What happened in SEO during Q2 2022

by David Broderick

Is it just me or did a lot happen this quarter?

SEO Twitter went into meltdown after thinking Google only crawls the first 15MB of a page and then stops. Google released a new experimental CWV metric. And in-person events returned!

And in that time, we’ve released 21 Academy lessons covering topics like GA4, JavaScript SEO, scaling an agency, validating a niche website, and e-com SEO.

Want to catch up on the biggest talking points and most insightful content from the world of SEO in the last quarter?

Then read on for your round-up of the biggest stories and hottest topics in search right now.

The most popular stories from our Rich Snippets newsletter

Get up to speed on the ten most-clicked links we featured in our weekly Rich Snippets newsletter during Q2 of 2022:

1. Optimizing website performance with a Search Console bubble chart – Google Search Central Blog

A beautiful chart is a great way to visualize complex information. And taming Search Console chaos with visuals is Daniel Waisberg‘s speciality.

In a post for the Search Central blog, Daniel walks SEOs through combining search queries with search performance data using a bubble chart. A bubble chart is a great visualization when you have multiple metrics and dimensions because it enables you to see relationships and patterns in your data more effectively.

Follow along for a ready-to-use template and step-by-step instructions.

Readers are encouraged to read the previous entries for helpful (but not required) foundational knowledge.

2. v2 Search Console Explorer Studio – HanR

Want an easy and intuitive way to visualize Google Search Console data?

Don’t miss the new and improved version of the Search Console Explorer Studio from Data Studio whizz and super smart SEO Hannah Butler.

Toggle different comparison and aggregation options!

Export your Search Console Data without the 1,000 row limit from the web interface!

Easily spot potential keyword cannibalisation!

The (completely free!) tool even comes with a detailed user’s guide and its own troubleshooting section.

3. React SEO Strategies and Best Practices – Toptal

React is the second most popular JavaScript library in the United states. If you haven’t worked on a React site yet, your time in the fiery sun is coming.

And luckily Vineet Markan, an engineer specializing in data visualization at Toptal, has published a guide to help orient SEOs to the mechanics of React’s rendering engine – and how those pieces relate to Google’s rendering pipeline.

This guide is exceptionally useful as it clearly defines concepts, challenges, and render paths unique to React.

Sure, you know about CSR. But what about Client-side Rendering With Bootstrapped Data (CSRB)? SSRH? PRS?

There’s enough acronyms in these render paths to accidentally conjure a demon in Latin.

This is the perfect document to orient yourself in the tech as you embed SEO into your site’s infrastructure. If you don’t bookmark it for yourself, save it for your friend headed into a Q3 replatforming.

4. Google’s 2021 & 2022 Product Reviews Updates: What Happened? – Amsive Digital

This time last year, affiliate site owners were churning out “best of” lists written by people who’d never come within a mile of the products they were “reviewing” without a care in the world.

Three Google product review updates later, things aren’t quite so simple…

And as the dust settles on the latest of the updates, Lily Ray is on hand to sift through the wreckage and answer “what happened?”.

In this article, she summarizes the impact of the changes and dives head first into the data to see who’s won big from these updates (and why).

Discover: 

5. Breaking The Head To Learn Something (Maybe) – ohgm

Oliver Mason is the sort of troublemaker that sprouted fully formed from a search engine’s fever dream. His Twitter is SEO focused but so sardonically seasoned it’s like a bespoke hot sauce designed as a gag gift or for the masochistic.

Jamie came to be familiar with his work for a 2017 piece called “Breaking the Head (Quietly)” in which he detailed the potentially devastating impact on Google’s ability to render a page. 

Respect is well-deserved here. The URL Inspector Tool didn’t roll out until June 2018.

In an update to this post, Ollie explores the evolution of the issue – and its peculiar relationship to the dreaded “Crawled, not currently indexed” coverage status.

6. Internal Linking: The SEO Superpower – SEO for Google News

Internal linking ain’t sexy. But it sure does work.

In this short and snappy guide, Barry Adams shows how this often-overlooked aspect of SEO can drive serious results.

He dissects why internal linking is the secret sauce behind The Independent sitting at the top of Google UK for “Arnold Schwarzenegger” – above even the Top Stories box and the Governator’s own web properties.

And he walks you through how you can leverage internal linking to boost your chances of ranking for some heavy-hitting terms with a super handy FAQ section.

7. Q&A with Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR, CEO of Holistic SEO – Reboot

While at BrightonSEO, Jamie snuck into the back of Auditorium 2 and stood next to John Mueller to watch Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR and Rebecca Berbel present on Semantic Search.

It was a brilliant complex technical presentation to a packed room for the last session of the event. (This is a feat when one considers how many pounding hangovers sat in the audience.)

As the pair detailed the importance of the information retrieval process, John quipped, “Well that’s not supposed to be public.”

And that’s why you should read this Q&A

What basics should SEOs never forget? There are four.

What is semantic SEO? It’s a full conversation with a search engine. 

Start reading now before your keywords are dust.

8. Interaction to Next Paint (INP) – web.dev

Tech SEOs lurking the Chromium Google Group knew May’s I/O would include new experimental metrics. Jeremy Wagner posted the web.dev guide to Interaction to Next Paint (INP).

The key takeaways are:

This metric is complicated but somehow also elegant?

Jeremy provides robust diagrams and documentation on the mechanics as well as links to lab and field tools. If you’re planning to measure INP on JS and collect the data yourself, version 3 of the web-vitals library includes a PerformanceObserver.

Field data for INP is available in BigQuery as part of the April 2022 Crux API dataset.

9. Canonicalization: What It Is & How It Works – ahrefs

It’s pretty common these days for folks to brag about their tenure in the industry. I’m fairly certain Patrick Stox came with the building when Google first set up shop.

In his latest piece, Patrick takes a deep dive into the under-appreciated and misunderstood canonical element. The article comes at the perfect time, as Gary Illyes recently shared that 60% of the internet is duplicate content.

The article is separated out into three key sections:

One of my favorite parts of this article is Patrick’s insights into the deduplication process.

This core process has illusive mechanics. You can reword and retry questions around it as much as you’d like, but Google doesn’t define it publicly.

10. How to Read Robots.txt: Syntax & Examples – Seer Interactive

Imagine it was your job to get all of the internet to agree to all respect and interpret something the same way.

I dare you.

When you untuck from that ball of Lovecraftian dread, unclench your jaw, take a big breath and repeat after me:

“I have no idea how robots.txt work anymore and that’s okay. This growing pain is all part of robots becoming an internet standard protocol and it will all be over soon.”

It’s true that the functionality has morphed from “web page go buh-bye” to full logic syllogism but Kathryn Owens is here to lend a hand with a guide on how to read a robots.txt– complete with syntax and examples.

The hottest topics in our Slack community

Get a glimpse at what the hottest topics from our exclusive Slack community were during Q2 2022:

1. Everyone loves a good “stack” post, right?

TTT Community Advcoate Sean Markey shared the SEO tool stack he uses to do a lot of cool things (and even more dumb things).

The tools Sean uses day in, day out are:

2. Reaction to Ahrefs’ new pricing plan

It’s safe to say Ahrefs’ new pricing plan hasn’t exactly gone down well with the Traffic Think tank community…

Two threads about the recent change racked up over 60 replies between them… none of which where positive 😬

3. A Cautionary Tale of :whale:s

TTT Community Advocate Blake Denman shared the cautionary tale about the dangers of relying too much on a single client if you’re an agency or freelancer. 

Blake had a client that was like family to him and represented 75% of his income… until they let him know they’d moved on to another vendor over text.

In Blake’s words:

“You can have the best relationship with a client and the most structured agreement in place. But if you happen to get a few whale clients that are at 15% or more of your MRR, that’s a red flag.”

In this thread, he advised others on how to avoid falling into the same trap as he did.

4. How to Find Expired Domains That Rank For A Bunch Of Affiliate Keywords So You Can Easily Rebuild and Quickly Rank That No One Is Doing (Until Everyone Reads This Post, Sorry)

Sean regularly sees and buys domains ranking for 50-500 keywords (which he says is the sweet spot) that go for < $250 after almost no auction competition. These sites, ranking for all these keywords, usually do pretty will with a swift rebuild.

And in this thread he shared how to find them…

5. How to acquire neglected domains for a great price

A few TTT members messaged Abhinav asking about how he finds old and neglected websites or businesses that can be good acquisition targets, so he decided to type up his process into an incredibly insightful thread.

He revealed the three methods he and his team use to acquire sites outside the usual marketplaces for a lot lower than market rates.

6. How to become a better writer

When a TTT member asked for recommendations for resources for becoming a better writer, the community delivered.

Alexey Klochai recommended a lecture on The Craft of Writing Effectively from Larry McEnerney, Director of the University of Chicago’s Writing Program, and On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Kirsten Tyndall attended the Chicago writing training in person while in grad school and said it was amazing, seconding the lecture from Larry McEnerney. She also recommended:

Finally, Kerry Campion said the best book she’s ever read on writing was Chuck Palahniuk’s Consider This.

7. The riches are in the niches

Until you’ve done it, niching down sounds terrifying. 

All of your messaging and marketing aimed at ONE niche? What about the other leads?!

In this thread, Blake walked freelancers and agency owners through why niching down is the best thing you can do for your business. Then he showed the community how to choose a niche, get a keystone client, change messaging, and form strategic partnerships.

8. If you had to choose another career in a completely different industry, what would it be?

When Joey Farruggio asked the community what they’d be doing if they didn’t work in SEO he got some fun answers (after opting for opening a small Neapolitan pizzeria himself).

A few TTTers said they’d be chefs, while a lot of our members would love to start their own businesses, from pool halls to bowling alleys to a food truck.

9. The community’s Q2 wins

TTTers has a insane amount of wins to share in our #showoff channel this quarter, including:

It’s always awesome to see our members smashing it!

10. WordPress or Webflow?

When a TTT member asked whether moving a site from WordPress to Webflow could affect rankings the community chimed in with their experiences.

Alexey Klochai said his site’s rankings went up with the move to Webflow because of the improvements to page speed – although he caveats that his site wasn’t big at all and had very limited technical SEO requirements.

Tory Gray said there’s really no reason Webflow can’t rank as well as WordPress – and that the Gray Dot Company’s site is on the former.

However, there are some weird limitations that bug here, including:

Michael LaRoy also added that a good dev should be able to bend a platform like WordPress to their will without too much trouble and be able to achieve high rankings/conversions regardless. But if you prefer editing in Webflow, go for it!

Want to keep up to speed with all things SEO without having to wait until our Q3 update? Sign up to our weekly Rich Snippets newsletter and join Traffic Think Tank to and join in on these discussions.

And if you missed them the first time round, don’t miss the insights from our quarterly highlights from Q1 2022.

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