In June, the world of SEO experienced the effects of the first Google Core Algorithm Update of the year. The update was a huge one which caused fluctuations in many areas. In this blog post, we will discuss some news released by Google and the announcement of a whole new search engine from Ahrefs.
The May Core Algorithm Update Completed Its Roll Out
After Google released its first large update of the year, The May 2022 Broad Core Update, SEO’s from across the world noticed shifts in their rankings. Two of the biggest things impacted by this Broad Core Update were backlinks and long-form content. The analysis demonstrated that websites using only an on-page linking strategy or content clustering dropped from positions they had held for years for dozens of keywords. The sites that rose in the rankings all shared one major trait: More Backlinks to the Domain. Sites that utilized a mixed approach to linking, including both external and internal links, were more inclined to hold their previous ranking positions. These websites whose ranking remained consistent also included strong branding which organically gets a lot of backlinks. This latest update exemplifies why link building is still and will be of great importance in the future.
The newest Google Core Update additionally goes to demonstrate Google’s emphasis on quality content, particularly long-form content. Before Google released its BERT update and thereafter the MUM update, shorter and more relevant content seemed to rank well. However, since 2020 and these updates, long-form content is becoming more and more important. All in all, long-form content is ranking higher and holding those rankings better. This new update showed that sites moved up in the rankings when they had longer, relevant, and detailed content with many keywords ranking higher. It is important to note that these findings do not suggest that using a ton of irrelevant content that rambles on with no true reason will improve your ranking. Instead, articles and pages should be well structured, include effective keywords, and provide a clear and comprehensive description of the content.
The growth of content, including video, was observed as well within this latest Core Update. For example, see this Tweet below. Due to the influx of people consuming video content as a consequence of the popularity of Tiktok and short-form video content across media platforms, user intent has shifted. It seems as though Google’s Algorithm is conforming to this shift.
Based on the 100 largest losers and 100 largest winners, I observed 3 major trends.
1️⃣ Video instead of text
2️⃣ Specialists instead of generalists
3️⃣ Better search intent matching
— Malte Landwehr (@MalteLandwehr) May 30, 2022
In the video space, there are basically only winners.
TikTok grew a staggering 99%. And Youtube – already one of the most dominant websites in Google`s organic rankings- grew another 23%!😲
In total, video websites gained 25% during this update.
— Malte Landwehr (@MalteLandwehr) May 30, 2022
Rumors of New Updates
Outside of the main June Core Update that rolled out during the first half of June, there was some speculation of additional updates coming to light. After Google announced the completion of the Core update, around June 19th, there were many fluctuations reported. However, after a major change or update such as this one, it is normal to see additional adjustments and large fluctuations in the subsequent weeks. One group revealed that they experienced big drops in international traffic specifically, around June 19th. Another rumored update has been hypothesized to occur at the end of June around the 28th and 29th. Rank Ranger, an SEO Software company, pointed out some notable fluctuations around those dates for universal site traffic around the web.
Only 15MB of Content Crawled? (or “Analyzed” because they used the term “Crawled”)
Google released some updated documentation about Googlebot that caused quite a disturbance, which prompted Google to address what was taking place. Originally, Google made an update to their Googlebot Help Document stating that it only “sees” the first 15 megabytes (MB) when looking at certain file types online. However, this is not a new procedure for Google, it has been in place for years, except now it is officially documented. The new documentation states that any content after the first 15 MB is dropped by Googlebot, and only the first 15 MB gets forwarded to indexing. Google has indicated that this likely does not mean anything for most web pages because there are not many pages on the internet bigger than 15 MB. As a rule of thumb, you want to keep your pages as light as possible so it has a faster load time and provides users and the Googlebot with a positive experience. This newly documented measurement will presumably not change. However, this shift alternatively continues to demonstrate the importance of putting your most important content, images, or videos at the top of your webpage to make certain they are crawled.
Ahrefs Search Engine
There seems to be new competition within the search space as Ahrefs announced their own search engine. Ahrefs has been a very trustworthy, industry-standard SEO tool for many years and now they are entering the world of search engines. Their new search engine, which they are calling “Yep”, will be a general-purpose tool. Ahrefs sets to launch Yep in most languages across all countries in the approaching months. They are branding their new search engine as a Google competitor in terms of potential and ability. Ahrefs has stated that Yep will not collect personal information such as your location, name, or gender, and will not store your search history. Yep will function using user keywords, language preferences, and approximate geographic area to enhance their algorithm and produce relevant search results. A unique, stand-out feature of Yep is its Revenue-sharing model, in which Ahrefs intends to share 90% of its advertising revenue with those publishing content.
Ahrefs indicates that every 24 hours their algorithm/bot visits more than 8 billion web pages. They state that this is the second most active web crawler after Google. For the time being, the results appear to be nominal and a minimal version of what one would see on other websites. However, this is predicted to change as the results become more complex with more indexed web pages being analyzed and added to the database. We will see as people start using Yep in the coming months if it is as robust and successful as it seems.
DuckDuckGo Declines in Popularity
As we see the launch of a new search engine, it could mean seeing a decline in others. Overall, DuckDuckGo has experienced a reduction in searches, but not as a direct result of Yep’s release. In January of 2021, DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, revealed an impressive milestone of reaching over 100 million searches per day. However, in April of this year, their search volume continuously decreased each month. During the commencement of the war in Ukraine this March, DuckDuckGo’s founder revealed that they will begin to down-rank websites connected with Russian disinformation. This was criticized by many users who stated that this movement violated DuckDuckGo’s promise of unbiased search. It is too soon to determine if this announcement led to a decline in advertising or just if fewer individuals were using the site, but we will see if this decline continues with time.
Twitter Nofollow Links
Twitter removed the nofollow attribute from its links in June. This nofollow feature on Twitter has existed since the platform’s early years in 2008 and 2009. Basically, profiles, tweets, and other pages on Twitter could now include followed links. It has not been announced by Google yet if they will follow these links, and they most likely will not comment on it. Twitter has a history of being spammed with links. So it is not necessary to begin posting a bunch of links to your Twitter account to improve your SEO strategy. We will be monitoring this new feature to see what takes place in the future.
Google Testing New Types of Snippets
Lastly, we want to discuss the new kinds of featured snippets and zero-click results that Google is testing out. In some instances, Google is displaying more than one snippet and other times up to 4 snippets. Below are block and list view snippets.
I like these info-cards in mobile results. pic.twitter.com/hGWsAQBN4d
— William Álvarez (@williamalvarez) June 16, 2022
Yep, Google is doing more testing with showing multiple answers within Featured Snippets. We saw it back in April on desktop, now there's three new variations on mobile. All spotted by @williamalvarez via @rustybrick. Thoughts on this test? More info: https://t.co/j6IUtkB6Zz pic.twitter.com/GufAr00gtr
— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) June 16, 2022
This new feature means that position zero is available for more websites. This change has not completely rolled out and will not be available for all queries. However, it means that more opportunities are accessible for these types of results for well-written and concise content that meets a query’s needs.