Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update – 9th May 2022

We are witnessing an unconfirmed Google Algorithm update causing dramatic changes to Google search engine results on Monday 9th May 2022.

Beginning at around 12am Pacific Standard Time (PST), the search engine results pages shifted dramatically with widespread movements across search results catapulting a large number of websites from pages 2, 3, and 4 of Google onto the first page of results.

Following on from the last major shift at the beginning of April 2022, we are seeing the biggest fluctuations in search results since the Broad Core Update in November 2021 and the Google Local Search Update in December 2021. The Semrush Sensor which is responsible for tracking changes to search results currently shows ‘Very High Range’ volatility across 22/25 categories, with the remaining three categories showing ‘High Range’.  The Semrush sensor is showing an “All Categories” average of 9.1/10 – something big is underway.

Update: May 2022 Google Broad Core Update – Confirmed on 26th May

semrush sensor data - 9th may 2022

Data courtesy of Semrush


mozcast data 9th may 2022

Data courtesy of Moz

While there have been unconfirmed updates in April, March, and January 2022, this is (by far) the strongest sign of a core algorithm update in 2022.

What Trends Are We Noticing?

Some of the trends from this unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update for May 2022 that we are seeing already include:

  • Young websites with low domain metrics performing abnormally well in local search results pages.
  • Websites with lower-than-normal word count are appearing higher up in the search results for competitive search phrases. In recent years there has been a close correlation between word count and rankings – at the moment we are seeing some outlier website with low word count performing quite well for mid to high competition search phrases.
  • Partial and exact match domains are continuing to perform extremely well for high-competition search phrases in the local results pages.
  • Websites with low-quality backlink profiles from web 2.0 or PBNs are continuing to slip through the cracks and find themselves at the top of the search results. There are a number of key offenders that we track closely that have seen significant leaps forward over the past 24-hours. While this does not represent the entire online footprint, it does provide some insight into how a handful of high-performing sites are moving through Google’s various updates.

Will Google Search Liaison Announce the Update?

Historically, Google uses the Search Liaison Twitter account to announce when updates have commenced and when they will finish. At this stage, we have not seen an update from Google to confirm that a core algorithm update is rolling out. From the time that we begin to notice large changes to search engine results, it can often take several days for Google to announce that an update is underway.

So, Is this a Core Update?

While it is impossible to say whether or not Google will confirm that a core update for May 2022 is underway, we can say two things:

  • The movements that we are seeing in the search results are significant and indicative of a larger update rolling out.
  • It has been 173 days since the last Google Core Algorithm update from Wednesday, 17 November 2021 to Monday, 9 May 2022.

What Now

Keep an eye on the Google Search Liaison Twitter account for the latest update from Google around confirmation of an update. The chatter in the SEO community and on Twitter at the moment is off the charts and suggests that the changes across a broad spectrum of industries is just as dramatic as the SEO tools are suggesting. If you have experienced a significant, sustained drop-off in traffic, get in touch with an SEO professional who can assist in diagnosing and troubleshooting.

safari digital call to action