Google's latest core update sees many brands experience huge drops in traffic


Impacts of Google’s May 2022 Core Update

Google typically makes changes to its algorithm every day, yet most of them are unnoticeable. Every so often though, Google does a ‘core update,’ which refers to wider changes being made to the algorithm that could result in notable fluctuations in search results. They don’t usually give any advance warning and, in fact, sometimes it takes a while for them to formally acknowledge it even after it’s rolled out.

The most recent core update was released in May 2022. Since then, a lot of websites have reported experiencing significant drops in organic traffic; ie. as much as 20 per cent and sometimes even more.

Search queries most impacted

When discussing keyword searches (people typing their search query into Google), intent can be split up into four main categories:

  1. Transactional: complete a purchase or action.
  2. Commercial: investigate services or brands.
  3. Navigational: find a specific page or website.
  4. Informational: find general information or an answer to a question.

Interestingly, the founder of Searchmetrics, Marcus Tober, broke down rank volatility by keyword intent, using sensor data from Semrush. He found that both informational and transactional keywords experienced rank volatility of over 50 per cent; 54 per cent and 51 per cent respectively. Many law firm searches fall into these categories.

Many law firms report losing featured snippets

Achieving the coveted “featured snippet” spot can be a big win for any business, so it can be devastating when you lose this.

Unfortunately, volatility in this area is not that uncommon for a core update, as losing organic rankings does make it more difficult to rank in a featured snippet. What has been noted about the May 2022 Google Update, is that a lot of law companies have lost the featured snippet even if their organic ranking had not dropped.

It is feasible that Google has raised the bar in terms of what level of E-A-T is needed to rank for a featured snippet. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is also possible that the search engine giant is making the most of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to get a better understanding of whether the content is trustworthy and relevant enough to rank for the position in question.

A shift toward more specialist content

Google has announced that it will be prioritising specialist content over general-based content. So, this is something that you can certainly focus on if you have encountered a drop as a consequence of the May Core Update.

The focus is going to be on well-researched and in-depth pieces of content, rather than blog posts that are thin on the ground, basic and do not offer any new insight.

Do you publish the latest legal news on your website?

It is worth noting that sites with very general content were primarily impacted, i.e. publishers who write about everything, ranging from career advice and the weather to sports results and celebrity news. If the articles you publish on your site are highly niched in terms of the legal realm, you should not have experienced such a big drop in traffic.

Were there any big winners?

Video websites like Twitch, Hulu, Disney Plus, YouTube, and TikTok increased significantly. In fact, the latter had an overall gain of 133 per cent.

While we’re not suggesting that your law firm uploads TikTok dance challenge videos, this trend is reinforcing what we know about the internet evolving; people like watching videos online!

Videos can be located in many ways on Google; eg. via the main results page, Discover, Google Images, and video search results.

From customer testimonial videos to knowledge-based videos, there are lots of different kinds that can be used to build your law firm’s online presence.

What can you do if your site has been negatively affected by the May 2022 Google Core Update?

If your site has been negatively impacted, here are some of the steps you can take:

  • Review the pages that started outranking you after the Google Core Update - Ask yourself why a searcher may find these websites more helpful than yours.
  • Improve, consolidate, or trim thin content - If you have heaps of content on your website that is not helpful to searchers, this can make it hard for Google to determine how topically relevant your content is.
  • Make sure your site is technically sound - While technical fixes do not typically reverse a core update hit, tech problems can make your content more challenging to read or crawl, so they must be fixed.
  • Go beyond the obvious - It is important to make sure your website’s content goes beyond the obvious. Provide interesting information, analysis, or insights in an easy to read format.
  • Use other sources properly - Ask yourself whether you would expert particular content to be referenced by a source. If you do draw from available sources to craft your content, make sure re-writing and copywriting issues have been avoided.
  • Improve your E-A-T - This can involve getting mentions and links on authoritative websites, as well as enhancing Google’s understanding of the entities linked with your brand.
  • Review the questions Google says to ask yourself in their core update blog post - You can find the Google Core Update blog post here. Some of the questions include: Are you known as an authority on your topic? Are there any factual errors that are easy to verify? Do you have original analysis, research, and reporting?

Contact us today to get your online presence back on track

If you have been impacted as a consequence of May’s Google Core Update, we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact our professional and friendly team for more information.

Contacting Social Hive

📞  0412 338 376


 Share this page...