SEO News & Updates

What happened in SEO during Q3 2022

David Broderick
Last Updated: Oct. 22, 2022

Well, that’s a wrap on Q3 2022. 

We’re all three months older – and some of us are three months wiser, too.

And along the way, we dropped 31 Academy lessons covering topics like content refreshes, YouTube SEO, SEO testing, Google Data Studio, and mastering Chrome DevTools. Plus, we unlocked one of the most popular lessons from the TTT vaults for you to enjoy for free. 

To help you catch up on anything you missed, we’ve pulled together a refresher on the hottest takes and smartest content from the world of SEO from the last three months…

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 Q3 of 2022:

1. 11 Google Sheets formulas SEOs should know – Search Engine Land 

Have you ever spent entirely too long fumbling with Google Sheets? You’re seeing cell grids when you blink, just want to go to bed, and thinking surely you can’t be the first person to need to do this.

Jackie Chu is the kind of friend that sees you pasting your data column into a text editor and pauses to show you a three-click flick of the wrist that saves you 30 minutes.

Jackie is the kind of hero we need.

In this Search Engine Land article, she shares eleven handy Sheets formulas (complete with screenshots).

Did you know you can create a mini visual trendline inside a cell?

How about gathering the sum of a column, but only when the values in another match your criteria?

There’s at least one formula here you’ll use in the near future and one coworker who will think you’re a superhero for sharing it.

2. Search Engine Market Share Worldwide – statcounter

Google gobbles up 91% of worldwide search. Technically this isn’t new.

At its lowest point, the tech titan held 89% of global market share.

We know this because Global Stats shares its Search Engine Market Share data set.

The interactive tool lets you view search engine market share by:

  • Platform (mobile, desktop, table, or all)
  • Region (worldwide, continent, or country)
  • Year (2009-2022)

This tool is useful for clients looking at international or device market shares as a reference point for prioritizing guideline/”best practice” adherence.

3. E-A-T auditing: How to level up your credibility game – Search Engine Land

Optimizing is all about getting that high score. But you can’t optimize for something that Google doesn’t score (yet).

The merge of E-A-T into ranking is readily signposted. A 2019 Core Update blog post points users to the research of SEOs like Marie Haynes, Jennifer Slegg, Lily Ray, Glenn Gabe, and Fajr Muhammad.

For their first Search Engine Land article, Nichola Stott of Erudite shared an exhaustive and provocative E-A-T audit.

The extensive list looks at factors like:

  • Off-site reputation signals
  • On-site reputation signals
  • Related entities
  • Entity recognition
  • Ads
  • Content
  • Compliance & Safety
  • Qualifications and awards

I did warn you it’s exhaustive…

4. What creators should know about Google’s helpful content update – Google Search Central

Google doesn’t crawl your site to be altruistic.

It wants to find pages that answer user intents to display in its SERPs. It costs very real resources to crawl your site.

Think of it like a vending machine.

Google puts a dollar in and expects a candy bar out. If that only happens once every five times, they’re going to find a more reliable vending machine. One that provides more consistently useful results.

And bet your Butterfinger Google’s marketing team is going to give the decision a catchy name.

The Helpful Content update is rolled out in August with a peppy name and a sitewide impact:

“This update introduces a new site-wide signal that we consider among many other signals for ranking web pages. Our systems automatically identify content that seems to have little value, low-added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches.”

Chipper enough yeah? The sunshine and buzzsaws algo aimes to carve away crawl budget (and Google WRS resources) from unhelpful sites:

“Any content – not just unhelpful content – on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere from the web that’s better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.”

It was only a matter of time, my friends. What was the other option? Joining IndexNow and sharing its data set? 🤣

Do not be alarmed. This is a kindness.

5. SEO And The CFO: Tips To Improve Your Relationship – Search Engine Journal

The secret sauce of SEO isn’t in a Python notebook or nestled in the If/else statements of “AI”. It’s buy-in from stakeholders across the business.

Getting buy-in from your C-suite can unlock development resources and prioritize initiatives.

It’s also one the most intimidating tasks many SEOs can imagine.

Over on Search Engine Journal, Matt Bertram penned a cheat sheet of relationship goals for SEOs and CFOs. The article curates tips and key vocabulary to create shared ground.

6. Discover and your website – Google Search Central

New Search Central documentation continues the push to move Google Discover from SEO acquaintance to new BFF.  

This new content hub starts off with the question most SEOs are too afraid to ask: “How is Google Search different from Discover?”

TL; DR: 

“Traffic from Discover is less predictable or dependable when compared to Search, and is considered supplemental to your Search traffic.” 

How does it get there? Turns out Discover is an E-A-T connoisseur:

“Our automated systems surface content in Discover from sites that have many individual pages that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).”

This Google Search Central guide details how to leverage Discover’s RSS functionality and monitor your performance in Search. 

Bonus tidbit: Discover reports include the webpage recommendations a Chrome user may see when they open a new tab.

7. How Helpful Was the Helpful Content Update? – Moz

Dr. Pete harnessed the powers of the MozCast to analyze the Helpful Content Update just under a month after the “people-first” algo rollout began.

If you haven’t read a recent piece from Dr. Pete, this article captures his unique skill set and writing style in peak form:

“I like to think I’m pretty good at handling messes, but this is like trying to find one particular drop of water in two weeks of rain during a summer-long storm. If you like messes, read on…”

Pete has analyzed more updates than most SEOs could even name, and the perspective is worth all the mess.

8. Reduce web font size –

Web fonts are my favorite unsuspected villain. Who killed LCP in the study with the candlestick?

It was… murderer-medium-bold.ttf ⛈⚡️️

Please, please stop shipping EOT, TTF, and WOFF. EOT and TTF aren’t even compressed by default.

Yes, these are beautiful, effective means of crafting a digital experience. But don’t make me hide in a fridge to survive the fallout of your FOUT/FOIT.

Newly updated documentation from Jeremy Wagner and Ilya Grigorik details the deadly effects of web fonts on Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

9. Bias in AI: Image API associates black doctors with “street fashion” – Seer Interactive

Have you tried out Google’s Vision AI API?

Open the demo and upload a photo. It’ll tell you what it “sees” in the picture as well as its confidence threshold.

Wil Reynolds was curious if it could help pick better images for a new healthcare client. Seeing that trends for black doctors are on the rise, he fed the demo three photos of black medical professionals in scrubs.

Google’s Vision AI reported back “Street Fashion” with 73% confidence.

When Wil asked for a sanity check, the Seer team got involved, creating hypotheses and testing.

Eventually they used photoshop to edit the photo subject’s skin tone and test again.

“Formal wear”. Confidence threshold 71%.

This Seer article walks through the process and eloquently forms the business-language pragmatism necessary when dealing with AI.

10. Is your site the victim of internal site search spam? – Yoast

I’m persistently amazed at how often I have to break the news that a site shouldn’t index its site search.

And I’m persistently horrified at what happens when a site does.

But I’m willing to bet that I haven’t seen nearly as many horrors as Jono Anderson and the Yoast team.

In this article, Jono takes on the perilous nature of Site Search Spam – a type of spam attack that’s become increasingly prevalent. He writes:

“Over the last year or so, we’ve seen large-scale, widespread SEO spam ‘attacks’ on WordPress sites, all targeting their internal site search.” 

Most of the time, these attacks won’t hurt your SEO. Spam happens. But what if this too was a vignette of a digital horror movie?

Most sites won’t need to worry about this, but if you have a large or popular site, you might have been ‘hit’ and not even know about it.

Have you checked the children lately?

The hottest topics in our Slack community

Get a glimpse at what the hottest topics from our exclusive Slack community were during Q3 2022:

1. How to handle splitting one site into two

When a TTT member asked if anyone has experience with separating one site into two, Kyle Faber and Leslie Gilmour were on hand to share their hard-earned insights. They gave a 101 on how to use 301s, canonicals, and XML sitemaps to make the transition as smooth as possible.

2. Members give a warm welcome to our new Community Advocates 

This quarter we welcomed five awesome new Community Advocates to the TTT team: the incredible Kevin Indig and Tory Gray, Sam Torres, Begum Kaya, and Tyler Tafelsky from The Gray Dot Company.

Our announcements introducing both sets of Advocates to the community ended up being two of the quarter’s most popular threads. And the weekly threads they’ve been publishing in our private Slack Mastermind group have been going down a storm as well.

3. The TTT annual partners meeting

Our community loved this behind-the-scenes peek at Nick, Ian, and Matt’s annual partners meeting…

Is Nick really short or are Ian and Matt both freakishly tall? Join us at the next TTT Live to find out!

4. The grass isn’t always greener…

Plenty of members related to our Community Advocate Blake Denman’s brutally honest look at what going freelance or starting an agency is really like. Blake shared a warts-and-all look at life as an agency owner to show that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side (even though he wouldn’t do anything differently knowing what he knows now).

5. How to redirect a subdomain to a subfolder on WordPress

When a TTT member was struggling to wrap their head around how to redirect a subdomain to a subfolder on WordPress, Kyle Faber was on hand to walk them through the process step-by-step.

6. Running an SEO agency 101

Blake has shared an insane amount of hard-earned lessons on how to start and scale an agency with our community in the two years he’s been a TTT Community Advocate. 

And in one of Q3’s most popular posts, he ran through all his previous agency-related Slack threads and discussed how his approach to runninghis agency has stayed the same and how it’s changed over the years. 

The result? A 101 on agency rainy day funds, sales pipelines, hiring processes, and much more.

7. Can we have a grown-up conversation about guest post farms?

“Can we have a grown-up conversation about guest post farms?”, asked a TTT member.

What followed was a candid discussion centered around:

  • How likely a site is to see any negative impact from buying dodgy links (other than wasting their money on what’s essentially snake oil).
  • How to actually spot a site worth getting a link from.
  • How many SEOs run into trouble by thinking DR is the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to which sites are worth courting links from.

8. How to get an old version of a site to drop out of Google’s index

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No… it’s Kyle Faber helping another TTT member out of a sticky situation.

When a TTT member couldn’t figure out how to get an old website that had been redirected to a new URL to drop out of Google’s index, Kyle was on hand to troubleshoot the problem (with an assist from Patrick Stox).

9. How to get the most out of GA4 when 2023 rolls around

What Brie Anderson doesn’t know about web analytics isn’t worth knowing. And towards the end of July, she shared five time-sensitive things SEOs needed to do to in GA4 then and there to get the most out of Google new analytics platform when 2023 rolls round (hint: it’s not enough to just get GA4 data streams “turned on” – you actually have to go in and get your properties set up).

10. Getting sh*t done in SEO

Our new Community Advocate Kevin Indig kicked off a four-part series of Slack threads on getting sh*t done in SEO by tackling the biggest barrier SEOs hit at large companies: credibility.

He went deep on how to overcome “the SEO death spiral” through small wins, a strong strategy, and constant communication. 

Want to keep up to speed with all things SEO without having to wait until our Q4 update? Sign up to our weekly Rich Snippets newsletter and join Traffic Think Tank to get in on these discussions.

And if you missed them the first time round, don’t miss the insights from our quarterly highlights from Q2 2022.