Understanding Google's May 2022 Core Update & Its Impact

February 15, 2023
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Google published the long-awaited Google May 2022 core update last May 26th.

A day after the update was announced, several online visibility and marketing platforms experienced large rank fluctuations. This suggests that rank volatility will rise faster; however, it may subside after a while.

Let’s start by explaining the meaning of core updates.

What are Core Google Updates?

Core updates are the updates that affect a large number of sites, and can cause significant changes in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

Google is constantly making updates to its algorithm to minimize manipulation, improve user experience, and fight spam.

Core updates, according to Google, are modifications aimed at improving Search overall and keeping up with the ever-changing nature of the web. These changes do not target any one website, however, the majority of them result in performance changes.

For example, some sites may experience gains or dips, but Google explains that website owners should not interpret these as mistakes and attempt to correct them. Slower performance following the upgrades does not imply that they breached webmaster standards or were subject to manual or algorithmic action.

It's also likely that previously under-rewarded pages may start doing better due to the adjustments, which improve how Google's systems evaluate content. So, what differentiates the most recent update?

What Changes Did the Google Core Update 2022 Make?

It's important to note that Google never announces the adjustments it makes; nonetheless, SEO specialists from around the world discuss their discoveries, which helps the SEO community understand what it may have been.

Specialist Content Over General Content

Last year Google made a change that distinguished between websites that were simply trying to rank up, and those with a "high-quality" website.

To put it simply: it's harder to rank highly now, so the only way to do it is to develop useful and relevant content.

So, if you want to rank better, you need to make sure that you offer something specific. Do not use general content, provide valuable answers to questions that your potential customers have.

Focus on E-A-T

The biggest change to date is that Google is now using E-A-T or expertise, authority, and trust to evaluate the quality of content.

A website with this attribute will provide more thorough and higher-quality content. This is something that Google has been trying to do for some time now.

Google is trying to adjust the way it evaluates content before it comes up in the SERPs. It values the expertise of the writer, the authority of the website, and the trustworthiness of the content. These are indicators that Google looks at to rate the quality of the page.

FAQ Snippets are on the Rise

FAQ snippets are brief, straight responses to variations of users' inquiries that appear beneath webpage listings on SERPs.

The inclusion of FAQ snippets in SERPs has grown from 22 percent to 27 percent of searches as a result of the broad core update.

Following Google's May 2022 major core upgrade, FAQ snippets on SERPs appeared almost 23% more often than before. That's significant!

Google Has a Better Understanding of Language Intent

The broad core update has made Google even more intelligent. It's now able to recognize users' intent, understand them better, and serve better results.

For example, if someone searches for the phrase "grass-fed beef" in a restaurant, they will receive recommendations of restaurants that serve grass-fed beef.

In 2019, Google released and open-sourced Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, a neural network-based approach for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training. Anyone can use this technology to train their own cutting-edge question-answering system.

This discovery came as a consequence of Google's research on transformers, which are models that interpret words in connection to all the other words in a phrase rather than one by one. BERT models may thus analyze a word's whole context by looking at the words that come before and after, which is very beneficial for understanding the purpose behind search requests.

What Should You Do About the May 2022 Google Core Update?

Although the update hasn't yet had a significant impact on SEO, it's better to be prepared.

1. Check the Competition for Patterns

If you've noticed that certain pages have improved overall ranking, it's time to take note of the pages that are ranking higher.

Check out their content, and make note of what is better. What does it have that yours doesn't?

Perhaps you can think of a new angle for your own content.

2. It All Boils Down to Satisfying User Intent

Users need to find what they're looking for on the results page.

Make sure that your content addresses your audience's needs and is clear about what your audience can expect when they click on it.

3. Improve Your E-A-T and Site Authority

Invest a few hours into improving your authority and Google's assessment of the E-A-T of your site.

This means:

  • Become a recognized industry expert
  • Become a thought leader in your industry
  • Get high-quality backlinks and citations
  • Become known by industry leaders and influencers

4. Test, Test, and Test Again

This is a broad core update, meaning that it will have a significant impact on the search results. It's likely that some of the changes will be very long-lasting.

You will need to test how the major core update affects your ranking, and take measures to protect your online visibility if necessary.

5. Work With Experts

The best way to stay on top of the latest changes is to work with experts.

If you work with an SEO company, they'll be able to advise you on how to stay on track as Google makes adjustments.

If you are working alone, it's important to keep yourself informed on the latest changes.


An effective SEO strategy will help you achieve a higher ranking on search results. It will also help you maintain online visibility. The quality of the content on your site is still more important than the quantity. It's more about what you offer to your audience than brute force SEO.

Team up with us and help your website stay ahead of Google's updates. We are an SEO solution helping agencies and enterprises create stronger online brands through high-quality, weekly content and outreach. Start your free trial today or book a call to learn more!