SEO Insights: June 2022 Report

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June was a relatively quiet month for SEO related news, which is no bad thing!

The significant Google Core Update which began rolling out towards the end of May was completed in June. This has been quite a significant update which has caused some noticeable changes in the results across many industries.

Core Update Outcomes

Google’s core updates are focused on improving the quality and relevancy of the search results, although it is difficult to agree that there has been an overall improvement with the latest one.

As Google tries constantly to understand the intent behind a search query better, it isn’t always getting it right, and sometimes it’s far from it.

Even non-SEOs are noticing that the search results, if anything, appear in many cases to be less relevant, thus driving users to further refine or broaden their searches to find the results that they are ultimately looking for.

The AI effect?

When you perform a search on Google, there are, contrary to common belief, multiple algorithms at play deciding on what the results should be.

For example, the main ranking algorithm may generate the first 10 results, but then a separate one will decide if images should be displayed, or a featured snippet or products. All of the different search result possibilities “fight” to appear on the page for users.

At the same time, Google’s AI algorithms, such as the query interpretation algorithm called RankBrain, are also vying to have a hand in the order of the search results.

In 2016, Google Engineer Paul Haahr stated that even Google doesn’t quite understand what RankBrain is doing!

Tweet - Google doesn't understand what RankBrain is doing

Google engineers know how it works, but not completely what it’s doing and how it’s getting to its final outcome.

AI has significantly advanced since this statement from Haahr, so the understanding of how the results are refined are possibly even more obscure now.

There was an interesting story that emerged last month. A Google engineer, Blake Lemoine, was put on leave after declaring that the AI that he was working on had developed feelings like a human child!

Artificial intelligence is still very much in its infancy but it’s effect on the search results that we see is very real. However, it might be that the AI is still a little too child-like to be getting things right all the time.

What we do know is that this will continue to evolve at an exponential rate and we can expect continued changes in the search results, even if we aren’t quite happy with what the end result will be.

Here at Artemis we invest a considerable amount of time and resources in R&D to better understand the effects of AI on the search results.

This helps us to formulate effective ongoing strategies for clients as we can see the direction that the search results are heading in, and we can quickly adapt to this continuously changing and dynamic search environment for the benefit of our clients. It’s the Artemis way.