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May 2020 Core Algorithm Update For Google Confirmed

Google Algorithm update for May 2020 summary

Businesses are shut down around the globe, and the internet has become the go-to arena for everyone trying to avoid disruption and keep working throughout the various quarantine measures. One of those digital companies happens to be Google; they seem to show no sign of slowing down and have announced that they’ve officially rolled out their second core update for 2020.

Google’s Danny Sullivan has confirmed that a core algorithm update is rolling out May 4, 2020, and takes a few days to hit its stride.

This rollout comes four months after their previous update which kicked off the new year in January and as per usual keeps SEOs and site owners on their toes. Core updates are some of the most stressful times for SEOs and webmasters as it can change your traffic allocations overnight.

As an SEO myself, I’ve become numb to these fluctuations in rankings and have accepted the things I have no control over. Still, you need to be prepared right for anything times like these even those who are right and just may fall victim to the machine learning mayhem that ensues once a new algorithm is let loose on rankings.

The zero-sum game

Our site has personally taken a 20% hit in traffic when compared to our seven day average for web visits, which is enormous. As rankings fluctuate there will be sites that are winners and places that are losers in this zero-sum game

In cases like these, I recommend that sites that are affected supplement the loss with paid traffic and being more aggressive with other channels. In contrast, your organic traffic remains volatile and unreliable due to the new rollout.

Why roll out a core update?

These broad core updates happen around 2 - 3 times a year and are used to produce noticeable effects in all of “search” from intent, to region, localisation, language and provide a more vibrant index for users.

No site will be immune to these changes, and you should see noticeable reductions or gains in search rankings when a core update rolls out.

Ranking for relevancy

Changes in search rankings are generally aimed at improving content relevancy, especially when they're mums the word on specifics. A simple explanation is if Google's new crawlers spider your site for content that it feels gained relevancy since the last update it will be moved higher up in rankings, if not you're dropped like a hot potato.

Why update your rankings majorly during COVID-19

You have to remember Google is it for the money and even though they are a public company and their service is seen as a public utility they're trying to remain margin rich as search pays for the vast majority of its income. There is a delicate balance between how organic and paid results are spun up in SERPs and the song and dance between paid and organic traffic is what keeps marketers spending time creating better content and ads at a steady rate.

Advertising will be slashed and search trends will have dramatically altered since the outbreak of the coronavirus and while I'm not suggesting for a second its the reason for the update, I do think they are considering the effects it will have on search behaviour and their businesses bottom line.

Earlier in the week Google even stated there have never been so many searches for a single topic as there have been for COVID-19. The pandemic has changed what people need from Google’s search results and Google needs to respond promptly.

May the core update be with you

As is usually the case, Google has given us no specific guidelines for tackling this update and only leaves us with cryptic riddles like any master Yoda would. Since nothing is mentioned explicitly, we have to assume that Google wants more of the same from websites in creating improved experiences and more valuable content for users.

In my time an SEO it's always been Googles approach to play damage control when it comes to releasing core updates. Google updates usually are out to swat bad actors, and for those that follow the rules, there is nothing to "fix" even if rankings drop after a core update.

So even if you are hit with a slump in traffic, it may merely be rankings being revisited with the new "algo", so give it a few weeks to normalise before you start calling up your SEO for an audit or breaking down mentally.

The year of the SEO

If the May 2020 Core Update ends up being as potent as it has the potential to be, it could be a good thing for SEOs.

It’s no secret that businesses will be struggling in the coming months due to the economic downturn; companies will be slashing ad budgets and laying off staff along clients are pausing services. Now add to that a potentially potent organic search update and you could find businesses having additional pressures for leads.

As businesses look for affordable cost acquisitions, SEO will become a popular channel to turn to, often ignored during the good times when paid ads can do all the heavy lifting.

Additionally, the more volatile the update, the more valuable those SEO services become. That means SEOs may soon find themselves in a position where there’s a significant rise in demand for their work.

Tell us your SEO story

Have you been frustrated with SEO for your business? How did you or the company overcome it? Were you hit by the latest update? Are there any tips you would like to share on improving your reports? Share it with us in the comments.

Contact us

If you would like us to improve the SEO for your site or want to know more about digital marketing for your business, then don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on SEO and search updates.

Tags: SEO, Google, Search Engine Optimisation

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