Google is constantly making updates to improve user experience in both Search and Ads. Many of these are very small and generally go unnoticed by most people. However, sometimes Google updates can have a big impact on how sites rank in search and how we use the platform as a whole.
2021 saw a large number of mid- and high-impact Google updates, including the Product Reviews Update, Meta Title Update and Page Experience Update. In 2022, we can expect to see the ongoing effects of 2021 updates, as well as some new changes.
Google is infamously secretive about what changes are going to happen and when, which makes it difficult to prepare. However, there are some clues and announcements that indicate the direction that the search engine is going in. This can help you take an educated guess about if – and how – adjustments are likely to affect your site, and what you need to do to minimise negative impact.
Today I’m taking a look at some areas to look out for in Google’s 2022 updates.
- Upcoming Google Changes in 2022
- How to plan for Future Google Updates
Upcoming Google Changes in 2022
Page Experience on Desktop
Page Experience is already a ranking factor on mobile, as of June 2021. If you’re following good SEO practices and your website is mobile-first, then you will have seen the benefits of this algorithm update. Your desktop site, too, should follow the same good practices but, if it doesn’t, you may see some negative impact from this upcoming 2022 Google update.
What is Page Experience?
Page Experience reflects user experience on your website. Google’s Page Experience Report helps you identify whether your users can use your website securely, quickly, and comfortably. It looks out for elements such as https, text size, load speed and whether content is wider than a screen.
Find out easy ways to improve your Page Experience.
In August 2021, Google announced that, from the end of June 2022, Responsive Ads would be the only type of Search Ad available to create and edit.
Responsive Ads are more automated than other current options. Google tries different combinations of text to find which ones work best to get more results.
On the surface, this can seem like a great idea for small businesses. People without an in-depth understanding of Google Ads should, theoretically, be able to still get good returns on their digital ads. Google’s AI is forever improving and the platform claims Responsive Ads see, on average, 7% more conversions at a similar cost to other ad types.
However, this automation does come with a few issues too:
- While Responsive Ads may, on average, see better conversion rates, sometimes the results are worse. Fully automating the system takes away the control that an Ads expert could utilise to make manual improvements.
- Currently, Google isn’t giving away much in terms of reporting for Responsive Ads, which makes it more difficult to fully understand how effective (or ineffective) your ads are.
- And, if your business is part of a regulated industry, where ad copy has to be carefully controlled, the automation could cause issues.
If you are currently running Google Ads and using expanded text ads, start thinking about moving over to Responsive Ads, or at least fully finalising your current ad copy. After the switch, existing Expanded Text ads can still run, but you won’t be able to make any changes to them.
Ongoing Emphasis on Content Quality
If you have any knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation, it will be no surprise that quality content continues to be important to Google in 2022. Most of Google’s updates over the past few years have been geared towards creating a better user experience, and content quality is a big part of that.
Continue making sure that your content is of good quality, and your website is likely to continue seeing positive results in search. Make sure your current content is:
- Appropriate for your audience
- Well written with good spelling and grammar
- Researched and backed up with reliable information
- Written by experts on the topic
- SEO optimised
You can find further reading to help improve your website content in my following guides:
How to Plan for Future Google Updates
It’s not always possible to plan for Google updates, because announcements aren’t always made and hints of upcoming changes can be difficult to spot. However, there are still things that you can do to plan for future changes.
Keep an Eye on SEO and PPC News
Subscribing to dedicated newsletters is a good way of finding out what’s coming. Not only do these companies continuously analyse Google’s updates and changes, they are highly qualified in picking out small changes that can point towards a bigger update. You can subscribe to my newsletter for occasional updates and easy actionable tips.
If you hear about an upcoming change in Google that could affect you, then start making your own updates before it happens. You don’t want to find that your rankings have dropped significantly before you actually start doing anything about it.
Whenever a new update is coming up, lots of good guides will appear to help you plan ahead and prepare your site.
Maintain Good Practices
It’s also a good idea to run regular site health checks to make sure you’re following good basic SEO practices such as using suitable page hierarchy, optimising images, and reducing spammy paid-for links. These well established techniques are unlikely to be going anywhere soon and so it’s a good idea to keep them up.
Hire an Expert
Sometimes Google’s updates will affect something that you don’t have the skills or knowledge to fix. For example, many businesses were caught out when Google moved to mobile-first because they didn’t have a suitable mobile-friendly website. Hiring an expert website designer would have helped them maintain their rankings and avoid a huge drop in traffic.
Similarly, because SEO and PPC is such a wide-ranging and complex topic, many small businesses just don’t have the in-house resources to keep on top of ongoing changes and management. Hiring an expert in these areas can help you plan ahead for any upcoming changes, keep your site in good standing, and improve rankings, traffic and income.