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End of year SEO news round up

SEO News Christmas 2022

SEO News Christmas 2022

We can’t believe how quickly we are racing towards the end of 2022! But the updates in the world of search engine optimisation have been a steady and reliable certainty to help guide us through. From more updates about Helpful Content to Google giving us the inside scoop on which of their search ranking systems are currently live – we have plenty of SEO news to keep you up to date as the new year rolls closer.

Google Local Search Features have landed

Some exciting news in your local neighbourhood, some of the updates to local search we mentioned in our October SEO roundup are now live! The verdict is still out to see how these features affect organic performance, but with Google placing such a high importance on user experience this year, we feel these features are definitely worth taking note of.

Search for restaurants by dish

You can now search for restaurants that serve your favourite dish by either typing it in manually and adding ‘near me’, or by taking a snapshot of the delicious dish using Google Lens and adding ‘near me’.

Just think, you’re out at the weekend with friends or family and they make an incredible meal for dinner. If they can’t remember the name for it now you can just take a quick snap, and voilà – you have the name of a local restaurant back home that can serve it up hot!

Google maps live view enhancements 

Rolling out this week, Google’s search with live view will enable you to use your phone’s camera to discover information about the places around you in real time. This will be revolutionary for customers, who can review businesses before they even step foot inside the door. Is it open? Is it busy? How pricey is it? Just point your phone and find out!

Google Maps Accessible Places Feature

We’re also very excited to see the ‘Accessible Places’ feature on mobile roll out worldwide. This means when users switch on the feature in the Google maps app, they will see a wheelchair icon in business profiles if it has an accessible entrance. Businesses that aren’t wheelchair-accessible will have the same icon with a strike through it.

This feature is great for enhancing accessibility and making the world a more supportive and inclusive place. Charities with physical shops and businesses can make use of this feature to help support customers with limited physical mobility, enabling them to go about their day-to-day lives.


Update to Google’s Helpful Content System

Roll out of an update to Google’s Helpful Content System started on 5th December. Expected to take 2 weeks to roll out, the update is intended to improve Google’s classifier of what helpful or unhelpful content is.

Google Search Central Tweet announcing helpful content update released on December 5th 2022 - SEO News round up.


The Helpful Content System is one of many used to help Google rank content for users. It aims to reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, by ranking that content better in the search results, rather than content designed for search engines.

This means you want to ensure your content is offering users a valuable and unique experience, that is more useful than what is broadly available on the wider web.

With the update still rolling out, we look forward to seeing what the impact from this update is in the new year! You can read about the impact of the previous August Helpful Content Update here.


Google’s Guide to Search Ranking Systems and Updates

Once shrouded in mystery and often met with confusion, Google released a search rankings systems guide. The aim of the guide is to provide transparency of the different systems used by Google to rank content. With so many different systems, and updates to those different systems being released, they can quickly become difficult to keep track of.

Ranking Systems vs Updates

The guide starts with some clarification on the difference between ranking systems and updates.

Whole ranking systems are developed which look at various signals and factors of web pages for specific areas and compare it against all of the other related pages on the web. Updates on the other hand, are continual improvements to those individual systems.

Some systems look at unique factors, but several of them will look at overlapping signals as a ranking factor. For example, the majority of these ranking systems will be looking at the content on the page.

Google provided a list of the current and retired Google Ranking Systems, which SEOs everywhere were very quick to pick up on and celebrate – we certainly enjoyed having a good browse through the list and were interested to learn a thing or two ourselves!

Live ranking systems

  • BERT
  • Crisis information systems
  • Deduplication systems
  • Exact match domain system
  • Freshness systems
  • Helpful content system
  • Link analysis systems and PageRank
  • Local news systems
  • MUM
  • Neural matching
  • Original content systems
  • Removal-based demotion systems
  • Page experience systems
  • Passage ranking system
  • Product review system
  • RankBrain
  • Reliable information systems
  • Site diversity system
  • Spam detection systems

Retired systems

  • Hummingbird
  • Mobile-friendly ranking system
  • Page speed system
  • Panda system
  • Penguin system
  • Secure sites system

Google use their automated ranking systems to look at ranking factors for billions of pages across the web. With a big focus on their developments and updates this year being on helpful content and user experience, these algorithms are now more important than ever when it comes to deliver users relevant content to their searches.

We recommend taking a look at these ranking systems, so that you can get more familiar with how Google is evaluating your content to keep yourself ahead of the competition in SERPs.


Will the strength of backlinks drop as a ranking factor?

According to the mighty Mueller they might! Early on in the month in a podcast, John Mueller suggested that as Google improves with understanding how your content fits into the wider context of the web, the strength of backlinks as a ranking signal will reduce. This reduction in value is due to the ranking algorithm becoming less reliant on backlinks as a ranking factor to determine the relevance and value of a page.

He mentioned in the podcast:

“I imagine over time the weight on the links, at some point, will drop off a little bit, as we can figure out a little better how the content fits in within the context of the whole web.”

Mueller did go on to say that “to some extent, links will always be something that we care about” in reference to making it easier to find and crawl pages.

We feel that whilst Google may be getting better at recognising how content fits within the context of the whole web, backlinks will still be valuable for helping sites demonstrate their expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Outside of SEO, backlinks also provide your site with referrals, creating another entrance point and traffic opportunity for your site.


An easier way of getting your products listed

Good news for charities looking to increase their sales over the holiday period! The process of getting your products listed in the shopping tab just became easier. A recent update to Google Search Console means merchants can link their Merchant Centre account to their Google Search Console property to target product listings in the search results.

For this work you do need the following:

  • A Merchant Center account.
  • Product Schema on your individual product pages.

This method allows you to by-pass several steps, such as uploading your feed and verifying your site making it a more accessible feature for merchants to use.


Continuous Scroll for Desktop Search Results in US

At the start of December, Google announced the rollout of continuous scrolling for desktop search results in the US, having previously introduced it to mobile search in October 2021.

Whilst sharing some similarity to infinite scrolling, continuous scrolling will automatically show up to 6 pages of search results before users will be shown a ‘’More results’ button.

As user journeys won’t be interrupted by having to click, we could perhaps see more users exploring beyond the first few search results as more content becomes more conveniently accessible.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact this may have on click-through-rates and impressions. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on the search results data for our American clients, and will wait and see if it rolls out globally too.


Looking to upgrade your SEO for 2023?

2022 has been a busy year for SEO, with an abundance of new challenges and exciting developments. Are you looking to enhance your SEO strategy for 2023? We’d love to hear from you!

Feel free to tweet us upriseUPSEM, email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk , or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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