Google Search Ranking Updates: December 2022

December 27, 2022

3 Minute Read

Many of us are experiencing the holiday rush right now so we can have a fresh start heading into the new year. This also rings true for Google. Over the last few weeks, Google announced two new Google Search ranking updates: the Helpful Content System Update and the December 2022 Link Spam Update. Read on to learn more about both.

Helpful Content System Update

The first announcement this month was an update to Google’s helpful content system on December 5, 2022. The update to the system consists of Google now rolling it out globally in all languages. Google also mentioned the update includes enhancements to the helpful content system by adding new signals they did not disclose.  

This update is still in the process of being fully rolled out as Google said it would likely take a few weeks to complete. 

What Is the Helpful Content System?

To recap, the helpful content system is a newer ranking signal introduced in August of this year. The system aims to reward sites that provide original and informative content written for people. The goal of the system is to help users find relevant quality content based on their search inquiry. 

On the flip side, the helpful content system also removes content from the rankings that is providing little value to the searchers or content that is solely designed for just ranking purposes.

December 2022 Link Spam Update

The second end-of-the-year ranking update from Google is the “December 2022 link spam update”. Google announced the Link Spam update is global and will affect all languages on December 14, 2022, and will take two weeks to fully roll out as well. 

 “Our launch today, which we refer to as the December 2022 link spam update, will take about two weeks to fully roll out. Rankings may change as spammy links are neutralized and any credit passed by these unnatural links are lost. This launch will affect all languages.”

The December 2022 Link Spam Update leverages Google’s SpamBrain solution to neutralize the impact of unnatural links on search results.

What is Google’s SpamBrain?

SpamBrain is an AI-based spam-prevention system launched in 2018. SpamBrain was designed to identify low-quality websites or spammy websites at a higher accuracy. 

Not only does the AI-based system detect spam websites but it also identifies websites that partake in black hat link-building tactics. Meaning websites that illegitimately purchase links to build their authority or improve their rankings will be penalized.

Next Steps in 2023

Monitor your organic performance over the next month as the updates finish rolling out for any significant keyword or traffic drops. Focus on building informative content for your audience to answer their questions. If you have a higher spam score already, you’ll likely see some ranking fluctuations as Google removes them from your backlink profile and discredits them – pay attention and look for correlations. 

If you have any questions or are worried you may have been impacted by the Helpful Content System update or Link Spam update, contact us here at Be Found Online for our SEO services! We will ensure your content strategy and backlink profile are up to date in 2023. Happy New Year!

Jon Pappas - Director of Organic Search

Jon Pappas

Jonathon is the Director of Organic Search at BFO. He’s a reliable and consistent member of our team and is very detail-oriented and client-focused.