On May 4, 2020, Google published a Tweet stating “Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the May 2020 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before.” Understandably, our SEO clients are interested in how the May 2020 Core Update impacts the work that we have already done, as well as the work that we will be doing in the future to drive valuable traffic to their sites. Take a look below to get a better idea of what we know so far, and stay tuned for new updates as our research continues.
Google’s May 2020 Core Update Will Roll Out Over 2 Weeks
Since core updates are often massive and disruptive, Google has made it their best practice to do a steady, extended rollout. This current update will take two weeks to be fully live, during which time, we will be monitoring our client’s web traffic and search rankings in order to identify key variables associated with any changes. We will be happy to discuss changes to your performance as we continue to adjust our strategies and will make sure that you are aware of any impacts that this update will have directly on your site.
Broad Updates To the Search Results Page
Google’s engineers are constantly tweaking the algorithm in order to provide their users with the best possible search experience. These changes take place daily, and although noticeable from an SEO perspective, are generally fairly minor. When Google pushes out a core update, though, the changes are sweeping and can have significant impacts on every use-case of the Google search engine.
Changes To Your Traffic
Any time there is a core update, it is very common to notice a change in your web traffic and the change may be positive or negative, depending on many factors. One of the major benefits of working with a large firm like On The Map Marketing is that we are handling a variety of clients in a wide range of industries, meaning that we have many data points that we can use to identify patterns in the changes and get you back on track in a hurry.
You can also rest easy knowing that you have been publishing high-quality content written specifically to maximize your SEO performance since you began your work with OTM. When a website is already focused on SEO best practices, the chances of disastrous results following an update are fairly low.
An Increased Focus on E-A-T
E-A-T is an acronym for three very important variables that Google considers when ranking a website’s organic value: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. In the early days of SEO, Google did not have functions in place that could easily quantify these variables, and it led to a lot of black hat SEO practices that gamed the system. However, Google has been making significant advancements in their quality scoring in regard to these key factors, and you can be certain that this latest core update improves upon these abilities.
Are you interested in a very dry, highly technical read? Take a look at Google’s Guidelines for Quality Raters to get an idea of some of the ways that these factors are identified and ranks. Better yet, let us do the research while you sit back and enjoy the results!
Improved Grading of Content Relevancy
As you likely already know, the key to a successful SEO strategy is to provide your target audience with highly relevant, useful content. Google continues to make strides in their ability to recognize and grade websites based on how relevant the content is to their associated search queries, meaning that relevant content will likely be rewarded in this update, while irrelevant content will experience a decrease in traffic. The good news is that On The Map clients are already publishing high-quality, authoritative content to their websites, and will be able to benefit from these upgrades as soon as they are implemented.
Google’s First Update During COVID-19
On the same day that Google announced this Core Update, they Tweeted this message as well:
“Google Search has never seen as many searches for a single topic continue over a sustained period as is happening now with COVID-19. Many searches are for news about what’s happening in local areas, such as sheltering updates or the latest on testing.”
It is not surprising to learn that Coronavirus has created a massive stress-test for Google’s ability to process a single search term at such high volumes for such a sustained period of time, and it is likely that pieces of the update were put into place specifically as a result of this surge. At the same time, it should be noted that this update is not in response to COVID-19, and as with all updates, has been planned for many months.
Is There Documentation For the Core Update?
Search engine optimization isn’t just plugging keywords into your website content and waiting for the traffic to pick up; in fact, a lot of what being an SEO firm requires is that we are playing a continuous “cat and mouse” game with Google to ensure that we are generating the right content for the right audience by optimizing for Google’s algorithms. The tricky part? Google does not disclose its criteria for what makes for effective SEO, PPC, or any other tools that we, as marketers, use in the Google ecosystem. What this means, in practical terms, is that we are constantly working to identify and implement the current most effective practices to continue delivering world-class results for our clients.
While this may sound frustrating (which, if we’re being honest, it can be), one of the major benefits from our side of the industry is that competitive SEO experts need to put the work in continuously to stay competitive. This obscuring of the algorithm cuts down on a lot of the traffic that black hat SEO tactics would otherwise drive, as well as a lot of noise from competitors who are simply following a paint-by-numbers approach.
Let’s Talk About Your Needs
As a client of On The Map, you will have access to our wealth of knowledge and research about Google’s SEO criteria, grading, and ranking systems as we continue to research and adjust our best practices. One of the best parts of hiring an agency to handle your digital marketing is that you can focus on your work while we continuously strive to deliver high-quality traffic to your website. That said, if you have specific concerns about the way that your website and business will be impacted by the May 2020 Core Update, we will be happy to discuss these questions with you.
Whether you are a current client of On The Map or would like to learn more about how we can help you get meaningful and valuable traffic to your website using proven SEO tactics, contact us as soon as possible. While the world is seemingly on hold due to COVID-19, you may find that this is the best time possible to increase your marketing efforts and get a leg up on your competition.