Google May 2020 Core Algorithm Update : “An Absolute Monster”


On average, Google releases hundreds of updates to its search algorithm every year. Each update is designed to improve the user experience by giving you better answers to your search queries. But every few months, they release what is known as a ‘core’ update. So why was the May 2020 update described as “an absolute monster”?

Core updates adjust the search algorithm in a very broad and far-reaching (usually completely unknown) way. Most SEO professionals have to watch and wait to find out what has been adjusted and the May 2020 update has proven to be a bumpy ride so far.

SEMrush Sensor

Just to give some perspective on how extensive the update has been, check out this screenshot taken from SEMrush’s daily tracker which shows SERP volatility (how much organic search results fluctuate) since April.  The blue and green days show normal patterns, compared to the official launch date on 4th May.

So, how does this affect you?

If you’ve not checked your Google Analytics account and rankings recently, you should.  Hopefully, it’s not impacted your business as much as it has the Travel, Property, Health, Pets and Society sectors which were the hardest hit.

The effects were seen across all industries and also in local search, an area that is usually more stable.

Now, you may be thinking, ‘I’ve got great domain authority, so this won’t affect my website’ (if you have no idea what I’ve just said, click here for more info). Unfortunately, you could be wrong. Large and well-established companies like Spotify and LinkedIn both experienced ranking dips as a result of the May Google update. If you don’t know how to check your site, get in touch – we can help (for free).

No Bad Content Allowed

Most agree that the Google update is targeting poor quality and/or old content. If you’ve not updated those blogs or web pages for several years, it might be time to start thinking about how you can refresh them. Here are two more reasons why it’s worth your while…

  1. Ever struggle with what to write next? Refreshing old content on your site not only improves your SERP ranking, but it’s a great way to fill your calendar with content when you’re drawing a blank or stretched for time. Just rewrite something you’ve already done and update it with new facts, make it more specific to your audience or add new cooking techniques – whatever it takes to make it fresh.
  2. Refreshed content can grow your website traffic by as much as 10%.  That’s a significant increase in potential views and chances to expand your customer base.

You can also take this opportunity to weed out any ‘thin content’, this could include pass-throughs, pages with very little valuable information, duplicate content or auto-generated text. Give your website a critical view and decide if what you are seeing would be of value to your customers or readers.  If not, either rewrite it or get rid of it using redirects to better articles.

Just remember, if the content is no longer relevant to your business, it’s likely no longer relevant to your customers or readers. Take the time to create engaging content and you’ll see positive results not only in terms of Google rankings but also in customer loyalty.

Check Your Website for Errors

It’s always a good idea to do a website audit from time to time to make sure your site is working properly, pages load quickly, there are no broken links and that you are targeting the right search terms for your particular audience. All of these factors affect your search engine ranking, regardless of algorithm updates.

And above all, remember that the best way to navigate choppy SEO moments is by producing top quality content that is relevant and useful.  Google will reward you no matter how many updates they roll out.  The whole purpose of their search engine is to give users the right answer to their questions the first time.