Note: This is the first version of this article. The article will be updated as new data comes in and we are able to spend more time analyzing the outcomes of the update.
Google launched its long-awaited May 2022 core update on May 25, 2022, and the update officially finished rolling out on June 9, 2022.
In Google’s statement about the core update, Google explained that the update was “designed to increase the overall relevancy of our search results and make them more helpful and useful for everyone.” Google also reminded its readers that pages and sites seeing ranking declines as a result of the update did nothing wrong. Rather, Google’s systems changed how they evaluate content quality and relevancy, so rankings will fluctuate as a result.
With each core update, we analyze the sites that saw the greatest changes in visibility to see whether we can identify any patterns about which pages and sites were affected. Monitoring which sites gained and lost visibility, along with which pages earned the top ranking positions, can help provide insights about what Google was hoping to achieve with its new core update.
Methodology & Disclaimers About Core Updates
For our analysis of the May 2022 core update, we collected the list of 1,000 winning and losing domains in terms of their Sistrix Visibility Index scores using the Google.com U.S. index. The visibility change was calculated between May 25, 2022 and June 9, 2022.
We have also pulled in category labels from Similarweb for all analyzed domains to see whether the impacts of the core update affected any particular categories more than others.
It’s important to remember that thousands of factors are at play in the changes we see to website rankings during a core update rollout, making it impossible to isolate exactly what happened or what specifically Google aimed to achieve with the update.
That said, it can be illuminating to look at the performance of websites at scale after a core update to see if any patterns exist among winning or losing websites.
Below are the top 250 winners in terms of absolute visibility increases.
Below are the top 250 winners in terms of percentage increases in visibility.
Below are the 250 biggest losers in terms of absolute visibility declines.
Below are the 250 biggest losers in terms of percentage visibility declines.
Impact on Additional Sites
In addition to the 1,000 winners and losers listed above, we analyzed 450 additional domains that have seen significant impacts during the last few years of Google’s core updates. These sites were included in the below analysis.
Analysis of the May 2022 Core Update
Below are several noticeable outcomes we’ve found as a result of the May 2022 core update:
Slow but Steady Recovery of Sites Affected by Previous Core Updates
Some health, medical, nutrition and wellness sites previously negatively impacted by core updates, such as the Medic Update (August 1, 2018) and subsequent core updates, are seeing slight recoveries as a result of the May 2022 core update.
This includes sites like:
- draxe.com (+121.44%)
- dietdoctor.com (+88.56%)
- livestrong.com (+21.82%)
- examine.com (+81.88%)
- psychcentral.com (+52.81%)
- bodybuilding.com (+19.52%)
Of course, the “recoveries” pale in comparison to the visibility losses felt by most of these sites around the time of the Medic Update, but it’s one of the first updates in which they are seeing significant visibility improvements since then. If you look at the changes taking place among these sites, it’s clear they have invested their SEO and content strategies around focusing on E-A-T and high-quality content.
Increase in Ecommerce Website Visibility
Some of the major players in ecommerce are once again seeing massive surges in visibility, similar to what they saw during the time of the December 2021 Product Review update.
Product Review Sites
Google’s 2021 and 2022 Product Reviews Updates were not the only recent updates affecting the SEO performance of product review sites. Recent core updates have also appeared to affect websites in this category, and the May 2022 core update was no exception.
Below are some product review sites that are seeing visibility increases after the May 2022 core update, including several software review websites:
- saasworthy.com (+56.7%)
- finder.com (+53.17%)
- technologyadvice.com (+30.2%)
- sourceforge.net (+18.64%)
- producthunt.com (16%)
- bestproducts.com (+9%)
And below are several product review sites seeing declines after the May 2022 core update:
- bestreviews.guide (-45.33%)
- hiconsumption.com (-32.79%)
- comparecamp.com (-25.67%)
- softwaresuggest.com (-19.46%)
Adult Sites Seeing Increases
In the case of the pornography websites, the sites often took top positions for vaguely adult keywords, where Google was previously ranking publications focused on health, wellness and relationships. This is not the first core update where the major pornography sites have seen similar movement (either upward or downward) as a category.
Other insights I’ve shared on Twitter:
Part 2 is coming soon.
There’s more analysis and insights to come! This article will be updated as new data comes in and we are able to spend more time analyzing the outcomes of the update.
To learn the latest in SEO, read our expert team’s freshest insights and explore our full suite of SEO services to see how we grow brands and bottom lines as a leading digital marketing agency. Have a question? Reach out to @lilyraynyc on Twitter.
Want to know more now? Read Google’s 2021 & 2022 Product Reviews Updates: What Happened?