Google September 2022 Updates: Broad Core and Product Review Updates

Google has been busy churning out one update after another. Right after the completion of the Google Helpful Content Update  on September 9, Google released two significant updates that could impact your website’s performance in its search engine results.

On September 12, 2022, Google released the September 2022 Broad Core update and this update is expected to take about two weeks to complete its rollout.


The tweet (Google announces their major updates via their Twitter channel) linked to their Google Search ranking updates page, which said that “the rollout could take 2 weeks to complete.”

On September 20, Google announced the release of the September Product Review Update before the completion of the rollout of the broad core update.  While Google previously announced in mid-August that a new iteration of the product review update is forthcoming, many web publishers were caught off-guard with overlapping updates in a month.

When the product review update was announced, Google acknowledged that “the September 2022 core update has not fully completed but it’s mostly done”.

With the back-to-back updates, many webmasters were asking Google: how do we know what update hit us? According to Google, if your website contains product review, then the product review update could have hit your site. If you don’t have product reviews, then the core update could be the culprit.

What is a Google Core Algorithm Update?

Google regularly updates its algorithm, even daily, constantly tweaking it to improve their search results. Most of these small updates do not have big impacts, or at least not immediately noticeable.

Then there’s the Google broad core updates, which is an algorithm change released every few months affecting a more extensive set of traffic signals. According to Google, a core update entails “significant, broad changes to our algorithms and systems” to improve the overall relevancy of their search results. These core updates are impactful and typically result in notable fluctuations in the search results.

The September 2022 Broad Core Update is the second core update for this year, following the May 2022 core update.  

Google announces their major updates via their Twitter channel, and here is the tweet announcing the September core update.


What is the Product Review Update?

Google first introduced the product review update on April 8, 2021 to reward sites that offer insightful and useful product reviews. It continues Google’s efforts to show more helpful, in-depth reviews based on first-hand expertise in search results rather than simply a summary of the product features. 

As Google explained in their blog post on product review update:

The overall focus is on providing users with content that provides insightful analysis and original research, and is written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well.

This update is not a penalty, but instead promotes or rewards websites that goes in-depth into a review. They don’t want a fake review intended simply to create shallow content. Google wants to see that the review showcases knowledge and thorough understanding of the product to give users clearer insights about the products.


Impact of the Google September 2022 Updates

The impact of Google Core update algorithm change is typically felt fast, with some web publishers reporting that they lost traffic as much as 20 percent or even more. Websites that lost their coveted featured snippets ranking felt the biggest drops in traffic. 

Core updates are typically accompanied by significant rank volatility mostly in informational and transactional keywords including special Google listing enhancements such as featured snippets. Websites that tend to publish general-based content that are thin and do not offer any new insight are more likely to encounter a drop in traffic due to the core update.

Others say that their traffic increased. These tend to be websites that publish well-researched and in-depth information proving that they are an authority on their topic.Core updates tend to favor websites with original analysis, research and reporting.


SEO Industry Experts on September Impact

According to Barry Schwatrz, an editor at Search Engine Land, the initial chatter is that this update is pretty big.

The update is also widespread, seen in non-English sites.

Some of the responses to his tweet include those who said that their traffic is down by approximately 20% though rankings have not changed.

Another confirmed the 20% loss of traffic

On the forum, some members complain seeing their traffic drop. One posted the stats of their website, showing 20-30% drop in users.

Google core September 2022 update impact on traffic

Some web publishers posted on Twitter, saying that while their traffic is down, their rankings are “pretty much the same” leading them to opine that they may be “losing rankings from adjacent queries and not my targeted keywords.”

Of course, there are also those who favorably got impacted by the update. This Twitter user said her traffic increased by about 40%.

What You Can Do

Google updates will always be part of doing business online as the search engine pushes through its mission of providing useful information for users.

The fact remains that getting hit by a Google algorithm is painful; the traffic drop can be steep and immediate.  When traffic decreases, so do sales and revenue. Panic could ensue, and then you would be scrambling to find a fix to the problem.

Start by taking a long hard look at your current content, and then look at the pages that have started outranking you after the core update. What do they provide that your pages do not have? Why would Google think their pages are more useful to the searchers than your pages? Determine how your pages can be improved, even if it means consolidating or trimming pages with thin content. The goal should be for your website to provide interesting information, analysis, or insights in an easy to read format.

Growth Skills can help you create quality content that follow Google guidelines. Contact us today to help you grow your organic traffic. 

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