Several times per year, Google makes substantial improvements to their overall ranking processes, which they refer to as core updates. Core updates are designed to increase the overall relevancy of Google search results and make them more helpful and useful for everyone. On May 25th, Google released their May 2022 core update. It took 2 weeks to fully roll out.
What do you need to know? According to Google..
Focus on content
Focus on offering the best content you can create. That’s what Google algorithms reward.
Read the advice Google offered in the past on how to self-assess your content and answer these essential questions…
Content and quality questions
- Does your content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
- Does your content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does your content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Does your content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
- If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
- Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
- Does the content have any easily-verified factual errors?
- Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?
Presentation and production questions
- Does the content have any spelling or stylistic issues?
- Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
Beyond asking yourself these questions, consider having others you trust but who are unaffiliated with your site provide an honest assessment.
Also consider an audit of the drops you may have experienced. What pages were most impacted and for what types of searches? Look closely at these to understand how they’re assessed against some of the questions above.
Get to know the quality rater guidelines and E-A-T
Another resource for advice on great content is to review Google’s search quality rater guidelines. Raters are people who give us insights on if our algorithms seem to be providing good results, a way to help confirm our changes are working well.
It’s important to understand that search raters have no control over how pages rank. Rater data is not used directly in our ranking algorithms. Rather, we use them as a restaurant might get feedback cards from diners. The feedback helps us know if our systems seem to be working.
If you understand how raters learn to assess good content, that might help you improve your own content. In turn, you might perhaps do better in Search.
In particular, raters are trained to understand if content has what we call strong E-A-T. That stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Reading the guidelines may help you assess how your content is doing from an E-A-T perspective and improvements to consider.
Here are a few articles written by third-parties who share how they’ve used the guidelines as advice to follow:
- What is E-A-T?, from Marie Haynes
- Google Updates Quality Rater Guidelines Targeting E-A-T, Page Quality and Interstitials, from Jennifer Slegg
- Leveraging E-A-T for SEO Success, presentation from Lily Ray
- Google’s Core Algorithm Updates and The Power of User Studies: How Real Feedback From Real People Can Help Site Owners Surface Website Quality Problems (And More), Glenn Gabe
- Why E-A-T and Core Updates Will Change Your Content Approach, from Fajr Muhammad