On 4th May 2020, Google rolled out a major update to their algorithm, referring to it as the “Core Update”, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This Google update is deemed “Core” because it is a large update or a change in the algorithm that could impact a lot of sites. This rollout lasted for two weeks once Google successfully completed updating their algorithms altogether.
The Google Core Update has started to show a full-fledged effect on SERP rankings. After all, this rollout aims to incrementally enhance the Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) of different pieces of content and ultimately improve the quality of content that is being served to users on SERP.
” According to Marcus Tober, the Founder and CIO of Searchmetrics, “Google has again adjusted based on the weighting of content, brand factors and user data. The update seems to be somewhat broader than previous Core Updates and less focused on E-A-T topics.”
What Changes Does This Core Update Bring?
Being rolled out in the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the May 2020 Core Update has already created volatility in SERP rankings of various websites worldwide and influenced the standings of many businesses globally. In this sense, the May 2020 Core Update by Google seems bigger, vital and more impactful than ever in many crucial aspects.
According to industry observers, the latest Core Update means that businesses should gear up to meet the evolving search parameters based on relevancy and intentions of the online users. They need to focus their efforts in making sure that their business achieves sustainable and substantial growth, rather than panicking during the toughest of times.
The May 2020 Core Update is much more significant than the January 2020 update. As per experts, the new algorithmic changes are much stronger and will hugely influence the local rankings and search engine positions of many websites.
With this update, Google has focused more on improving the usefulness of content and promoting quality information on search engine results to improve the click-through rate (CTR) of websites.
How Is It Going To Affect Niches?
“Perhaps Google simply opted for more diversity in the May 2020 Core Update, and giving more value to smaller websites.”
Marcus Pentzek, Chief SEO Consultant at Searchmetrics
The May 2020 Core Update is far more uniform across diverse niches in comparison to the typical core updates. The top five industries that were affected post the rollout are health, finance, technology, people and society, pets and animals.
According to health industry experts, the health business was worst affected by the May 2020 Core Update. The experience was worse than the August 2018 medic core update which left the health industry in disarray.
The websites in finance, along with those in the healthcare sector, have experienced the craziest of swings in their SERP data post the May 2020 rollout. Also, monitoring and mapping of keywords across different health and finance verticals signalled massive volatility.
According to the industry experts, technology, as well as the allied websites, are forced to navigate a tough situation currently. Moreover, technology websites were able to get just 41% of the total website traffic they received a week before this core algorithmic rollout.
- People & society
Experts indicate that dating websites and other people and society related websites are experiencing massive volatility along with the decrease in traffic after the pandemic.
- Pet & animals
Pet and animal care websites have seen the most volatility in rankings and website traffic post the core update.
How Important is the E-A-T Factor?
Some insiders believe that E-A-T signals are still the mainstay in this update. This is similar to the January 2020 update where websites with stronger E-A-T signals benefited the most post the update, with a surge in organic searches and local SEO rankings.
In contrast, many experts believe that the current update has not influenced E-A-T factors. The reason for this is that the E-A-T optimised websites benefited the most in the past update. According to Marcus Tober from Searchmetrics, “The May 2020 Core Update is broader in scope and concept than its earlier counterparts”. The analysis post the May 2020 rollout shows that the Core Update focused on broader industry sectors than just the E-A-T heavy sectors of health or finance.
The E-A-T Correction For Google Update
The three main aspects that favour this Core Update are:
- Expertise: The websites that do not contain relevant and high-quality content lose out on this update.
- Authority: The websites with high-quality backlinks have benefited the most from this update.
- Trust: Domain age and string brand value will benefit from the Core Update.
In short, this Google Core Update intends to signify that one doesn’t need to be the strongest to benefit the most from the algorithm updates. You just need to get your E-A-T foundation right to get a good ranking. This will provide more SEO visibility and link building, which will help with Google recovery.
Therefore, your content should be of the highest quality and reflect authority and trust to rank high on Google SERPs.
Impact Of The Google May 2020 Core Update
According to the signs of impact post the Core Update, many prominent sectors and different types of websites are affected by the update. Other than the sectors of finance, health, people and society, technology, volatility was observed in various other industries.
According to some sources, cryptocurrency content was impacted by the rollout. Many recipe and cooking websites also noticed a significant dip in online traffic post the rollout. The prominent reason was the missing URLs and rich snippets that provided the best search engine results. Thus, many industry observers believe that the updates could be specifically meant for this sector as recipe search results are usually accompanied with additional information that contains rich snippets in the form of ratings, images and other relevant information.
How Should Websites Adapt To This Update?
To make sure the impact of the Core Update on their business is less, if not outright profitable, these are some of the aspects that brands should be looking into right now:
- Quality content: The website must offer valuable and quality content for user consumption. Plus, the description and meta links should be appealing and must be designed to balance with the content.
- Expertise: The content should be trustworthy and provide authoritative value to its readers. And it should be error-free.
- Competitive comparison: The website content should offer value in comparison to its competitors, and meet the user expectations.
- Production and presentation: The content should look well-researched and designed to attract the most online traffic.
The May 2020 Core Update has seen wild swings in rankings. Top-ranked websites slipped overnight, while sites which did not have a good ranking, suddenly found themselves at the top. Initially, this wreaked havoc among webmasters and SEO experts but once they understood Google’s aim, things got relatively easier.
In conclusion, website owners and webmasters should focus on quality content. A short-term approach will not help. Take a broader view and devise a strategy to improve overall.