses the lastmod value if it’s consistently and verifiably (for example by comparing to the last modification of the page) accurate.”

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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