October 3, 2023

As 2022 proved as soon as once more, search engine optimisation isn’t boring. 

Was 2022 the 12 months of AI – or maybe the official dawning of the age of AI? For the final month, it’s been exhausting to not examine or keep away from the temptation to spend hours enjoying with ChatGPT. 

We additionally had our traditional share of algorithm updates, new instruments and options, acquisitions, and lots extra adjustments. 

One fixed via all of it? For 16 years, Search Engine Land has coated all the most important tales, simply as we did once more in 2022. 

Right here’s our look again on the largest search engine optimisation information of 2022 – from Google and different search engines like google and yahoo, instrument suppliers and the neighborhood. 

Google information

Google Search Necessities and extra documentation adjustments

Google did a serious refresh of its 20-year-old Webmaster Pointers and in addition renamed it to Google Search Essentials. The up to date tips had been streamlined, simplified, and up to date “to make sure folks have clear steering for how one can construct websites that serve folks properly.”

Whereas Search Necessities was the most important of Google’s documentation updates in 2022, there have been loads extra.

Google up to date a number of Characteristic Guides assist paperwork:

Google additionally:

Additionally, not lengthy after a examine by search engine optimisation instrument firm Ahrefs confirmed half of GSC clicks going to hidden phrases, Google eliminated language in its Efficiency report (Search) assist doc, calling hidden Search Console question knowledge “very uncommon.”

In different documentation adjustments, Google:

E-E-A-T and the QRG

Google’s high quality rater tips (QRG) for search had been up to date twice this 12 months – as soon as in July after which once more in December.

Lily Ray offered her traditional wonderful breakdowns of what modified in each updates to the QRG.

For the July replace (Google search high quality rater tips replace: What has modified), Google reframed its definition of YMYL, revamped its definition of low-quality pages and extra

And as Ray coated within the December replace (E-E-A-T and main updates to Google’s high quality rater tips):

“The addition of ‘expertise’ signifies that content material high quality can be evaluated via the lens of understanding the extent to which the content material creator has first-hand expertise within the matter.

With this reframing of E-E-A-T, Google additionally states that “belief” is on the heart of this idea and is the “most essential member of the E-E-A-T household.” 

Earlier than E-A-T turned E-E-A-T – we discovered from Google that E-A-T is synonymous with “good content material high quality.”

“E-A-T is a template for a way we fee a person website. We do it to each single question and each single outcome. It’s pervasive all through each single factor we do,” in line with Hyung-Jin Kim, VP of Search, Google, who spoke at SMX Subsequent in November. Dig deeper: in 7 takeaways from the SMX Subsequent keynote with Hyung-Jin Kim, VP Search at Google.

Whereas that is decidedly not new, it’s all the time good for search engine optimisation professionals to grasp why Google does the issues it does.

Google is continually testing its SERPs, all within the identify of constructing certain customers have an incredible expertise and discover the data or reply they’re on the lookout for.

One of many largest adjustments was Google bringing steady scroll (don’t cal it infinite!) to desktop earlier this month. Sure, it’s formally time to retire the time period “Web page 2 of Google” – and concentrate on place when speaking about rankings. 

One other important change was multisearch – looking out by picture after which including textual content to that particular picture search.

Google performed round with featured snippets this 12 months, testing ‘From the online’ and ‘Different websites say’ in featured snippets, in addition to exhibiting two or extra featured snippets.

For function snippets, Google now makes use of MUM to find out whether or not there’s basic consensus for info. Google additionally reported that MUM helped scale back false premise outcomes by 40%

Additionally of notice: a SERP evaluation discovered that Folks Additionally Ask seems 10x greater than featured snippets. PAA additionally was within the information as a result of Folks additionally ask was exhibiting up half as typically in Google Search but it surely later returned to regular. 

FAQ wealthy outcomes additionally gained some important Google SERP visibility.

Oh and when you ever have hassle maintaining observe of all of the elements that make up Google’s person interface, Google launched a visible gallery documenting 22 parts.

Right here’s a glance again at much more options that had been added or examined in Google’s search leads to 2022:

Algorithm updates

In 2022, there have been 10 confirmed Google algorithm updates:

At SMX Subsequent, we discovered from Google’s Kim that Google’s Panda algorithm advanced into a brand new algorithm known as Coati. Though this was new details about one thing pretty previous within the Google algorithm world, it was nonetheless an fascinating discovery.

Additionally, Google’s John Mueller confirmed that Google not used the 2010 and 2018 web page pace alerts. They had been changed by Core Net Vitals. 

We additionally discovered, by way of a doc Google launched to the U.S. Copyright Workplace, that Google’s Pirate Replace could cause 89% drop in search visitors for offending websites.

In November, Google printed a doc on its notable rating techniques, which included algorithms which are not used for rating or have been included into new techniques. 

Google additionally launched a brand new “algorithmic enchancment” for the way it selects titles for the search outcome snippets for multi-language or transliterated titles or the place the title aspect is written in a unique language or script from its content material. 

Learn Barry Schwartz’s recap to dig deeper into the 12 months in algorithm updates. And ensure to take a look at our historical past of Google algorithm updates web page for all our newest information and steering across the newest algorithm updates.

AI & machine studying

ChatGPT was all of the speak within the search engine optimisation world within the remaining weeks of 2022. And you may guess we’ll be listening to extra concerning the (and different) thrilling AI applied sciences in 2023, particularly with GTP-4 not far-off. 

Definitely, many websites will try and mass produce content material utilizing AI instruments. Simply watch out – earlier this 12 months, Google warned that Google doesn’t need your AI-generated search engine optimisation spam content material.

Which was a bit ironic, contemplating you possibly can, theoretically, use Google Docs to jot down your meta descriptions. And surprisingly, they weren’t all that dangerous.

Google additionally detailed the way it makes use of synthetic intelligence In Google Search. One different approach Google was contemplating utilizing AI was to replace enterprise hours in native listings. Google additionally formally launched SpamBrain, its AI-based spam prevention system, which launched in 2018.

And regardless of the numerous constructive and thrilling methods to make use of AI, there’s all the time a darkish aspect, as we reported in Beware of faux DMCA hyperlink requests by AI-generated legal professionals.

Numerous native search information in 2022 – new attributes, evaluate points, Google Enterprise Profile adjustments, and scams had been among the many essential headlines:

New attributes:

Google Enterprise Profile, Maps and evaluations:


Extra Google information

Microsoft Bing 


Microsoft Bing continued to push its IndexNow initiative, including co-sharing of URLs with Yandex, saying in August that greater than 16 million web sites had been utilizing it (publishing greater than 1.2 billion URLs per day to the IndexNow API), in addition to including a number of new integrations:

Extra Microsoft Bing information

In case you missed all of the 1000’s of reminders to undertake Google Analytics 4 till now, now could be the time to undertake GA4. As a result of Common Analytics ceases to exist July 1, 2023. Hope you might be prepared. 

In an odd little bit of rebranding, Google Knowledge Studio was renamed Looker Studio. Google stated it was “unifying” the Google enterprise intelligence merchandise – together with the favored Google Knowledge Studio product – “beneath the Looker umbrella.” 

Google Search Console 

Google Search Console had loads of new additions – instruments, options and reporting enhancements. Listed here are hyperlinks to our protection:

In December, we reported on an experimental function known as Content material concepts. Days later, we discovered Query Hub is closing down. Coincidence? Possibly we’ll discover out in 2023. 

GSC additionally had a fair proportion of reporting bugs and different points in 2022:

We additionally stated a remaining farewell to the URL Parameters instrument, which Google stated had “low worth,” the previous message panel and the Worldwide concentrating on report.

And did you get a type of intrusive interstitials notices from GSC?

Acquisitions within the search engine optimisation house

Early in 2022, it regarded like we had been in for a busy 12 months of acquisitions. Issues slowed down round mid-year, however try the main adjustments we noticed this 12 months with among the largest search engine optimisation expertise firms:

Moz deindexed

A DMCA request eliminated search engine optimisation instrument Moz from Google seek for slightly below 12 hours. To be faraway from Google seek for your branded time period is the stuff of search engine optimisation nightmares, irrespective of how lengthy it lasts.

Zero-Clicks: another view

Semrush put out an fascinating examine on zero-click searches. It discovered that 25.6% of desktop searches and 17.3% of cellular searches had been zero-click, a lot decrease than prior – let’s name it “suspect” – zero-click analysis.

Different search engines like google and yahoo

Ahrefs made large information when it revealed particulars about its personal general-purpose search engine, Yep. Whereas it’s no Google killer, extra different search engines like google and yahoo is an effective factor.

In the meantime, DuckDuckGo, essentially the most well-known privateness search engine, appeared to be persevering with its regular progress, lastly passing 100 billion searches in January. Till April. That’s when DuckDuckGo fell under 100 million each day common searches per day. And within the months since, DuckDuckGo has been unable to get again to that stage. 

In memoriam

In 2022, we misplaced influential search engine optimisation pioneer and professional Invoice Slawski on Might 17. He was finest recognized for serving to the neighborhood make sense of search patents, totally on search engine optimisation By The Sea. Fortunately, that treasure trove of knowledge lives on, after it briefly went offline. Within the wake of his passing, we additionally found some upsetting Google search outcomes for [bill slawski obituary].

One other extremely unhappy loss was that of Tatiana Perebeinis, the chief accountant of SE Rating, who was one in all 4 folks killed in a Russian assault in Irpin, Ukraine.

SMX Superior & Subsequent

We ran two digital occasions this 12 months – SMX Superior in June and SMX Subsequent in November. Each reveals had been packed filled with actionable search engine optimisation ideas and insights. 

Beneath are hyperlinks to our protection of the search engine optimisation observe from Superior. 

And you may count on to learn a lot of protection of the search engine optimisation observe from SMX Subsequent over the approaching weeks on Search Engine Land.

search engine optimisation in 2023

As we glance forward, right here’s what we all know:

Except you intend to desert Google Analytics, you have to settle for and totally undertake GA4 – as a result of the present GA goes away in July. And when you haven’t migrated but? You’re going to have an additional exhausting time evaluating year-on-year knowledge. Additionally: be sure you save no matter historic GA knowledge you want, as a result of Google will delete all of it. And as soon as it’s gone, it’s gone.

Ought to be excited or terrified by ChatGPT? Sure. I imply, it relies upon. Simply keep in mind, ChatGPT it’s solely helpful for issues up till 2021. However GPT-4 is coming quickly.

With the rise of AI instruments, it is going to be fascinating to see how Google responds to what might probably be a flood of duplicative AI-generated content material. If that does occur, spoiler: it gained’t go properly for these websites. As a result of there are many instruments which are good at detecting AI content material – and Google is properly conscious of what’s taking place.

We additionally know there might be Google algorithm updates. Google has confirmed 10 main updates in 2021 and 2022. We all know there might be core updates and possibly extra coming with the useful content material replace. And when it occurs, Search Engine Land might be first to report on it.

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Concerning the creator

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & SMX. Along with writing each day about search engine optimisation, PPC, and extra for Search Engine Land, Goodwin additionally manages Search Engine Land’s roster of subject-matter specialists. He additionally helps program our convention collection, SMX – Search Advertising Expo.

Previous to becoming a member of Search Engine Land, Goodwin was Government Editor at Search Engine Journal, the place he led editorial initiatives for the model. He additionally was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many main search conferences and digital occasions, and has been sourced for his experience by a variety of publications and podcasts.