Overview of the New Google May ‘Core’ Update 2020: What Does it mean and What should you do?

On May 4th 2020, Google began rolling out its latest core update. 2 weeks later, it’s finally fully rolled out and so far, it is having massive impacts on search results. Additionally, there is no specific guidance out there from Google on how to deal with their core updates.

Outreach Lab is here to help with your concerns and increasing SERP rankings after this huge update.

What is a Core Update in Google?

Google actually makes small changes to its algorithm every single day. 

However, core updates are a more significant update of their services to ensure they are providing relevant and authoritative content.

The online world is ever-changing and the relevance of content, therefore, changes over time. These updates mean Google is able to re-evaluate content and ensure their SERPs are relevant and valuable for users.

According to Google, pages that see poorer performance do not mean they are being penalised for violating guidelines. The changes occur in the way Google assesses pages for SERPs. Which, therefore, should push under-rewarded pages and more relevant content up the results. 

Unfortunately, Google does not release the specific details of what these updates change. However, lots of SEOs out there release information and assumptions from the changes they are seeing in SERPs.

What has changed in the May Core Update?

So far this update seems to the biggest. The January update did see some significant changes however, in comparison, the May core update has had a bigger impact.

This has mainly been seen in the predicted volatility across SERPs and many niches including travel, health, people & society, news and finance. Meaning that many websites are unpredictable and rapid change.

Rank Ranger offers us insight into the difference of the two updates:

rank volatility comparison of jan and may core update 2020

As you can see the January and May core updates increased volatility significantly whilst being rolled out. Although, the May update is slightly higher this difference should not be underestimated either. Similar trends were also noted by Moz and Semrush.

This core update’s high volatility was seen across most niches which is unusual and unique.

Some webmasters have found that this update has been detrimental to SERPs. As it has caused many websites to lose masses amounts of traffic because now their content is ranking lower in SERPs.

They also feel that social media platforms (Amazon, Etsy, Pinterest, Reddit, Youtube etc) are being prioritised over high-quality websites. Leaving those that work hard to make valuable content being poorly rewarded. 

What can you do after the May Core Update?

Google notes that some websites can recover from the core updates with further improvements to the Google algorithm. Although, some website may not recover at all. This can make dealing with the updates seem difficult but still possible.

1. Research your Niche and Keywords

Before trying to regain your SERP positions, you need to inform yourself on what has specifically changed in your niche. Especially by looking at keywords where your ranking has dropped. 

Analyse the new SERPs and notice the main differences between your current content and that of your competitors. Paying particular attention to the top of the page that viewers will be seeing. 

Mordy at Rankranger found that pages that have informative content immediately, outranked pages that went straight into affiliate content or with large headers.

2. Update Old Content

This is a typical SEO practice and should also be a focus after a core update. Once you have researched the new SERPs, you can improve your content to exceed the new top-ranking pages. 

Ask questions such as:

  • Does the content provide true value to your audience?
  • Is the content following EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness)?
  • How well is the content presented for your audience? 
  • Does the content display well on all devices well, especially mobile devices?

These questions can help you critically evaluate your content and improve it in line with Google’s guidelines. As well as enabling your content to compete with the new highly ranking pages.

3.Site audit

Performing a site audit is also another standard SEO practice. This can be very helpful to perform on pages that have seen a drop in traffic from the May core update. Now with a new core update, Search engine optimisation is going to be more important.

So, conduct an audit of your whole site if necessary. Correct any errors, improve page speed across all devices and check these 8 things not to forget in an SEO audit.

This includes removing any zombie pages that no longer bring in any traffic. If it is not contributing to your website’s success, then it does not need to be there and your time can be invested elsewhere.

Outreach Lab can help you with all of these improvements for your SEO and boost rankings .