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The May 2022 Core Update Analysis

Just a day after it was released, the May 2022 Core Update raised a bunch of eyebrows. Core updates usually take a few days to show some volatility, but with the last three updates, things went a bit differently – their impact could be felt much sooner.

The same goes for the last one, which was released on May 25, 2022. Similar to the November 2021 Core update, the May one showed high volatility in a matter of 24 hours. It hit fast and it hit hard, as you can see in the Semrush chart below.

Photo Source: Semrush Blog


Differences Between Mobile And Desktop?

For the May update, desktop and mobile were similar in terms of peak volatility, with both devices reaching a level of 9.4. However, mobile displayed higher volatility even before the update – Semrush shared.

The most affected verticals are the same across all devices, so no dramatic changes appear to have occurred on this occasion.

The following verticals saw the greatest volatility on desktop:

  1. Real estate

  2. Books & Literature

  3. Hobbies & Leisure

  4. Travel

  5. Pets & Animals

On mobile, Travel wasn’t among the top 5 most impacted verticals:

  1. Real Estate

  2. Pets & Animals

  3. Hobbies & Leisure

  4. Books & Literature

  5. Health

As you can see, It was only the Real Estate vertical that saw an increase of over 5 points across devices, with rises of 5.4 on desktop and 5.3 on mobile. However, no specific fluctuations suggest that this update was focused on a specific niche.

In total, the URLs that lost rank positions dropped by an average of 3.8 positions, while those that improved were up by an average of 3.4 positions.

Photo Source: Sermrush Blog


May 2022 Core Update Impact

The full impact of the update is yet to be assessed, but in the meantime, we all have to keep tracking and monitoring what’s happening.

In an attempt to get a sense of the initial impact and scope of the May 2022 Core Update, Semrush investigated the origin of newly ranking URLs if they appeared in the top 10 this time.

Similar to the November 2021 Core Update, 6.7% of the top ten results were previously ranked beyond the 20th position.

They also examined the top 20 results. There, over 17% of the URLs in the top 20 came from outside the top 20. This is similar to the November 2021 Core Update, when 16.2% of new URLs within the top 20 results ranked beyond position 20 before the update.

Photo Source: Search Engine Land


Taking a look at the top 100 websites that experienced losses and gains, we see that:

  1. The winners of the May update gained around 31.4 positions, with an average position of 10.2. With the November update, winners gained 33.6 positions.

  2. The losers have lost about 34.9 positions, while in November, they lost 27.6 positions.

What To Do If You’re Hit?

Focus on creating quality content, think about E-A-T, and stay relevant to your audience. There’s really no way of knowing why you’ve been negatively impacted – you might have done nothing wrong, someone else might have done a bit better and Google wanted to reward them. That’s why the only thing you can do is do your best and think about long-term results. After all, the SEO game is a marathon.

Google did give some advice on how to handle the negative impact of the update and offered a list of questions to consider if your site is hit by a core update.

Check out the Twitter discussion here.

Update: On June 9th, the update finished rolling out. Now is the time to investigate its impact on your website and take the necessary steps to fix and improve for the future.

Read More: Google May 2022 Core Update Finished Rolling out!

Update from the future: 

About two weeks after the update finished rolling out, the SEO community noticed major fluctuations and volatility. This sparked rumours about a Google Search ranking algorithm update coming soon. Read more about that here

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