The SEO Recap of 2022 and What’s Ahead in 2023: A Must-Read Retrospective

2022 was a year that shook things up for SEO professionals, right?

Never-ending Google’s algorithm updates, GA4 getting closer to being a daily reality, users changing search patterns. Yup, there’s a lot to catch on to for 2023.

But how to not be lost among this bunch of new information and find the best path to improve your SEO?

In this article we will see all these 2022 changes, starting from the main Google’s algorithm updates. Then, we will take a look at some new tools and finally understand what you really need to have a successful strategy this year. Let’s go!

Google’s Algorithm Updates

As the SEO landscape changed, SEO professionals had to adapt swiftly. Google rolled out many major algorithmic updates, like broad core algorithm updates and the BERT update, which increased the importance of natural language processing and semantic search. Additionally, the rise of voice search, mobile search, and other technologies meant that SEO pros had to adjust their strategies, as these changes can significantly impact SEO performance. On top of that, SEOs had to stay up to date with new types of content and formats, such as structured data and other interactive elements. Let’s take a look at the 2022 Google ranking updates list!

Source: Google Search Central

1. Page Experience Update 

Implemented during the whole first quarter of 2022, this is a significant Google algorithm update that focuses on the overall user experience of web pages. It seeks to measure the quality of a website as experienced by users on the front-end. The update will take into account Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS usage, and intrusive interstitial guidelines, all of which aim to provide a better experience for users.

Still about that, the Mobile-first Indexing that started its actions in 2016 got even more qualified to prioritize websites that are providing a good experience on mobile once many websites have already migrated from desktop-first indexing. So Google will remain this as part of their immediate actions following mobile-first indexing as a priority. 

The most important note is to focus on the mobile user experience and use responsive website design to ensure the mobile and desktop versions of the websites are easily crawled, indexed, and served to the users. So, users can expect a better mobile experience.

To measure it, you should keep your eyes on Google Search Console using the “Experience” charts as you can see in the screenshot below:

2. Product Reviews Update

Over the year (March, July, and September) there were 3 updates related to product reviews. The main point is to prioritize the visibility of product reviews over regular organic search results, making them more prominent in SERPs. As best practices for having good reviews, you should consider the following:

  • Include first-hand experience which means the end consumers’ point of view.
  • Include a detailed description of the product showing that your company knows well about what it is selling.
  • Show the consumer why there are advantages to buying the product in your e-commerce.
  • Provide visuals, videos, or internal links of true experiences that can help the consumer to make a good purchase decision.
  • Also, you can take a look at Google’s bits of advice to write high-quality product reviews from Google Search Central.

3. Core Algorithm Update

Related to the Core Algorithm there were twice updates this year: May and September. One less when we compare it with 2021. The Core Algorithm used to change many times in a single year and usually affects different aspects to enhance the way Google provides helpful and reliable results on the SERPs. Core updates used to be easy to be noticed by SEO and marketing professionals. Unlike other updates, it does not look at spam policies or manual actions. The main idea is to improve how the algorithm works to deliver better results for specific queries.

“One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2021. A few years later in 2024, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.” 

Google Search Central. “Google Search’s Core Updates | Google Search Central 12 October 2022

4. Helpful Content Update

Focused on people-first content, Google Helpful Content Update in 2022 that rewards sites with original and helpful content that answers user queries. This update looks for clear, accurate information that is easy to find and understand.

My point of view here is that what will be expected from creators is even more creative content, providing complete information about a specific topic in a way that users feel satisfied; which means they don’t need to do any more searches to complement the information they are looking for. Make sure yours is enough!

Another point is, as there is expected that Google is removing unuseful content from the SERPs, it’s time to do a cleaning! 

  • Take inventory of all existing content
  • Update the strategic ones and remove the ones that no longer make sense.
  • Write for people, not for ranking.
  • Don’t write about trends that are not related to your business or don’t make sense to your audience.

5. Spam Update

The Spam Update, as all the updates I already mentioned, is improving every year and now uses SpamBrain, an AI tool, to mitigate many different types of spam. Here are some examples to make sure you’re following Google’s Spam Policies avoiding:

  • Cloaking: present different content to users
  • Doorways: different pages created only to manipulate the search results without useful content.
  • Hacked content via code, page and content injection
  • Hidden text and links
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Link Spam
  • Machine-generated content without human review, etc.

In addition to those already mentioned, it’s good to have in mind other secondary (but so significant as), such as:


One of Google’s quality rater guidelines and before known as E-A-T, is now E-E-A-T. This concept is also evolving to help Google provide relevant and helpful information. Based on it, what is expected is content that makes users perceive “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness” and. With this last update, it is gaining one more “E” in reference to “experience”.

Structure Data

Related to product reviews there is a new snippet structure data. Google understood that reviews are valuable to users’ decision journeys, especially regards to pros and cons list. So now it’s possible they will highlight it in the SERPs. If you don’t have structured data for this, Google can use the pros and cons from the web page automatically.

Google’s Tools

Google Search Console

Google Search Console gained new features and some of its reports have a new look. In January, they launched a URL Inspection API that can help developers to debug and optimize indexed pages issues, individually. For example, you can request an indexed URL data and the API returns the indexed information available, such as index status, AMP, rich results, mobile usability, user-declared canonical, and the canonical selected by Google.

Some more Google Search Console improvements include:

  • Connecting to Data Studio and setting up custom dashboards including bubble charts that can help queries performing analysis.
  • Updated pages classification reports
  • New video index report
  • New HTTPs report
  • New Merchant Listings report
  • New Section for Shopping tab listings
GSC: Updated pages classification reports
GSC: New HTTPs report

Google Analytics 4

From July 1st 2023 the standard Universal Google Analytics will no longer process data. It will still be possible (for a while) to see your reports. But to measure new data it will be only possible on Google Analytics 4. For websites that are using the 360 Universal Analytics version, the properties will have a slightly longer deadline: July 1, 2024.

Google claims that the new generation (GA4) “is a new property designed for the future of measurement”. These are some possibilities they are promising:

  • Collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey
  • Uses event-based data instead of session-based
  • Includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling
  • Predictive capabilities offer guidance without complex models
  • Direct integrations to media platforms help drive actions on your website or app

So, are you ready to rock your SEO in 2023?

Wow! What a year!

As we can see all algorithm updates focused on improving the relevance and accuracy of search results, as well as rewarding sites that provide helpful, high-quality content. In 2023 SEO professionals will have to quickly adapt to the updates and make sure their content and websites are providing original and useful information.

On another hand, the Google tools have new features to improve the way we can measure different data and this can be great when we need to identify opportunities or solve problems fast, right?

Yes! It can be hard to keep up with so much all the time, but there are many actions to make sure your team is always ready to improve the strategy.

Here are some tips that can help you make sure you’re on the right track to meet your users’ expectations:

  • Don’t write to gain ranking. Write to people!
  • Be aware of using content generated by AI tools. You can keep using it as a little hand, but don’t forget it is essential to have a human review.
  • Don’t write about trends if they are not correlated to your business or if it does not make sense to your audience.
  • Make sure you’re implementing a well-done meta tag strategy connecting them with the content you’re really presenting.
  • Supply complete information to satisfy your audience.
  • Consider high-quality link building including trusting internal and external links that truly make sense to your audience. Yes! Always the audience. Keep this in mind!
  • Stay always tuned to the changes related to the users’ behaviors (e.g. voice research)
  • Provide inclusive and natural language.
  • Provide fast-loading page speed.
  • Provide safe browsing and secure experience.
  • Consider frequent SEO audits to take advantage of improvement opportunities.
  • Also, consider frequent content audits to ensure you stay faithful to your strategy.

Finally, you don’t need to memorize what each of these updates is for individually. What you need is to understand that, at the end of the day, they are all connected and together they work to satisfy the user.

Do you want to continue to be updated with Marketing best practices? I strongly suggest that you subscribe to The Beat, Rock Content’s interactive newsletter. There, you’ll find all the trends that matter in the Digital Marketing landscape. See you there!

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