SEO Insights – January 2022 Report
2022 has gotten off to a busy start, with numerous rumours of Google Search Ranking Updates throughout January. Although these are unconfirmed by Google, the industry noticed particularly high-ranking fluctuations around these dates.
Google doesn’t provide specific details about core algorithm updates and this is unlikely to change in the future. During the Search Off The Record podcast in January, Gary Illyes stated that they can only provide information to say when an update is rolling out and when it has finished.
He also cleared up on some misconceptions around the core updates by saying that the updates do not punish websites; instead, they are optimising their relevancy algorithms with the aim of giving users the best results.
In other words, core updates will have a positive effect on some websites whilst having a negative effect on others. If a site is negatively impacted, it is not necessarily because it has done something wrong, but it may be that another website has better content for the user/search term.
Can sections of a website impact overall site quality?
During the month, Google’s John Mueller answered a question about whether a low-quality section of a website can affect an entire site’s performance. The question was relating specifically to a translation of a website, but John’s answer can be applied to other scenarios. The question was as follows:
“I wonder if a poor translation of a new language version can negatively affect the SEO for (the) domain’s more established main language versions.”
John’s answer pointed out that although the question was about a translation, Google will look at the quality of a website overall:
“The main issue is less about these being translated versions of the content, but more that for some things, we look at the quality of the site overall.
And when we look at the quality of the site overall, if you have significant portions that are lower quality it doesn’t matter for us like why they would be lower quality.
But if we see that there are significant parts that are lower quality then we might think overall this website is not so fantastic as we thought.
So in short, I guess if you have a very low quality translation that’s also indexed and that’s also very visible in search, then that can definitely pull down the good quality translation as well or the good quality original content that you also have.”
Here at Artemis, we have always had this focus by assessing the quality of a website as a whole and not just on a page level basis. From the start, we perform detailed analysis of a website to identify any low-quality areas and work to improve them. We also periodically conduct low value page reviews to monitor quality over time.
How does duplicate content on product pages impact search presence?
John Mueller also answered a question about whether having duplicate product descriptions on a website can impact how these pages perform. The question was:
“Would it be counted as duplicate content by Google if I write one …high quality product description for all?
Or is it better to have unique descriptions for each one, which reduces the quality of the content?”
John answered by explaining that pages with duplicate content would not be demoted, but instead, Google would choose one or two pages to display, rather than all or none.
He goes on to say that it doesn’t make sense for Google to show all of the pages. John stressed the importance of using text to describe what a product looks like if this is the differentiating factor, and that failure to do so may have a negative impact on search presence, because Google may only display one or two pages.
In other words, if you want all pages to display in Google, you should make the content different on each page. This is not necessarily a new piece of advice but it does clear up confusion on the matter. At Artemis we are always focused on ensuring that content on all pages of a website is unique, well written, useful and engaging so that it provides high value to users and search engines.
To summarise, January has been quite turbulent in terms of Google ranking fluctuations and possible Ranking Updates. We continue to monitor these along with client keyword rankings and organic traffic. Also, we will carry on reviewing website’s overall quality, including duplicate content and alerting clients if we feel there are any issues that need addressing.