Google May 2020 Core Update: Key Takeaways to Know

google may 2020 core update blog graphic by SMT

May 19, 2020

Google is constantly refining its search algorithm, culminating into larger “core updates” - the most recent one happening in May 2020. According to Google’s official blog:
Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as “core updates.” They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.
Google's May 2020 core update started rolling out on May 4 and finished on May 18 which were announced by the Google SearchLiaison Twitter account.
In this article, we’ll review what you should know about the May 2020 core update, which industries have been affected, and what you can do if your website has been negatively impacted.

May 2020 Core Update Focuses on Quality Content

It’s important to note that Google’s core updates aren’t meant to target specific pages or websites. Core updates are about improving how Google’s systems assess content overall which is why some pages that were previously under-rewarded do better after a core update.
The May 2020 core update essentially reinforces the importance of quality content. For example, let’s say in 2016 you created a list of the 20 best restaurants in your city. That list won’t be as relevant in 2020 because it doesn’t account for restaurants that close, new restaurants that deserve inclusion, etc.
By refreshing your content, it will be more relevant to the user’s search intent and increase the chances Google rewards your page with higher rankings in search results. Reassess your content to see how you can make it the best that it can be.

Industries Impacted by the Core Update

According to SEMRush data reported by Search Engine Land, the following industries have experienced the biggest fluctuations with rankings: travel, real estate, health, pets & animals, and people & society.
SEMRush data on industries affected by Google May 2020 core update
If you’re in an industry that has been affected by the May 2020 core update or have noticed a drop in rankings, there are several actions that Google recommends.

Google’s Content Recommendations

For website owners who feel like they need to do something in response to core updates, there are two primary recommendations that Google offers in it’s What webmasters should know about Google’s core updates blog post:
  • Focus on content
  • Get to know the search quality rater guidelines & E-A-T
Basically, Google suggests “focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”

Focus on Content

Google offers several lists of questions you can use to self-assess content. Below is a screenshot of one of those question lists.
content quality questions list from Google 
In addition to these questions, it also helps to have people who you trust and are unaffiliated with your website give an honest assessment.

Search Quality Rater Guidelines and E-A-T

Google uses expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (known as E-A-T) to determine content quality and give users the best content for their search query.
E-A-T is outlined in greater detail in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, but here are some basic ways you can improve your content quality:
  • Easy to read
  • Visually appealing format
  • Quality images
  • Appropriate resources/links
  • Easy to access
Depending on the topic, freshness can also be a ranking factor, particularly for time-sensitive events and information (e.g. presidential election, industry trends). Check out Google's guidelines to learn more.

Quality Content for SEO

Google’s latest core update makes it more clear than ever before the importance of quality content for search engine optimization (SEO). Without a solid content strategy, page rankings will drop over time. Sales & Marketing Technologies is a digital marketing agency in the Orlando, Florida area that offers both content and SEO services to ensure they work in harmony and drive growth.
Call 407.682.2222 or contact us below for a free 30-minute strategy session!

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