At the beginning of May, Google released a significant Core Update to its Algorithm. Since the update was announced I have been monitoring traffic and reading the updates from many high quality resources around the web.
As your SEO Bff, my goal is to consume all of the information about the changes, understand it, and then tell you what you need to know so that you can react with purpose.
My aim is to be your go-to source for the key take-aways when major changes happen with organic traffic.
The go-to resources that have helped me understand the implications of this core update have been:
If you want to understand in more detail, please check out those links.
In this post, I am going to tell you what we know about the update, what industries were affected and what you can do about it.
What is a Google Core Update?
Google makes hundreds of small changes to the algorithm each year. Most of these changes are small tweaks that help Google understand the intent of the searcher and help Google understand what content is high quality.
🎯 Remember this is the main job of Google and it’s worth repeating.
Google’s job is to understand the content on the internet and to match each search query with the best possible website.
The Core Updates which happen 3-4 times a year are much more significant then the daily tweaks. The core updates can mean a huge ranking (and therefore traffic) change for the sites that are affected. The rankings don’t change for individual keywords but they fundamentally change the Search Results Pages by moving many rankings simultaneously.
What we know about the May Update
It appears that the May 2020 update disproportionately affected websites that can directly impact users health, happiness, safety, well-being and financial security.
Path Interactive found that these industries specifically experienced significant changes in organic visibility:
- nutrition and recipes
- drugs, alcohol, and rehab
- science and medical news
- banking and finance
- music and entertainment
- natural medicine
For an incomplete listing of which websites specifically were affected, be sure to review the article by Path Interactive.
It appears that the big idea of this update was relevance. Marie Haynes reported that the the main advancement of the May Core Update was in understanding what the searcher is looking for (Searcher Intent) and presenting the user with the most helpful results.
At the core, SEARCH is about understanding language. It’s Google’s job to figure out what you’re searching for and then to find helpful information from the web, no matter how you spell or combine the words in your query.
If this feels a bit like deja vue, you are right, the May Update was about E A T. E A T stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust and this is EAT Score is how Google determines the quality of content.
Who was affected most by the May 2020 Google Update
Many Health, Medical, and Wellness sites increased in organic traffic. The sites that improved the most had several things in common.
These sites all had first hand experience — i.e., CASE STUDIES.
These sites also had AUTHORITY — they sited sources, they had quotes from leading people in the industry, in other words it wasn’t just the authors opinion, it was a well researched, high authority post.
It is worth noting that it is impossible to determine if the significance of the increase was due to the Core Update or to the Coronavirus. Traffic to Home Depot and Lowes is increasing daily.
Other sites also increased in traffic like Pinterest, SELF, Refinery29 and LumenLearning. We can assume that these increases are due to the Stay At Home order and the Core Update.
It is worth stating, that there are sites within the wellness world that didn’t do so well with this latest update.
Marie Haynes observed, several past clients who saw declines in traffic with this update were negatively impacted because they published large amounts of content in the last few months that could be considered untrustworthy.
VeryWellHealth.com is an example, it lost about 4% of its visibility, we can only conclude that the content was not valuable or accurate as some of it’s competitors.
What You Should Do
As with other major updates, Google did reference this document for guidance. Before you read it all, the bottom line is that Google advises that you create excellent content.
Google says, “We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”
This is vague but the answer is quality over quantity.
Key take aways
The May 2020 Core Update focused on finding the best, most relevant websites for each search query.
Health, Wellness and Financial sites seem to be affected the most.
Google is looking for trustworthy, accurate, and well-documented content.
It seems that many sites that benefited from the algo update also benefited from the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Wanna learn more? Join Me and learn more about how you can grow your visibility with Google.