Google’s May 2022 Core Update: A Closer Look

Google has rolled out its first core update for 2022. The Growth Rocket team looks at how this update shook up search rankings and how you can recover.

Josh Evora
Josh Evora July 1, 2022

Every year, Google releases core updates or enhancements on how it ranks websites. The online search powerhouse rolls out these updates on several occasions annually. Once they’re released, Google core algorithm updates can affect site rankings. Some websites may rise, while others may drop — and the latest update is no exception. Let’s dig deep into the new Google core update and its impact on top and underperforming websites.

When Did the Latest Google Core Update Roll Out?

Google announced the release of its recent core update last May 25, 2022.

This update followed the company’s last algorithm update in November 2021.

Google’s May update is a broad core update like the previous algorithm modification. This change applies to all websites ranking on the search engine and helps improve Google’s overall systems.

Moreover, core updates take around a week or two to fully roll out. This time, Google finished updating its algorithm in two weeks.

What Happened During the Latest Google Core Update?

While the May 2022 core update wasn’t too substantial (like the Page Experience update), it shook up search rankings fast. Here’s how Google’s most recent algorithm update affected everyone on the search engine.

Higher Rank Volatility in Just One Day

Within 24 hours of the May update rolling out, Semrush’s Sensor tool detected extreme fluctuations in website rankings. But unlike the November 2021 core update, websites felt the impact of the May update for only one day.

Peak rank volatility on Google hit 9.4 points on desktop and mobile, a somewhat higher number than the November 2021 update.

Screenshot from Semrush

However, a closer look reveals that Google’s November 2021 update considerably impacted search rankings. It showed in the changes to the baseline level of volatility for the November 2021 and May 2022 updates.

As the November update rolled out, rank fluctuations on desktop went from 5.6 to 9.3 points. Meanwhile, the May update’s baseline level of volatility shot up to 9.4 from 6.4 points pre-update. Semrush also noted a shift in search rankings before the latest Google core algorithm update, making it a less powerful update.

Varying Shifts Across Verticals

Furthermore, Semrush saw the May core update hitting the same verticals (or niches) across devices. The SEO data provider observed remarkable rank changes in the following verticals:

On Desktop

On Mobile

The volatility felt in the Real Estate vertical is worth noting, with an over five-point increase across devices. Semrush recorded an average of 5.4 points for the niche on desktop and 5.3 points on mobile.

Notable Impacts on Snippets

Google’s May update also impacted snippets, including FAQ and featured snippets. Let’s dive deeper into these adjustments.

FAQ Snippets

FAQ snippets are the snippets below search results with brief and direct answers to user questions.

As the May core update rolled out, RankRanger noted that Google showed these snippets more often for 27% of queries. Before, around 22% of queries appeared with FAQ snippets.

Screenshot from Search Engine Roundtable

However, note that RankRanger’s recent data compiled together FAQs and how-to snippets on Google, which only makes it seem like a significant increase in queries.

With their observations, SEO experts Glenn Gabe and Brodie Clark confirmed the jump in FAQ snippets on SERPs (search engine results pages).


These results show that FAQ snippets are vital to widening a website’s reach. Specifically:

Thus, marking up FAQs with relevant structured data and creating content for FAQ terms are crucial to better rankings.

Featured Snippets

The latest Google core algorithm update also shook up featured snippets. Lily Ray and Gabe shed light on the update’s impact on these snippets via Twitter.

From Gabe’s Tweets above, we can see that webpages on featured snippets have performed better. These snippets help many companies and brands gain relatively high organic traffic, making those results crucial. For instance, broad core updates can cause drops in a low-quality website’s featured snippets.

If you suspect you’re losing featured snippets, consider tracking them with Ahrefs, Semrush, Google Search Console, or related tools. It’ll help you identify areas for improvement so you can recover from the May update.

Winners of the May 2022 Core Update

Amidst all the volatility across niches, videos, specialized content, and search-intent matching shined in this core update. Here’s a look at how these areas won from German SEO professional Malte Landwehr.

Additionally, Landwehr noted that:

How Can You Recover from a Google Core Update?

As always, Google advises site owners to follow its tips and recommendations regarding core updates. These guidelines stress providing high-quality content — original information, reporting, research, or analysis, a notable or thorough description of your topic, and unique or intriguing insights.

Moreover, Google’s advice on recovering from a core update covers E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust). Ask yourself if your content shows the necessary expertise and authority and if it positions you as a trusted entity in your niche. As you create content, you should answer “yes” to these questions.

Get Back Up the Search Ladder with High-Quality Content

Google’s recent core update has seen winners and losers. That said, delivering high-quality content is key to better rankings post-update. Original and relevant content that emphasizes your expertise, authority, and credibility will help you regain lost ground and surpass your competitors.

Growth Rocket’s SEO experts are here to help if your search rankings need a boost. Contact us today to get started on your climb back up the search ladder.

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