Google’s May 2020 Update
Over the past couple of weeks, Google has been rolling out another of their core updates. When Google action one of their core updates, almost instantly there can be a volatile fluctuation in search rankings.
In the aftermath of these fluctuations, SEO experts scramble to determine the cause of these fluctuations, and the factors that will have been impacted by the update. This recent update was no different, with many websites seeing huge fluctuations in their rankings, both positively and negatively. You can see the volatility in the graph below sourced from SEMRush Sensor:
As you can see, on May 5th, the day the core update was released, the volatility shot up to more than double its usual amount.
Some businesses have been affected more than others and it all depends on how optimised your website is. We put a lot of time and effort into content creation for our SEO clients, as the more relevant and valuable the content is on a website, the better that website generally fares after one of Google’s updates, meaning better rankings as a result. You can easily see how the update has affected your business website’s rankings by either checking your search term tracking tool or doing a quick Google search with your key search terms and see if you have changed positions. If your rankings have improved, then you are doing something right! However, if not, there are some key things you can do to help increase and maintain your rankings. To do this effectively, you need to fully understand the factors behind why your rankings have dropped, and what role the core update had to play in this decline.
We are going to explain later in this article what we know so far on the ranking factors of this latest core update.
Industries across the board have been affected, however, there are five key industries which have seen a volatile change in their rankings, these include, Travel, Real Estate, Health, Pets & Animals and People & Society, as shown by this table produced by SEL from SEMrush data:
SEMRush went a step further to look at which industries have benefitted, and which have been negatively impacted by the core update. The ‘winners’, include News, Business & Industrial, and Online Communities, with these categories experiencing the most “significant” increases in rankings.
The biggest losers interestingly were seen in some of the same industries, with Online Communities and Business & Industrial markets being featured in the top 3 of both lists. This shows that where there is volatility, there will always be winners and losers, even in the same industry.
As is standard with all core updates, Google’s explanation of exactly what had changed was enigmatic. Their advice was the same as always, to make sure you are producing quality and engaging content, always keeping the end-user and their experience in mind. While there is obviously a lot more to it than that, quality content is what Google have been pushing with the majority of their recent core updates. Take a look at our articles on the January 2020 and BERT updates - user experience is consistently the driving force behind Google’s changes. With the intelligent crawlerbots having now been set up to emulate human online behaviour rather than crawl like a machine, it is more important than ever to focus on user experience.
If your website has experienced a decline in rankings after the update, it is most likely to be caused by a content issue. However, there was one more thing that caught some people off guard. Websites with duplicate meta tags were also hit hard from this update. In fact, 42% of websites with duplicate meta tags saw a 10% decrease in rankings as a result of the update. These two factors appear to be the two most affected by the recent core update. If you’ve seen a drop in your rankings, we have some advice that might help you regain
We recommend checking your site on a regular basis for SEO issues. There are a lot of free and paid tools to do this. Some of these include:
If you have been affected by the update, try not to panic, your business is not the only one. If you have seen your rankings fall, by following the advice in the above sections you should start to see an improvement over time.
The best piece of advice is to always have the end-user in mind, when creating web pages and content, consider what they need to know and where they need to get to, and make it quick and easy. Especially as with every recent update, Google is focusing more and more on user experience and content.
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 0114 250 9578 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be delighted to help you with your ranking challenges.