What’s New in SEO: October 2022 Update

From September 1st to October 1st, we saw two main updates straight after the Helpful Content Update (HCU) — which means that if your rankings fluctuated last month, it might be hard to tell which update caused the changes.

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It's that time of the month again: we're back with our "What's New in SEO" monthly recap of search engine news. From September 1st to October 1st, we saw two main updates straight after the Helpful Content Update (HCU) — which means that if your rankings fluctuated last month, it might be hard to tell which update caused the changes.

We'll go into more details around what we know about each of these, including the September core update, the fifth Product review update, and any more news on the Helpful Content Update. We also heard exciting announcements as part of Search On 2022, Google's event, announcing how they are encouraging users to 'Search Outside the Box'.

We'll go into more details around this, as well as what we know about the September core update, the fifth Product review update, and any more news on the Helpful Content Update. Now, let's dive in.

Events

We attended another great London SEO meetup organized by BlueArray in Shoreditch, London at the Wise offices. Duray Pretorius shared his insights on great agency-brand relationships, Jake Evans discussed 'how to learn,' and Paige Hobart shared thoughts on content mapping. Reina Hanada, SEO specialist at Wise, also shared her insights on how to cut through the noise when looking at data. I especially liked her slide with the flowchart on analyzing data when conversions are down.

LondonSEO meetups will be back from November, but taking a well deserved break for October.

Search Engine Toolkit

Google has announced a number of updates to improve their organic product feed, including expanded eligibility for merchant listings, more structured data properties, and a new Google Search Console (GSC) reporting that helps merchants understand any data or eligibility issues for organic listing experiences in Search. Brodie Clark has shared some screenshots of this new report.

There's also a new HTTPS report in GSC on which pages are not served over HTTPS, and why not. As published by Google, this has been a request from the community since they launched the Page Experience report last year. Secure browsing is a part of the Page Experience signals, and HTTPS has been a known ranking signal since 2014. Since then, Google has actively made changes to promote the importance of HTTPS, such as warning users when accessing a non-secure website, and including it as part of their page experience metrics. The security of a website isn't only important for Google, but it's also crucial to ensure a good user experience. An article published in 2019 states that 46% of visitors leave a website without SSL, and 95% of Google's index is HTTPS.

SERP updates

Google Search On 2022 was full of updates, and the key theme — Search Outside the Box — is really referring to the now-trending 'multisearch,' which is currently available in English language. It will be coming to 70+ more languages in the next few months.

In the recent update named 'bringing more voices to search,' Google talks about the upcoming features that help find what people are saying online as well as break down language barriers. There will be a new feature on introducing discussion and forum content (from the likes of Reddit and Quora) within the SERPs, rolling out in the US in English, as well as showing translated news content from French, German, and Spanish into English on both mobile and desktop to help users access the most relevant information about local events. Google appears to have great confidence in their AI translation capabilities from these languages, given that they are willing to feature them over content that's been written by humans in the given language.

Additionally, Google wants to encourage users to continue to use more than just keywords in their search queries. They are making search more natural and intuitive by allowing the combination of text, voice, and image as part of one search query. Today there are 8 billion+ searches on Google lens every month, and this is very likely to expand even further with the global rollout of multisearch.

The more natural and intuitive search means a number of updates to the Google app experience and Discover, including shortcuts, results in the search bar, enhanced query refinements, and more. Google broke down these updates into 4 categories across Maps, Food, Shopping and Sustainability.

Maps
If I want to sum up the map improvements in one world, I'd say that Maps is really transforming into a metaverse. Google has been using weather data, computer vision, and predictive models — as well as the 20M daily user contributions— to build a 3D map where you can explore places, get a vibe check, and confirm how busy a place might get, as well as find parking and a sustainable driving route there. There are over 250 landmarks where you can now use immersive view to see a 3D model of the landmark. Soon, you'll be able to do research on specific areas in cities to understand the vibe of specific areas. LiveView will also become searchable for places in the area, instead of just using it for orientation.

Food
Speaking of exploring places, did you know that 40% of people already have a dish in mind when they search for restaurants? Google is using machine learning to soon start to highlight the vibe and feel of a restaurant, as well as helpful insights by using images and reviews. They want to improve digital menus and make them visually rich and reliable as well as provide better functionality to reserve tables and order food directly from Google.

Shopping
There are also 9 new updates coming to Google shopping, with the goal to make the online experience more inspiring and trusted. Google is introducing more visual ways to shop, as well as providing a tool within the app to get help and learn more about specific products. They also use the new filters and suggestions as part of this improved experience, rolling out first in the US, Japan, and India.

Later this year, they will introduce a 'shop the look' image search feature, trending products, and shopping in 3D, where you can see a 3D visual of the product within Google search. Furthermore, they are adding a 'see what others think about this product' tool to improve the confidence of shopping on Google, as well as adding inspirational shopable content on Google Discover.

Sustainability
The last topic of Search On 2022 was Sustainability, where Google has shared some new features and rich results to help users make more sustainable decisions. Sustainable options will be improved across shopping for products, driving routes, and food choices, from visual clues on highlighting pre-owned items in the shopping feed to adding greenhouse impact information under recipes based on their ingredients. With the rollout of eco-friendly routing on maps, this will also be available in preview for developers later this year.

Algorithm updates

Google's ranking update page has been pretty handy this last month. First we had HCU, which finished rolling out on September 9th. We covered in our last update that so far we haven't seen a huge amount of changes from this, and as there were two main updates since — including a core update and the fifth version of the product review update — it might be difficult to tell what impacted the SERPs.

Even trickier, both these rollouts were completed on the same day on September 26th. Lily Ray shares her insights on the winners and losers of the last two updates.

Kevin Indig published a great case study on how low-quality AI content got punished after the HCU rollout. While we haven't seen a huge amount of impact at the start of this update rolling out, by mid-September, Kevin was able to analyze several case studies of low quality AI content impacted by this. In another article, he also talks about how Google can detect AI content.

Food for Thought

Be in control of your personal information on Google. Today, you can request removals of personal information from Google in the US, and by early next year, Google will let you create notifications and automatic removals of your personal data from Google search.

That's all for our October Recap. To keep up to date on all things SEO in the meantime, there are some newsletters listed below that you can sign up for:

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