On Monday, May 4th, Google announced they would be rolling out the May 2020 Core Update, a global update not specific to any region, language, or category of websites. Google typically makes these announcements from their Twitter account.
What exactly are core algorithm updates?
Every year, Google makes several significant, broad changes to their search algorithm that are designed to ensure that they’re delivering on their mission to present the most relevant and reliable information available. These updates are known as Core Updates, and they can have a significant impact on a website’s organic search traffic from Google.
It’s important to note that Google employees like John Mueller & Gary Illyes have previously stated multiple times that they make changes almost every day to their algorithm. Core Updates tend to get more attention because people notice a larger effect on the search results. A Core Update is different from other Google updates because Google will actually announce, acknowledge, and name these updates.
What industries did this core update affect?
By looking at the effects of May’s 2020 Core Update, we learned that it was stronger than January’s update and influenced more search engine results pages and ranking positions.
Industries that were most impacted were related to:
- Real estate
- Pets & animals
- People & society
Winners (Domains that have benefited from the Core Update)
local.com, yellowpages.com, superpages.com, businesswire.com, prnewswire.com, globenewswire.com, xe.com, mapquest.com, and gamekidgame.com.
Losers (Domains that have experienced declines from the Core Update)
manta.com, allmusic.com, idaily.com, nypost.com, discogs.com, afiavillage.com, eventbrite.com, peoplepill.com and owler.com.
How core updates might affect your business
Some sites may experience drops or gains in organic rankings. The most important question to ask is “Was I affected?” If you were affected, you would have likely seen declines in rankings during the week of May 4th from Google Search in Google Analytics. These algorithms usually take 1-2 weeks to roll out and settle, so if you’re not experiencing declines during these times, you’ve likely not been impacted by the update.
If your website ends up seeing drops in organic rankings and traffic, the next likely question to consider is how much is this affecting your business from both a brand awareness and conversion perspective. The key question here is, “Does this update have a negative impact on my bottom line?”
If it does, you’ll likely want to find out more information about why this happened and what you can do to quickly recover.
What you should do about it
The first thing to analyze is how much of your site was impacted. Was a certain section of your site impacted or has the whole site seen declines? With Core Updates, Google has said that if you’ve been affected, you should really be looking at your content’s quality and relevance to determine if your pages match a desired searcher’s intent.
The best way to analyze your website content is to perform a content audit. It’s easy for content to become stale or no longer relevant to what users are searching for, especially when you have a lot. It’s best to take inventory of all your content periodically to see where you can improve its quality and relevance. A good starting point is asking yourself this set of questions about the quality of your content.
A few of these questions include:
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that isn’t obvious?
- Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrates a strong knowledge of the topic?